Red Bull Rampage, Moab, and Hospitals

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The other night, as I was snuggled in my sleeping bag underneath Southern Utah’s stars, the two words fear and confidence were shuffling throughout my consciousness.  The definitions of the words seemed so different, yet somehow were so intertwined when it came to thinking of my own capabilities.  It seemed that confidence was only going to progress my abilities, however, I still couldn’t let go the fact that fear was a major driving force of engaging in the activities in the first place.  I am sure everyone is different, but I think a combination of fear and confidence allows me to set and pursue my goals.

Alright, enough with the philosophizing… I had one crazy and enticing week in Southern Utah!

The past two months, my boyfriend and I have been planning a bike en devour that would start in St. George, where we would ride Gooseberry Mesa, and then spectate at Redbull’s Rampage Mountain Bike Comp.  After, we would head to Moab to conquer the Slick Rock Trail and the infamous Whole Enchilada.  We would wrap it up with biking in Fruita, and return to Park City as better bikers and tanned for the winter.

Like all my other travels, things didn’t go as planned…

Maybe ya’ll know this, but I highly recommend checking online motel reviews before booking!  When Matt (the boyfriend) asked me to book a cheap motel for the first night, I followed the request as asked and found the cheapest room I could. I happened to find the one with the most bed bugs and toxic meth smells in the country.  Need less to say, we got in late and made the best of our drug dealer-esque abode.  The next morning, we set out to find a pristine camping ground on Gooseberry Mesa.  Once settled with a spectacular view of Redbull’s Rampage event site below us, we suited up to ride the much talked about slick rock.  Ten minutes into our ride, I realized the terrain was more challenging and unpredictable than I thought!

The South Rim Trail is not only physically demanding, but also requires much mental thought on how to maneuver such technical features.  As I stated above, this was one of the moments fear and confidence melted into one emotion of fast-paced heartbeats and intense focus.  I came up to a steep rock garden that ended in a 3 foot drop, and without enough hesitation, I was sending it. I did not ‘send’ as in stomped the beast of a run like a pro, but more like ‘sent’ into a pile of rocks via face.  I was a bloody mess with a very fat lip.

I hobbled back to the tent and cleaned up thinking how fortunate I was to just walk away with scrapes and bruises.  Lots of neosporin, whisky pulls, and ton of gauze later, I passed out early to wake up for the WAY gnarly Redbull Rampage!

Redbull Rampage is a downhill mountain bike competition in Virgin, Utah where the world’s best riders come to huck their meat off 50 foot cliffs and establish lines in terrain no one in their right mind would imagine is ride-able.  Two days of watching pro-athletes stomp tricks, and some not so much, was exhilarating!!! I didn’t mind the nasty, pussy wounds on my face because every now and then I would get a look from one of the pros and geek out.  Hopefully they were thinking ‘Daaaaamn!’ and not ‘maybe you should stick too shopping’.

From there, my personal  junk show continued, as if melting skin off my face the previous day weren’t enough! Sometime during the event, I slipped off my bike into a thorn bush.  Seconds later, I had a stick that was an inch buried in the center of my palm.  Matt yanked it out, and I soon lost all functionality in my right hand. And then, as if losing feeling in one of my hands wasn’t enough, I made the mistake of slicing my left hand’s finger with a knife trying to open the Oral Gel I bought for my scorpion incident.

But – I wasn’t going to give up that easy!

After Redbull Rampage wrapped up, we trekked to Moab as planned and found a nice place to camp with our friend Fletcher who had come down to meet us.  Somehow, biking was the only thing that didn’t hurt.  After conquering (which involves walking my bike) Slick Rock, we all pumped ourselves up for the Whole Enchilada.  The three of us rented 6 inch travel bikes and set out early to ride one of the hardest trails in the country.

I am not sure if it was the 6 in Davinchi Dixen bike that gave us a sense of invincibility or the previous days of watching the best riders in the world slay the impossible, but Matt and I’s confidence may have gotten to the best of us.  Several miles from the Porcupine Rim, Matt attempted a 5 foot drop and unfortunately went over the handle bars.  The result was a broken wrist that swelled up to a big purple blob within seconds.  If you know the Whole Enchilada trail, than you know there are no outs.  It was a ten mile hike out on rigid and narrow terrain, taking us a total of 2 and half hours.  The adrenaline, along with a high pain tolerance from previous injuries, kept Matt pushing his bike along the mesa’s rim.  When we got to the bottom, the ambulance we had called for was not there.  So, we hitch-hiked to the hospital where they reset Matt’s wrist and pumped him with pain killers.  We then left Moab at 10 pm and drove back to Salt Lake City, while chugging massive amounts of caffeine.  I pulled into the University of Utah’s emergency room at 3 am and dropped the poor guy off to get more medical attention.

As if the day wasn’t stressful enough, when I pulled into the parking garage, I was brutally reminded I had the bikes on top of the roof still and I heard a big and heart breaking CLUNK.  A full day of exhausting riding, hiking out of the desert with an injured boyfriend, spending hours in a Moab hospital, and then driving through the night, smashing our bikes into a cement wall was the last straw. I must have woke the whole hospital with my shrills and uncontrollable swearing. What an unbelievable day!

Fortunately the bikes had minimal damage and it was my psyche that took most of the beating.

Matt went for wrist surgery at 10 am and came out with a new plate and 7 screws apart of his arm.  Everything went smooth and he should have a solid recovery!

The two of us have put our bikes always for the season and downloaded a plethora of ski movies to get us stoked for the new season. Moab, you win this time. But come Spring, and we’ll be back for more!

In the meantime, cheers to snow!

One thought on “Red Bull Rampage, Moab, and Hospitals

  1. Casey Sowul says:

    Love this story. Glad you guys made it out alive :)

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