Mountain Bike Bill, The Dirt on the Dirt

The Cowboy Trails

So I have recently pushed out a couple of videos on the Cowboy Trails of Las Vegas. The first one was from the “Vintage” Vault of 2006 and the second one was from a ride from about a month ago. I have ridden the Cowboy trails a handful of times between the recording of these two videos and I had finally gotten through the three main down hills routes off of the ridge. I suppose you could do some laps out here and do more than one downhill in an outing but for me I have usually had my fill after one. There is a lot of MTB per mile out here.

For the downhills:

  • Boneshaker: Oh man this is a fun descent that will test your skills. There are some nice drops and other technical features that will keep you on your toes. This was featured in my vintage video of my first visit here.
  • Bomb Voyage: I consider this the most technically demanding route and has some squirrel moves coupled with some exposure. It feels the scariest.
  • Bob Gnarly: I heard this trail described as “90s Downhill Tech”. For those of you that are not of that vintage I would call it “On the Ground Tech”, It is often tight, twisty and narrow. Not bermy bike-park vanilla flow stuff. I consider this the easiest of the three descents but not easy.
  • Rock Garden: This is not only the list. While you could ride down it, the main traffic it sees is the the equestrian tourism traffic which I find the trails to typically be chewed up and riddled with horse poo.

No matter which route you take if you like rocky desert tech you should have a good time out here. If you need a bike, both the Trek and Giant stores in town typically have rental bike available.

The most recent video features the Bob Gnarly Trail
The vintage video that includes the Kibbles and Bits climb as well as the Boneshaker descent.

Lagunas Camping

The Laguna Mountains are one of my happy places. Nichol and I spent the July 4th holiday weekend (and then some) at the Laguna Meadow campground.

Our Casa on the meadow

We really love this area not only for cool trails right from camp but also for it just being an awesome place to just to chill outdoors. One of the things we like about it during the July 4th weekend is the lack of fireworks. Within hearing distance of our home are several annual fireworks events that pretty much keeps are dogs traumatized for the bulk of the Independence Day evening. Life is just better for our dogs (and us) up here away from the boomage.

At the UCSD observatories with view of the Kitchen Creek area and beyond.

Did I mention trails? I already posted up about checking out Garnet Peak, but I hit most of the stuff in the area over the course of the trip.

Climbing Aqua Dulce enroute to Gatos Ravine.

The nice thing about camping here is that you don’t have to try and hit everything at once. Some trails in the morning. Some in the afternoon. Hell, why not a post-2nd breakfast ride?

Then of course there is hammock time. Yeah we had a great time!

A run down Noble Canyon

Fisher Mesa 08 Video

Looking for something off the beaten path near Moab? Do you like eating your dessert before your vegetables? While I would not put Fisher Mesa on the must do list for the Moab area it is certainly worth a spin if you feel like you have already done all the marquee stuff in Moab. Fisher Mesa is two mesas east of Porcupine Rim and if you are taking the scenic way Fruita from Moab it is along the way. This video was shot in 2008 using a “bleeding edge” 1080i HD Camcorder with “new” tech such as optical stabilization.

This video was shot in 2008 using a “bleeding edge” 1080i HD Camcorder with some “new” tech such as optical stabilization. While it worked great in your hand it was pretty horrible in the Moab area terrain as it was always “catching” up and actually made things worse. It was still way better than GoPro options of the day where 384p resolution with the young YouTube offering video hosting at 480p max. So glad for the modern era tools to share.

Navajo Lake & VRRT

The Navajo Lake Loop is an extremely picturesque trail around the lake that has a wonderful mix of aspens, pines, open meadows as well as a bit of old lava flows. I did about 3/4ths of the loop on before heading out on the Navajo Peak section of the Virgin River Rim Trail. Here is my Trailforks Ridelog for that day. Please note this loop includes an out and back to Cascade Falls as well as a longer firer road loop back to where I was camped. I did not include the Cascade Falls trail stuff in this video as it really did not “fit”. One thing is for certain, this was a very pretty outing out of the bike.

Blowhard Trail Video

Here is some footage from the Blowhard trail near Brian Head Utah. This rounds out the big three shuttle run out of Brian Head resort area in Utah. The Blowhard Trail starts at 10,660 feet just south of Cedar Breaks National Monument and drops 3,700 feet over the course 7.7 miles and ends on Hwy 14 near Cedar City. The upper portion is the steepest and most technical with grades upwards of 22% in spots. It is much steeper than it looks in the video. Things mellow a bit in the middle section and below with even some short bits of climbing. Those short sections aside, throughout this trails is speed is easily gained and much more difficult to restrain. This is a fantastic trail and this will not be my time riding this trail.

Poison Spider and The Portal

One more video knocked off the remaster to-do list. The Portal Trail in Moab will most likely reset your scale for exposure and how the risk vs reward variables are computed in your head. The steeper than it looks moniker certainly applies here. I did some software stabilization but it still in the old-school shaky cam category. Here are some more thoughts on this trail as well as some pictures from that day. You can find stuff from the entire 2008 road trip here.

The second song used this video, Mad Life, by Dishwalla had some special meaning for me from that day. This video was shot in May of 2008 and back in the March, I had an OTB crash on the Goat Camp Trail that left me with about 40 stitches in my lip and mouth that really did a number on my mental game for riding technical trails. During the first three days of this trip I was starting to get the mojo back and the during the descent of the Portal trail the “I’m Back” switch was flipped on as that song started playing in my head. These lyrics in particular.

See the pain and beauty all around

See it try so hard to take me down

Hold me up into the sun and watch me burn and watch me heal

“The Mad Life” Dishwalla

Virgin River Rim Video

The Virgin River Rim Trail is a 32 mile long trail along the edge of the plateau above the Virgin River watershed. This video is from the eastern 10 miles of the trail between Strawberry Point and the Cascade Falls Trailhead. This is also known as the Pink Cliffs section.

Killer Views along a particularly tough section of trail

This is a amazingly beautiful section of trail that was tough in many spots. It is definitely an XC trail but the the elevation, undulating grade mostly in the 9,000 feet range and trail thread all conspire to tax lungs and legs.

For me it is worth the price of admission for the experience, but if your value of “reward” is mostly based on fun, you may come to a different conclusion.

Erosion is always happening

My Ridelog from this day on Trailforks Note that the last 3.1 miles on this route are not the trail but a couple of dirt roads that we used to get back to our campsite. The trails is the first 10 miles.

Thunder Mountain Video

Thunder Mountain is considered a marquee/classic/bucket list type trail in many publications. I have to say it lives up to hype. This video is from Day 15 of the Summer MTB vacation which was our second crack at this trail. We got rained out for this ride on Day 13. We managed to catch a good weather window and for the most part we were rewarded some near hero dirt. But be warned, even if you “shuttle” it you will be spending plenty of time cranking the pedals. It is well worth every bit of grunting you have to do.

Rainbow Rim Video

Getting out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to ride the Rainbow Rim trail is not an easy feat. For just about everyone it will be a camping trip. This is from my August MTB vacation were we camped on Locust Point for a handful of days and enjoyed the views and the riding on this trails as well a bit of the Arizona Trail. The video really does not do the experience justice. You need to get there to enjoy it for yourself.

I had to put the videos on hold while I went down the rabbit hole of squaring away data storage and backup system. I came back from the August trip with just about a terabyte of video and photos which put my overall storage at near capacity. I now have a more robust system that should scale a lot better in the future.

Fort Valley Video

For Day 5 of the August MTB Vacation I cut my wife some slack and we did a shuttle up to the top of Schultz pass. We then did the half of the loop I climbed on day 2 as a descent (Previous video). We did a snippet of Secret to the AZT. Then Lower Moto to Chimney and the the lower bit of Schultz Creek. She was most appreciative of not throwing a beat down on her out of the gate. Pretty much all green trail goodness.

Mostly Downhill Cruisin!