3/8/16

Hurricane Cliffs...

I had a smooth pair of flights from Des Moines to Denver, and Denver to St. George, Utah yesterday. I had a 2 hour layover in Denver, so even though I'm not a big fan of airport food - I saw a place that looked promising. Promising it was! I tip my hat to the staff and crew at Elway's in the Denver Airport (John Elway's restaurant) for the best rack of lamb I have ever eaten. They source them from northeastern Colorado and the preparation, size, and taste were world class. A side order of sautéed broccoli rounded out my airport dinner before I boarded the plane headed for St. George.

The St. George airport is beautiful, but small. I jumped in line to pick up my rental car, and as I was signing all of the paperwork, the bags came through on the conveyer system and I spotted mine. I couldn't run over and get it as there was a line that had formed behind me. By the time I finished with the paperwork and was handed the key, the conveyor belt had stopped - and my bag was gone!

WTF!!!!

Hmmmm......I couldn't find anyone in the airport to help me. Finally, after stressing about it, I walked down to the ticketing area and found one man who was sort of a one man operation for the late nights at this airport. He told me he had locked my bag up in the lost baggage claim closet and went to retrieve it. Whew! Crisis averted. So, I was good to go and drive over to my reserved Airbnb room. The room is perfect for me - both in function and price (about 1/2 the cost of a motel). It is a separate servant's quarters little hacienda next to the owner's house . Fred is the home owner and runs this Airbnb which got great reviews and is pretty much booked up for the year. I got lucky when I saw this week it was available. Fred was great and we had a nice 30 minute visit getting to know each other.

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King size bed, my own bath and shower, a Keurig for coffee/tee, microwave, mini-fridge, television with satellite and Netflix. Everything one needs to relax on vacation.

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That being said, I crashed and fell fast asleep. I woke up at 4 am (5 am CST) and forced myself to fall back asleep which lasted until about 8:30. Finally! I got a full night's sleep. I really needed that - and Tara can attest to me waking up between 2 - 5 am far too often during the past 5 weeks. No dogs to take outside or feed allowed me to fall back asleep - at least for today.

I got up, showered, and headed to iHop. I didn't realize it was National Pancake Day which quickly explained why the parking lot was full, and there was a huge waiting list as well as the place being totally filled with kids. It must be Spring Break here in the public school system based on all the young ones I saw at 10 am in the restaurant. I finally got a table and was told due to it being National Pancake Day, the hotcakes were free. Sweet. Free pancakes which I adorned with two eggs and bacon to fuel up for my bike ride.

I drove over to Hurricane (which Fred taught me how to pronounce correctly so I wouldn't be mistaken as a northerner). I found the Over the Edge Sports LBS where I had reserved an Ibis Ripley for my week of riding. After a quick fitting and a recommendation of where to ride today due to the weekend rains, I was off to the trailhead parking area.

Day one of my Utah riding week was to be at Hurricane Cliffs. I know Tara will appreciate the word cliffs, but not to worry - I was careful. The Hurricane Cliffs area is a collection of trails (Gould's Rim, JEM, Hurricane Rim, Cryptobionic, Goosebumps, Dead Ringer, More Cowbell, and a few more) giving one plenty of options to ride for one hour, two hours, three hours, or four + hours. I targeted 2 1/2 hours as being about right due to how I felt and adjusting to the 4-5K foot altitude. So I got the bike ready for the opening climb...

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This will be by coldest day here this week at 66 degrees. It will be close to 80 later in the week, but today's blue skies and fresh desert air felt good. There was a slight breeze, so I kept the arm warmers on for the ride.

At the top of the Dead Ringer climb, the entrance to the More Cowbell trail is there. And you guessed it, there is a cowbell hanging from the post you can ring to your heart's content.

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I did the More Cowbell loop which is right along the lower mesa. It's beginner friendly, but the spectacular views were worth it.

I next climbed to the top of the Hurricane Cliffs where there is also a trail head...

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Nice flowing singletrack that was in tacky condition from the weekend's rain...

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I do have a video or two that I took today, but I will edit that and upload some later in the week. In the meantime, there is an excellent video regarding mountain biking in the St. George/Hurricane area that was compiled by jmpreston from MTBR.com that you can watch here. I have watched it and will be riding several of the trails he features in that video (including the trails I rode today).

That's it for today. Time to shower, and get some dinner to refuel for tomorrow's ride...

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