For the month of December and into January, we’d like to share some of the Salsa Crew's and our sponsored riders' favorite moments from 2015. By all accounts, it's been a great year!
Distant, isolated, and uneasy. That’s how I felt as I stood over my bike, alternating between examining my GPS and a map. I was deep into an adventurous day ride, clambering through rugged terrain in a seemingly forgotten mountain range.
What do you find beyond the ghost town ...
The riding was far slower and more treacherous than I had expected, and the county was remarkably remote. For the past hour, a warm, tight sensation in my chest had gently been warning me of something–I had underestimated this ride. And now the map was telling me that the roads were likely going to get even more rugged before they got better.
My lone tire track upon this road ...
I looked up, my eyes tracing the washed-out descent to the cottonwoods deep in the drainage below. Decomposing greenish rocks on the opposite side of the canyon were punctured by a series of shallow adits. I imagined that the miners who dug into that slope long ago were the ones responsible for hacking out this old road. And judging by the lack of tracks of any sort, it didn’t seem like anyone had been here in ages. I chuckled that my friend Dave, who had shared this route with me, might have been the last person here, probably on a singlespeed.
Twenty miles prior, which equated to several hours of trying to turn over my lowest gear while eking out traction, I had passed through Motoqua. The nearly deserted town felt like a holdout from times past, now filled with crumbling and collapsing buildings that told a tale of floods, fires, and foundering economics. The road deteriorated rapidly beyond Motoqua, but my skinny tires had done just fine on the two-track for a while. As I began to cut through the core of the mountain range, though, conditions deteriorated rapidly.
Warbird's first ride ...
My watch told me it was just after 11 a.m. My map told me that there were at least 15 more challenging miles to come before I would likely encounter an improved gravel road. And then I still had 30-plus miles to get back to St. George. Beneath me, my Warbird stood eager and ready to go, coated in dust, and rim-deep in choss. This was my Warbird’s first ride, and what a ride it was. I gave its tires a squeeze, and they both still felt solid. Glancing around at the amazing mountains, I still felt isolated and a little uneasy, but I realized it was these exact moments for which I live. And with that, I smiled, stood on the pedals, and started my wheels churning down the loose, rocky descent.
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After growing up in Minnesota, I’ve been lured away by the rugged charm of the mountainous west. I relish every opportunity I find to spend a day (or days) on the bike, linking together unknown trails and forgotten routes through deserted country, enjoying the simplicity and unpredictability. When driven to race, I am growing ever fonder of pushing the limits of endurance and sanity. www.krefs.blogspot.com