Week 3- Moab, Telluride, and Durango
The next stop on the quest to shred the southwest was none other than the proclaimed mountain bike Mecca of Moab. Despite landing in Moab during its hottest month we are happy to see that allure of Moab hadn’t just pulled us in to its devilishly hot interior. Like moths to the flame we see bike racks stacked with bikes and spot plenty of others of our ilk in the streets.
We start our Moab trail adventures on the Slick Rock. At this time of year you need to hit the trails early to beat the heat. So with Whisky Mike’s assurances of it only being a one and half hour ride we hit the trail early-ish. However, Whisky time is outside the realm of the standard 60 min hour, and by noon with the sun beating down on us and water drained from our packs we finally made it back to the trailhead and salvation. It’s nothing like you can experience in New Zealand. The landscape is vast and there’s more rock than the eye can see. An afternoon riding Pipeline, one of Moab’s new trails, got us back on some windy singletrack, something the Ranger was longing for.
Any hitlist of Moab trails will include The Whole Enchilada. 26.5 Miles, 7000 feet of descent, and the most diverse range of trails you can find. This trail was the epic test of body mind and bikes. The harshness of this track can be highlighted by Ranger having achieved the elusive double flat! Starting with a 1000 foot ascent from the drop off point is a technical steep loamy and rocky descent in the shelter of the trees. Once you hit the lower tree line it’s back into the desert where the trail follows the rim of a canyon at least 1000 feet up from the valley floor. And on to the rocky and jarring hell of Porcupine Rim. The drops and lines give plenty of options for fun and boy, fun was had! Next stop, nap under a tree with a beer.
With the epic trails of Moab ticked off the bucket list and a bit of sightseeing in the Arches National Park, we made tracks for Telluride Colorado and a hopefully a reprieve from the desert heat. Telluride is a quaint ski town buried in the mountains. Known mostly for its skiing you can find a some nice singletrack and even a free Gondola accessed bike park on the ski slopes. The riding was limited but the singletrack was sweet. However, if the altitude doesn’t get you (10,500 + whatever you climb) then the wet roots will! A side note: Telluride gets the Whisky tick for good drinking spots.
Bailing from Telluride ’cause of Whisky’s inability to handle Long Island Iced Teas we found ourselves in what has revealed itself to be the best riding we’ve had on our trip so far.
Durango revealed itself as a gem of southwest riding that nobody seems to talk about. The place was pleasant, the bike shops rad, the people radder, and the riding raddest. Like all riders should do when rolling into the new town we hit the bike shops. At Pedal the Peaks we found the coolest and most helpful guys you can get who gave us trail tips and helped us give the bikes some much needed love. Apparently the second thing you should do is go to an outdoor shop because this is where we meet Garret, Jay and Haley and jacked up a ride and some good times. A day with Garret is a day that kids and adults alike would play hookee for. Riding two of the trail networks on offer close to town was just payment for the rest of the day. Next was beer in the river and some Serious Texas Tacos. But wait, that’s not all! We found yet another brewery where Garrett wangled us free beer and a tour and all of this topped off with a pizza party, beer, and a sleepover with the locals! To say we had a great time is an understatement.
Durango also held the next of the epic rides, thanks to a shuttle from our new Durango mates. Kennebec is 22 miles of Colorado trail with 16 miles of fast, techy and hella-fun downhill. We felt lucky to experience a trail we had never before heard of and which turned out to be the best ride of the trip. Shale, roots, mud, rocks and singletrack. What more could one want? Oh, a GIANT burrito!
We were a bit sad to leave behind this place, a place none of us expected to be nearly as awesome as it was. But shred on we must. Next stop, Winter Park.