Moab Happenings Archive
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Trail HAPPENINGS June 2016

Back into Mountain Biking
by Sam Sturman

Whether you are getting back into biking after a long absence, like Sam Sturman, or just starting to enjoy mountain biking, here are some trails that will fit your skill levels and put a smile on your face! Just get out and go!

I turned 64 last Winter and decided to take up mountain biking after a 20 year break. After all, I am a “local”, and Moab is world renowned for our mountain biking trails, so I thought this was the right time to give the sport a second chance! I am rather a big guy at 6’ 9” so finding a bike that fits me had always been a challenge. Equipment has changed a lot over the years and now there are bikes with 29” wheels, with tubeless and wide tires, amazing components, and larger frames. 

Adding Mt biking to my varied pastimes has really increased my appreciation of what Moab has to offer with so many great trails that I can ride. The Grand County Trail Mix Committee, working with the BLM, has developed Mountain Bike Trail Systems in different locations, so that you never feel crowded by other riders, although some of the parking areas fill up on weekends.

 I really like the Klondike Bluff area since it offers trails for all skill levels. There are approximately 56 miles of trails in this Trail System. I learned to re-ride on Klondike’s Jurassic, Jasper, and Agate trails. (Kids will love all the pretty rocks on the Agate and Jasper trails). These trails are great for practice, building up your skills with just enough hills and drops to keep you heart pumping. These trails combined are about 12 miles round trip.  I ride these trails about once a week.  The next step up in skill level is the very popular Dino Flow Trail. This is a super fun trail!

Now that I have built up my strength and courage I am adding a few more white- knuckle, (in my opinion), rides. I take Miner’s Loop to Azurite, to Baby Steps, to UFO, to Little Salty, and back on Dino Flow (about 3 hours of riding). There is varied terrain and the scenery is gorgeous.  (These are definitely intermediate trails). I can’t ride everything and there is no shame in walking up a hill, but I am out there and I love it. Every time I ride my skills get better and the less and less I have to walk. There are many trails a person can ride that suit their abilities and conditioning and the rider can still have a great experience.  

About the Author: Sam Sturman is the academic advisor for the Utah State University Moab Educational Center. He is an avid hiker, dancer and fledgling mt. bike rider.  He has lived in Moab since 2003.

Trails for Beginners
by Sandy Freethey
Sam found the Klondike Area offers trails for every skill level, but you might give some of the other Trail Systems a try. Moab Brands, (Bar M) Trails are close to Moab, north of town on Hwy 191, and offers some beginner trails along with a wide variety of other trails for everyone in your party. Of special interest is the Rusty Spur Trail and the “OK Corral” right off the parking lot. You will have a super fun time riding the bumps and curves while playing in “The Corral”. Kids of all ages will love this area!

The Klonzo Trail System, which is located off Hwy 191 by turning at the Willow Springs Road, also offers some really fun trails for beginners in the south unit. Favorite trails include; Hot Dog, Carousel, Gypsy, Magician, and Wizard.
Just getting into mountain biking or starting over like Sam? Try hiring a guide or instructor who will give you lessons, or pointers on how to improve the skills you already have. Moab Mountain Bike Instruction, Magpie Cycling and Rim Tours all can give you confidence and new skills.

Spend as much money on a new bike as you can afford, it will make the ride easier, and more enjoyable as you will be able to negotiate more difficult trails with better suspension. Not sure about spending lots of money on a bike? First try renting a good quality bike for a day. Another option is to try several bikes out for a trial run by signing up for Outerbike, which is an event that is designed with that in mind. Outerbike is held in Moab both Spring and Fall by Western Spirit.

Ok, it’s June, and probably hot! Just get out and go! Get your ride in early, then go to the swimming pool or your favorite creek to cool down.
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