news of the weird
June 11, 2008
Because my friend Brandon saw this moose yesterday cavorting in a pond (the moose, not Brandon) just below the north side of Suncrest:
and because Elden yesterday posted about stopping and admiring the scenery around us while we ride (cuz, you know, you can’t really get a good look if you don’t actually get off your bike, and if you don’t get off your bike to look, then you’re a hammerhead retard who hates the outdoors and only uses the mountains as a fancy exercise bike), I figured I would remind all of us of some of the beautiful scenery available in our little neck of the woods. I wrote this in 2006, after the weirdest day I’ve ever had on a bike. And maybe off a bike.
I live in Draper, UT, at Suncrest, to be specific, which sits atop the ridge that divides Utah County from Salt Lake County. I have been riding in and around these two counties for close to two decades. It’s usually a pretty nice place to be, although I’ve seen some weird stuff in that time.
Once, on Hog Hollow, Dennis Dierken and I came around a corner and startled a young couple who had parked their 4 wheeler, spread a blanket, and were doing their darndest to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the Earth.
Sometimes I’m the weird one. Tom Burch and I took my dog Maisey on Hog Hollow, which sports a beautiful natural spring, replete with an upper pool and a 20-foot, 45-degree natural water slide into another pool. We didn’t like the idea of riding in soaked bike shorts the several miles remaining to the car, so we hiked Maisey to the top of the slide, and all three of us slid down au natural. In full view of a local youth group, turns out. We didn’t see that coming.
Normally, American Fork Canyon Is Very Pleasant
But last Summer I most definitely wasn’t the weird one. I ride a lot from my house at Suncrest down to Alpine, and up American Fork Canyon to the summit, and back. It’s my favorite road ride, just over 40 miles, over 4,500 feet of climbing, and some of the nicest scenery this side of the Matterhorn. During the Summer, I try to do this ride once a week.
One day, late last Summer, I was very much enjoying this ride. The conditions were perfect, I was feeling strong, I was alone with my iPod. The AF Canyon descent has some very fast but tight switchbacks up high, and also lower down, some bigger switchbacks and some flat out sections where you can get over 50mph.
About halfway down I passed the Pine Hollow trailhead, rounded the wide switchback below it, and opened it up again. Just below Pine Hollow is a straightaway for just under a mile, then another wide long switchback before the road straightens out again in front of the Mutual Dell campground.
Most riders brake through the Mutual Dell switchback, because either they are cowards, or they just don’t realize that you don’t have to. In fact, you can accelerate all the way through this switchback. I hear a voice in my head every time: “Stay on target! Stay on TARGET!” I’m a product of pop culture.
Anyway. This day, I rounded the Pine Hollow switchback (which does, in fact, require a bit of braking), and then opened it up again, anticipating the X-Wing corner ahead. About halfway down the straight section I saw the most startling thing I’ve ever seen. Normally, I would say “second most startling,” out of respect for the idea that surely SOMETHING must rank higher. Not this day.
I Am Not Making This Up
Just before a stand of trees, from the scree-covered slope to my right that dropped off at a precipitous angle, up popped a very tall, very lean, but well-groomed man. He gained the edge of the road, straightened up, and began walking briskly directly at me (me, who was traveling at about 40mph at the time).
Now I understand that this is not that weird. What was weird was that he was wearing a very short, very tight, spaghetti strapped, brown linen dress, densely populated with ginormous fake (I assume) breasts. He had a neatly trimmed beard, short hair, very hairy legs, and was wearing high heels that had those goofy (or sexy, depending on your preference) lace up strap things that wind all the way up to the knee.
As I rode by, very nearly crashing directly into him, all I could manage was a nervously polite nod of my helmet. In turn, he smiled a smile as big as all outdoors, and walked right past me. I snuck a look back just before the switchback, and saw that he had continued walking up the road at the same brisk pace, clearly very comfortable walking in high heels. I guess weirder things have happened.
Two for the Price of One
You would think that would be weird enough for one day. Hell, weird enough for the whole year. But no. After I rounded the switchback, wondering if I did, in fact, see a puddy tat, I again wound up the speed as I passed Mutual Dell, which is usually an irresistible 55mph area.
As I zoomed past the gate to Mutual Dell, I startled a gigantic, but clearly juvenile moose, who, in response to my presence, took off running (as only a moose can run, all skiwampus) alongside me. At about 30mph. For about half a mile.
I can hardly type this without getting a big goofy grin on my face. I was still totally freaked out by the sasquatch in the spaghetti strap dress, and here I was about to be killed by a freaky fast baby moose putting a hoof in my spokes. The moose eventually must have realized I was not his mother, and peeled off and stopped.
Wierdest 90 seconds of my life. What if life were that wierd all the time? I swear the two events are related in some way, I don’t know how. Moose suit? Hazing incident? Humans and moose (meese?) mating in the wild? I would normally suspect Elden or Rick Maddox, but this guy was tall.
I vaguely remember the rest of the ride home. I mean, how do you top that? I still had to descend the rest of AF Canyon, cross Alpine, and climb the 4 miles and 1500 feet to my house, but who cares? And you know what’s crazier? A guy in my neighborhood, when he heard about my story, came and found me, and told me he had seen that same guy in roughly the same spot, about a week earlier. This guy should have his own hunting season.
No word on if he was wearing the same outfit, or if the moose was still in the neighborhood.