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OUR ROAD TRIP TO ST. GEORGE MENACING ROCK GARDENS AND A $4 MOVIE TICKET
Last month, over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, my nephew Evan and I took a road trip to St. George for a visit with the well- known Red Rock Bicycle company. I wish I could call it a break, but it was definitely more work than a vacation should entail. You see, me, Evan, and the Red Rock team pre-rode the infamous Zen trail chunk of the “True Grit Epic,” prepping for the 50-mile ultra-endurance race coming up on March 10. The race itself is sure to be a gauntlet, but the Zen loop was probably the most difficult and technical trail I’ve ever biked in my life. I’ve written before in this newsletter about a race in Colorado, and I thought that was challenging, but it barely holds a candle to the Zen trail. It’s a grueling climb up what feels like an endless path of rocks, with two- to three-foot gaps eager to trip you up and throw you and your bike to the jagged ground at seemingly every turn. Then you have to bunny-hop up these ragged stone staircases into a valley of boulders with seemingly no trail, trying your best to follow tiny markers others have put up before you. The entire time, you’re navigating crevices and ravines, just doing your best to survive, much less make it to the end of the course. When we showed up at the Red Rock Company, I started to wonder if I’d underestimated the task at hand. I’ve got a fast bike, equipped with mountain bike wheels, but it’s a little thin and knobby to maintain speed. The others guys showed up with massive, heavy bikes, full-sized tires supported by a full suspension. I would learn that the reason they’d brought along these monsters was because this course was brutal — so brutal that, by the time I was done with the 6.5 miles, the rocks had totally destroyed the rim on my front wheel. You
take enough 6-foot drops off 45-degree angles, and it’ll do that to a smaller bike like mine.
The damage stopped us from going on the 3:00 p.m. ride I’d been planning for later. So instead, Evan and I went to see a movie. But when we headed to the Megaplex on Main Street, it was utterly packed. Everywhere you turned, there were families; husbands and wives hand-in-hand, with a gaggle of 4 or 5 kids trailing behind them. This might not sound unusual, but if you’d seen it yourself, you would understand how surreal it actually was. We bought a ticket, headed in, and watched “Murder on the Orient Express.” It wasn’t until much later that we realized that no one had ever checked our tickets — I guess they just trust people over there. The real beauty of it was the ticket cost us just over $4.50 on a weekend at 6:30. So kudos to Megaplex and St. George for offering this inexpensive service in the midst of modern America, where $20 bowls of popcorn are not unusual. In the end, it was a great trip, despite my wrecked wheel. At least now I know to beef up my bike a little before returning in March for the big race!
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