A Gravel Awakening in Moab
Pro's Closet founder Nick Martin exits the boardroom for the great outdoors
(Note: This is an excerpt of the complete story that will be found in the July issue of Road Bike Action.)
The invitation came from out of the blue, but there it was; my old industry friend and proprietor of Western Spirit Tours Ashley Korenblatt invited me to experience a four-day tour of the White Rim trail located deep in the Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
After pouring over the trip details (and coming to grips with the idea of being “off the grid” for four days), I accepted her offer and told her how much I looked forward to taking the challenge on a gravel bike. Ashley’s response was quick and certain. “Zap, this is a mountain bike tour – you can’t ride a gravel bike.”
PICKING A PARTNER
Making it more entertaining was that I had invited along my old friend Nick Martin. In addition to being an old friend, Nick Martin is also the founder of The Pro’s Closet which in the last few years has catapulted from a small start-up selling used bike parts to the world’s largest emporium of used bikes. Having last run into Nick at the 2018 Interbike show, I knew he was getting sucked deeper and deeper into his role as a young CEO and further away from the bike. I figured if anyone could “use” a cycling get-away in the desert, it was him.
Originally, I had pitched the idea of doing the 100-mile jaunt in a single day. For me, the lure of a one-day effort was the physical challenge as much as the fear of camping and not having any electricity or Internet access for multiple days. Although Nick too was stressed about being away for four days, it had more to with missing his wife and young son James rather than another board meeting.
IN NICK’S WORDS
“When Zap called me up telling me that we were going on this 4-day adventure I did what every out-of-shape 40 something year old would do…I bought a new bike and then spent the next two weeks leading up to the ride putting in the miles like I was cramming for a college exam.
OUT AND BEYOND
“Moab is a special place. While it has changed over the years, it still evokes adventure and is the perfect backdrop to unplug and connect with the beautiful world around us. As I drove into Moab, I called my wife, said I love you to my son James and proceeded to turn off my phone for the next four days. Disconnecting from one world and connecting with another.
“Over the next four days, I managed to soak it all up. Soaking in the views, soaking in the time in the saddle and soaking up the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend. The trip was a valuable reminder of how important it is to slow down and stay connected by disconnecting. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and as I write this on a Monday, this too is another reminder to slow down.
“Special thanks to Western Spirit for providing access to these amazing adventures and encouraging people to get outside and connect with the beautiful world around us.
“Call your Mom, hug your kids, and get out and ride.”