In this industry I’m not sure if there really is ever an off season, but if there is, October’s the month for me.
I planned to spend a week with my wife and son visiting Utah’s beautiful National Parks, but before the real vacation started we were already changing our plans to make the RedBull Rampage, which got moved up one day because of bad weather in the forecast. We packed the van and drove until 1am, slept at a truck stop for 5 hours, woke up at 6am, and drove the last couple hours before rolling into Virgin Utah. As always, Rampage was as crazy as ever. From the lines rode, to the tricks pulled and attempted, to the questionable judging, to the horrific crashes. There were definitely many more lows than highs to this years event, having many question whether all the risk is really worth it.
The next day vacation officially started. We drove into Zion National Park, stopped at nearly every lookout point, and did our first hike up Canyon Overlook. An amazing start to our family trip. From there we continued on Hwy 12, one of the most scenic highways on the West Coast, en route to Bryce Canyon. We saw some amazing scenery from the car, but didn’t adventure outside much, as the rain had started.
The next day we made our way to Calf Creek Falls to hike to some amazing waterfalls that we saw in a guide book. After finding a nice site by the river and setting up camp, the 6 mile round trip hike began. Mav fell asleep within the first 20min in Paula’s backpack, but we charged our way to the end, occasionally dealing with some rain fall before making it to the falls. The waterfall was awesome, we took some pictures, then started the hike back to return before dark. I made a campfire while Paula made dinner and as soon as we finished eating we took cover in the van for the night as the rain began to fall again. None of us really slept that good since we were jammed into one bed with the skies unleashing fierce downpours & thunder, yet we still had it much better than some of the nearby campers in their tents.
The next morning was spent at a nearby remote cafe with breathtaking views, great food & coffee, & wifi. After catching up on some emails and social media it was off to the next stop. We didn’t have a plan, but pulled over in Capitol Reef National Park as once again the scenery was something to stop for. After about 5 days with NO intense exercise, I decided to put the running shoes on and hit the trails up to Chimney Rock. Maverick was taking a nap, so I knew I had about an hour to get up there & back. Good thing it wasn’t too far, as between the altitude and my sub par running skills, I was walking after about 10min and feeling the pounding on my quads, which the jogging inflicted. As I ended my run back to the van I was blown away by the massive overland expedition 4x4 vehicle parked next to my Sprinter Van, making is look like a mini cooper. Man I need one of those awesome vehicles one day... From Capitol Reef we made the call to drive straight to Moab as the forecast was looking slightly better that way than the area we were in.
Moab was home for the next 3 nights until Paula & Maverick were to fly home. We rented a nice 2 bedroom condo a block away from downtown, making it convenient for us to take strolls and go out to eat. The first night we went out we ran into our friends the McSkimming’s, who live in Whistler BC and Rob is basically the man in charge of the bike park there. They were on their yearly bike vacation, camping out in their new tent trailer, so we all ate dinner that night and made plans to get together within the next couple days.
The first full day in Moab was spent at Arches National Park. The weather was brisk, but we avoided the rain and luckily the hikes were pretty short, as my quads were done from the previous days run. Again Mav fell asleep in Paula’s back pack and woke just as we were finishing. The park was stunning and it’s definitely a spot we’ll be back to when Mav is older so we can explore and enjoy it to the fullest. Later in the day we met up with the legend that is HB aka Greg Herbold. HB has a second house in Moab and was kind enough to take us for some fun in his side by side Polaris. We met him up at Slickrock where he first took me on a 20min rip, impressing me with his driving skills and the capabilities of these machines, then taking Paula and Mav out for a more mellow ride.
Day two in Moab was spent on the bicycles. I got a guided tour by the McSkimmings through the Amasa Back area which was awesome. It looked like we were going to make it through our 2 hour ride without getting rained on, but about half way down on our way back, the rain came and it came hard. It was a short 15min downpour, but the intensity left us mobbing through puddles, small rivers of water, and witnessing waterfalls that weren’t normally there. Needless to say we were soaked. After getting back to the condo and getting a bite to eat, Rob picked up Paula and gave her a hour tour around Slickrock. She had never rode terrain like this and had a smile from ear to ear when she came back.
That night was spent at the McSkimming’s camp sight with some of their friends, BBQ’ing and enjoying some drinks on our last night together before they headed back to Canada and Paula and Mav flew home.
The last day of our vacation was upon us and time for Paula and Mav to fly home. It was tough to watch them head home while the second week of my trip, which was some play, but mostly work, was about to begin. 2 days of moto with some friends in Fruita Colorado and then back to Moab for two days of bike testing and photo shoots on a new Intense prototype bike which we’ll release in February.
After two full days in Moab, my photographer friend Rob Trnka and I were off to Gooseberry Mesa for some afternoon shots. By the time we arrived and figured out where to exactly shoot, we only had about an hour or so to nail some photos before the sun was gone. Not as successful as we had hoped, but we managed to get a handful of nice ones, making the stop worth it.
The last day of our road trip began with a visit to see my buddy Paul Basagoitia in St. George Utah hospital. It’s always tough to see people you are friends with get hurt, especially in the magnitude in which Paul did. He’s got a long road in front of him, but I know Paul can win this battle and regain his health again. He’s got a lot of support, heart, and determination and although he knows it won’t be easy, neither was winning Crankworx slopestyle as a rookie or repeating as champion of Crankworx, but Paul showed us all what a badass he was then and he will do it again.
We decided to make one last stop on our way home in Vegas to see if we could get a few shots. There are some amazing backdrops in the mountains just 15 miles outside of the city that most don’t know about, so why not grab a few since it was not far out of the way. 2 hours later and we’re back on the road, heading home for a 8pm arrival.
The 2 weeks on the road was awesome. I will forever have many great & some sad memories from this trip, but happy that I had the opportunity to experience it all. The bicycle has given me a great life and allowed me to experience more than I could have ever dreamed of. I love sharing, progressing, challenging, and inspiring my family, friends, sponsors, and fans where the bicycle can take us all and the joy it can bring.