When I got to Utah, I felt like I wanted to vomit. No, it wasn’t because of the Mormons, it was because of the travel I think. My bowels get finicky when I step foot outside of Leon County, and that combined with waking up at 5am and flying for 11 hours made me feel kind of terrible. But we made it! We checked in to the Lazy Lizard hostel, and our bikes had arrived by mail in boxes a few hours before. We put them back together (this only requires putting the wheel back on, screwing on the pedals and attaching the headset and handlebars), and lo and behold we were ready to ride. After a quick visit down to the Colorado River, we stopped for some errands (used book store, grocery run) and passed the fuck out.

Foolishly, we left to ride to Arches National Park at 8am the next morning. That meant we had lost three hours of comfortable riding weather. Highs were in the high 90s that day. Heat is a tricky character. We’re from Florida and we work outside, so we think  can handle anything. There’s no humidity! Your sweat actually evaporates instead of soaking your shirt! But desert heat is not to be fucked with. Because there’s no visible sign of water leaving your body, you can get dehydrated real quick. But we brought plenty of extra water, don’t worry.

I know I can come off as an abrasive or cynical person, but I’m so not, to the point where it’s kind of a joke to think that I am. Every bend we rounded I gushed, “Wow!” Like unabashed, innocent wonder. Arches is an alien landscape, shaped by water, time, and the right combination of minerals. The result is like nothing else on the planet.

And it’s so big! Have you ever been to a place where you look out and all you see is nothing going on forever? And by nothing I mean sagebrush growing on endless hills, giant red bluffs slowly eroding into absurd shapes, and canyons disappearing into the earth. This was ranking pretty high on the Epic-Shit-o-Meter.

On the way out of Arches we learned a valuable lesson: climb and descent.

Climbing happens for a long time, and while you’re doing it it seems tough but it’s gradual and conquerable. It’s only when you turn around and go back from where you came that you realize how much elevation you’ve gained. It took us about three hours riding to reach the Windows section of the park, and about 45 mins of straight screaming descent to reach the entrance.  Which was good because we we almost out of water and it was 96 degrees and my body was reeling trying to figure out why it was incurring such abuse. But we made it, and it was awesome. Arches was done.