Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday Morning Ride: Counterrevolutionary Brown

A week or so back, I finally pieced together the off-pavement approach to Brown Canyon, linking the Garden trail, Calle Encina, Redrock Drive, and various double- and singletrack trails. Sunday morning I took the singlespeed Rat, still covered with Moab dirt, out to the canyon via the new route. When I merged onto the trail, I was headed counterclockwise around the loop, against the grain of my customary ride. Well, why not?

Brown-clockwise begins with a short, steep climb up firm two-track followed by an easy, winding descent. Brown-counterclock is a gradual ascent with occasional patches of techy rocks and one for-me-unclimbable rockface, followed by a steep plunge down the old Jeep road.

In addition to slickrock dust, the Rat's other Moab inheritance was an 18-tooth rear cog. The spinny 33:18 ratio made the CCW climbing easy--even the one steep stretch between the water tank and the gate. Good thing, too, as I had to stop and track-stand in the middle of that climb in order to make way for the blind Chow-mix dog belonging to one of the trail's regular hikers. Once the pooch was past me, I resumed pedaling and cleaned the climb.

I took it easy on the final Jeep-road luge, scrubbing off a little speed here and there to maintain some margin of safety. But even at that--wooeee! I encountered a pair of clockwise riders who were winching their way up in the granny ring. Don't dare crash with witnesses, can't wimp out with spectators, so I allowed myself a modest hop off a bump and whooshed past, hollering a doppler-shifted howdy as I went by.

I'm not necessarily a counterclockwise convert, but now at least I see the attraction: easy, scenic climbing followed by a swift rollercoaster plunge. Not bad for a change of pace.

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