USA Trip 2016: Moab I

Moab is mountain Bike Paradise.

Technical trails and astonishing sightseeing all in a friendly town with lots of possibilities to lodge and eat. There are plenty of bike shops where you can rent great bikes. And if you don’t feel like pedaling a lot, there are shuttles available everywhere.
We rented ours from Poison Spider. We wanted to shuttle but we wanted to pedal too, so we rented Allmountain bikes: Pivot Switchblade, Yeti SB5.5, Yeti SB4.5 and a Niner RIP 9.

Poison spider can offer you pedals and helmets if you did not bring yours. They set up the bikes and explain you everything about them. IMHO if you’re going to Moab, you may already know how to set up the bike.
As per Fruita, finding trails in Moab is pretty straightforward, you find all the trails and how tricky or tiring they might be in www.mtbproject.com.
 Trailheads are really well signed and there’s always a parking lot to leave your car. By the way, when you rent your bike they ask for the license plate of your car. They say it is in case you get lost and they see an empty car at the trailhead.
We got our bikes and headed to Slickrock. It’s a must!

It is fun and you have to do it. It is also absolutely physical, all the uphills are very, very steep and explosive. Miles and miles of petrified dunes of slickrock. You won’t believe the grip till you ride this. You can pedal standing uphill grades that must be over 30% and the tires will traction. You can cross water puddles right before climbing some silly wall and you can feel how the tires hold on.

So it is something to be done but to us it was the least fun trail in Moab. We knew there was much better to ride! 

Coming from Europe, where sometimes it is hard to share the trails with people running, horse riding or just walking, it’s amazing how in Moab you share them with Jeeps or motorcycles going through the very same trails. We know they were there first and they were all really polite and cheerful. Nice!

USA Trip: Fruita, Colorado

If you love mountain biking you have to travel to the US.
It’s not only that they invented the sport, not only they design some of the best MTB bikes but they also have some of the best trails you can find. There may be awesome trails everywhere, but in the US they are usually well signed and next to places where you can eat, sleep and rent very good bikes.
So we went to Moab, but first we wanted to give a go to Fruita which is on the way to Moab from Denver, where we landed … like 20 hours after leaving Barcelona.  The road from Denver to Fruita through the Rockys is pretty enough, but we’re here for the ride.
There are two main areas to ride in Fruita; 18th Road trails and the Kokopelli loops. They are all quite easy to find in www.mtbproject.com

The Bikes

We rented our bikes at Otesports. The shop was beautiful, filled up of dream bikes.
We rented a couple of SantaCruz (Bronson and Hightower +) an Ibis Mojo 3+ and a BMC 29”. All of them perfect bikes for the area, especially for the Kokopelli loops. I was eager to test a 27.5”+ and we had a couple of them. In my opinion, if you’re used to 29” with at least 5” of travel you don’t need the +, I didn’t feel that I was safer of descended better or climbed more than I did with the BMC or the Bronson. But there were riders on our group who were not that used to sketchy terrain that found them to be safer. These riders came from Epics or even hardtails and for them the 27.5”+ was a blessing!

18th Road

Not so technical trails but fun. Somebody must have spent a lot of money to make and maintain these trails, and it pays! It’s was pretty crowded the Saturday morning we rode them.
Although is called the North Fruita Desert and the land is really dry and dusty, it is not much different from we’d find at home in Spain. Mostly hardpack with sandy bits every now and then and some rocks to spice it up a little.
The trails go up and down the hills but you won’t pedal up for longer than 30 minutes. We started up with the Chutes and Ladders Loop. The end of it was like a bobsleigh track 15” wide in the middle of the desert, really nice!
Then we went up again for a loop of zippity-do-da and this time it was more of a roller coaster with very steeps ups and downs. All in all a perfect beginning to our trip. Not very technical so not to scared some of the group who had read scary things about the trails in Moab.

Kokopelli Loops

These trails are on the south side of the I70 highway, just 10’ by car from Fruita.
This was more the terrain we came looking for. It’s a perfect appetizer for Moab, and it’s really fun to ride. First day we did Horsethief with its very sketchy entry (check youtube) and the second day we planned a longer ride including the ridgeline tour and more. We had to cut it short because it started to rain mid ride and parts of the trails became a nightmare. The parts that are not rocky are just clay and in 5 meters the bike gained like 10 kg of mud. No way to ride it or push it, you had to carry all 25kgs of bike. The rain didn’t last long and the trails dried up very quickly, but if you’re there and it rains; stay in town, there’re enough restaurants and bike shops not to be bored.

If I had to choose one trail, that’ll be Moore Fun, sure you’ll hike a bit going up and there are a couple of foot on the ground places going down but the trail is worth it. Flowy sometimes, challenging others, with great views of the Colorado River, we could do it over and over … but we had to drive to Moab ;-)