Amasa Back at Sunrise

Looking over the rocks from Amasa Back to the La Sal Mountains

Morning after the Thaw Massacre. It was a tough race. I wake up achy. But the trail is in need of being ridden. I want to get back to Boulder as soon as I can, but to make the weekend worthwhile, another ride has to be squeezed in. 5:45 AM. Choking down oatmeal. Dark outside, the breakfast room of the hotel is empty. The lady behind the counter sorts her wares in preparation for the rush of hungry mountain bikers yet to descend on the mounting stack of sausages. We’ll be gone by then. On the trail.

Climbing up Kane Creek road before sunrise.

We clip in and ride through the shadows of the canyon walls. Kane Creek is a small trickle in the bottom of the sandstone walls. We get to Amasa back and drop in quickly. A small group of four allowing us to move quickly along the trail. No waiting.

The Utah sun doesn’t mess around. As soon as it rose the temperature soared.

The sun appears from the east, at our backs, and the temperature soars from the chilly spring air to an early summer morning. Striking a balance between photos and progress is a tough one. I like photos more. I pedal fast ahead, pushing the pace to give myself the 30 seconds it takes to reach for the camera and snap a shot. Sometimes they turn out. Most of the time they don’t. Always moving on.

The top comes quickly. An hour in. The beauty is all encompassing. I don’t try to take it all in. I focus on a spot off in the distance. The Colorado river winds towards it, maybe two miles of flow in the foreground. Then two canyons close together like interlocking puzzle pieces and the river is lost. Lost to southern Utah. The big canyon country. The southwest of the US. I wonder whether that water will ever see the pacific ocean, or whether it will get sucked into the golf courses that lie between this point and the sea. Big thoughts for an early morning. I eat a granola bar and saddle up. Too much thinking will leave you paralysed. I ride my bike instead. The car lies 30 minutes away, behind the brink of the red sandstone that rises in every direction.

We hit the trail, no photos on the way down. The good rides never have photos on the way down.