Mt. Biking in Moab!

We had a few days in Moab to do some exploring, and I had an opportunity to ride a couple of trails. Since I hadn’t been on the bike in a while, I opted to take it (relatively) easy. Moab is at about 4,000 feet, so I didn’t want to destroy my precious, non-climatized lungs on a BIG ride.

That said, when I go back, the recommendation is to do The Whole Enchilada. It’s 34 miles and 8,000 feet of vertical downhill!

Day 1: Bar M Loop

At the beginning, feeling good!

For being off the bike for a couple months, I wanted to test the legs on an intermediate run. Bar M Loops. It’s starts off on the EZ trail, and, despite its name, it isn’t easy! Lots of rock and bouldering on a general uphill. Starting on this trail made me realize how monotonous the terrain is in the Santa Cruz area.

As I rounded around the first major bend in the trail, I opted to hit up Rockin’ A to up the ante—I was feeling good about the intermediate run, so why not go off a little and try some more?! This trail, again, was very different from what I’m used to riding. There were a lot of ups and downs over boulders. I had my GoPro with me, but I didn’t do any quality checks before I started riding. Unfortunately, I had the camera pointed at my crotch the whole time, so I can’t share anything fun from the trail.

The second cut-off I opted to take was Maverick. It was a fun, fast, flowy trail toward the parking lot. I’m really glad I took this because the Bar M Loop going around was just a wide fire road trail.

Overall: This was a fun loop—especially to get the legs warmed up. Very different terrain than Santa Cruz—challenging and fun!

Day 2: Slickrock

If Day 1 prepared me for anything, it didn’t really prepare me for Slickrock! This was a lot of up and down over boulders with amazing views. MTB Project’s description said this was a difficult trail with about 750′ of incline. It was definitely not 750′ of incline! If it was, it was the absolute hardest 750′ of climbing I’ve ever done!

At the bottom of Sand Flats Road

I started this ride at the bottom of Sand Flats Road. This was a pretty decent ride up to the trail head on a road—not my favorite thing to do, but it really wasn’t too bad. I did get a raised fist from a dude coming back down the mountain with his bike gear in the back of his truck!

Once at the trailhead, I familiarized myself with the trail, peeled off a layer, and got to gettin’!

About 2 miles in at the top of a boulder, I chatted with a guy named Lucas. He complemented me on my bike (Santa Cruz 5010) and said it was, “a bold move to wear a full face helmet.” I complemented him on his bike as well (Santa Cruz Hightower) and promptly removed the full face part of the helmet. It’s a good thing too cause the heat was just starting to hit! We chatted for a good bit and discovered he works at Competitive Cyclist.

Here is just one of the amazing views at the top of an overlook.

I had quite a few more miles to put in, so I took Lucas’ recommendation and went counter-clockwise on the Slickrock trail. He claimed it was easier, though I don’t think any way is easy! Slickrock was all bouldering, up and down for about 9 miles. And I won’t lie, there were countless times I had to get off the bike and walk the steep sections. Maybe I’m really out of shape, but I can’t imagine anyone making some of these steep, punchy climbs. There were some amazing views—some of which can be seen in the video below.

Overall, I highly recommend this trail, but save yourself the time and energy by just driving up to the trailhead—it’s worth the price of admission ($5). Otherwise, starting at the bottom of Sand Flats Road, you’ll get in a 14.3 mile / 2,000 foot climb / 2.5 hour ride!

Here’s a video, quickly put together with GoPro’s Quik software.

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