Mountain Bike! Southern Utah
by Michael McCoy (Menasha Ridge Press)
© Michael McCoy/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
Welcome to Moab, beyond the magazine photographers and glitz of commercialized mountain biking glory. Welcome to real adventure, challenge and the way mountain biking should be, the kind of in-your-face riding you think of when you hear the almost reverent utterance, "Moab."
Drive north out of Moab; away from civilization and any usable refuge from the laser-hot sun in the peak of the Utah desert's summers and find this bumpy, 4-5 mile road through sandy wasteland. Here someone has actually gone through the trouble of posting signs directing you to THE COOLEST slickrock riding I have seen, out in the middle of heat-stroke-induced-coma central. If you dont ride in, have fun with your rig on the rollercoaster ride to the parking lot, a few hundred feet from the first "Stairway to Slickrock Heaven."
I both rode and drove in and, personally, it was so hot out there that the drive allowed me to reserve some energy to enjoy playing on the rocks longer. That said, I enjoy the challenge of riding through 120 degree direct sunlight with sketchy directions and not much water, so either way could be a winner depending on your personality and need for flirting with doom.
The Bartletts slickrock area speaks for itself. Get there and find out, my words wont do it justice. The rocks extend for as far as you want to ride, and there are a zillion levels of difficulty and gymnastics available.
One word of advice that NO ONE had given me: on the way back out to your car watch out for the water that is trickling across the bottom of the trail you rode in on. As the afternoon bakes on, the Mud-Dauber Wasps (mean and nasty stingers) are out by the thousands along this pool and when you go blazing through there like a semi-truck a few of these winged terrors grow somewhat uncomfortable and pissed-off by getting trapped inside your clothing. They sting like crazy as you fall off your bike and flail like a little girl.
But its so worth it.
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