Moab 2018 - two old guys get crushed by heat, age and general lack of skills

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by ibafran, May 30, 2018.

  1. DavidEBSmith

    DavidEBSmith Adventurer

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    I have added "It is not a true adventure unless one has to buy fresh duct tape to see one thru" to my list of should-be-famous quotes.
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  2. 14 Horses

    14 Horses Adventurer

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    A fun read and some great photos. I especially like the scene posted at the top of Day 3. As a 62-year-old geezer with his first dirt bike, I can sort of relate to all this. Thanks!
    #22
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  3. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    Thoughts on the hot tub: I really am indebted to Bryan for opening my eyes some years ago on this issue. On a previous trip, he offered the chance to visit a hot springs in the Far North. In my yoot, I had been to a hot springs and recalled nothing special about the experience and passed on the chance to relax. On my second trip to the Far North, we stopped at a hot springs wherein I found the experience so perfect as to promise myself never to pass up the chance to soak in a hot springs again. Having been on bike trips and soaked in hot tubs at hotels, etc; I am now amazed that the wisdom of a hot soak did not transfer to hot springs?
    There is a lot more to the hot springs/hot tub experience than met this old eye as I am mostly inexperienced to the scene. In addition to the soothing soak of aches and pains, there is a relaxing of the mind as it puts aside the pressing problems and concerns for a short time. People who meditate probably get similar relief as often as they like. I have yet to learn to do that. After my body and mind has calmed for a while, I find myself open to conversation. Fer instance, late in the afternoon, there were 5 guys in the campground's open air hot tub. The kids had left and the roaring water jets had quit their noise and quiet reigned. Assessing the situation, I said that I was open to conversation but could just as easily remain quiet if everyone preferred quiet? The conversation started slow with first names, home towns, what brought us here. Highlights of the day were shared with others picking up on fun stuff to do and boring stuff to avoid. Worked well on that occasion. Another trip to the hot tub had several young couples who only had eyes for each other. And so, no conversational opp presented itself. As an olde guy, I view the hot tub scene differently than the young people. One more reason that experienced travelers always pack a swim suit regardless of destination. And a towel a la Hitchhikers Guide...
    Another thing I have done on bike trips all my life is to soak my over-heated feet in a cool roadside stream or pond when the opp arises. Also hydrate and nosh and take a pic of my feet in the water which usually beats the pic of food during storytelling after the trip. Don't take pix of the hot tub if you don't know all the people (yes, I did have to post that just in case somebody might not know any better).
    ymmv
    fran
    #23
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  4. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    One of the first things that I did upon getting home was to carefully select some biker budds whom I deem to have enough intestinal fortitude and serious sack to do Moab while still young (55 and younger). Moab is not one of those places that one should defer to retirement age. I also encouraged them to start taking seriously any opp for slow speed (less than 12mph?) skills on any bike. "If you can't ride over your picnic table, maybe it's time to learn how?" And, "Every ounce of excruciating pain and suffering to get into shape and stay in shape now will pay huge dividends when you get to Moab."
    Because I relish being on the bike so much, I don't usually feel as olde as I really am when not on the bike. Thus, even when I was completely exhausted, I was still kind of happy somewhere in my psyche. It is similar to being in love. As delightfully wretched and awe-full as the experience of love is, one wouldn't miss it for a moment. At least, I wouldn't. Fool that I am.
    ymmv
    fran
    #24
  5. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Great quote and statement there @ibafran, couldn't agree more. I'm fully planning to hit Moab prior to cresting the big five-oh, hopefully before hitting number 48 if vacation schedules work, the family's up for an adventure, etc. And yeah - started riding when I was 9 and don't plan to stop until I'm unable to get a leg over the saddle. Good on you for keeping that fire burning; there's simply nothing like riding a motorcycle - track, street, dirt, gravel, etc. Most don't get it, lucky to be one of those that do.

    You hit on a great topic with the hot tub or hot springs; it's the absolute perfect way to end a day of riding. We did a 4-day ride in far Eastern Oregon last summer and the first two nights were spent camping next to hot springs...made ~10 hours of riding less stressing on the body. Not trying to thread jack, but wanted to share a picture of the first night...absolutely epic location to enjoy camp and a soak.

    [​IMG]

    Keep that spirit alive and well, and definitely keep writing reports for us inmates...one of the best reports I've read :thumb:thumb
    #25
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  6. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Been here awhile

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    Loved the write up!!!
    As a relatively new old rider, my 1st trip to Moab at age 61, was with a group of retired riders called FROG (F'ing Retired Old Guys). They had all be riding since they were kids. I nearly broke my leg and collar bone on Slickrock. I did break the body armor. Learned, never ride with people who are that much better that you.

    Second trip last year, after retirement, WRT with a friend. Late October is great weather, actually a little too cool. Fantastic experience, but we had to hurry because of a late start and short daylight hours.

    Third trip, two weeks ago, seemed very hot in the mid 90s at age 64. We did the WRT opposite direction CCW. Our leader knew a good route which required up the Schaffer switch backs twice, and finally out Long Canyon. It totaled 175 miles and took 11.5 hours, but included two flat tires. This whole trip was 6 days and about 800 miles of dirt. I would say roads but in some cases the was no road, or trail. When the GPS shows you are in the middle of Lake Powell, there are no roads.

    I think you should try the WRT again, but pick early spring of late fall for a tolerable climate. I would recommend the CCW direction. It gets a couple harder places out of the way, before you get too tired. Cool temperatures make all the difference. Also always take at least a gallon of hydration. On the last trip, I took a gallon and a half and drank it all! The bikes you rented are the correct type, light and nimble, for the WRT and other Moab rides.

    I can't wait to go again!
    "Never give up, never surrender" Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest
    #26
  7. bajaburro

    bajaburro Ancient Adventurer

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    Another thing to avoid is don't sit around in the morning drinking lots of coffee.
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  8. bad luck

    bad luck Adventurer

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    I have to agree with everyone and how much I enjoyed reading your rr.
    It's too bad about the ending though.
    Also I must say the guys and ladies up in I sky are a great bunch of people. (my wife works up there)
    Every year people die out here from dehydration, even though they are young and fit. Some people just don't realize how much you need to stay hydrated.
    There are plenty of beautiful trails and roads that aren't too difficult.
    I don't try to ride the hard ones either.
    #28
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  9. Harsh

    Harsh Been here awhile

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    Enjoyed your ride report. I rode part of the WRT about a year ago couldn’t do the whole loop as the river was flooded. That flood was a good thing as I would have run out of gas. I rode the WRT on a new FE450 Husky a month ago - I can ride 130ish on the street but on the WRT my low fuel light came on before 90 miles. I brought extra fuel so I was ok. I also ran out of water 10 miles from finishing (was glad I brought more water than I thought I needed). I thought Murphy’s Hogback was the most difficult stretch. Guy at the top told me Hardscrabblw was harder. From Murphy’s I picked the harder lines to ride cause I felt a little fear for the upcoming Hardscrabble. I hit hardscrabble and still thought the Hogback was more difficult. I’ll do WRT again and I have no doubt it will all be easier as I’ve experienced it once. Last year Shaffer’s Trail made my heart pound as I had never ridden anything like it. However this year it didn’t bring out the same emotions as I had been down it once before.
    I think you might feel that way if you ever get back.
    #29
  10. Snapper33

    Snapper33 Globetrotter Supporter

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    Guys, your writing style kept me interested and your candor earned a lot of respect. Thanks for passing on the important lessons learned.
    #30
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  11. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

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    Excellent images! Thanks.
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  12. DGarman

    DGarman What could go wrong? Supporter

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    Excellent RR!..... Thanks!
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  13. simbaboy

    simbaboy Lansing MBS

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    A number of us were just there May 13--May 20th and would have liked your company.
    There were 12 of us on different rides but only 8 on The White Rim. We went counterclockwise which makes a huge difference.
    Most of us like the scenic easy-easy moderate trails. We take a couple of younger riders with us to pick our bikes and ride our bikes through a few obstacles as needed.
    Simba

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #33
  14. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    Thanx for the polite expression/reminder of a most important consideration for any trip. Of the many little annoyances of traveling with biker budds is the variation on how to do such simple and mundane things like when to arise in the morning and when do the side stands go up? If one travels with the same budds all the time, this stuff usually gets worked out, politely, over time. If one is riding with new budds, a more direct conversation on such topics during the planning stage works pretty good.
    BUT. When the trip gets hard and people get worn out, keeping a desired schedule can be impossible. Being able to give up one's desires and going with the 'flow' could be the better part of valor as well as other things. It's rare when everyone in a group wakes up at the same rate.
    Sturgis is a great example. Nearly all the riders stay up late and party resulting in their getting up late. This allows us early risers to tour the area's terrific roads devoid of traffic and also enjoy the cooler temps and see 4-legged wildlife that can't be seen mid-day not to mention all the great sunrises.
    If one is riding Moab when it is HOT, getting up and to the trail head at o-dark-thirty could be optimal. Not only will one see and hear desert wildlife if one is quiet while waiting for better riding light, but one will enjoy several hours riding in cool temps as soon as there is enough ambient light not to trip over a rock nor stumble into some cactus. (Riding unknown trails by headlight is its own skill set.)
    I leave it up to the Dear Readers/Inmates of this thread to figure out how to negotiate with their budds for optimal riding time. If there are 2+ riders who want to get up early, they could arrange to meet the others after their early morning loop?

    Aside: I have been a life-long believer in the buddy system. Thus I wouldn't be alone in the Moab desert unless I knew exactly what I was doing and could file some sort of flight plan with budds who might come looking for me if I didn't show up as expected. Your safety considerations may vary. We might have had a SPOT but I have no info on it at the moment? Yes, I do like being alone but am careful how I do it.

    I hate burning daylight but (small?) sacrifices have to be made to assure an over-all great trip.
    fran
    #34
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  15. Northstar Beemer

    Northstar Beemer Face Plant

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    A couple of post trips thoughts from the guy who thought he was probably going to die on the Schafer Trail grade....

    Dehydration is a tricky thing. I think age and heat were a factor as well. I'm an experienced wilderness camper, but in Canada and the Minnesota wilderness where water is literally everywhere dehydration isn't much of a thing. As noted, the Moab/Canyonlands region conspires to absolutely wick the moisture out of you. The only solution is to seemingly over hydrate, especially in the days before going in so you can build up a buffer and reserve. Also, now that I know the symptoms, I'll never get that far behind the curve again.

    Are we too old to play in this sport in this region? I don't know - I do know that our physical fitness was reasonably good, all things considered.

    I do think that I could have done the White Rim Trail on my 1200GS - at least as far as we got. This due to the fact that it actually has a suspension (vs the Husky with its rock hard springs and seemingly no suspension) and that I have it set up comfortably for standing on the pegs. The correct tire setup on the 1200 would probably have been the classic TKC 80 front and Heidi K60 rear arrangement.

    The Spot was in my camelback's top zippered pocket, activated but not turned on. I'm committed to hitting the 'SOS' button only in the case of 'bone sticking through the skin' kinds of injuries to paraphrase Metaljockey. In hindsight I probably should have mentioned its presence, location and have given Fran some training on how it deploy its emergency response 'SOS' button.

    But I always assumed I'd be using it for his accidents, but not actually for me.
    #35
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  16. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    ROFL...that's a great way to end the post :nod

    Again, fantastic write-up and story fellas. I cannot wait to get to Moab and SE Utah to ride :ricky:ricky
    #36
  17. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    An Aerostich suit,in Moab,on a rented MX bike with stock seat. Honestly that sets it all right there.
    #37
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  18. misterk

    misterk Been here awhile

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    great report, thanks
    #38
  19. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    As has been noted here age doesnt have to be a huge determining factor,Im 60 and am all beat to hell after riding dirtbikes since age 12,and racing them for 10 years at one point,as hard as possible most of the time. Titanium left knee,plate in and out of shoulder after a Baja foux-paiz. I still ride my 300XCW on some truly fun and g-narly singletrack,mostly with people 20 or more years younger. At age 60 the 14 300XCW is the cushiest nicest smoothest easy on my body bike I have ever owned,it makes a difference.

    A young sprat brought out a 350SXF KTM on a ride recently and on tight stuff it was beyond a handful,brick hard suspension,engine that really wanted to rev and make 50HP when least needed. To each their own. I do feel lucky to have near 50 years of dirt experience at this stage of life,Im sure it helps me smoke the youngsters.

    We have our own version of slick rock,solid granite. Sometimes as big as a football field. I loved the ride report,Moab is pretty neat. DSCF1962.JPG
    #39
  20. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    Might as well post my thoughts on my riding gear choices and my thinking so that others who follow might choose to try something else or do better. Wore my modular road helmet. I have a dirt friendly helmet but it's chin guard seemed too weak for me to use in the rocky Moab fun. Rode with the visor up when dust was not overwhelming. Gloves were light, non-perforated, leather work gloves. I am not in the habit of sticking out a hand to break a fall. Thus, I don't need armor as much as abrasion resistance. For trips, I wear a kind of lace-up police boot rather than a construction/work boot or a hunting boot. I like it over all and it works for me at the MX track and at the roadracing track. Yes, it was hot in Moab even with a wicking sock. But not so hot that I needed to get the boots off during rest periods. BITD, I wore a full competition desert racing boot in the desert outside of Vegas. I was glad to have it even though I never seemed to need its protection. That comp boot was uncomfortable but not so much as to make me give it up. As it was, my regular trip boots were just fine for my needs in Moab.
    I chose to wear my 1pc RoadCrafter (RC) Classic because it was what I had in absence of any alternative. Long ago, I had worn full competition desert gear including shoulder, upper arm, chest, back, elbow armor with a perforated jersey. I have worn the comp pants too with good knee and hip pads. I no longer know any dirt riders who might have lent me their gear for this trip. Nor did I know of a place to rent such gear. Thus, I planned to ride within the limitations of my gear. That was not hard to do because I don't have enough Moab riding talent/skills to push those gear limits (my assessment?). And as posted earlier, we intended to ride in such a manner as to survive the fun. I have 20yrs of experience with a RC in all kinds of environments. The gear comes with an "Owners Manual" to help the rider optimize its fun. I have crashed in one at the RR track and destroyed it with nary a scratch on me. For a piece of gear that is supposed to work everywhere, all the time; it works damn good for me when I don't screw up. The RC doesn't fail so much as I fail to make it work for me.
    In Moab, I intended to wear some light cargo shorts and a tee under it, cotton rather than a wicking under garment. The idea was to get the under garments damp/wet and control air flow through the gear to balance evap cooling with minimal sweat rate/loss. Too much wind flowing through the gear will evap sweat so fast that there will not be enough cooling for the sweat loss. Thus, a rider will dry out much faster for less cooling and need a helluva lot more fluid intake over a longer period of time. Exhaustion will be fast, prolonged, and recovery will more difficult if the rider doesn't have hydration and cooling skills for the desert. In my case, I posted that 12mph was about the right speed to cool me with my RC vents adjusted for flow. If I was bombing along at 40mph through the pucker bushes in the Vegas desert, I might partially close some vents to keep the evap rate down and conserve some sweat while riding just a bit warmer but more damp.
    Would I have liked to have had purpose-built gear for Moab? Of course! But I had what I had and made it work. Even if I had to ride slower than I wanted to and more cautiously in some places where I might have had more riding fun if the consequences of rider error might be mitigated a little better.
    I would go again in my RC if I had to. And because of this experience, I would experiment with using the gear in new and more fun ways before giving up and doing something else. If I lived near Moab and had frequent access to the place, I would never hesitate to invest in riding gear just for that environment. It would be a cool thing (get it?) if riders out there would collect old but still useful gear and loan it to visiting riders renting bikes. And when the gear was loaned out, maybe some old retired local riders would volunteer to guide noobs to the fun? I would volunteer for that if I lived near there. The herd needs to be improved and culling is not the only/best option. Ya wanna grow something, ya gotta plant seeds and wait, maybe a long time too.
    FYI/BITD, a noob dirt riding class in Michigan that I took (40yrs ago?) supplied the riders with cheap baseball catchers' shin/knee guards for woods work. LOTS of branches in the woods to whack shins and knees. That gear worked GREAT. So....low cost, easy access and great performing gear is out there and bike specific gear is not the only answer.
    Damn, this is fun! We are having fun aren't we?! Don't lie to me!
    fran

    ps: My old-ish decision making data-info in large/basic part comes from "The Lore Of Running, fourth edition" , Tim Noakes MD, about 920 pages, 2003. Ya wanna know something about strenuous exercise in the heat? This is a nice book to get a grounding in the info. It always amazes me how much info transfers to riding regardless of source. Read up on "water poisoning" due to over hydration. Very scary to me as well as a cuppla other things. I still prefer my important info from books over that inner-web thingie. Books still seem to be vetted better.
    #40
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