Posted by: Jack | April 5, 2007

Epic Journey: Day 12 – Moab

I woke up today feeling pretty achy from a few rough falls during yesterday’s ride. Climbing out of my tent I was pretty disappointed to find that it was cold and raining. Later while speaking with the event coordinator, he said that he had been coming to Moab at this time of year for 20 years and had until now never seen even a sign of rain.

Disregarding the weather, about 100 riders gathered at Moab’s skatepark for the first event of the 8th Annual Moab Mountain Unicycling Festival. This location served as an easy place to begin the festival and also appeased many of the younger riders who aren’t really into MUni but rather are all about trials. Catering to such individuals is kind of a controversial act at a festival that is supposed to be for MUni, but it was pretty humbling to watch these kids–some probably only 12 years old–perform feats that were limited to the few existing pros just a couple of years ago.

I’ve yet to really figure out the art of capturing good unicycling photos and with the rain I didn’t try too much. The image below is of one especially young rider who was keeping up pretty well with the most accomplished trials unicyclists. The festival organizer held an experimental competition operating basically like a game of HORSE (like in basketball) but with a sudden death format. So one rider finds something they think they can do, and then everyone has to do it. If they fail, they’re out. The whole thing was pretty slow-moving and really dragged on too long.

I never really saw them arrive but suddenly there was a camera crew filming the event and a “reporter” standing in the midst of the skatepark shouting about how “all of this action is fueled by Mountain Dew”. Apparently Mountain Dew’s up and coming extreme sports film crew had been invited to the event. We were all a bit confused about the “fueled by Mountain Dew” thing because we hadn’t seen any free beverages and generally soda is the last thing anyone consumes while doing any sort of endurance ride. Eventually however, they did bust out a huge cooler and most of us did “fuel” ourselves.

The group dispersed for lunch before reconvening at an area North of Moab known as Bartlett Wash for some real MUni. This was the festival’s first ride ever at this location but hopefully not the last. Despite the continuing rain, there was just so much fun to be had for all levels of ability. The area shown below became a popular ride offering an obvious downhill challenge ending in a four or five foot drop followed by a short flat which led to a six or seven foot drop into a nicely sloped sandy landing.

Bartlett Wash isn’t really a trail but rather an enormous area of mostly bare rock where ~150 unicyclists took over for the afternoon. Rather than deal with the chaos of the crowds, Josh and I went off on our own to seek out some challenges. We came across a narrow and steep gully that had obvious wear and tear from many bikers riding through. I figured I would give it a shot but one especially steep section was just too much and resulted in a pretty badly skinned knee. Luckily we caught it on video. Feel free to laugh at my failed attempt.

At another location I found a great area to try some really big drops. The photo below was unfortunately taken way too close up to really capture this seven-footer but I did ride away from this and was pretty pumped about it.

In the midst of all of this great fun, a huge downpour was spotted coming our way. As disappointed as I was, it was really fun to rush back to the cars with dozens of riders flying along the wet and rugged terrain. Unfortunately the weather was moving quite a bit faster than us and we got pretty soaked.

The rain had not hit Moab as hard so when I returned to camp I set up a slackline and got out my juggling gear. A few of the riders had slacklined before but some of my more advanced moves really stole the show. The Mountain Dew film crew was still in the area trying to get some more unicycling footage when they spotted us. They came over, really excited because slacklining was actually another target on their list of upcoming sports. After doing what I could for the camera I was pulled aside for an interview where I found out that my slacklining was also fueled by Mountain Dew. If any of this footage ever makes it to their website I’ll be sure to post about it.

Once the sun set I ate some dinner and spent the rest of the night sitting around a campfire with the North Carolinians.

Continue to Day 13

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Responses

  1. […] Dew TV and Me Remember back in March when I went traveling throughout the southwest states for two weeks with my last stop being in Moab […]


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