Page Type: Trip Report
Utah, United States, North America
32.84000°N / 113.91°W
Mar 24, 2007 12:00 am
Created/Edited: Oct 11, 2007 / Oct 14, 2007
Object ID: 262230
Page Score: 79.78%
- 11 Votes
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The TripMoab is a second home to me. Moreover, I feel privileged to live in a state that even borders Utah. I have been out to the desert many times, this time however was the first to be dedicated only to mountain biking.
At the spur of the moment, passing of a thought and a sudden urge my brother and I loaded the rack, hopped in the car, and fled Denver. The plan was just 3 days to ride 3 awesome trails. Though the trails weren't defined, we knew slickrock would be included.
After 5hrs of palm-sweating anticipation, we arrived in Moab, had a bite to eat and hit up a bike shop to research the trails. We knew we needed a warm-up day so we quickly settled with the Klondike Bluffs trail, then decided to ride Gold Bar Rim, and Slickrock preceding that. Somewhere in between we hoped to squeeze Sovereign in there as well.
We camped that night in Castle Valley- damn I love that camping area! Drinking beer on the shores of the Colorado River is a favorite pastime.
In the morning we hit the Bluffs trail. The trail is a 15 mile out and back with more single track than dirt road. After passing through some rolling hills, the trail got more technical and a lot steeper. Enjoying temperatures rising past the 80s, the steep slickrock section drained some energy. I found myself sucking in some air and spilling out some sweat. The fight in the end was well worth it. The Bluffs trail leads visitors into a spectacular area of Arches National Park. After a short rest, we hit the trail and headed back. I truly enjoyed this one!
Day number two we upped the ante. Gold Bar is no joke but we felt very confident after riding the Bluffs. In fact, we thought this would be the day we could throw in Sovereign as our double-header...well we were mistaken. Gold Bar kicked my ass. After biking the Gemini Bridges Rd for 2 flat miles, it changed abruptly to a solid 11% grade incline. My warm-up was more of a struggle as I pumped my legs to oblivion. The top of that hill was bliss. I could see I had plenty of downhill to come, and I thoroughly enjoyed that long descent. The feeling of the breeze drying the drool on my face was terrific.
Next I battled sand and small steps. Easy, no problems there, but shortly after I saw the real steps. Wow! They get big! I made it up a few but for some I had to throw out the white flag. The final section until I reached the rim was all slickrock. It wasn't too technical and was very fun.
After taking in the views, we headed back. I really wanted to hit some of those steps again but this time hit'em with style. Sadly my wish didn't come true. My first line looked great. The step dropped about 6 or 7 feet- mostly vertical with a small bulge. I took it a little too slow, caught the bulge with the front wheel and the back one lifted too fast to sit it back down. Luckily I had a soft dirt landing, but without a doubt I shattered my ego. The rest of the way out was a cinch, even though there was quite a bit of uphill.
The last day of our trip was reserved for Slickrock. This 11 mile lollipop was supposed to end our trip with a bang. All the hype around this place and all the buildup drove our expectations through the roof, and rightfully so. This prehistoric sand dune, now solidified, is a constant battle from start to finish. There are hundreds of hills to conquer, thousands of objects to hurdle, and an endless supply of achievements to be had in this playground.
Though I was a bit sore in the legs I knew I'd burn the feeling off right away. The drive up to the parking area was pretty cool. We got a good preview of some of the stuff we were in for. My palms were getting sweaty again. This day was the first and only day of the trip when it was windy. We jumped out of the car, threw on a long sleeve, and without hesitation hit the trail.
I got my first burn in the opening 10 minutes of the trail. As soon as I reached top my first hill, I saw a sea of these dunes. I hauled down that hill to get speed for the next. It was very steep at first so I leaned far back on the bike, then as the grade became less dramatic I loosened my grip on the brakes. This feeling was amazing. Cruising threw rolling hills, taking turns at scary speeds and having complete trust in my capabilities. And then it occurred to me that I had ten more miles of this. Only a few times did the wind ever affect our riding. The tops of the hill were windy but not much time was spent up there. The day had no epics. There was no bloodshed or bike damage. It went smooth as could be. We enjoyed every hill and every challenge. I would be lying if I said I defeated all those steep hills, but regardless, the day was a success.