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  1. #1
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    Captain Ahab in Moab and Blackjack Trail near Pine, Co...comparisons please....

    Hey Y'all, just spent a week in Moab and one ride included the Full Captain Ahab Trail off of Amasa Back. Ahab is, hands down, one of the best trails I've ridden. And I've ridden quite a few. Now, I was expecting this trail to be WAY more challenging than it was. The signage has double black written all over and 11% grade yada yada yada. Turns out the trail is not too hard to ride. My buddy and I rode the thing top to bottom and cleaned everything...and fast. Only intimidating part was cliff exposure, but ive seen worse in the Fruita, GJ and Palisade area.

    Sooo, since I live in Carbondale Co, I was considering coming out to ride in the Buffalo Creek area and check out the Blackjack trail. What can I expect? The vids look fun and it looks a ton harder than Ahab. How does it compare to Ahab? Pine is a LONG haul for me. It's quicker to get to Fruita/Moab/GJ than pine. Worth the drive?

  2. #2
    a dad
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    i havent ridden ahab yet, but.. blackjack is certainly a challenging trail but also certainly all rideable. i would doubt you would clean the whole thing first time through without stopping, some are certainly intimidating. The climb up is also a challenge and its all doable , but putting it all together is tough
    BBZ

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  3. #3
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    Blackjack is outstanding. I haven't ridden Ahab yet, but I did watch the video on utahmountainbiking.com. Blackjack is a lot slower going than Ahab looks to be. Blackjack has lots of hard moves both up and down. Really big (committing) rollers are the main technical aspect. Lots of little drops and creases too.

    Blackjack is well worth the drive for the experience but it's a short ride by itself. I suggest going there and camping so you can ride the rest too.

  4. #4
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    Makes sense, thanks. It appears blackjack is much more of a techy puzzle piece. The Ahab trail, while certainly full of big drops, is fairly smooth and flowy from top to bottom. Even the drops have smooth runouts.

  5. #5
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    "puzzle" a great description for Blackjack.

    I got to get out to moab and ride Ahab now. How is that exposed section, from the video, it looks like one could screw up and go off the cliff.

    Captain Ahab Trail on Vimeo

    Captain Ahab Trail from Tyson Swasey on Vimeo.


  6. #6
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    As someone who enjoys a good Blackjack style trail....Capt Ahab was underwhelming. A bit of a dissapointment, if you will. Perhaps the hype of the new trail got the best of me. Blackjack will challenge you waaaay more.
    Biker? I don't even know her.

  7. #7
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    Agree - Ahab is *way* more user-friendly than Blackjack. All the "drops" on Ahab are built such that you can roll them or huck them. Blackjack is *gnarly* in comparison.

    IMO Rockstacker, Jacksons, Portal, and even sections of Porc Rim also exceed Ahab with regards to really tough sections. Ahab doesn't have any "unrideable" sections... at least for me. Those other trails do (including Blackjack).

    That said - Ahab is an exceedingly FUN tech trail. It's a blast.

  8. #8
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    Rode Ahab when i was out there at the end of April. Great trail, fun ride.

    I agree not nearly as bad as the signs would have you believe. Also, there was not nearly the cliff exposure i was expecting.

    I haven't tried blackjack yet (just moved to the area) but I hear it's quite the ride. Hoping to go to buffalo creek this weekend, but ill be taking my rigid SS, so ill have to try it another time
    "Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter."

  9. #9
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    Ahab is for the masses, fun, but something everyone can ride.

    Blackjack is teh rad. I have only ridden blackjack once so far but could clean everything except for the drop to flat (forget the name of it). Blackjack is easily some of the most technical riding I've ever done. There are some really gnarly lines. If anyone can point me to something more technical (still new to the area) I'd love to check it out.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanM View Post
    Ahab is for the masses, fun, but something everyone can ride.

    Blackjack is teh rad. I have only ridden blackjack once so far but could clean everything except for the drop to flat (forget the name of it). Blackjack is easily some of the most technical riding I've ever done. There are some really gnarly lines. If anyone can point me to something more technical (still new to the area) I'd love to check it out.
    Blackjack is fun, & not very difficult if you commit to your lines & not panic I've only ridden it once as part of the whole loop at Buff Creek & rode all of it, nice & fun lines for sure. If you make the drive up North & don't mind a steep, long singletrack climb, Croiser mountain is a favorite, very fun descent with sections much harder than Blackjack IMO, plus the descent throws everything at you, high speed singletrack to chunk to steeps, good times out there

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by inkpad View Post
    Blackjack is fun, & not very difficult if you commit to your lines & not panic I've only ridden it once as part of the whole loop at Buff Creek & rode all of it, nice & fun lines for sure. If you make the drive up North & don't mind a steep, long singletrack climb, Croiser mountain is a favorite, very fun descent with sections much harder than Blackjack IMO, plus the descent throws everything at you, high speed singletrack to chunk to steeps, good times out there
    I want all of it!

    Did you take the high line on slot machine? That one is sure to make anyone pucker.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanM View Post
    I want all of it!

    Did you take the high line on slot machine? That one is sure to make anyone pucker.
    Yup, though, last Saturday rode Porc Rim & dropped in the Notch, which I think is way more sketch than the Slot Machine section. Not to mention a couple sections on Jacksons & Rockstacker in Moab.

  13. #13
    zrm
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    Ahab is certainly less difficult/intimidating than Blackjack by a couple notches. BJ has a couple moves that my desire to be able to go to work the next day intact overcomes my need to prove what a rad, tech rider I am. That said, for me, and probably the vast majority of riders out there, Ahab is more fun than BJ

    . My Dad was a race car driver. There is a race track called Mid Ohio that a lot of people consider very challenging but my Dad, competent, respected driver that he was never really liked it that much. He said it was like trying to screw an ugly woman that you don't like - just because it's challenging doesn't mean it's any fun.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    He said it was like trying to screw an ugly woman that you don't like - just because it's challenging doesn't mean it's any fun.
    Are we still talking about trails... or BJs?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by inkpad View Post
    Blackjack is fun, & not very difficult if you commit to your lines & not panic I've only ridden it once as part of the whole loop at Buff Creek & rode all of it, nice & fun lines for sure. If you make the drive up North & don't mind a steep, long singletrack climb, Croiser mountain is a favorite, very fun descent with sections much harder than Blackjack IMO, plus the descent throws everything at you, high speed singletrack to chunk to steeps, good times out there

    Interesting perspective. I have ridden both and would normally think the opposite bit then I rode Crosiers mostly when I was younger and had less injuries.

    I guess I need to ride Crosier soon to recalibrate!

  16. #16
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    It's funny. Moab is really successful in making some new cool trail but you can definitely see the smoothing-out of the "local" stuff such as Rockstacker and Mag7 (originally called something else) in this process.

    But it's all good though. More legal trail is more good!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by inkpad View Post
    Blackjack is fun, & not very difficult if you commit to your lines & not panic I've only ridden it once as part of the whole loop at Buff Creek & rode all of it, nice & fun lines for sure. If you make the drive up North & don't mind a steep, long singletrack climb, Croiser mountain is a favorite, very fun descent with sections much harder than Blackjack IMO, plus the descent throws everything at you, high speed singletrack to chunk to steeps, good times out there
    I guess its all about perspective. I can think of one or two lines on Croiser that make me consider them before dropping in but still riding it all, but Blackjack makes me think alot on alot of moves and there are still a few on it that I doubt I'll every try.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by inkpad View Post
    Yup, though, last Saturday rode Porc Rim & dropped in the Notch, which I think is way more sketch than the Slot Machine section. Not to mention a couple sections on Jacksons & Rockstacker in Moab.
    I was out there two weekends ago for the first time. I wish I had known about the alternate lines on Lower P. That said, blasting through the main line on lower p was fun as hell. The main line maybe not being as technical as a lot of stuff out there is still a whole other story when you give it all of it.

  19. #19
    MK_
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    Ahab is a funny thing. If you ride it without expectations it's probably enjoyable.
    If you ride the challenging trails on Amasa and then expect a double black diamond descent filled with tech and drops you're left wondering WTF. The latter happened to me.

    Black Jack is certainly a leap more challenging trail and has way more pucker factor than anything on Ahab (does anything have pucker factor there?). Black Jack is certainly worth the drive, if nothing else, it's surrounded by great trails and is a fun challenge in itself.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK_ View Post
    Ahab is a funny thing. If you ride it without expectations it's probably enjoyable.
    If you ride the challenging trails on Amasa and then expect a double black diamond descent filled with tech and drops you're left wondering WTF. The latter happened to me.

    Black Jack is certainly a leap more challenging trail and has way more pucker factor than anything on Ahab (does anything have pucker factor there?). _MK
    I didn't find any pucker factor on CA at all. I *did* find it a really fun, fast trail. But as far as tech goes - the descent on Cliffhanger has more technical challenges available than Ahab. The climb at the top of Ahab was a bit unexpected. There's a significant amount...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman View Post
    Interesting perspective. I have ridden both and would normally think the opposite bit then I rode Crosiers mostly when I was younger and had less injuries.

    I guess I need to ride Crosier soon to recalibrate!
    I guess it also depends on the group & speed the trail is ridden. Never sessioned Crosier, just pinned it within a fast group of peeps. BJ just seemed to be short sections with easy run outs, though the lines themselves were pretty solid as far as tech goes. Love Crosier though!

    BTW, my favorite part of Buff Creek is the Sandy DH at the end, now THAT is fun!!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by inkpad View Post

    BTW, my favorite part of Buff Creek is the Sandy DH at the end, now THAT is fun!!
    Agree! There is something about Sandy Wash.

  23. #23
    a dad
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    blackjack is a great addition to buff creek because you can still get a nice long ride and you get a little bit of everything now instead of just the miles of smooth trails..
    BBZ

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  24. #24
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    Going to check out Buff creek area soon, Im planning on camping in the area, maybe starting at 543 up nice kitty, take the Colorado trail over to Redskin creek/upper gas house then throwing Black jack (cw) in before descending sandy w.

    any suggestions?
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  25. #25
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    The funny part about BJ is that none of the rest of the terrain there demands anything more than an xc hardtail. Feels kinda like doing a long hike out into the middle of a open snowy meadow carrying a powder board or some fat skis for a short (but fun) descent with a long flattish runout. Kinda like backcountry snowboarding in the U.P.
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