Archive for June 2016

Enchilada and Burrito? Yes, please...

A day late posting for yesterday's ride, but it's ok since we are on vacation.

The Whole Enchilada (WE) is a mountain bike route outside of Moab, Utah.  The route starts high up in the La Sal mountains with Burro Pass (alpine setting) and descends along Castle Valley spitting you out in the canyon below.  Once you reach the Colorado River, you enjoy an easy six mile spin back into the town of Moab.

Map located at end of Hazard County

The WE is a must do for any mountain biker.  A pilgrimage of sorts.  Our opportunity did not allow a start with Burro Pass.  The pass is still closed due to snow and downed trees.   We had to start with the Hazard County trail.  Not a huge issue since we only missed the first seven to eight miles.  That only leaves us with about 27 miles.

Hazard County trailhead
The start of our ride was chilly.  About 54 degrees.

La Sal mountains
Hazard County trail
Hazard County was fun.  At least for me.  Sandy will have to describe her experience.  The trail started with a steep, but short climb into an aspen forest.  The trail was perfect singletrack consisting of powdered sand and embedded rocks.  As the trail descended, it left the aspen forest and merged into a meadow.

At this point, you could really see the views opening up.  The meadow gently gliding into the open vastness of Castle Valley.

Hazard County trail brought us into part of the Kokopelli Trail.  We left singletrack for fast open double track.  We were able to completely let go of the brakes and flow down to the start of the Porcupine Rim trail.

After bombing down Kokopelli, we broke right into Upper Porcupine Singletrack (UPS).  This was fun.  Really fun.  The trail twisted in and out along the rim with great views looking down into Castle Valley.  The trail make-up bounced between sand and slickrock.

Looking into Castle Valley from UPS
Sandy on UPS.  An accidental right turn here is... well, no good
UPS led us into Lower Porcupine Singletrack (LPS).  LPS changed a bit.  No longer singletrack, but rather a continual downhill grade of doubletrack.  LPS terrain was weathered slickrock.  It was rough and bumpy with various ledges along the way.  The ledges were fun to drop and long as you picked the right line.  Failure to pick the right line would certainly provide you the joy of an endo.

Working our way down LPS
I want to mention the temperature at this point.  I noted earlier our ride started around 54 degrees.  You probably noticed the gradual change from shades of green to shades of brown in the photos.  You guessed it.  We had moved from 54 degrees to working our way to the low 100's.

Closing out LPS brought us to our last leg of the ride.  Call it Porcupine "Proper."

Sandy riding into Porcupine "Proper"
We are now working our way down into the canyon and to the river.  The home stretch.  The trail was sandy and riddled with sandstone drops.  Some big, some not so big.  Once in a while the trail would meander to the edge of the canyon just enough to keep you on your toes.

Working our way down the canyon to the river and the highway in the background
After reaching the river we took our time riding back into Moab.  It was an early start to the day, but one we will never forget.  We would do it again tomorrow if asked.  Who am I kidding, you don't have to ask.

Back in Moab we went for beers and and burrito.  Fitting.

Oh yes... a big thank you to our shuttle to the top.  Thanks Coyote Shuttle!

Sweet van!
And oh yes again... an even bigger thank you to Sandy!  Couldn't have asked for anyone better to do this ride (or any ride) with.


Zippity Do Not...

Today's ride found us checking out the 18 Road Trails area within the North Fruita Desert.  We got an earlier start on the day to avoid some of the heat.  Temperature wise it turned out fairly nice with a decent breeze.

Riding out from the trailhead we decided to climb our way towards the cliffs via a trail called Prime Cut.  There are other options, but some local folks said it was the preferred route to the top.

Riding Prime Cut in the desert

Prime Cut leads you to Frontside trail.  While snaking along Prime Cut and Frontside, you run across various trail options allowing you to descend back to the trailhead.  In general, the 18 Road Trails system is made up of various flowing descending trails.

There is one trail notorious for steep descents and high levels of open exposure.  The trail is known as Zippity Do Da.  The plan was to do this trail (and we will), but Sandy researched it way too much and psyched herself out.  Lesson learned.

However....  We did tackle Joe's Ridge as our first choice.  Joe's Ridge is basically Zippity Do Da's little brother.

Basically we did this...

Instead of this...

Just kidding...  It has it's own character.

Sign at beginning of Joe's
Joe's Ridge was a good time.

View from top
Sandy cresting over part of the ridge
Me finishing the ridge
We wrapped up Joe's with no problems and decided to do one more ride up Prime Cut.  This go around we cruised back down to the car via Kessel Run.  Kessel Run was fast, flowing, and fun.  We did not quite make it in twelve parsecs, but we did ok.  If you are a Star Wars fan, you can look that one up.

We will pay another visit to 18 Road Trails in a few days.  Unfinished business.

Tomorrow will be a long fun day in Moab.  The Whole Enchilada.

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Hot Dogs and Warm Benches...

The morning was casual.  We woke up around 7ish and enjoyed coffee with our usual breakfast for ride days.  We were casual about the morning due to possible rain in the area.  Luckily the weather never turned for the worse and the sun remained.

We loaded our gear and drove an exhausting ten minutes to the Kokopelli trail head.  The trail head is located in the Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area.

Upon arrival we were to meet our two local guides.

Our guides sitting down on the job
For some reason our guides decided they would rather just sit down and hang out.  Sandy and I got our money back from the two jokers and said we will be fine alone.

We planned on riding Mary's Loop and Horsethief.  We could add on other sections depending on how we felt.

The route took us out of the parking area, up a dirt road and over a ridge.  Mary's Loop broke to our right as we headed down the backside of the ridge.

Mary's had a little climb in the beginning, but leveled out to nice flowing double-track with insane views.

Bikes leaning on rocks instead of trees since there are really no trees
On Mary's overlooking Colorado River
Mary's Loop eventually brought us to the cut-off for Horsethief.  Horsethief was a great trail, but the bench drop-in was insane.  We mere mortals do not ride everything...

Sandy working her way down the bench
The bench was steep and warm.  Like oven warm.  It gave you the amazing feeling of climbing a step-ladder strategically placed in someone's hot summer attic while wearing a fur coat and sipping hot chocolate.  Oh, and carrying your bike at the same time.

Bike leaning on another rock at bottom of warm bench
After descending the bench, we cruised around Horsethief loop.  It was fun.  Nice flow sections of trail mixed with some slickrock.  The trail snaked towards the river and in-and-out of slot canyons.  Really cool.

Yes, you guessed it.  We had to climb back up the warm bench to re-connect with Mary's Loop.  Must admit it was a little easier climbing up.

We continued on Mary's Loop and worked our way back to the trailhead.

At this point we were toast.  It was getting too hot and clouds were building in the distance.

Our two guides were still sitting down when we arrived back to the car.  Evidently it was too hot for those two dogs as well.

What a great day riding with Sandy!  The pics do no justice.  Incredible!

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Rock'n Shock...

We are staying in Denver for a couple of days to ease into our vacation.  The real vacation kicks off tomorrow.  Staying in Denver allows for a nice transition.

We woke up early (still feeling east coast time) and took the dogs for a walk.  Our plan was to ride a local trail to get our legs back after the drive out.

Denver "local" trails imply riding trails in the Front Range.  Thanks to our friend Jeff "Snake" for the beta on what trails to hit.  We decided on a relatively tame trail known as Lair O' the Bear.  The trail came highly recommended.

The trail followed Bear Creek and was fairly busy with hikers.  I can see how it can become overcrowded on weekends.

Riding along Bear Creek
The trail then took a hard left and climbed away from the creek.  After this point hikers were nonexistent.

The trail climbed gradually with tricky rock outcroppings staggered along 6.5 miles.  Once we reached the top, we headed back down.  Essentially an out-and-back.

Sandy enjoying the view about half-way
We did notice the higher elevation, but were able to deal with it fairly easily.  Sandy's main concern was her front fork.  She recently had it rebuilt by Suspension Experts.  After today's ride, her concerns melted away.  The fork is better than it was the day she got it.  The guys at Suspension Experts are rock'n some talent on rebuilds.

Speaking of melting, it was hot... 94 degrees hot.  Nice warm-up for riding in the desert later this week.

On the way back we swung by Red Rocks.

Red Rocks
Sandy celebrating the return to the car since it was HOT
We are a bit early to see the show
Such a fun day to start vacation off right.  Tomorrow we head to Fruita.


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Vacation Mode On...

Friday is here and we are in full pack mode for a road trip to Fruita, CO.  Long drive, but we don't care.

Today we are packing...

I have one bag, everything else is Sandy's
Tomorrow head for Nashville...

Foot stomp'n, knee slapp'n

Kansas City...

Mmm, ribs

Leave KC for Denver.  Hang in Denver for a day or so, then over to Fruita.

Main vaca will be in Fruita/Moab for a week.  Yes, a full week.

Crested Butte will close things out for us.

Ok, this post is short.  Gotta get back to packing Sandy's stuff.

Stay tuned for the trip highlights.

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