Ah, Moab. There’s something about being surrounded by red rocks and blue skies that makes me smile. It’s truly a unique experience and even though we only live less than 2 hours away, we don’t get over there nearly enough. This trip was a great exploratory trip for us though. We checked out trails that neither of us had done, and a couple of trails that only one of us had done. We basically spent 4 days biking, eating and sleeping.
Day 1: Slickrock
This was my first time riding Slickrock. My boyfriend has ridden it over 50 times though and was able to show me some “cheats” and “shortcuts” around some of the steeper hills. Hey, what we rode was steep enough…no point in making it worse if you don’t have to! I recommend riding Slickrock, located in the Sand Flats Recreation area, on a weekday. On the weekends it can be so busy that you have to stop and wait to try to climb or descend something. We rode it on a Friday and had it mostly to ourselves. Another great help was my new Gravity Dropper seat post! Your options on Slickrock are to have something like this or to just put your seat in a middle position for the whole ride. That means your legs will get tired faster on the climbs and you won’t be as comfortable on the steep downhills either.
The views from Slickrock are spectacular!
The whole ride is between 10-12 miles and is a lollipop. If, at the end of the “stick” of the lollipop (about 2 miles in) you just don’t think this is the ride for you, turn back. You don’t want to go any further if you aren’t enjoying it.
We were staying at The Virginian, which is a great little motel in town, right near the Moab Diner. We got a kitchenette room for only $89/night! That evening though, after our long ride, we staggered from The Virginian over to Fiesta Mexicana, the Mexican restaurant across the street and devoured a few plates of enchiladas and carnitas. Yum O! I was exhausted. Slickrock will wear you out!
Day 2: The Brand Trails
We fueled up on French toast and coffee at the Moab Diner. With my legs still sore from Friday’s ride, we headed out to the Brand Trails on 191 for some more exciting rock riding. I love the Brand area. You’ve got views towards Arches National Park and lots of crazy rock to ride over, across, down. The best part is that there’s something for everyone here. From the very easy Bar M trail and Lazy-Ez, to the North 40 and Bar B, beginners to advanced riders will find something they like.
Heading down a steep rock face on the Rockin’ A trail.
We’d ridden the Rockin’ A and Circle O trails before, and so we decided to add to those with a new trail, the North 40. It starts before you even crest the hill between the parking lot and the Bar M trail. Covering about 4 miles, it takes you through sections of dirt and then up and over rocky sections dotted with paint marks to guide you in the right direction. There were a few steep drops that might be hike-a-bikes for some, but most of it was just a blast. We really enjoyed this new addition to the Brand area.
Cruising on the North 40 trail
For dinner Saturday night we headed straight to Milt’s Stop and Eat. It’s a great old diner with mostly outdoor seating. Milkshakes, burgers, fries, etc. The food there is just great and after another 3 hours of riding I was ready to devour a black and blue burger and some fries!
Day 3: Captain Ahab
On Sunday we headed out Kane Creek road to the Amasa Back parking area to ride Captain Ahab. I’d ridden this one once before with some friends and was nervous about the BF’s reaction. It’s technical to the point of forcing you to walk a lot…or, forcing ME to walk a lot. I do really enjoy climbing up Amasa back because for some reason I just enjoy pain But Ahab is really for folks who have no fear or have a massive amount of endurance. Either way, we were glad we rode it again just for the views and so that we could make a better decision about riding it in the future.
The entrance to Amasa back is quite the challenge. I knew if I could ride it I’d boost my confidence for the rest of the day. Even though I couldn’t get my right foot clipped in to save my life, I made it! From here, the climb to the Captain Ahab turn off is about 2.7 miles. It starts just after you cross the creek.
Just because we had to walk parts doesn’t mean we didn’t ride a lot of super cool stuff. This was the end of a long section of downhill technical rock riding.
If you’re looking for something different and technical to try, Captain Ahab is a good one…just be prepared!
Tonight’s dinner: Paradox Pizza
Day 4: Sovreign
After yet another fabulous breakfast at the Moab Diner we packed up our bags and head out for one last ride on one of our favorite trails: Sovreign. Located on 191 off of Willow Creek Road, Sovreign is a mostly singletrack trail with bits of dirt but mostly rock riding. Some parts are more technical than others, but overall it’s just a blast!
We were having so much fun (and admittedly dodging gusty winds) that this is the only picture we took on Sovreign this year. Still, what a fun ride! It’s basically an out-and-back. You can ride all the way up to the top of a mesa and then turn around, or you can turn around before that huge hill climb.
For more detailed information and maps on Moab Biking, visit UtahMountainBiking.com.