Matt Janson singlespeed ride Robertson's pasture abajo mountains monticello, utah

The 3-hour (NO! 4-Hour) Tour of the Abajo Mountains

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 
― Lao Tzu

So I had ridden Robertson’s before- a couple years ago when I raced in Monticello. I have a pretty darn good memory for trails, distances, features, etc… but, hey, it had been awhile.

I knew the 15 or so miles would take us a little bit longer than I had planned. I was thinking 2 hours. But I hadn’t done Spring Creek- the trail we were going to climb up and connect to Robertson’s. We parked at our end-point, and rode a stretch of pavement to a Jeep road. The Jeep road climbed us up. And up. And up and up and up and up!

Did I mention we were on singlespeeds? Oh, and at a starting elevation of 8k+? Right away we were  both suffering. There was too little oxygen in the area, and too few gears on our bikes. We could pedal for a bit, then hike. Then pedal. Then hike. Hike a little more. Bike 50 yards. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike. Hike.

The trail was not at all what I expected. The Jeep approach road was steep and way way longer. The singletrack was excellent. For awhile. It, too, got quite steep. And rocky. If I had been on my full-suspension geared bike, it would have been a whole other experience.

By the time we got to Robertson’s we had been out for a couple of hours. We were about 1/2 way. Choices were limited, though, and we talked about abandoning. But we- Matt and I- are adventurers! We pressed on!

Up, over the saddle, where we could look down onto the Needles District of Canyonlands. Down, down, through the pines, the scent of them filling me with inexpressible glee. Every now and then I would wait for Matt to catch up. He was pretty done with the ride early on, but he stayed with me.

I was happy and cheerful nearly the entire ride. I was even starting to think that I might do the Abajo Enduro. But about 3.45 hours into the ride we hit the last few climbs. Climb. Climb. Climb.

By the last 1/4 mile we both were done and hot and sunburned and exhausted. I was anxious about the kiddos, hanging out at Grandpa’s house, wanting to go swimming. I just wanted an icy cold beverage and a lay down.

We finished the ride quoting lyrics from “Hasa Diga Ebowai“. It was excellent. Matt is so much fun to be with. I couldn’t imagine a better companion for every type of journey.

[If you like satire, I recommend watching another selection from “The Book of Mormon: The Musical”

Matt riding through the trees
Matt riding through the trees


Matt at the viewpoint at Spring Creek
Matt at the viewpoint at Spring Creek


Matt walking his bike on a tricky water crossing.
Matt walking his bike on a tricky water crossing.