I am not a good rider. I do all of my riding in the somewhat flat trails of Southern Ontario, but anything outside my comfort zone leads me to literal tears. That is what happened at Moab. With it’s rocky, barren Star Trek like terrain, Slick Rock is the epitome of “outside the comfort zone”. At no point does it stop to intimidate. Whether it’s the dozens of signs that warn you about the importance of bringing enough water (which we didn’t) or the isolation you feel when the van drops you off at the trail head (did anyone know where we were?).
The trails are steep both up and down; there is no compromise on the angle. What saves you is the sticky and the tacky rock that just doesn’t seem to ever lose traction. Remember how I said I’m not a good rider? well I decide when my bike loses traction (I don’t brain good). It is at that point when I jump off the bike and make the situation way, way worse. Most of the time I just end up on the steepest part of an uphill and have to dig my heels into the rock in order to push myself and the bike up the rest of the way.
Spray painted arrows mark the trails, indicating that indeed the trail is going up that 90 degree rock. Or you go down that 90 degree rock. Keep your momentum, or you will not make it up that next part. What is this rock? Does it feel soft on my elbow? Oh look, my husband is leaving me in dust to die in the desert. Did I miss the arrow and end up in wild Utah desert? I don’t know if I can cook iguanas… It was at that point that I broke into literal tears. Yes, I still break into tears when the going gets tough and the terrain gets intimidating. My husband laughed at me and I cried some more.
In the end I didn’t have a choice as we were already halfway and I didn’t want to do the part that made me cry all over again. Plus you share the trail with dirt bikes and I just wasn’t in the mood for a Mad Max reenactment. So, I took the most logical step. I had fun. I put my bum behind the seat on the downhills, stood up on the uphills. Kept the momentum going, oh the wonders of mountain biking.
Slick Rock is an awesome ride with killer views. It actually isn’t very long and we didn’t go through all of our water. We did drink sparingly and it was a mild day with a few minutes of rain, so don’t take my advice on water. Bring lots! There is a lot to see on this and nearby trails. From the Whole Enchilada you get an amazing view of Castle valley, some guy in a black suit looking for a maze (Westworld reference) and ATVs demonstrating their engineering might as they scale rock walls to scare their passengers.
P.S. We recently moved to Vancouver, so my fear over steepness will need to be overcome quickly. Ontario is already starting to feel small. I have yet to do riding that makes me cry, but I just haven’t been out too much.