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North Ranch Mountain Bikers trip to Moab, May 13-17, 2004

Cottonwood Valley Ride
Slickrock Trail
Porcupine Rim
Sovereign Trail


May 2004











12 Vegas
Drive to Las Vegas
Intermediate Ride: Blue Diamond, meet at 2:00 pm

13 Driving
Breakfast: 8:00 am
Drive from Las Vegas to Moab

14 Moab
Meet at 9:00 am
Intermediate: Slickrock

15 Moab
Advanced: Porcupine Rim
Intermediate: Gemini Bridges

16 Moab
Intermediate: Sovereign Singletrack

17 Home
Drive home from Moab






Take a look at the chronicles of our trip to Moab in 2002.

Wednesday May 12, 2004.
Cottonwood Valley / Blue Diamond Ride near Las Vegas

Intermediate Ride: We met at 2:00 pm at the Blue Diamond Bike Outpost bike shop, 16 Cottonwoood Drive in Blue Diamond in the Red Rock Canyon area. Under the guidance of Dennis from South Bay, we rode towards the southern area, across Highway 160 from the bike shop (map of the north side). We started with several miles of climbing on somewhat loose, gravelly fire roads and single tracks. Next time we'll start at the parking area on Hwy 160 and save ourselves some climbing so we can do some more of the fun stuff. After crossing the highway, the trails were just as loose but steeper uphills. After a few false starts, we found the downhill single track we were looking for - and what a sweet trail it was! 3.7 miles of firm-packed downhill with almost no loose rocks and one surprise drop of about 1.5 feet. Then we crossed the highway for another 4 miles of downhill back to the bike shop, but here it was looser, and in some places very loose, especially along the gravel in the stream bed. After the trip, some people said this was better than the three rides we did at Moab!


Thursday May 13, 2004. Driving to Moab from Las Vegas

Distance: 460 miles, Driving Time: 7 hours


Friday May 14, 2004. The Slickrock Trail in Moab

We rode the world-renowned Slickrock. This trail is 95% bare sandstone and 5% ultrafine sand. It was the most physically demanding of the 4 rides because it alternates short, steep climbs in the granny gear with short, steep descents with the butt as far back as possible. There are few long sections to rest. We also had the most crashed on this ride, none of the serious, thankfully, and a couple of which were caught on video.

 A photographer from Moab Action Shots was taking pictures of us as we went by. The photo of Tam to the right was copied from their web page. You can order them online - check out roll 3 or roll 11. (Some of us might be on other rolls in which case you should use this link to navigate to your roll.)


Saturday May 15, 2004. Porcupine Rim or Gemini Bridges in Moab

 We had planned to do an intermediate ride as well as an advanced ride today, but unfortunately we had to cancel the intermediate ride due to a number of the participants changing their plans at the last moment. Apologies to anyone who wasn't able to ride because of this.

On Saturday we rode Porcupine Rim. This is a shuttle ride. From the parking lot, we started with a relentless climb on a fire road for three miles, sometimes steep, sometimes technical, and sometimes both. The elevation gain was 1000 feet to the rim, where, after breaking to take lots of pictures of the view with and without ourselves in it, we started to descend, first on a doubletrack, then on a singletrack that hugs the river canyon. Together the descent was 12 miles long with a loss of elevation of 2800 feet. This descent was not for the faint of heart. The doubletrack varies from sandy and smooth to loose sharp rocks to steps of broken rocks, about 3 feet down. The singletrack is a little smoother, but it clings to the edge of the river canyon and drops straight down several hundred feet to large, hard rocks. Even so, in most places the trail is a lot wider and not so close to the edge as the top of Little Pine, for example. If you didn't mind the exposure, the trail was a lot of fun, and the views were spectacular!

 A photographer from Moab Action Shots was taking pictures of us at the bottom. The above photo of the anonymous hot dog was copied from their web page. You can order them online - check out roll 51. (Some of us might be on other rolls in which case you should use this link to navigate to your roll.)


Sunday May 16, 2004: Sovereign Trail in Moab

 We had planned to have two rides today, an advanced ride up Amasa Back and an intermediate ride to Klondike Bluffs. Instead, we combined them for an intermediate ride on a new singletrack in the Sovereign Trails system

We started with a bumpy 1.7 mile drive to the parking area from Hwy 191 on Dalton Well Rd, then biked on a somewhat sandy road for another 1.1 before we reached the trailhead for the singletrack. The trail started with 0.7 miles of a very difficult, steep, somewhat loose and technical climb that blew away some of the less strong riders. After that the trail was really fun - 4.3 miles of cross country with a few short steep and/or technical sections, but mostly it was rolling countryside with gentle slopes. The trail varied from pure slickrock to smooth dirt, and every mixture in between. Overall it was a lot of fun but I heard a number of people say they would have prefered Amasa Back. The surface wasn't much different, but Amasa Back was longer and had more climbing/descent, and had an incredible view at the top that the Sovereign trails just can't match. Nevertheless, the trail is well worth riding, but probably better to start at the south end for less experienced riders so they don't have to deal with the killer climb at the north end (ride from the south end to the top of the hill, then return).


Monday May 17, 2004: Driving home

Distance: 770 miles; Driving Time: 12 hours