Slickrock

Slick Rock is one of those classic rides just on the edge of Moab you have to do. The area is a mass of undulating sandstone hills that was first a motocross and off-road trail – the Mountain Bikers came later. It’s called slick rock because horses slip on it. Humans don’t – you stop almost instantly due to the sand-paper like texture – if you fall off on this stuff you will loose skin.

We had very limited ride time as we’d hiked  in The Arches in the morning, eaten lunch in downtown Moab and by the time we’d rented bikes (from Chile Pepper) we only had about three hours  including getting out and back to the bike shop. So we chose to limit our ride to the 1.6 mile beginner loop.

slickrock

It was a fun ride and certainly a good way to acclimatize the legs and lungs – nothing super technical but a few very sharp, short climbs and a few sand-traps. It’s mostly just a lot of fun as you roller-coaster around the well-marked trail – once you get used to the amazing friction you’ll find you can ride just about everything here. Back near the start of the trail – the kids discovered a decent descent with a little jump at the end so we goofed around there for a while. Half our party drove back into town with their bikes – the other half, including Jack and I blasted down the road back into town and added another couple of fast miles to a fun ride.

Again – great warm up for the week – should I ever get back to Moab – I’d definitely head out there again and do the full 11 mile main loop.

Mountain Biking Moab and the Canyonlands

For Spring Break this year, my 11 year old son Jack, and I and a couple of other dads and their sons spent the week in Utah with the goal of riding the White Rim Road in the Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. The “Road” is a reasonably well maintained “Jeep Trail” mostly devoid of any signs of civilization aside from a handful of primitive camping sites and some rather decent enclosed pit toilets. The camp sites are merely designations – there are no facilities other than proximity to one of the aforementioned pit toilets – they’re mostly just a sign and some markers showing you where you can and can’t pitch a tent.

If you are superhuman and don’t require much water or food – you can ride the 100.7 miles of White Rim Road in a single day – the level of fitness and logistics required to do this are beyond my comprehension. Instead, we opted for the four day, three night tour (there is a three day tour as well). RimTours our well equipped and very capable tour guide company provided a decent range of bikes, a support truck for transporting our camping gear, food and luggage and two extremely competent and affable tour guides.

In addition to the White Rim Road – we  had a couple of days either side of our 4-day tour so we explored some of the local bike trails and hikes around Moab.

If you’re thinking about doing this trip – I’d highly recommend RimTours – my son and I will likely make this kind of thing an annual event and I wouldn’t hesitate in using RimTours again for one of their other tours.

There are 7 parts to this post (including this one). They are, in chronological order :

I’m posting this because I couldn’t find much information on-line – hopefully these posts will provide you with some additional information and inspiration to make your own trip. Enjoy.

 

Day 1 : White Rim Road : Shafer to Airport

If you’re not already awake by the time you start the decent down Shafer (about 7 miles in); you soon will be. It’s a pretty exhilarating 1500ft descent through alpine switchbacks – if you take it easy on the dusty / gravely corners you will probably make it down in one piece.

The rest of the first day’s ride was fairly flat, fast  and easy – following the natural contour that is the White Rim. We made decent progress despite frequent stops to enjoy the stunning views.

My trusty Garmin 800 had few issues in some of the more sheltered canyons but we clocked up a fairly easy 19 or so miles on the first day.

Day1-map

We arrived at the Airport campground mid-afternoon – which left plenty of time set up camp, play some Petanque / Boules, eat dinner and explore  a little and get to know our fellow riders. But mostly we were trying to get out of the wind, which, by dusk had picked up enough to threaten my trusty antique tent (note RimTours provide much nicer, much newer tents). This is the same tent that my wife and I used to back-pack around Greece and Turkey about 25 years ago.

 

 

The camping gear we bought was :

  • 2 x inflatable roll mats
  • 2 x inflatable pillows
  • 2 x 4-season (ie .very warm) sleeping bags
  • 1 very old – 2-person, 3-season tent
  • 2x headlamps
  • 2x solar chargers

In hindsight – I should have bought a newer tent or rented one from RimTours and a large beech blanket or something to throw on the floor of the tent would have added to the comfort. Aside from the first night – we were warm and dry and slept pretty well.

Read Day 2 – Airport to Murphy