Sunday, April 2, 2017
2017 Desert Rampage
Sort of in keeping with an old family tradition of visiting St George every spring, I got back in to participating in the Desert Rampage bike race held early in the season in Utah's very scenic Dixie. After the race I'll head out in to the hills to hike and look for rock art. This trip would be my third Rampage since getting back in to it, and it went off without a hitch, no crashes or double flats that seemed to plague me the last couple events. Still bringing up the rear of my competitive sport middle age guys category, but moving up a couple spots from dead last! Recent rains and cool weather made for great trail conditions. The race was a bit bitter sweat as it was the last time the Green Valley race loop's fun gulches and fast descents would be used as a venue.
After the race this year I still had some riding left in me so I drove out toward Zion N.P. taking a dirt road that was a little rough for a mere passenger car. Turning north near Virgin I drove carefully a few miles off the highway to check out the Guacamole Trail. With rain called for in the afternoon forecast, the deep ruts along the road in to my starting point hinted that the Honda would be no match for those kinds of conditions. Once on the bike and after a steep climb the tops of the cliffs at Zion came in to view through gaps in the Pinion Juniper forest. The single track begins following cairns across slickrock with ups and downs on a little bit challenging yet fun trail called Margarita, ridden with a constant eye on the weather. I decided to bail before reaching Guac, at the first hint of the oncoming rain. I got out of there just as the road started to get slippery.
Then it was time to hunt down some rock art. Turning north again on pavement I drove up on to Kolob Terrace for the first time. My immediate thought was "Why have I not done this before?" The scenery up there was very distracting!
The cave was dark, luckily with a fast prime in the bag and an Olympus OM-D EM-1 body with a wonderful image stabilization I was able to get view-able handheld results. On the walk back to the car the sun came out like I hoped it would!
Mountain biking, desert scenery, lofty cliffs and buttes fading in and out of the clouds, rock art, and rainbows, all in a good Saturday around Zion and St George. Sunday I broke up the long drive home toward Salt Lake by taking the back way to Cedar City via Gunlock, making a couple quick stops to hunt for more rock art.