I just returned from running our Moab mountain bike skills camp last week and have been playing catch up for the past few days trying to answer all of the emails I neglected. There are a lot because the camp was non-stop adventure and I had no free time the entire week to do anything other than camp stuff. We had five participants this year, a nice intimate size that made for a lot of quality interactions and one-on-one instruction. The economy is still hurting us but even with five people it was worth doing.
Everyone arrived on Tuesday night to gorgeous sunny skies and warm temperatures. We run our camps with the help of Rim Tours so that means they do all the cooking for us. We had a gourmet dinner of grilled salmon, risotto, and a garden salad, with chocolate brownies for dessert. This is definitely not a camp where you lose weight. After going over the week’s itinerary and goals for the camp it was off to bed.
The weather changed dramatically on Wednesday and made for a challenging day. We spent the morning doing skills and drills at City Park. Part of the park is under construction; a new pool is being built. Some of the man-made obstacles we used in the past were now under dirt. It was a cold morning and the winds were fierce with gusts up to 45mph. We didn’t realize how much protection we had being in town until we did our afternoon ride out on the trail. After a yummy lunch we loaded up the van and drove north to the Bar M ride. Bar M is a fairly easy ride and makes for a good introduction to Moab riding. However the wind made riding almost impossible. With gusts now over 60mph it was almost impossible to ride in a straight line. And with all the sand, there were moments when we got sandblasted and could hardly see. Not a great way to start our camp, but everyone hung in there and stayed positive.
Upon returning to the condos the guests were treated to massages and time at the pool and hot tub. Dinner was pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and a yummy salad. Dessert was a sinful chocolate fondue. After over indulging, we held a bike maintenance clinic for our guests that lasted over an hour. Lots to learn!
Thursday was chilly but calm. We bundled up and headed back to City Park for our second session of skills and drills. It was great not having the wind, but the cold temps kept us inside the Rim Tours van for lunch. For our afternoon ride we drove north to Klondike Bluffs. After shivering all morning we were treated to a wonderful break in the weather, and enjoyed beautiful blue skies with warm sun. It made for an amazing afternoon.
Klondike Bluffs is a good intermediate ride and offers a little of everything; slickrock, sand, ledges, drop-offs, and amazing views. We stopped at anything technical and spent time explaining, demonstrating, and then practicing the challenging moves. The ride back to the trailhead was all downhill and generated a lot of laughs and big smiles. The day was a success.
After another afternoon of massages and soothing the tired muscles in the hot tub, we had a yummy fajita dinner with homemade guacamole and chips for an appetizer, and a rich pineapple upside down cake for dessert. Afterwards I gave a presentation on training and nutrition to our guests, and then it was off to bed.
Thursday was much improved with the weather. Still a little chilly but a lot more sun than clouds. Today was our first full today of riding and a chance to really fine tune the skills we had worked on all week. We took our group to a ride called Blue Buffalo. It’s a great ride to trail to work on slickrock skills; riding up and down steep ramps and learning how to launch off ledges of all sizes. There was something for everyone. And we had lots of sunshine and no wind. Yippee! By the end of the day everyone was mentally and physically exhausted. We stopped ½ mile from the van and scrambled up the slickrock to a beautiful petroglyph and pictograph panel high above the valley floor. Years ago there was a blue buffalo painted on the rock, also known as a pictograph and also the name of our ride. Unfortunately vandals destroyed the painting and you can only see a very faint outline of where the buffalo used to be. Many of the other petroglyphs were still in good condition and made for some great pictures.
Another afternoon of massage and rest. We always have a special “dress-up” night for our last dinner of the camp. With everyone in their finest we enjoyed Dutch oven lasagna, garlic bread, and a Caesar salad. And of course dessert, a yummy strawberry shortcake.
Our last day greeted us with gorgeous sunny skies and warm temperatures. We loaded up the van and drove to Dead Horse Point to try out the newest singletrack; the Intrepid Trail. 9 miles of fun mellow singletrack winding around the rim overlooking the White Rim Trail and the Colorado Trail. The views were stunning to say the least. There were a few technical sections on the trail, but otherwise it was fast and fun and a great way to end the camp. We had lunch on the rim and then walked up to the official overlook for more pictures.
After a relaxing drive back to our condos, everyone showered and packed their stuff for the trip home. It was a great five days and I was sad to see everyone go. I feel like I have five new best friends. Our next camp won’t be until April of 2011. I’m officially pregnant and will be too big to run our October camp this year. Yes it has really happened. Greg and I are going to be parents in another five months. We’re both thrilled and scared to death. Haha!
I’ll keep you posted on our newest adventure!