In the saddle: Desert fever |

In the saddle: Desert fever

Jeanne McGovern

I wanted to get desert hot. You know the feeling: dry heat, baking sun, red dirt caked on your legs, thirst so severe that even warm water from your CamelBak is refreshing. Luckily, the stage was set. A camping/mountain biking trip to Moab, planned for the first weekend in June, had desert hot written all over it. But as we all know, Mother Nature has a mind of her own. And in this case, that meant pounding, cold and relentless rain all day and basically all night Friday, the first day of our trip. Still we rode – a short slog through gluelike mud and slippery slickrock under the threat of a massive downpour. We were cold, wet and far from thirsty. In other words, cross that day off the desert hot list.Saturday was decidedly warmer. Not hot (by June in Moab standards), but definitely not stormy. Again, we rode. This time, the dirt was firm, the slickrock not so slick, and the sun was shining. But it was a short ride, as everyone in our group – including six children under the age of 6 with the Butch Cassidy King World Water Park on their minds – wanted to get their desert fix. After all, we all had to suffer through Friday’s rain. We got hot, but not desert hot. Sunday began with great promise. The sky was clear, the sun was blazing and even the geckos were seeking out shade by 9 a.m. Most of our group rode early – Porcupine Rim and Klondike Bluffs were the call and the reports were good. Another mom and I stayed behind to watch the kids and suss out the ride we’d do later that afternoon. The Sovereign Trail, “Moab’s newest 1-track,” according to the guidebook, had our names written all over it. Fourteen miles of singletrack fun in some serious desert heat. Yee-haw!This time, though, it was my friend’s bike that had a mind of its own. First, we had to wrench her tire on; then, just as we were about to hit the good stuff, the “phantom shifter” kicked in and the chain popped. We could have fixed it, of course, but we just didn’t have time. Plus, bad luck comes in threes and we didn’t really want to hit that mark. Needless to say, we were not desert hot (although we were plenty steamed!).We made the best of it, though – cracked a beer and joined the family at the water park. And, on the way, we mapped out a quick Fruita trip this coming weekend. Gotta get that desert-hot fix – before it gets too hot, of course.


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