3/10/16

Bearclaw Poppy & Video Return to JEM...

Today was an EPIC ride for me. I wasn't really sure what I had planned outside of hitting up the Bearclaw Poppy area due to it being a must ride classic area in St. George. My thoughts were to spend 2 - 3 hours in the area playing around on all of the fun stuff. That was the suggestion from Utah Mountain Biking, so I was sticking with that plan.

Once again, I fueled up with a calorie dense breakfast before heading to the parking area of the day's ride. The temperatures were in the mid 70's and it felt great to be out on the bike in the sun and warmth. I entered at the Bloomington end of the trail and had at it! I climbed for a couple of miles, and then took the downhill to enjoy. It was fun, and back up the climb I went for more. And more. And more. I was having a blast!

Here's a nice little video of these fun trails made by somebody 2 years ago that shows why it is a classic must ride...



After tooling around with Acid Drop, Clavicle, Green Valley BMX, Three Fingers of Death and getting my fill of the classic goodness, I decided to embark on a larger loop and headed up the Stucki Springs Trail. This was not on my original plan at all, but what the heck. It was a beautiful day and there were still many hours of daylight left. The Stucki Springs Trail was marked for the True Grit Epic 50 and 100 mile race on Saturday, so I figured I would test some of it out. Why not?

Here's a short video about the True Grit Epic in St. George on all of the trails I was riding today...



The race course was well marked...

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I met up with a guy from California and we rode for a bit together before he turned off on a side trail that he claimed would take him somewhere. So I stopped to figure out what I should do: continue on, turn around, or follow the Californian...

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I climbed and climbed and stopped to make this little video to catch my breath and show the vista about an hour into it...



After I shot that, I kept going, and going, and going, and somehow missed a turn and went off on a tangent trail (which was fun, and it led to other tangents). After another hour I realized I had no idea where I was, except out in the desert climbing around.

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I can't argue with the beauty and all of the sweet trail I was riding...

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But I was with no map and my phone battery was about to die, so I turned around to retrace my tracks...

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Hey, the trail was nice and my legs were enjoying the burn...

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Long story short, I sipped my water to make it last, had plenty of Gels and Clif Bars which I snacked on, and realized I had no need to panic. I just needed to get back to some landmarks with views that looked familiar to me. The phone battery was dead and I had left my external battery in the car thinking I wouldn't be riding out here that long today. Lesson learned.

Eventually I made it back to an area I recognized and was able to make it back to the area where I had started by taking an unmarked trail that looked like it led to where I needed to go (it did). Many, many hours later from when I left the car, I made it back. I was just about out of water and snacks, so getting back to the car was timely after this EPIC day of riding. Not as epic as a 100 mile True Grit, but pretty dang close to a 50 miler version. When my phone died, I had already gone about 35 miles.

EPIC ride in the bank. Shower, water, and dinner to refuel.

On tap for Day Four - Friday. At this point, I still want to ride Guacamole and then choose between hitting JEM (Hurricane Cliffs) or Gooseberry again. We shall see how the legs feel when I wake up tomorrow after today's EPIC!

This video was uploaded to YouTube.com and made a few days before I arrived. The group had a drone with a camera on it which they used in a very effective manner as it really shows the beauty of Dead Ringer, More Cowbell, and the JEM trail better than I can with my iPhone.



Isn't that a great video!!! It really captures the beauty of these trails and the area in such a stunning way.

It's a fun climb up Dead Ringer trail. The beauty of the More Cowbell trail allows one to recover at the top before descending the JEM trail (which includes the super fun 6.2 mile descent) that I wouldn't mind doing again tomorrow now that it is warmer and the dirt is no longer tacky from last weekend's rain.

We will see what Friday beholds, but rest assured - I will be out there for several hours enjoying myself on some trail(s)...

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