Today was my opportunity to ride what is arguably the most famous mountain-bike trail in the world – the Slickrock Trail. Just as I was driving up there, I got a text from Miles & it turned out that I’d meet him afterwards for another ride. Not in the best shape of my life (but hopefully getting closer), I tried to get around the trail as quickly as possible while still taking enough time to take pictures & appreciate the scenery & trail. At nine o’clock on a Monday morning, the trailhead wasn’t too busy & I probably only saw about twenty people on the whole loop – more reinforcement of planning to avoid the weekend. The rock itself was mostly super smooth & grippy. The trail was about ninety-five percent rock & the rest a little bit of sand. Peppered with a lot of sharp descents & then tough pinch climbs, it’s not a complete walk in the park but great fun all the same. I started off the ride looking at big thunderstorms off in the distance, but they avoided me & I spent time in direct sunlight, cloud & a stiff cooling breeze.
The views were out over the Colorado River towards Arches NP & east to the La Sal mountains (nice to see these not capped in cloud, unlike yesterday). Picking the route across the rock was made pretty easy by following the big white dashes painted on the rock. Enough of that, here are a few pictures.
The outskirts of Moab
After a quick dash back to the motel, refilling the Camelbak & making & consuming a wrap, we were off to meet Miles & Diyora (sp?) at the other end of town. Driving north towards Canyonlands NP, Miles & I were dropped off at top of Gemini Bridges Rd with ominous looking storm clouds sending bolts of lightning down not too far away. We rode down the road for a mile & eventually found the unsignposted trail off the 4WD road. The Magnificent 7 is a group of now more than seven trails that lead from where we started back towards Moab. We rode the first three of them (Bull Run, Arth’s Corner & Little Canyon) before meeting our pick-up back on Highway 161. We had a big net descent & the riding was more of the type I prefer – getting away from town, getting a bit of distance in & seeing less seen views. The big black clouds avoided us as we made our way down Bull Run. The scenery was once again spectacular, but as Miles & Diyora had to hustle back to Denver (six hours away) for Diyora to catch a red-eye back to NYC, I wasn’t stopping as much for photos. Also, the trail was really fun & with plenty of canyon-side riding, drops & step-ups. Half way through we walked off the road a little to have a look at the Gemini Bridges – it’s not until you are standing on top of them that you realise that there are two parallel bridges separated by a metre gap.
Riding 30 miles/48 km today (the most I’ve done in one day since a Lake Minnewanka epic with Alex last July) with 850m of climbing was possibly a little optimistic, but I’m still alive – but may pay for it tomorrow on Porcupine Rim. It also means, I don’t remember many of the singletrack details from this afternoon – except it was brilliant with beautiful views. More storms blew in, but we were fortunate to only be showered on for ten minutes or so. With a bit more dodgy route finding & a big long climb & then even longer descent to the highway we were back at the cars & I was somewhat worn out. Another great ride, I eagerly await riding a lot in Bend, Oregon with Miles in July.
Back towards Moab & the La Sal mountains