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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Adventure is overrated

By Mark

So if you walk into a motorcycle shop (particularly one that sells adventure-touring bikes), and start looking at a bike that can "do it all", you will inevitably hear the buzz word: Adventure. Let me tell you. In real life, its not as glamorous as it might be in your mind. An adventure is an endeavor with an uncertain outcome. Two days ago I talked Katie into riding Ophir pass-- a 4-wheel drive road connecting the Telluride and Ouray areas. The crest is 11,743 feet above sea level. On the map this road looks like a glamourously red dotted line-- a true scenic route at the very least-- at the best, an adventure. Hey, I've drank the Kool-aid from time to time...

So we start up, and Katie rides like a champ. We kept our cool, and with our intercoms on, we could warn each other about hazards, recommend left or right sides of the track, etc.

I was headed up through some loose scree (rocks of similar size), and with a heavily laden bike (Arrrg climbing gear!!!), basically slick tires (which I should have let some air out of), and generally the wrong bike for the job, and I dumped it. Fell onto my left hand side. Katie was coming up behind me, and I directed her to the other side of the track. This was a squeeze, but she rode it perfectly. She got to a spot higher up on the track and parked. So now we were having an adventure. There was an impressively steep slope dropping off to my right, and I wasn't sure I was skilled enough to ride the rest of the road. Doubts flooded my brain. I don't think I could turn the bike around if I tried-- what if I had fallen off the side? This is supposed to be our honeymoon! This isn't fun anymore--at all. The dark side of this huge marketing scam-- Adventures can turn out poorly. You'll never see that written on a poster in the motorcycle shop.

So then our guardian angel showed up in the form of a (nameless) man riding a KLR 650. He was calm, strong, and helped Katie and I pick up my bike and walk it up the rest of the loose rock. I'm glad I had the presence of mind to take a photograph.

We owe a great debt to this gentleman.

My bike wasn't damaged, and the gentleman had encouraged us that the road quality improved higher up (before mysteriously disappearing down the trail). We talked, decided to carry on, and soberly began shuttling some of the extra weight from my bike further up the trail.

The road quality did improve, and Katie and I finished the ride to the top without incident. Eventually the anxiety started to leave our bodies and we were able to celebrate a bit.


  1. Wow! Those are great photos, so beautiful. Makes me miss Colorado already. Looking forward to seeing you guys soon!

  2. OMG! That was an amazing adventure! Great photos, indeed ... & I'm so glad for guardian angels. Also glad you recognized one when you saw him! xo

  3. Well written + super photos... BUT be careful damn it! This was only day 6, and there are a lot more days and adventures to come. Thanks for the update. Enjoy! You are missed.

  4. So beautiful. I would like to run that trail! You love 'adventure' Mark, it is in your will always find you.

  5. At last! Another person who believes that adventure is overrated just as I do.