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