I’ve always ridden bikes. One vivid early memory was also in autumn, during eight grade, when I endoed my Bridgestone riding down a steep sand hill at Hueston Wood State Parks, and rode the 7 miles back to town on a broken right clavicle. I started doing big rides out of necessity in 2004 and 2005, as gravel roads (before groad was a thing) are what the outdoors of Iowa does best, and kept things rolling when we moved to Arizona in 2006. Looking back, my learning curve for the three years between the start of 2005 (when I rode 85 miles of windy gravel to work one day) and the start of 2008 (when rides like this one had become fairly routine) was massively accelerated. My understanding of things like nutrition and especially the mental component of endurance is vastly better today, but very little beats the courage of ignorance that just says why not do this. And I’m not sure my aerobic fitness has ever quite matched that I built over the year between June of 2007 and 2008.
The ride we did, or more specifically the descent from Burro Pass to the Colorado River, has gone on to attain iconic status. There aren’t that many places you can descend 7000′ mostly continuous vertical on a bike, and even fewer where doing so goes from alpine forest all the way to slickrock desert. Riding that descent from town has not achieved iconic status, which is both understandable and somewhat unfortunate, as it’s a fantastic climb. And I would not be surprised to learn that no other party has thought to tack Flat Pass (backwards!) on to the loop, as it’s one of those sandy, ledge jeep routes on which Moab mountain biking was invented, but which have fallen well out of fashion as proper singletrack (Ahab, Mag 7) has been built parallel to the many two tracks.
Even back then the state of knowledge moved very quickly, and this was only a year into just anyone being able to create a Facebook account. Being in the position of creating and executing a new idea is a fleeting privilege not to be taken for granted.