A ton of new Root 66 photos with the Nerac Earth gang racing have been given to us by one of our members, Alan Grant. You can find them by going to the race results page and clicking on the “Pictures” links.
Riders: Brian, Nathan, John, Kyle, John, Rick, Doug, Arch, Alan, Jill
Support: Andy, Michael, Geoff, Deb
Chilly start to the V2V at 6am. There is a great spread of bagels and cream cheese, bananas, Dunkin Donuts coffee, and orange juice. Deb gets everyone in gear and onto the bus and we head up to Vermont. A little drama as we drive past the community center and one of the buses tries to turn around in a residential driveway and takes out the mailbox and chews up the lawn and driveway. Whoops. The homeowners are a bit cranky. It looks like we woke them, the woman is still in her housecoat. The neighbor directs our bus driver to a cul-de-sac where we turn around and head to the community center. Michael gets on the bus to announce a route change but we are having trouble focusing and are trying not to tackle him to try to get to the bathroom. The group gets together for a club shot and we head out of the parking lot, close to the last ones out as usual. It’s a good group, everyone behaves. John and Nathan are riding the 80, Nathan’s first attempt at 80 miles after completing the 50 mile Steeple Chase (he’s 11!). Brian is also planning on the 80 after we talked him out of the 50 miler. John Stockford is planning on riding as far as his hip will let him, Doug is aiming for the 80 and Kyle and Rick are riding home with John so they will wait to make a decision to see how far he gets. Arch, Alan, and I are planning on the 100. It’s sad to not have Garth this year, but we point out Garth landmarks like which garage he borrowed the WD-40 from, the Garth bench, etc… Well it didn’t all quite work out how we planned. At the 60 mile point everyone has to check in and decide whether they are doing the 80 or 100. John Stockford’s hip said heck no, I’m not doing 100 miles so he decided to head out on the 80 until Michael could pick him up. So Kyle and Rick went with him. Alan had a time constraint so had to head out on the 80 and Doug was sticking with his plan to do the 80 all along. Brian suddenly decides to do the 100 (his first century!) so Brian, Arch, and I head out on the last leg. Somehow we all get a 2nd wind and get some serious hammering in, then some lagging, then some more hammering. I don’t know how we were doing it, maybe it was the thought of the dinner Olive Garden was providing at the finish line.
High point: Andy handing snicker bars out the window of the Team Element Sag Vehicle.
Low point: Hmmm, can’t think of one.
Another really good ride that benefits a really good cause (Habitat for Humanity).
After a death defying drive into the LaSals in the truck we luckily avoided hitting the cows that were ambling along the narrow roadside and sometimes in the middle of the road. We found the Kokopelli trail head and parked the truck. The temp up here is a chilly 54 degrees so we start off with long sleeves. It only takes about 15 minutes before the temperature warms up and we start shedding layers. The trail is well defined now compared to the last time Michael and I were up here and we don’t have to worry about wrong turns at all. Never ending, narrow single track along the rim, some rock playgrounds, and views that you can only glimpse quickly at because you are so close to the rim. Too quickly we arrive at the traditional lunch spot and none of us can quite believe we descended so quickly. We all know the next part so we head down at our own pace which means Michael disappears with Kevin not too far behind and John and I following. I’ve never seen John ride like this before, he’s actually taking jumps and his rented Epic is flying over the rocks. See what a little suspension can do! For those of you who are not familiar with John’s bike, I’m pretty sure his front fork is shot and he’s lucky if he’s got an inch of suspension on that thing. This is the perfect final ride for this trip as I don’t think our legs could have survived any more climbing than porcupine rim dished out. The final stretch of exposure felt familiar and we all remembered the good lines that Jimmy showed us a few years back. There was one section that had totally disintegrated (the clip when the down hill rider scoots down in front of us) but we all cleaned it. We ride back to town and sadly turn in our bikes and walk back to the hotel. Depression sets in as we pack up, say goodbye to Kevin, and start the drive to Salt Lake at 10pm. We all stayed up the entire time which wasn’t too hard with Michael and John telling stories that made me laugh so much I could hardly see the highway. The airport is pretty creepy at 3am. We dropped off the car and found some seats while we waited to check-in at 4am. Nobody wants to talk, we’re dead tired and heading away from our favorite place – there is nothing to say. Well there is one thing: YeeHaw Utah!!!! Can’t wait to get back. –Jill
Hidden Valley to Moab Rim
Arrived in the dining room to breakfast and was shocked to see it was raining. One of the bike tours pulled in to pick up a group and I recognized Matt Hebberd (2004 Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee and Rim Tours owner) so I ran out to get some ride recommendations for wet conditions. He assured me the rain would not last and we could ride just about anywhere but to be on the safe side should stay on trails that were mostly rock. We decided to do a shorter ride and settled on Moab Rim. I warned everyone about the nasty portage to Hidden Valley but I don’t think they quite believed me. The trail head was close enough to ride to so we hopped on our bikes and headed about 3 miles north of town to find the trail head. I was a little nervous because I was the only one who had ridden this trail before and was hoping I would remember it enough so we wouldn’t get lost. The 3 road miles felt like 10 miles, our legs were toast from yesterday’s ride. Our directions were good and we got to the trail head easily. We started up, and up, and up. It was only around 70 out but sweat was pouring off my face from the effort it took to push, pull, and lift my bike up the vertical, rocky trail. I looked up to see where the others were. John was 1st and almost out of site, then Michael, Kevin, and me trailing behind after trying to take a phone call about our dysfunctional fridge at home. A hiker caught up with me and told me it’s a 20 minute hike w/o a bike and also said I was almost at the top. I straight out told him he was a liar, which he readily agreed with but promised to tell the other guys that the view at the top was worth it. I wasn’t sure anyone would be speaking to me when I arrived at the top but it seemed that they were so glad it was over and the trail through the valley was flat that they chose to forget how difficult the portage was (or at least kept the swearing to themselves). The view is incredible from up here and you can scream through the narrow singletrack that flows through the field. The only problem here is some nasty barbed plants on the side of the trails that scrapes the skin from your shins, the burn starts about 10 minutes later as the sweat creeps down. But the trail from here is fun and we forget about the burn. As we turn onto the rock the trail goes downhill with tons of Jill sized jumps. I take the first one and get a pinch flat. Bummer, fixed it and started up again. Oops, forgot about the petrified pooh rock. If you check out the pictures you can see just how mortifying this was to look at. I prefer Kevin’s explanation of “it’s a pine cone”, but if you know John and Michael, they were delighted at finding “petrified pooh”. Moving on, this trail has a little of everything, including incredible views and some really cool slickrock sections. You can tell we are all pretty wasted from the climb up, it seems like we are riding in slow motion. The end comes too soon but brings a superb view of the Colorado river and we get to see a train of jeeps trying to traverse the steep climb up. We get another great downhill weaving in and out of the jeeps and ride back into town which is mostly downhill again.
After a quick lunch at Zak’s we head back to the hotel. It starts to rain so we decide to relax for a while then head over to Slickrock when it clears up. We regroup at 3pm and Michael decides to save his legs for his favorite ride tomorrow which is Porcupine Rim so Kevin, John, and I head over. The road over is a steep winding climb and there is always a mountain biker or 2 slowly creeping up. I’m thankful we’re driving up in the truck because slickrock requires a ton of effort. We decide to ride the practice loop and a little bit of the lollipop stick before it breaks off to the regular loop because we are tired, it’s late, and it takes about 3 to 4 hours to ride the whole thing. I was a bit skeptical that my legs would hold out but as soon as I started riding I knew I’d be ok. Slickrock is like riding on another planet, it’s like no other ride at Moab or anywhere. We got a lot of footage here so you can check out the pics for this ride, it’s really hard to describe how crazy it is and how your tires can stick to almost vertical rock faces. I was filming John and Kevin climbing this crazy vertical up when we ran into 2 guys heading out. We chatted for a few minutes and the first guy headed up the rock, his buddy starting behind him. John is yelling for him to go, you can do it, keep riding, when the guy gets to the steepest part of the climb and falls over his bike backwards and rolls a few times while his bike pump tumbles and tumbles down the rock (Nathan, this would be considered a small yardsale!). The three of us just watch, horrified. This is what you don’t want to think about when you are climbing at Slickrock – falling backwards. The guy gets up, runs down the hill for his pump, grabs his bike and pushes it up the hill. It’s almost harder to walk these climbs than it is to ride them. The bike tires stick better than bike shoes. And what’s the first question John asks when the guy is out of sight, “Did you get that on film????”. Nope! We go a little bit further then decide to head out, we’re all starving and can’t wait to get some dinner, the sport jelly bellies aren’t cutting it. Super fun ride, one of my favorites… –Jill
We decided to do the epic Gold Bar Rim to the Portal Trail. This ride is a point to point ride, so we left a car a few mile up Potash Road, at the end of the Portal Trail and drove the truck to the start of the ride on the other side of the rim. It has been a few years since Kevin and I rode the trail, guided by “Dirty Bill”, but as we started much of what we encountered was extremely familiar. Mike had his new GPS so he could map the route out and have it for future reference. The beginning of the ride is a jeep road for a number of miles before you reach the backside of the rim to start the climb. Once you start to climb, it’s pretty much climbing constantly. We took a break in the shade a rock ledge, a quick snack and off we went to the rim. We checked out the awesome view for a few minutes, then proceeded to ride the rim towards the Portal Trail. We had planned on eating lunch in Pin Hole Arch, a very small arch right on the rim, very visible from the highway below, but almost impossible to see when riding. We had made some reference points to the arch from landmarks near the highway while traveling to the start of the ride, so we were pretty certain that we would find it. Good planning led us right to the arch and we took a few pictures and ate our food. Now that we had eaten the next portion of the ride is to follow the rim all the way to the Portal Trail. This is where the trail is difficult to follow, but there were a lot of cairns to guide us and eventually we reached a jeep road that both myself and Kevin recognized went to the Portal Trail. This trail is on the edge of a cliff and has some scary exposure to the river below, it is not for the faint of heart. The trail is short and in no time we were at the bottom to our car, so we could drive it back to get our truck that was left at the start of the ride. We took a little side trip down the road to see some petroglyphs and then headed back to town. An awesome epic ride. — John
We started out to Willow Springs road instead of Dalton Wells around 8 am to ride the Sovereign Trail in the opposite way in which I have ridden it before. Jill and Mike knew where the starting point was, so there weren’t any issues with the start of the ride. Kevin, Jill and myself took a bit of time for our lungs to adjust to Moab’s altitude, where Mike seemed to not notice the lack of oxygen at all. The ride in reverse was awesome and we were all having a great time and took us probably less than an hour, so we decided to extend the ride once we reached the turn around point at Dalton Wells. There were clues that we should have turned around soon after we started riding the new single track, such as the sandy washes we were riding in and the loose climbs, but we continued anyway. Big mistake….the sand got worse… the trail got worse, hike-a-biking, the temperature climbed and all the little bits of fun we were having on the new single track was offset by all the not so fun stuff. Three hours later we all were wishing that we had turned back before dropping into the new single track. We kept going forward until finally we reached a large wash that we followed back to Dalton Wells. We then took the pave road back to Willow Springs and decided never, ever would we do that single track ever again (you have been warned!). After getting more water and trying to forget about the nasty ride we just finished, we decided to go to Bartlett Wash, a huge freeform slickrock playground that is not too physically challenging, but is unbelievable in it’s vistas and tilted, rolling terrain. We did a bit of filming and picture taking, all the while having a great time. A great finish to the day! — John