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Prospector: Feed Your Soul!

 

Pensively looking out my window at another, albeit rare, rainy Southern Utah day that I cannot mountain bike, I think about my rides on Prospector and how much I enjoy riding that trail.

Prospector is a fun trail that has something for almost everyone. It is generally flowy and fast, with some technical parts (but not enough to make one cry, or walk half the trail for the newbie, the uncoordinated or the nervous, like other trails in our area), some sandy parts that are only made better by the rain­­­­, and some slick rock—both on Prospector and the Church Rocks loop. I’ve ridden Prospector for years, and have a lot of great memories, both of victory and of defeat! Thankfully my victories far outweigh the defeats, and those victories keep my going back for more. While I have had some great solo rides, I really enjoy the rides with others. Some of my favorite memories of riding Prospector:

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  • Riding with my friend Grace as fast as possible out and back, enjoying the speed and flow and oneness with the trail and the day.
  • Riding with the women’s group ride I lead on Fridays, and seeing people get up that one section of trail they’ve struggled with for years (myself included!), and taking the time to session other parts of the trail and seeing people succeed.
  • Riding with my honey and having him film my “bravery” at riding down this one sandy, slippery, rocky section into the sandy wash, and then viewing the video afterwards realizing it’s really nothing to be nervous about
  • Riding clipped-in through a sandy wash, slowing down almost to a complete stop as I struggled in vain to free my feet from my clips, and basically just tipping over! Thankfully I landed in the sand, and we had a good laugh about that one.
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  • Hauling along the trail with my group of Flying Monkeys, enjoying the camaraderie, and blessing, of not riding the NICA course yet again that week!
  • Riding through the tunnel on the southern end of Prospector towards the steep hill climb back towards Coral Canyon—wherein I’m sure we will all get murdered, in the middle, by the dark OR cross over a portal into another land where we need to be brave and save their world—holding our phones out for light, wishing for the 100th time we’d brought headlamps, and we coming out alive on the other end, still in Utah!
  • The memory I have of Ron Losser showing me how it’s done down a techy ledge that I’ve now ridden ever since, on which I always remember him and his bravery in riding and in life.

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Of course, there is the defeat, and while I have many more good than bad memories of Prospector, these lame and careless crashes I have had teach me to not only pay attention, but that I can do hard things, go back for more, learn, grow, and not quit. It is sometimes often easy for my perfectionist self to at least briefly consider giving up this sport I love so much because I’m not a “natural” as others seem to be and are. And these instances, and others, certainly speak to that theory:

  • Like the one time I was cruising along on the flowy section of trail after the cliff that most walk down, except for the exceptionally good and brave riders. I was riding solo that day, and must have just let my mind wander, as it is wont to do while riding (but to be honest, pretty much any time). All of the sudden, me and my bike are spinning upside down through the air, and I land on a tuft of grass (thankfully not a cactus), on my back, bike on top, feet still clipped in, a little stunned! What happened? I’m still not sure, but I think that right brake got me, yet again. I was so ticked, especially after being only a couple of miles into the ride, that I got back on my bike, fueled by adrenaline, and rode the rest of the trail. It was only when I got back to my car that I realized how badly my hand was hurt and swelling, and how my stem and handlebars were twisted the wrong way!
  • Another time when I was riding with a group of friends, and endo’d in such a lame place, mainly due to not being a skilled cyclist and trying something not appropriate for the situation. After their shock of seeing my go over the bars, and helping me up, we rode on and can laugh about it now!
  • Or that time I took a small jump off a little something, and, as usual, wasn’t one with my bike, and slid out and crashed, and yeah. . . .lame.
  • Or that time I took a newbie with very little cardio out on the trail, and she literally had to lay under a bush to recover at the top of the rocky section, at the beginning of the trail—a bad friend move on my part!
  • Or that time . . .well, there are a lot of them! Let us just leave that there.

IMG_4906Yet Prospector records my progression as a rider. And I love that about it, too. Riding it the other day with my daughter, Kate—after three weeks off the bike due to concussion, Christmas, and weather—I was reminded of what a great and fun trail it is. As we whipped down the fast sections, rode (mostly) the techy sections, stopped to enjoy the amazing views—snow on Pine Mountain, the sun glowing through the cholla cacti, the blue sky/red rock/olive creosote color and beauty, the way the late afternoon sun hit the rocks in the arroyos—I was reminded yet again how lucky we are to live in a place that offers such beauty, beauty which, as someone has said, feeds our souls and heals our hearts.

Prospector is one of the trails that gives us all—mountain bikers/equestrians/runners/hikers and adults and kids and dogs—the chance to be fed and healed, ready to embrace what comes next.

 

What do you love about Prospector? Which trailhead do you start at and why? I tend to start at Winkle Distributing. What about you?

Written by Summer Barry.

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