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  1. #1
    gdv
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    Whole Enchilada for a Beginner?

    Hi there,

    Going to be in Moab at the end of May with my girlfriend, and while I'm an experienced rider she is somewhat of a beginner and a bit timid on the technical stuff. We are trying to plan some rides and I'm wondering if W.E. is suitable for the beginner-ish? Is it a matter of take your time and walk the rough stuff, or is it too frustrating for a newb?

    Thanks,

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    Quote Originally Posted by gdv View Post
    Hi there,

    Going to be in Moab at the end of May with my girlfriend, and while I'm an experienced rider she is somewhat of a beginner and a bit timid on the technical stuff. We are trying to plan some rides and I'm wondering if W.E. is suitable for the beginner-ish? Is it a matter of take your time and walk the rough stuff, or is it too frustrating for a newb?

    Thanks,
    if you really like your girlfriend, don't give it any serious thought
    breezy shade

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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    if you really like your girlfriend, don't give it any serious thought
    What he/she said. It will take a LONG time if you stop and walk techy sections.

  4. #4
    gdv
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    Ok, maybe this is better question... Given the description above plus the fact that she is quite fit and eager to ride, what trails would be people recommend?

    Thanks,

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gdv View Post
    Ok, maybe this is better question... Given the description above plus the fact that she is quite fit and eager to ride, what trails would be people recommend?

    Thanks,
    Brand trails, Klondike Bluff area and the first 1/2 of Mag 7 if things go well.

    TWE is nowhere near beginner territory.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    if you really like your girlfriend, don't give it any serious thought
    Funny!

  7. #7
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    For the ultimate in break-up weekends, start with TWE and finish with Slickrock. I've observed a lot of drama in that parking lot...
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  8. #8
    JMH
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    Brand Trails and ONLY Brand Trails. If she enjoys herself there then perhaps some Klondike Bluffs are in order. I don't suggest the Brand Trails because they are easier (although there are some fun beginner trails there) but rather because there are many bailouts that allow for shorter rides if things aren't going swimmingly.

    Enjoy! Moab can be great fun even for the Newbs.

    JMH

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    Slick rock trail might work. You can see if she likes the practice loop
    www.24hrBikeShop.com 10% of your purchase price is donated to the trail organization of your choice!

  10. #10
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    You know, on second thought - trial by fire is awesome, worked for me. I made it down that trail with an inch of suspension, a water bottle and onza pedals in 1994. Didn't ride half of it and had a blast. Married the guy I went with and got a job in the bike industry. Maybe we should expect a higher level of sacking up on this forum.
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

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    Haha I took a great friend of mine on UPS-down (OP, that is basically half the Whole Enchilada, maybe more) last spring. She is the best skier I know and was pretty fearless on a MTB at the time. I've only seen her cry one time before that. She did great in the cool morning on the single track stuff. As soon as we got to the chundery porc rim and exposed porc singletrack in the heat? Game over. It was the most profound circle of frustration by her, and extreme embarrassment on my part.

    Don't worry, we still love eachother, but man she was pissed at me for that "What were you thinking?!?!"

    Yep, I was that guy.

    Moral of the story?Don't be that guy. Or do, cause we all love a good comedy show to go with our post ride beers in the lot.

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    On a related note, Moab has really stepped it up with their beginner and easy single track options. MOAB brand trails are great. As is the new Lazy/EZ single track option. Ask a shop when you get there, they'll point you in the right direction. From there, step it up to Sovreign system. Then maybe try UPS-down, but be prepared for a long day. I advise highly against doing TWE as a first ride.

    EDIT: Chuky, I do think there needs to be more sacking up round these parts, but I really don't think TWE is quite the right trial by fire for everyone. Awesome that that was your first intro though! Better than a boring rails-to-trails gravel path!

  13. #13
    gdv
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuky View Post
    for the ultimate in break-up weekends, start with twe and finish with slickrock. I've observed a lot of drama in that parking lot...
    lol

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    Bartlett Wash is a good alternative to the large slick rock trail. You can make the ride as long or short as you want, and the views are pretty good once you get on top. She'll walk up and down a couple ledges, but the rest is like riding on a sloped parking lot.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuky View Post
    You know, on second thought - trial by fire is awesome, worked for me. I made it down that trail with an inch of suspension, a water bottle and onza pedals in 1994. Didn't ride half of it and had a blast. Married the guy I went with and got a job in the bike industry. Maybe we should expect a higher level of sacking up on this forum.
    You did Porc Rim then and not the T.W.E. much different ride. The Whole thing is a big day for someone with limited riding experience. I wouldn't suggest it....

    Check out the trails up at Dead Horse Point as well. Also nice mellow slickrock slabs around Monitor and Merrimack to play around on.

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    Go to Fruita instead, much better beginner trails (that are also fun for advanced) there then in Moab IMO. It was my fiance's first season on a bike last year (the only other bike she's ever ridden had little mermaid stickers on it). She loved Rustler Loop, Prime Cut, and Kessel Run and was actually to ride nearly everything on it rather then bailing and walking. Plus the Hot Tomato is way better than any food you'll get in Moab.

    Seriously, for beginners Fruita > Moab

    Also, TWE is a fall ride, although if it is ever available in spring, this would be the year due to the low snow pack. Keep in mind that late May in Moab is going to be HOT. Especially this year with the warm weather hitting so quickly. I would avoid mid day riding. It took us about 5 hours to finish TWE, so you don't want to do that one in hot weather, seriously.
    All I know is that I don't know nothin'... and that's fine.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuky View Post
    You know, on second thought - trial by fire is awesome, worked for me. I made it down that trail with an inch of suspension, a water bottle and onza pedals in 1994. Didn't ride half of it and had a blast. Married the guy I went with and got a job in the bike industry. Maybe we should expect a higher level of sacking up on this forum.
    But you are not a regular chick. And I mean that in the most positive way possible.

    Took my honey there before we got hitched, she cried. She also had a red sandstone tattoo on her leg for 2+ years. I told her she should wash the wound before she sprayed on the Brave Soldier.
    Next week will be 18 years for us so she got over it eventually.

  18. #18
    JMH
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    Quote Originally Posted by steadyflow View Post
    You did Porc Rim then and not the T.W.E. much different ride. The Whole thing is a big day for someone with limited riding experience. I wouldn't suggest it....
    Oh, she knows. Her TWE is faster than most guys ride it. But yeah, you're right. Back then it was all about climbing to the rim from the Classic (Retro?) Entrance by Juniper and then trying not to break a bike or arm on the way down.

    JMH

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by steadyflow View Post
    You did Porc Rim then and not the T.W.E. much different ride. The Whole thing is a big day for someone with limited riding experience. I wouldn't suggest it....

    Check out the trails up at Dead Horse Point as well. Also nice mellow slickrock slabs around Monitor and Merrimack to play around on.

    Oh internet technicalities. How fun you are. You are correct - it was the old Porc and I rode it as a loop from town, back before I knew what a shuttle service was. It was meant more as an illustration than anything else. I am quite familiar with the actual TWE.

    Anyway, I should have used the sarcasm symbol. My point was more that while TWE isn't easy, many people have gotten down and had a great time. Same goes for most of the Moab trails - the fun-to-death ratio is actually pretty good, even on Portal... We spend so much energy e-worrying on this board, particularly when it comes to the dreaded girlfriend question. Guys who don't know if their girlfriend can handle a few scabs and adversity might want to reconsider Moab as a couple's destination. On the other hand, your SO might be tougher than you expect.
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  20. #20
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    Personally, I think things are getting a little boring round these parts and I think musings about this "trial by fire" might just liven things up a bit. So given that, I think you should take her down TWE followed by a lap down portal. If she's still talking to you, hit up rockstacker and Jackson's. Please include pictures and any audio clips. I will be preparing my popcorn awaiting your report. Does she have good insurance?

    On a serious note, the suggestion of Fruita is a good one. The Brand trails are also beginner friendly. As everyone else said, if you like her skip TWE, if she's just a passing fancy then have at it!

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    Not my girlfriend, but a good friend otherwise. Today she did her first trip down whatever part of TWE is open currently.


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    I'm pretty sure she (^^^) could kick my a$$.

  23. #23
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    We camped at the bottom of porc last week and had to administer first aid to a woman whose husband drug her down the trail. My buddy and I took around 3 hours w breaks/ photos/ talking/ lunch- they were on the same trail for almost EIGHT. Beginner= don't even think about it. It was almost 80 on this particular day at the bottom (which isn't that hot for Moab) were out of water, and the lady looked like ET in the white tent when I first saw her. Gave her Gatorade, wet shirts for her neck, got her to shade and she improved rapidly- but it was scary...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuky View Post
    My point was more that while TWE isn't easy, many people have gotten down and had a great time. Same goes for most of the Moab trails - the fun-to-death ratio is actually pretty good, even on Portal... We spend so much energy e-worrying on this board, particularly when it comes to the dreaded girlfriend question. Guys who don't know if their girlfriend can handle a few scabs and adversity might want to reconsider Moab as a couple's destination. On the other hand, your SO might be tougher than you expect.
    I agree with this. "No" is the easy, one-size fits all answer, but it many not actually be the accurate answer for a given party. I've taken beginners who've had a ton of fun. The great thing about this trail is that it exposes you to most of what desert riding has to offer, in one ride.

    How beginner? What's the level of enthusiasm? Dragging a reluctant partner along is a recipe for trouble. But a promising beginner, who has a genuine enthusiasm for it will have fun, and set a benchmark for the next time down. It's not all sick-gnar, and you can walk what you don't want to ride.

    I'd add: don't do it on a Saturday - the frustration of always having people riding up and wanting to pass is something you want to avoid. And don't forget to think about your willingness to be patient and wait.
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    I agree with this. "No" is the easy, one-size fits all answer, but it many not actually be the accurate answer for a given party. I've taken beginners who've had a ton of fun. The great thing about this trail is that it exposes you to most of what desert riding has to offer, in one ride.

    How beginner? What's the level of enthusiasm? Dragging a reluctant partner along is a recipe for trouble. But a promising beginner, who has a genuine enthusiasm for it will have fun, and set a benchmark for the next time down. It's not all sick-gnar, and you can walk what you don't want to ride.

    I'd add: don't do it on a Saturday - the frustration of always having people riding up and wanting to pass is something you want to avoid. And don't forget to think about your willingness to be patient and wait.
    You make a good point- but "timid on the technical stuff" as stated by the OP does not sound like a beginner that I would take. I think riders can start at an intermediate skill level based on natural talent or other two wheel time, but experience (or time on a bike) is different from skill level in my opinion. I still think a true beginner (skill-wise) would be better off on other trails in Moab.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedudeman View Post
    but "timid on the technical stuff" as stated by the OP does not sound like a beginner that I would take.
    Yes, you're right.
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    I'm sorry if I came off as a jerk or overly intense about this- its such a great trail- I just know that I have made mistakes in judgement of ability of significant others in the past, and I saw firsthand the Potential seriousness of taking the wrong person on this trail. That being said- camping at the bottom, I also saw a guy come riding down wearing a cowboy hat (no helmet), with no camelback, on a late eighties bmx bike!!

  28. #28
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    Yeah, no worries. So have I.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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    Do not take beginners on Porcupine Rim or any of the While Enchilada! What a sucky day for both of you. This trail is too knarly and if you end up in trouble, it is a hell of a long way for help. Take the girlfriend to Dead Horse Point and do the Intrepid Trail. This is a fun single track with great views and good for beginners. You can do 4 miles or 8 mile options. Then if she likes it, go to the Bar M trails and play around there. Stay off of the Slickrock trail. The practice loop is technical and it is easy to break bones with the beginner riders and the 10 miles Slickrock loop is heinously technical and requires a lot of grinding up steep hills.

    If you really want to do some riding, leave the girlfriend at the Moab Spa and jump on a shuttle. I can not see how mountain biking with a girlfriend or wife is any fun unless they are really good bikers. Moab is very technical and rocky and if you fall, it will at the very least cut you. If you go riding all day and all you do is worry about your girlfriend getting hurt, the day will suck. If you are not worrying about your girlfriend getting hurt riding in Moab, then you have not idea about how technical the average trail is and you are a moron for putting the girlfriend in danger.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedudeman View Post
    We camped at the bottom of porc last week and had to administer first aid to a woman whose husband drug her down the trail. My buddy and I took around 3 hours w breaks/ photos/ talking/ lunch- they were on the same trail for almost EIGHT. Beginner= don't even think about it. It was almost 80 on this particular day at the bottom (which isn't that hot for Moab) were out of water, and the lady looked like ET in the white tent when I first saw her. Gave her Gatorade, wet shirts for her neck, got her to shade and she improved rapidly- but it was scary...

    This horse is pretty much dead, but I think there is a difference between lack of skill and lack of desert sense.

    I, too have had to help a stranger in a scary heat exhaustion situation, but mine was out on the trail. It was awful - no shade, her friends had ditched her, she couldn't keep fluids down... We were pretty lucky. It had nothing to do with technical skills, though. She was just out of shape and hadn't worn sunscreen. The trail was pretty low on the tech, high on the aerobic demands.

    I just keep thinking back to all the janky set ups that I have seen on TWE. So many people make it down just fine and for those people, it is the single most epic thing they have ever done. It makes their year. People that ride before it gets hot and take a map are already ahead of most folks even if their skills are low.

    We debate about this a lot in the women's forum. The question comes up about how to get more women into MTB and the inevitable happens:


    - We get a bunch of suggestions about how to make MTB more accessible. The core of this is a lot of ideas that tear away at the heart of the MTB experience. If your SO isn't a person that likes adversity, scabs, remote wilderness and solitude, she may not ever become a person who rides on her own. If she doesn't ride on her own, that means she is only riding because you do. It isn't HER passion. You can decide if that is the riding buddy you want.

    - We get a few women who ask "why?" Why would they want to choke their trails with double the number of beginners standing in the landings? That one always makes me laugh.


    So, I think the checklist priority for the TWE goes like this:

    1. common sense
    2. fitness
    3. ability to enjoy adversity and challenges
    4. technical skill
    5. functional bike

    A decent rider that loses their cool the moment they scrape their knee is way less fun than a gungho beginner that gets up, dusts herself off and laughs. Goes for either gender. I have met my share of dudes I would never take on any trail because of their inability to HTFU.
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  31. #31
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    I agree with some that say you can take a beginner on Porc and have a great time, as long as that person is adventurous, wants to give it a go, and isn't too leary of tech and rocky stuff. As stated, the OP's concern is that he isn't a big fan of technical riding, and there are long stretches of pretty tech riding. Given that concern, I would say look elsewhere, at least for the first couple of days to see how she does. One thing about Porc is there aren't many bailout spots, so if she doesn't like it, it will be a long day.

    One of the great things about mtb riding is if you are over your head, you can put a foot down, pick up the bike (or tell your husband to pick up the bike!) and walk through it -- different than other sports like kayaking, surfing, or even skiing where once you're in it, you're pretty much committed. Heck, there are a few spots on Porc that most of us don't ride. But on the other hand, if she won't like riding much of it, what is the point?
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  32. #32
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    Something else to add into the equation: the chunky sections of TWE are only fun at speed. Going slow (what many beginners want to do) turns an epic ride into a bouncy suck-fest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    I agree with some that say you can take a beginner on Porc and have a great time, as long as that person is adventurous, wants to give it a go, and isn't too leary of tech and rocky stuff. As stated, the OP's concern is that he isn't a big fan of technical riding, and there are long stretches of pretty tech riding. Given that concern, I would say look elsewhere, at least for the first couple of days to see how she does. """ One thing about Porc is there aren't many bailout spots, so if she doesn't like it, it will be a long day."""

    One of the great things about mtb riding is if you are over your head, you can put a foot down, pick up the bike (or tell your husband to pick up the bike!) and walk through it -- different than other sports like kayaking, surfing, or even skiing where once you're in it, you're pretty much committed. Heck, there are a few spots on Porc that most of us don't ride. But on the other hand, if she won't like riding much of it, what is the point?
    where are there any Porc bailout points?
    breezy shade

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    I believe most are on the upper portion to sand flats road. Don't take my word for it though- those are the only I saw.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    where are there any Porc bailout points?
    Last one is the Rim Overlook lunch spot where LPS meets Porcupine Rim. About 3 miles down to the Sand Flats trailhead by Juniper campground and the stock tanks.

    EDIT - Assuming "TWE" and "Porcupine Rim" are being used interchangeably here. Technically there are no bailouts on Porcupine as stated below.

    JMH
    Last edited by JMH; 04-23-2012 at 11:05 AM.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMH View Post
    Last one is the Rim Overlook lunch spot where LPS meets Porcupine Rim. About 3 miles down to the Sand Flats trailhead by Juniper campground and the stock tanks.
    that's the only one i was ever aware of off Porcupine Rim Trail. all other bailouts would be above the "traditional" Rim trail on UPS or LPS along Porcupine Rim, but not what is called the Porcupine Rim Trail. not trying to be nitpicking here, just accurate on where the bailouts are. once you're on the "Porcupine", you're commited to the end unless you backtrack to the Rim Overlook lunch spot & right down the 3 miles to Sand Flats.
    is that correct?
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhodge View Post
    that's the only one i was ever aware of off Porcupine Rim Trail. all other bailouts would be above the "traditional" Rim trail on UPS or LPS along Porcupine Rim, but not what is called the Porcupine Rim Trail. not trying to be nitpicking here, just accurate on where the bailouts are. once you're on the "Porcupine", you're commited to the end unless you backtrack to the Rim Overlook lunch spot & right down the 3 miles to Sand Flats.
    is that correct?
    Talking about the actual Porc Rim trail, yes, that is correct -- there aren't any bailouts, and you would have to ride back down to the tanks at Sand Flats.

    Sorry to be imprecise -- it seems that not many people take the actual rim trail anymore. It seems most people at least drive a few miles up to LPS and avoid the climb on the actual Rim trail.
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  38. #38
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    Great beginner suggestion for Moab is Monitor and Merrimac. It's not long, but it's a good entry level way to hit some trail and some slickrock. Might be good for a second ride of the day or good for someone whose fitness isn't known.
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