Well, we decided to go to Moab this weekend and get away from the snow. For anyone who is looking for some relief from the snow packed Front Range trails I think Moab is a very good alternative.
We left Boulder at about 6:30 on Friday night, stopped in Glenwood Springs for a bio break and a Qdoba burrito and still rolled into Moab at about 11:30pm. The roads were dry and we were able to average about 80-85 mph.
Hotels in Moab are plentiful this time of year and the rates are very reasonable. We got a 2 Queen room at the Best Inn for $35 and most Motel/Hotels on Main Street were advertising $29 single occupancy rooms. The Best Inn was cheap, clean and let us keep our bike in the room.
We awoke on Saturday excited to ride, we flipped on the weather channel and began to collect or ridding gear. At about 9:30 am the sky was clear and the weather channel listed the temperature at 17 degrees F and reported that the high for the day was going to be 35 degrees F. We both put on long sleeves and shorts and proceeded to load the bikes on the car. The air was definitely crisp as we loaded the bikes and gear but the sun was shining and it certainly felt warmer than 17 degrees. Once loaded up we made a quick run to the local City Market for some bananas and bagels to fuel our ride.
Our first ride of the day was the Sovereign Trail
We hit the Sovereign Trail at about 10:15 am, parking at the Willow Springs trailhead. The air was still cool and we unloaded the bikes and put on our gear and shoes I could feel my hands start to get pretty cold. I decided to go with a long-sleeve jersey and a long-sleeve shirt over the top and my normal baggy biking shorts. I packed some legwarmers, booties and a jacket. At the trail head there was no sign of snow but there were a few puddles on the dirt road with some iced over puddles. We got on the bikes by 10:30 am and started to try to generate some heat.
The beginning of the trail is slow and sandy with not much to get your heart pumping and after about 15 minutes all I could think about was I'm friggin cold and if I stay this cold this isn't going to be much fun.
Once we got to the singletrack and slick rock sections the cold was forgotten and the ride was fantastic. The trail was clear and dry except for two shaded decent/climbs (we rode it as an out and back) that were well packed snow.
We rode to the end of the trail and then played for a while on the slick rock that is part of the ATV loop. With the cool mild weather we were really able to do some exploring where in the brutal heat of the summer I think we would have been a little more apprehensive and nervous about getting lost out in the heat. After some good exploration and play on the slick rock we turned around and took the trail back.
The Sovereign Trail is fun and has good flow not to technical but has a few sections that are challenging and reward you if you like to re-ride some sections. We finished the ride at about 1:00 pm, having not seen one single person on the trail. How often can you go to Moab and not see ANYONE ELSE on a trail?
We loaded up the car feeling a little hungry as we didn't eat a ton before the ride. We headed back into town and hit the local Subway for some pseudo-healthy food. Our bellies now full we headed back to the hotel to let the food settle and plan our afternoon ride. Settling my meal involved a football game on the TV which turned into a quick 1 hour nap.
After an afternoon siesta we decided to ride my favorite Moab trail Amasa Back
There were a few cars in the Amasa parking lot but we decided to ride the trail any way. It was about 3:00pm and the sun was still keeping us warm. Amasa was fantastic, dry and with out a trace of snow. Like Sovereign there was one section (the river after the fist decent) with some ice but aside from that the trail was clear. Ridding up the trail we saw about 6 people come down with possibly every dog in Moab. All the people we saw were on DH bikes and haullin arse down. I stopped at a huge kicker jump (probably 6 foot)to watch one guy get some nice air onto one of the cliffs.
About half way up the trail my buddy started to have mechanical issues. His bike would not stop ghost shifting (we finally figured it to be a worn hub in his Mavic Crossmax XC). I rode a head and left him to battle his mechanical, as this is one of my favorite rides and there wasn't much I could do to help. After another 20-30 minutes of climbing I made it to the upper slick rock area and turned around. My buddy still was having troubles so we decided to go back. We found a jump or two on the decent and my buddy got to drop a nice ledge and all was right with the world for him again.
We got back to the car at about 4:30pm and the temperature was starting to fall. By the time we got back to the Hotel it was about 5:00pm and the sun had almost completely set.
That evening we got some pizza and proceeded to watch the CU Buffs get annihilated by OU.
The next day we awoke to a thin blanket of snow. We decided to take my buddies bike to a local shop to see if there was any band-aid fix we could do to his bike to make it a little more ride able. We weren't in much of a hurry as we wanted to let the snow burn off and let the temperature rise. After some disappointing news at the bike shop (My buddies Mavic Crossmax needed a $175 overhaul after just getting it warrantee repair by Mavic just 3 weeks ago) we decided to cancel the days ride and try to hustle back to Boulder and beat the ski traffic. Unfortunately we hit Georgetown at 4:00pm and the traffic was still terrible.
Aside from the mechanical issues with my buddies bike Moab was fantastic. Saturday was perfect, and with an operational bike we could have had a very nice ride on Sunday.
We plan on making another trip out to Moab this winter. Hotels are dirt cheap and you have the trails all to yourself. The days are a little short but not any shorter than the dead of summer when you don't want to be ridding in the heat of the mid-day. I'd suggest anyone who is looking for a good biking trip this winter to pack-up the bike and some cold weather gear and head out to Moab.
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Thread: Winter conditions in Moab