Monday, October 22, 2012

Moab/Fruita Fall Mountain Bike Trip

Last week, Matt and I headed out late Friday for a long weekend of riding in Moab and Fruita. As we headed through the Colorado high country, a dusting of snow reminded us that winter is just around the corner.

Driving through persistent rain, we headed to the 18 Road campground and trailhead (Map), hoping to find a nearby campsite that would be convenient for an early morning ride. However, Fruita is more popular than ever, every single campsite must have had 5 vehicles at it. Fortunately, there is free camping just east down on the road. Saturday morning arrived cold and dreary, note to self: 18 Road is not rideable after rain:

Quickly giving up on the mud of 18 Road, we headed toward the incredible scenery of Rabbit Valley (Map). From the Rabbit Valley Parking Lot, we road Trail 2 past the McDonald Trailhead to the West Rim Trail. Rode the West Rim Trail clockwise, then headed back on the Kokopelli Trail. Trail 2 is basically a very sandy road, skip it and park at the McDonald Trailhead. Next time, I'd also like to ride the East Rim Trail. The West Rim Trail does have incredible views...

...and is moderately technical, but being right next to very large cliffs makes it exciting!

Rabbit Valley sand:

Rabbit valley is scenic and pretty mellow, if you are looking for more climbing and technical riding with the same incredible views, Loma is even better!

From Rabbit Valley, we made a beeline for Moab to meet up with our friends Aaron and Amber. Needless to say, the views were incredible. The La Sals:

In Moab, we joined up with Aaron and Amber, who had a great campsite above Slickrock:

Sunday morning, Matt and I headed out to the famous Slickrock trail (Map):

What really surprised me about Slickrock was how challenging it is! That being said, it sure was awesome to see so many people giving it their all! I'd definitely recommend Slickrock, it's unique, beautiful, and challenging. Except for one move, the entire trail is rideable, but it's sure hard to believe just how grippy the rock is!

After Slickrock, we headed out for an evening ride at the Magnificent 7 (Map). If there is one thing that Mag-7 has, it's incredible views of the La Sals; I'd highly recommend riding it right around sunset:

In terms of riding, I wasn't blown away by Mag-7: primarily because there is not much elevation gain or loss. But, it's about as much fun as you can have on a mountain bike without doing any significant climbing.

Monday morning, we were up early for the shuttle up Porcupine Rim (Map). We had hoped to ride the Whole Enchilada, but muddy conditions from recent snow and rain meant that we had to start at the bottom of Hazzard County. Amazing views started right under the La Sals and continued for the entire ride.

Castle Valley:

Upper Porcupine Singletrack:

Porcupine Rim:

2:15 after leaving the shuttle, we were on Highway 128, and a short spin brought us back into town. Add a few more people to the group, and almost inevitable mechanical issues, and this ride could easily take 5 hours.

Kokopelli -> Upper Porcupine Singletrack -> Lower Porcupine Singletrack -> Porcupine Rim is a really really fun ride with virtually no climbing. It has a bit of every kind of descending: water bar booters, technical moves, turny singletrack, and lots of fast chunky riding. This ride would be better on a freeride bike, not because of any big drops or really steep moves, but it is so darn chunky-a trail bike really slows you down. Regardless, this is a great ride, throw in Burro Pass and Hazzard County, and I bet this is a top 5 ride.

Porcupine Rim went fast and the day was still young, so we went back to get revenge on 18 Road. Here's a full write up of the riding at 18 Road from last year. Western Zippity has been extended to add another mile or two of winding flat singletrack, but otherwise 18 Road is basically the same (and just as fun) as always.

The other side of Fruita:

Final thoughts:
1) Everyone should ride 18 Road, just not after it rains.
2) Loma is a technical and hilly version of Rabbit Valley.
3) Slickrock is awesome and challenging.
4) Magnificent 7 is beautiful, fun, and flat.
5) I can't wait to ride the Whole Enchilada.
6) Thanks for the great pictures Matt!

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