DAY NINE. UP DOWN AND LOTS OF ACROSS.

Portal trail for breakfast then Grand Canyon for afternoon tea.

Sorry I missed you guys yesterday. We stayed at the Grand Canyon last night. I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist kind of guy but I am seriously doubting that Man ever walked on the moon. How can the US of A land a spacecraft on the moon in 1964 when they can’t even get wifi to work at the Grand Canyon in 2016. ( I can’t even check my facts that 1964 is the right year).

The sun is just about to appear and were only an hour late. James, Jeff and Stefan 200 yards into the Portal climb.

Back to riding. Yestarday we woke again at 5:30 am for the short 20 minute drive to the end of Portal trail to commence the 60 minute push up a cliff face to catch the 7:32 am sunrise. For some reason only known to broken old family men in the middle of a road trip away from their wives and kids, it took us 2 hours from waking to get on our bikes. So we did manage sunrise, just at the wrong end of the trail.

A bit of riding, a little carrying and mostly pushing. We were baffled as to how we were going to get to the top of that rock face. James waits for Jeff to get out of the way. James was on fire and dominated the Portal ride.

After a reasonably cruisey push, carry, pedal up the trail we were rewarded with yet another incredible vista over Moab but from a different angle and with out much arseing about we headed back down to ride the most fun trail in Moab.

Tim waiting for the old fellas to catch up. Sometimes I feel sorry for Tim having to spend 2 weeks with 5 guys way older than him. Then I remember his chiseled rack, endless energy and gilette model jawline and I just want to push him off the nearest cliff.

Portal is a mix of all the trails in the area. Fast flowing singletrack with stunted tress and precipitous drops morphing into huge rock slabs and loose rock gardens where you can fan out and choose your own lines. If you thought Porcupine Rim was a little scary, then you really do need to bring your toilet paper along on this ride. The drop is miniscule by comparison, but the distance from the very narrow trail edge to said drop is measured in inches, not feet. There are a couple of warning signs and one pleads with you to dismount so you won’t die like 3 previous riders who got a little cocky.

The team have been getting a little scratchy living in each others faces for 9 days with no breaks. But there's nothing like cresting a climb and knowing that the descent is going to blow your mind. (I think we're all still friends) Stefan, James, Tim, Jeff and Simon get ready to taste the fear of near death.

  Simon recklessly pops this drop a yard away from certain death.

Simon recklessly pops this drop a yard away from certain death.

It's so early that Stefan doesn't need to wear his hanky hat so he gets a another photo.

Jeff's line was a little tricky but we decided that if he tumbled he could probably claw his way back up the cliff.

James is over his fear of slab drops next door to 1000 foot cliff drops. Or 9 days glued to therodfather has sapped his will to live.

Nothing fazes Simon anymore either.

A week ago a corner this close to the edge would've freaked us out. Jeff doesn't even see the risk.

Here's the same corner from therodfathers perspective...and yours. What do YOU think?

For an accountant, Stefan is surprisingly high risk. I probably wouldn't get him to invest any of my money. photo: Jeff Carter

I was a little nervous on the push up, but come down time, all fears were quashed and I even got a tad cocky. photo: Jeff Carter

As is usual, the lads got impatient which left Jeff and me the only ones to dominate this blog. photo: Jeff Carter

Just another walk in the park. I can't believe I wore all black. That's a no no for a top journalist who also poses in front of the camera. photo: Jeff Carter

Often it's not until you look back at where you have been that you realise the enormity at what you have nonchalantly passed by. Jeff checking his shot was perfect.

Just a couple of hundred yards back to the cars. Jeff owns the road.

The early sun lit up the rich red rock and we also got some of the best photos of the trip. What a stunning trail, we really should have turned around and pushed back up for another thrill but the Grand Canyon was calling so after a quick stop for showers and sandwiches at the house, we hit the road for the 5 and ¾ hour drive to the biggest crack in the earth passing through the incredible Monument Valley.

One of the most famous silhouettes in the world. Monument Valley.

The backside of Monument Valley. I like a bit of industrial with my landscape.

Check out that oval rock just right of the power pole balancing on it's pedestal

Hello Grand Canyon.

A quick stop for a few pics at the GC which is our first taste of Native American Indian country with roadside stalls selling local artefacts, Navajo to be precise, and then we settled in to our motel for the night and headed across to another Mexican restaurant for dinner and one too many margheuritas and another early night. I’m sure Jeff would like to blame the alcohol but he had only one drink by the time we were served dinner and we got the quote of the trip….

Jeff to waitress: “ It’s great to finally meet a native American Indian”

Waitress to Jeff: “But I’m Thai”.

A lot of laughter ensued and I’m pretty sure I wet my pants a little once again (damn prostate).