The norm is to go for the light, less travel bike when you begin readying for a “big” ride. This usually means the rigid singlespeed for me, but as I was trying to decide what to wear (yes, my entire closet was on the desk. No, I wasn’t worried about how I looked.), there was no question on which bike would be the choice for the Red Rock Rad Ride.
This ride, this idea that somehow sounded fun, sounded like one of those good ideas I have ever once in a while, was the product of hiking the Quarry Trail the Sunday after SSUT and then knowing that there was a trail off the backside. This meant that, in theory, one could leave the shop, climb the Airport Road, pedal the Quarry Trail and then drop down as a way to pedal to the Green Valley trails. Of course, the way my mind works this turned into “why don’t we pedal to Green Valley, ride the Zen, Barrel Ride, pedal to Paradise, ride Paradise and City Creek and end with the Brooks Nature Trail.”
How long would that be? I had no idea, somewhere between 30 and 50 miles. The only thing that wasn’t a question was how hard it was going to be. This was meant to be a big day and it did not disappoint.
I pitched the ride to the guys at the shop. The only person who got excited was Sir Gurr, who didn’t necessarily want to ride it, but wanted it to be a challenge ride. You know, kind of like when you go to the burger joint and they have some ridiculous sized burger that if you eat, they give you another one (because that makes sense) and a t-shirt or something. And just like that, the Red Rock Rad Ride was born. Ride the route, Strava it, tag it and bring it to the shop, we’ll give you a t-shirt and the opportunity to ride it again.
It turned out that the Quarry Trail was super easy to pedal. The backside drop, not so much. The trail is essentially a lava field. It’s steep. However, the biggest obstacle to riding it is how tight it is. Being able to hop like a jack rabbit is a definite needed skill to clean this trail. Just when I thought I might be able to ride the whole thing, the trail dropped into super steep terrain and I soon found myself flying over the bars. I don’t think I will be able to get the Alliance back up there willingly for a while.
It also kind of just ends in someone’s front yard and in one of the strangest neighborhoods I have ever pedaled through. Two teenage boys came out of the house where the trail ends just as I rolled up. They were dressed for church and waved, got in their car and left. We then heard the screaming of some deranged women, or so we thought at first, but found out that was just how she called for her dog. A dog that was about as obedient as she was crazy. She stood in her driveway and yelled at the dog for about ten minutes.
As we rode by, she thanked us for bringing the dog and then the dog continued to follow us. WTF? This was all leading up to the fact that the houses were built on the side of a mesa that was so steep that their driveways are ridiculously steep. This was proven by the sedan coming down to the road and completely bottoming out as it transition from cement to asphalt. It was made clear that this was a regular occurrence as we could see where the cars had flattened and scraped across the asphalt. It was all very strange and we quickly got out of there.
We found our way out of that suburban hell hole as quickly as possible. Being rushed and a little scared, we took a short cut. Turned out to be a long cut, but we made it to Green Valley nonetheless and started up Zen.
The weather was surprisingly nice and we made our way up the trail. KB hadn’t pedaled it in ages, so it was fun as she once again figured out the moves. This also meant some stop and go, adding to our total time, but worth it to see some bad ass girls ride stuff that scares most people.
This started at the Bath Tub, which both girls cleaned but I failed to properly document. I have about 6 videos of them trying but none of the success. I suck, I know. If it makes you feel any better here’s Kenny doing it.
This was followed by the second crash of the day. If Kenny looks like he has one boob that is bigger than the other, it wasn’t a botched implant, it’s the swelling from landing on his handlebars. Once at the top, we pulled out the MCA flask and took some pain medicine to help with the sore muscles and legs. We were already on our second lunch. This was gonna be a long one.
We headed down. It’s hard to not have fun coming down the Zen. By the time we made it to the Zen drop everyone was smiles again and we were on par to finish this thing. Of course, the girls dropped in making it look like it was a no thing, type of a thing.
I can assure you that after finishing the Zen heading straight back up the mesa just on the other side of the Gap was not exactly what I had in mind, but we did it because that was the plan and the plan was to finish this thing we started, that and socks, there were definitely socks involved.
The Barrel Ride seems like you climb the same mesa 15 times. Luckily, there is one helluva reward. There was some sessioning on an up move.
Which both the girls got. And then it was onto the Waterfall move. KB had never ridden this, but she didn’t tell Heather that. Instead she just followed her wheel down and showed us all what it looks like to be a skilled rider cleaning something they have never ridden before.
She kept this a secret for a bit.
Then it was time to make our way to the other half of this ride. This meant some pavement pounding. We tried a back road that we thought would avoid some asphalt, ended up doing some light trespassing, and then pounded the pavement making our way to the Half Way Wash bike path. We stopped for third lunch, or it might have been fourth I wasn’t really counting, at the park.
We did some illegal, public imbibing as our bodies needed a little relief from the pain. You’d be surprised how great a sip of whiskey feels after riding in the cold for 4 or 5 hours. Not enough to let it go to your brain, but just a bit to clear your throat and warm your belly. It’s just about as good as it gets.
Then it was onto Paradise.
At this point, we were riding to finish. I was kind of done with the whole thing, but peer pressure kept me going. We pedaled out the climb up to the ridge, had another sip of whiskey and rested for a few minutes.
Once again our pain was rewarded with a fun descent that had us giggling almost as much from the pain we knew was coming as soon as we turned back uphill as it was from the fun of coming down that chunky trail. We climbed up to the Chuckawala trailhead and then descended the bike path to make our way to City Creek. I had zero desire to continue. Jazzy’s was only a few blocks away and I had my debit card tucked in my jersey pocket.
I attempted to make a last minute change to the itinerary but was immediately shut down by Kenny and KB. We had made it this far and they were damned if we weren’t going to finish. We started up the bike path. I was sure my legs were going to explode. My left IT band was pissed, but not quite so much as my right hip which counteracted the pain.
We hit the trail and my attitude had begun to change. I had prayed to the gods of cycling on the way up that stupidly steep bike path that things would change. The sun came out as we started own the singeltrack. I can’t say I was happy but I was content to be finishing. This kind of changed when, at mile 29, we were pedaling up the Power Line climb.
I wasn’t happy about it at the time, but when we hit the top of the climb and looked out across SG, I was ecstatic that they had made me continue. After all, this whole fucking thing was my idea. We were more or less at the top and celebrating was in order.
We took the obligatory riding group photo.
This, of course was followed by the obligatory bike selfie.
And as we sipped down a little more whiskey, thanking the gods that we were at a point were a little more than a sip was going to be just fine, an obligatory victory shot of the MCA Flask.
And despite the fact that we had already celebrated victory, Kenny had one more in him and cleaned the Chute. No problems. No bobbles. Full clean. Due to my absolutely spot on videography skills, you can’t see the steep section. Damn shadows.
It was a long day. 6 hours and 45 minutes from start to finish. 31.19 miles. 4000+ feet of climbing. And as cliché as the word is these days, it was epic.
While I had debated every possible combination of clothing for the cold and possible warmth of the trail, there had been no question. This was a big ride, that was going to take all day and there was no way I was doing it on the rigid bike. Full squish and when we hit the Lounge upon return, I was damn happy I had gone that way.
P. L. and R.