Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘moab mountain biking’

What Happens in Moab Day 7: White Rim and it’s a wrap!

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking, Multi-Day Trips on December 28, 2009 at 2:45 am

[Note: When the holidays slow news down, we reach into Santa’s bag of tricks for a hearkening back to our favorite rides. This week we’re featuring a 2004 expedition to Moab, Utah, America’s mountain biking mecca and an international magnet for mountain bikers everywhere.]

Planning our trip to Moab, Jim and I had talked about doing White Rim in a day. It’s about 100 miles on the full loop, but mostly fire-road flat. Doable, yes. But we’d have to get as early a start as possible, and it would be a long, grind-it-out day. Chances were it wasn’t in the cards this time around.

We checked with Poison Spider, where a wrench told us to take it out to Musselman Arch and see where we were. The arch is a great gathering place and turnaround point if you’re so inclined. So that was the plan.

We debarked from the tourist-packed Island in the Sky Visitor Center parking lot. You descend fairly gradually down toward the valley floor, where signs direct you to Moab and the prosaically named Potash, a town built around whatever commercial value potash has.There are big ugly holding ponds which have to be toxic as all getout, especially threatening to the Colorado River.

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What Happens in Moab Day 6: Moab Race Loop (Jacob’s Ladder)

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking, Multi-Day Trips on December 27, 2009 at 2:34 am

[Note: When the holidays slow news down, we reach into Santa’s bag of tricks for a hearkening back to our favorite rides. This week we’re featuring a 2004 expedition to Moab, Utah, America’s mountain biking mecca and an international magnet for mountain bikers everywhere.]

You might think that after riding 32-plus miles and climbing 4,000-plus feet on Porcupine Rim, a rest day was in order. But this is Moab, we’re here for only eight days, we can rest when we’re dead and besides, there’s a loop with the word “race” in it still awaiting our inspection.

The 26-mile Spring Race Loop has been around for awhile but I’d never dreamed of doing it. The high point, literally and figuratively, is Amasa Back. So why not just do Amasa and leave it at that? You can look out from Amasa and see a sizeable portion of the race course on the valley floor, and in the heat of the day it looks like something hospitable only to Ali Baba and his 40 thieves. Whenever I’d asked about it on previous rides I got blank stares.

But the word “race” is like waving a checkered flag at Jim Lyon. And this being his first trip there, he didn’t know enough yet to know that in Moab, “race” has its own idiosyncratic definition.

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What Happens in Moab Day 5: Porcupine Rim

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking, Multi-Day Trips on December 26, 2009 at 2:24 am

[Note: When the holidays slow news down, we reach into Santa’s bag of tricks for a hearkening back to our favorite rides. This week we’re featuring a 2004 expedition to Moab, Utah, America’s mountain biking mecca and an international magnet for mountain bikers everywhere.]

Porcupine Rim ranks second, behind the Tahoe Rim Trail, as my favorite ride anywhere. No matter how often I do it, I want to go right back the next day and try all those places I didn’t ride quite the way I wanted. If I lived in Moab, I’d be riding up on the danged thing every day. I mean, I love Tiger Mountain and all the Cascades rides we have in summer here. But for grandeur, technical challenge, endurance, speed and just plain fun, Porc Rim is in a class all its own.

I like doing it as a loop, admittedly not the preferred method. Most people are going to shuttle up Sand Flats Road to the trailhead, then ride down to the river, where another shuttle vehicle awaits. I like doing the ride as a loop from town. Yes the road climb up is a chore. And boring. Often there’s a headwind. But we’re talking process here, earning your verts, paying your dues. Heck, folks, it’s even paved now. The first times I rode it back in the ‘90s it was dirt and gravel most of the way. As for the river side at the end, yeah you’re whacked by then. But it’s a fairly gradual grade back up toward town. By the end of the day you’ve chalked up epic numbers, more than 5 hours on the bike and 4,000 feet of climbing. You feel like you’ve accomplished something.

I’d tried to talk Jason into doing the loop, but he was having none of it. He wasn’t big on doing Porc Rim anyway, so we waited till he left town for his grandmother’s funeral. Jean-Pierre was back with his family, so it was just Chance Richie, Jim Lyon and myself. No problem: We had lots of company on the trail.

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What Happens in Moab, Day 4: Sovereign Trail

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking, Multi-Day Trips on December 24, 2009 at 2:15 am

[Note: When the holidays slow news down, we reach into Santa’s bag of tricks for a hearkening back to our favorite rides. This week we’re featuring a 2004 expedition to Moab, Utah, America’s mountain biking mecca and an international magnet for mountain bikers everywhere.]

The Sovereign Trail

When we picked up our bikes at Poison Spider Bicycles, I’d noticed on the guide rack a new map called the “Sovereign Trail System.” I got to chatting with one of the wrenches, who said it was well worth the trip out, and made a mental note to follow up. In plotting a week’s rides in Moab, every day’s decision affects every day after that. I was thinking latter week, but when Jim got stirred up after his Moab Rim encounter, he was ready to rock the next day.

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What Happens In Moab Day 3: Moab Rim

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking, Multi-Day Trips on December 23, 2009 at 2:27 am

[Note: When the holidays slow news down, we reach into Santa’s bag of tricks for a hearkening back to our favorite rides. This week we’re featuring a 2004 expedition to Moab, Utah, America’s mountain biking mecca and an international magnet for mountain bikers everywhere.]

Moab Rim

What happens in Moab, in case it’s not blindingly clear by now, does not stay in Moab. My Turner XCE still has traces of red dust, which I hope will remain there through the summer. The frame also sports my mascot kokopelli and Poison Spider stickers, but the dust makes it truly organic. I’ve also got a kokopelli ring, two t-shirts, a baseball cap and various other remembrances, including these musings. Fortunately, what happens in Moab does not need to stay in Moab either…most of the time.

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What Happens in Moab Day 2: Poison Spider and Portal

In Mountain Bike Trail Reviews, Mountain Biking on December 22, 2009 at 2:21 am

[Note: When the holidays slow news down, we reach into Santa’s bag of tricks for a hearkening back to our favorite rides. This week we’re featuring a 2004 expedition to Moab, Utah, America’s mountain biking mecca and an international magnet for mountain bikers everywhere.]

Portal and the Passion

Sunday morning dawned crisp but sunny, with nothing but good expectations. We soon discovered the Red Rock Bakery & Café’s monster cinnamon rolls, the best in Moab, and just a two-minute stroll from our condo. After breakfast, the one meal where Mad Cow apparently did not eat nearly raw beef, we loaded up the van and headed for the Poison Spider parking lot.

There were still lots of jeepers out, but a moto at the trailhead told us most of them were well up the trail. Poison Spider is pretty much doubletrack – dirt interrupted by boulders and slickrock from time to time — till you get to the hairball Portal Trail. On my first visit to Moab in 1994 I’d done this ride on a then state-of-the-art Pro-Tec full suspension bike with elastomer rear suspension and a Girvin linkage fork, and let me tell you, when I wasn’t falling over I was terrified. It’s amazing how much better rider I am with four inches rear and five up front and years of watching the masters do it. Or could it just be the bike?

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Ride Classics: What Happens in Moab

In Mountain Biking, Multi-Day Trips on December 21, 2009 at 8:21 am

[Note: When the holidays slow news down, we reach into Santa’s bag of tricks for a hearkening back to our favorite rides. This week we’re featuring a 2004 expedition to Moab, Utah, America’s mountain biking mecca and an international magnet for mountain bikers everywhere.]

What Happens in Moab: Getting Oriented

When Jim Lyon first broached the subject last fall of going to Moab in the spring of 2004, I was less than eager. The last couple of times I’d been to Moab had fallen short of expectations. You get locked into a way of doing things and I felt I’d been just going through the motions. After half a dozen visits to Moab over the past decade I thought I’d been there and done that. This psychological block may be what Bob Bournique is getting at with his challenge for us all to do new trails this season.

But one thing about riding with the Lyon King – you learn to expect the unexpected. This time around, eight days from April 10 through 18, 2004, just about nothing happened according to plan. Which was good. Well, in most cases it was good.

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