Friday, August 7, 2015

San Juan Huts: Telluride to Moab: Prelude

Prelude To An Adventure

Before I even left for a hiking trip in Patagonia, I saw an Outside Magazine article about the San Juan Huts mountain biking trips.  "Wow, I've gotta do this!"  was my reaction and a few minutes later, I signed up for the Telluride to Moab trip. Happy, happy girl!!  Oh....and I'm 57 years old.  And I wanted to do this solo.


But as I read more about the trip, I started to worry a bit.  I knew enough about road bikes but the "new" technology on mountain bikes intimidated me.  If I was going solo, I needed to be able to do the fixing.  So while getting into biking shape, I took an REI mountain bike class.  I also started asking certain friends if they wanted to join me. Stuff happens, I would be out in the middle of nowhere, so best to be safe, I thought.  The great thing is, nobody wanted to go!

Up until two weeks before the trip, I had the huts to myself.  Then I saw that two people switched over to my dates.  Damn!  But I figured this is an adventure and that's all part of it: not knowing what you're going to get.

Background on me:  My first bike trip was in my twenties, when I road down the California coast from Half Moon Bay to Tiajuana.  I didn't have any mishaps, not even a flat tire.  Throughout my thirties and forties, I continued to bike long distances but mostly in triathlons: two ironman distances along with a ton of shorter distances.  But in my fifties, I slowed down.  Until I bought a hard tail and got a taste of singletrack.  Wow! The possibilities.  I soon upgraded to a used full suspension, a 29er that I refer to as my Hummer.  I love that I can ride over almost anything and my old bones feel it less.

Gear:  I'm a minimalist and optimist at heart when it comes to what to bring.  The SJH people suggested a ton of gear but I just couldn't do it.  Bring tires, really?  I figured if I had any major break downs, my ride would be over.  No problem.  But if I played it safe, which I would do because I was carrying gear and riding by myself, I reasoned I would most likely be just fine.  And I was.  One handle bar bag filled with the necessary bike tools and first aid and a back pack with clothes. Turned out my hut mates carried about 40 lbs each and had a helluva time with that much weight.  They cut their ride short, even after leaving some of their gear at one of the huts to be picked up later.

 Altitude:  Living in flat Sacramento, California, and having recently hiked in Peru reaching over 11,000 ft, I knew altitude could kick my butt.  So I spent a few days in Crested Butte and Telluride.

Transport:  Getting my car to Moab was something I hadn't considered when I signed up for this trip.  After looking at all the options, I called Jim of Roadrunner Shuttle in Moab.  He would pick my car up at the Telluride Airport and take it to my hotel in Moab.  He then told me to leave the cash ($350) in the car, hide the key in one of those magnet boxes, take a picture of it and send it to him via text.  "Cash, in my car?"  I was chuckling but my brain was having a hard time doing things the old fashion way. Trust. But the old saying "when in Rome...." spoke to me louder.  And Jim sounded like a very good guy.  And he was.  Got a text at the end of the trip saying my car was in Moab and he hoped I was having a great ride. And I was.

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