Elisa Jones mountain biking hurricane, utah

Hurricane: it’s pronounced “Her-Kun”

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” 
― Pablo Neruda100 Love Sonnets

It was a really, really long drive to get to this trail. Was it worth it? On its own, no. But in conjunction with a family affair, sure! My niece had a baby, making me a great-aunt, so of course I had to come to the ceremonial blessing of the newborn!

5.5 hours we were on the road to Cedar City. Within an hour of arriving we had kids fed, my sister watching a whole bunch of kids in our hotel room (don’t even ask what the room was like when we came back…it was…uncomfortable), and we were on the road to St. George.

Since my family doesn’t do anything selflessly, we had to take a detour to St. George to drop off my sister’s car. No complaints since we really like St. George and her car was really fun to drive. I miss my fast little cars. (sigh)

Before long we were navigating through Hurricane. Kid you not, it was 60 degrees and we counted no fewer than 8 people riding road bikes. It almost made me miss my Mr. Darcy. Almost.

We found the desired TH and guess who shows up? A couple of my team mates for the upcoming 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race! Gary had ridden White Rim with us last Summer (and is also a kindred spirit in the Xterra Triathlon realm), but this was my first time meeting Troy. It was cool to meet them so far from our various homes- great timing. They were just finishing up as we were just heading out, so they gave us some route beta before we parted ways. I’m really starting to get excited (and somewhat nervous) for the race now. Being the token lady on the team I really hope to….you know…impress them….or something.

The route started just down the highway then up a steep Jeep road climb. Before long we connected to the singletrack and started to feel pretty darn good about it. The trail was….easy. Which was good, because the vistas were worth a peek or two. Check out these:

Okay, so not so many nice vista shots, but  I think this sign gives you a good idea of the terrain.
Okay, so not so many nice vista shots, but I think this sign gives you a good idea of the terrain.
Elisa selfie with Dennis photo bomb. Makes me smile.
Elisa selfie with Dennis photo bomb. Makes me smile.
Yeah. By 3 miles in my lower back was in knots and screaming in pain.
Yeah. By 3 miles in my lower back was in knots and screaming in pain.
Another fantastic sign.
Another fantastic sign.

The next section of trail was pretty flowy and pumpy for being a bit of a climb. If my back had been able to settle down I think I could have had some fun. But as it was I could barely pedal. I had to stop and stretch it out several times. I blame the 6 or 7 hours of sitting in a vehicle. It’s like my hips just seize up.

We did eventually make it to the cross over the highway, and began the excessively fun JEM trail descent. It wasn’t particularly steep, nor technical (with a double-switchback into a wash being the exception). I absolutely love pedally descents like this- the trail was fast, twisty but not so much I couldn’t plant the apex of the turn precisely where I wanted it. I haven’t ridden trail like that since….since….never. The only downside was having to stop at almost every trail crossing to navigate. Good thing we were just there for a joy ride!

We took an unusual turnoff, which started as a double track descent, then turned quickly into singletrack, then dropped into a wash with some of the weirdest terrain I’ve seen in awhile. Black rocks blended into red sand. Dry and barren but for the occasional Joshua tree flourishing in this stark world. Before long we turned off onto the Hurricane Rim trail, which, honestly, was so beautiful I think I cried a little. Okay, it may have been my back again, or the intensity of the climb- steep with loose sand mixed with gravel and death cookies- but I’m going to say it was the views. You tell me:

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Awesome socks, right?

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Like all fantastic rides, the trail dropped us down nice and fast back to the trailhead, so we could end with a smile. When I looked at my stats, I was surprised to find that we had only done 100 ft more climbing that my last ride at the Lunch Loops- and today’s ride was 8 miles longer! Post-that-ride I probably could have run a 5k, no problem. When we finished today I felt ragged.  I’m going to go ahead and blame it on my unfamiliarity with the trails, the excessively long downhill, and the fact that lower-back spasms plagued me every time the trail climbed even a 5% grade making uphills something like torture.

Despite the stats, the complaints, I really can’t complain. Dennis was an inspiration- seriously he is so badass. The weather was straight out of the Garden of Eden. I could see Zion, Snow Mountain, Redrocks, Hurricane Gorge…. seriously. So much beauty and fun fun fun fast fun flowy fun trails.

Totally deserves more pictures.

Okay, not the trail in Hurricane, but my Jeep shadow at sunrise with the Bookcliffs. It was just too cool not to take a shot of.
Okay, not the trail in Hurricane, but my Jeep shadow at sunrise with the Bookcliffs. It was just too cool not to take a shot of.
Some dude took this for us. Nice, right?
Some dude took this for us. Nice, right?
If you look in the right spot you can see the Great White Throne.
If you look in the right spot you can see the Great White Throne.
Dennis selfie
Dennis selfie
♥ the hand-drawn map. I was using Avenza.
♥ the hand-drawn map. I was using Avenza.
See that smile? Fun final descent. Also glad I could pop some pain killers for my back! Hooray for yoga!
See that smile? Fun final descent. Also glad I could pop some pain killers for my back! Hooray for yoga!