Utah Part Four:
The Whole Enchilada…
This folks, is the one that it’s really all about… If ever a mountain bike trail deserved the title of ‘epic” it is surely the whole enchilada. Start the day at Chile Pepper Bike Shop and jump on the Coyote Shuttle up to the top of Rabbit Ears Pass 9000 ft above the desert floor and 31 miles from downtown Moab. The air is crisp, bordering on cold and snow still clings stubbornly to tree wells and shady culverts. The sun, though, is warm and the sky is cobalt blue. Tracy leads us from the car park to a ribbon of single track that all too quickly starts running uphill, and at 9000 feet the ups feel a lot more challenging than they did back in the desert! After about 45 minutes of sweaty breathless climbing we reach the top of the pass in stunning high alpine seclusion. The pines sway slowly in the breeze and the butterflies rise gently in the stomach in anticipation of the coming descent.
The first section of the trail could be in the Swiss Alps or in the high alpine of New Zealand, a naturally buffed little ribbon of perfect single track, twisting its way through the pines, dropping away in great steps of steep technical joy. This is what mountain biking is all about! The alpine pine section of the ride is phenomenal and breathless, delivering big dumps of adrenaline from the word go. And it seems to last forever.
After what must be a minimum of 20 minutes of pure riding time the scenery abruptly changes as the elevation dips below 7000 feet. Pines give way to slender white barked aspens and the trail mellows in steepness just enough to get off the brakes and let the bikes run on the tacky autumn dirt. The caravan of bikers strings out over the better part of a kilometer or so and hoots and hollers can be heard bouncing off the tree trunks.
Once again the scenery abruptly changes as we enter the zone known as Hazard County. Aspens give way to scrubby lower lying brush and the tacky dirt gives way to slightly looser dustier single track. And what a single track it is… picture the Coronet Peak Enduro track with perfect berms one after the other linking seamlessly through doubles and little rock gardens. And once again, it seems to go on and on forever… my feet and hands hurt from the constant cornering and I need a break but I can’t take one because it’s too much flow and too much fun!!! Mercifully the scenery changes again as we cross a road and we are in the high desert again and it’s time for lunch, hallelujah!
We have now entered the section of trail called Porcupine Rim, classic Moab stuff. The trail winds up and down on the rim of a huge rock wall, which descends at 90 degrees to the desert floor, more than 2000 feet below. Giant red rock towers rise from the floor in the distance on our right and the peaks of the La Salles from which we just descended rise in the distance on our left. And the ride isn’t even half over yet…
My conclusion… go to Moab, the sooner the better, you won’t regret it!
And thanks to the crew: Mitchey, Brucey, Neilo, Jarna, Hells Bells, Cam, Stu, Tracy & Reese for making this such a great trip!
Check out the video on our youtube channel…