A vacation in Moab??

It isn’t very often that I take a trip to Moab for fun.  With life as busy as it is these days I rarely find the time to go to Moab for something other than work.  This spring I decided to take a mountain bike trip to Moab and do some big rides, hang out with friends and family, and spend time in one of my most favorite places in the world.  I talked my sister and her family and my dad into going for a long four day weekend.  Unfortunately my husband had to stay home. 

I loaded my car with an enormous amount of stuff, squeezed Emmett into his car seat, and took off to the desert.  The drive out was easy and uneventful.  I had picked up my dad in Denver so he helped with the driving when Emmett started to get bored in the back seat.  We stopped along the way and had a yummy pizza at one of the coolest pizza joints around, Hot Tomato Café.  http://hottomatocafe.com/.  For all you mountain bikers that spend time in Fruita I highly recommend going.  Ann and Jen, the owners, are two wonderful people, amazing riders, and they make a delicious pie that is well worth the trip!

My four days in Moab flew by!  I shuttled the Hazard County ride with a bunch of Colorado Springs friends that were also in Moab for the weekend.  If you’re never done this ride it is one that should be on your bucket list of things to do before you die.  I have ridden and raced all over the world and this ride ranks in my top three of all-time greats.  To get yourself up to the start in the La Sals, jump on the Acme Shuttle.  It is run by my good friend Kyle Mears, who happens to be one of the best downhillers in the area and also one of the coolest people in town.  Unbeknownst to me, my dad and brother-in-law, and some of his teacher friends also shuttled this same ride, but at a lower starting point.  My dad is 71 and the only mountain biking he’s done in the last five years are a few trips on the White Rim.  So when I caught up to an older gentleman in a Ride the Rockies jersey half way down the Porcupine descent, imagine my shock as I looked over and realized it was my dad!  How cool is that!  To catch up to your dad riding down one of the gnarliest descents in Moab. 

After chatting for a few minutes I took off and caught up to my group.  The rest of the ride was a kick in the pants and I finished exhausted but grinning ear to ear.  The next day we did it all again.  This time I got to ride with my sister while her husband Dan had babysitting duties for the day.  I had arranged daycare for Emmett in Moab and had the entire day to ride.  Dan drove us up to the start of the Gemini Bridges road off Hwy 313 (Island in the Sky/Dead Horse Point).  We cruised down the dirt road for a few miles before jumping onto one of the newer trails in Moab; The Magnificent Seven.  The trail is all singletrack and descends down the Bull Canyon/Gemini Bridges mesa to the bottom of Gold Bar Rim.  It then climbs up a ways before ending at a spectacular canyon with views of the La Sals, Behind the Rocks, Amasa Back, and the Colorado River.  The singletrack portion of Mag 7 is a blast and nothing too extreme.  Once on Gold Bar the difficulty level jumps considerably, with many gonzo extreme sections that are a pride swallowing suffer fest.  Haha!

We didn’t have time to go all the way across Gold Bar Rim so we turned around and rode back down to the Gemini Bridges road and followed it up and out and then back down to Hwy 191.  There is a beautiful new bike path that starts at the Hwy 191 and 313 intersections and goes nine miles back to town.  We jumped on the path and rode down the big hill to where my car was parked at the Potash Rd.  Drove back to town and met my dad and the rest of the family at the Moab Rec Center. 

On Sunday my family and I did a mellow hike up Courthouse Wash.  Saw a snake, lots of puzzle grass, crows, vultures, butterflies, and lizards.  My family left for Denver after lunch and I drove up to the Bar M trailhead and met my good friend Kyle Mears for a 2hr mountain bike ride.  Moab has done a great job of building new singletrack trails in the past three years.  For a long time Moab was the place to go to ride your mountain bike.  But it was also the place to go for jeeps, rock crawlers, ATV’s and UTV’s.  All of the trails in Moab were old uranium roads built into extremely remote places in the quest for “yellowcake”.  The roads were shared by everyone, but over the years the mountain bikers got tired of dealing with the noise, smell, exhaust, and traffic caused by the motorized recreators.  Fruita, only two hours away, became the “go to” place for mountain bikers because a lot of their trails were singletrack, which meant no conflict with jeeps and ATV’s.  Moab was no longer the best place to ride a mountain bike.  But this has all changed in the last few years.  A group of very motivated individuals got together and realized there was a huge need for singletrack in the Moab area. With the help of IMBA, Moab began building singletrack.  Now there are dozens of new rides that are singletrack trails built by and for mountain bikers.

The Bar M trail system where I met Kyle has some really fun trails that range from beginner to crazy technical.  I followed Kyle around for 2hrs trying unsuccessfully to keep up with him.  Did I mention earlier that he is one of the best technical riders I’ve ever ridden with?  The great thing about riding a mountain bike is there is always room for improvement.  Riding with Kyle made me realize that I have an enormous amount of room for improvement. Haha!

My final day in Moab was spent on a leisurely hike up Mill Creek with my good friend Sylvie.  I carried Emmett and we hiked for an hour up the creek looking at petroglyph panels and exploring some of the big alcoves.  Mill Creek runs year round and is a great place to go in the summertime.  Emmett had a blast and especially liked when we splashed through the water.  Sylvie has worked with me at some of my Moab mountain bike skills camps.  She does day trips with Rim Tours http://www.rimtours.com and also makes a mean espresso at Chile Pepper bike shop.  www.chilebikes.com.  She is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet until she kicks your ass on the mountain bike.

Then it was time to say goodbye.  I loaded up the car and took off around 1pm.  Emmett slept over 3hrs which made the drive go very quickly.  The weather fell apart and after leaving Moab in shorts and a T-shirt, we drove over Vail Pass in a snowstorm.  It is springtime in Colorado so I shouldn’t be surprised.  All in all a great trip and a much needed break from the chaos of life at home.  Until next time….

Happy trails!