12/01/02 - St George, Utah
Here's a little info for anyone in need of a road trip.
Over Thanksgiving weekend Allie and I made our way to Utah. To our delight we found that the southwestern corner of Utah has some really great riding. In fact we rode some of the most awesome trails I have ever seen (in my limited experience). We located some of the best trails via the website. It even gives great directions to the really obscure spots including details such as "go 3.5 miles and bear left at the outhouse" they weren't kidding either there really was an outhouse in the middle of nowhere!
Our first outing was Bear Claw Poppy Trail. This trail has tons of options. It winds down a gorgeous valley and you can either take the relaxed family paced trail options or you can play on the outrageously fun "competition area" which is riddled with drops and hits of various difficulty. There are also single track trail options like Stucki Springs leading out of the valley which will give you a little workout and a great view. These trails are both easy to get to, the trailhead is about ten minutes off of Hwy 15.
It was my first time out on a borrowed Specialized Enduro. For that matter I had never ridden a "freeride style" type bike before ever. I hesitantly clipped in and promptly fell in love!! Specialized calls this bike "more versatile than duct tape" and they aren't kidding. With it's "ITCH" on the fly adjustable travel and relatively light weight construction for a seemingly beefy frame that takes loads of abuse this bike tops my Christmas list!! Please tell Santa I have been a very, very good girl this year!!
The other ride we did that is a must if you go to Utah is called Gooseberry Mesa and it is about 30 minutes off of Hwy 15 just north of St. George. If you consider hitting this trail drive a car you don't mind getting dirty because it's a 10-11 mile climb up a dusty mesa to the trailhead.
Allie and I set out to find this trail with some concern for the legitimacy of the directions. We imagined some guy giggling away tapping at the keyboard as he devised the crazy route to the trailhead through a fence and past an outhouse. The directions proved to be perfect to a tee surprisingly and the trailhead was easily found. We arrived to find that our dusty confusing pilgrimage was well worth it. Holy heavenly bike riding, Batman!!! It turns out Gooseberry Mesa is a maze of technical single track trails along the top of a breathtaking sandstone covered mesa. The trail lulls you with swooping banked turns through the trees and then abruptly sprinkles in series after series of short ups, bumps and drops winding through the outcrops of sandstone. The variety of trail options and endless challenging obstacles make it impossible to get bored.
Unbelievably, it gets better. If you find the ability to peel your eyes off the awesome trail you find that the view from the top of the mesa is spectacular. The landscape in this part of Utah is simply stunning.
As we finished our ride we found ourselves devising a plan to make a return trip to this part of Utah! As we dejectedly packed up our gear we chatted with some Utah locals who suggested that if we liked these trails we might also try the JEM trail or the Slickrock Swamp trail. I took a peek at the info for these trails when I returned home and immediately regretted it as I was overcome by the urge to jump back in my car.
12/11/2002 - Utah Ride Report
I am writing to inform you that one of your beloved teammates seems to be taking an interest in crossing over to "the dark side." Yes, the photo evidence is clear proof that on of your riders will soon be in the clutches of downhill and freeriding! Long cross country and road rides will start to begin later, bikes will get heavier, and rides will mandate 2 or more vehicles. Intelligent conversation will give way to monosyllabic words munged together to form phrases such as "Yo, Dude!" and "Check it out!" Sometimes even as advanced as "Brah - check the gnarly gap! Like, I'd totally go for it but my Boxxer's spewing and my mellon's still spinnin' from the last dirt sample. Pass me another beer, man."
Ha, ha! There's no turning back now. The metamorphosis has begun! Now she's sporting shin/knee guards, next it will be a full face helmet and van's shoes! But who can argue about the fun she seemed to be having sailing over that double! :o)