Salt Lake vs Park City | Where to Live for the Best Outdoor Adventures | Road Cycling (Part 4)

Road Cycling opportunities are seemingly endless in both Salt Lake City and Park City. But there are obvious complications that a big city has on bike routes, compared to a smaller town in the mountains. Regardless, for the hardcore riders, or the casual cyclists, there are perfect opportunities to be found in either place! But one of these places seems to fit most riders much better. People that live in Salt Lake City believe that Park City is just another suburb of Salt Lake. The locals that live in Park City know that’s simply not true. And so it goes, …

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Salt Lake vs Park City | Where to Live for the Best Outdoor Adventures | Mountain Biking + Downhill MTB (Part 3)

Trying to compare the opportunities to go mountain biking in Salt Lake City versus Park City! Either way, there are endless opportunities, but there is a clear winner here! People that live in Salt Lake City believe that Park City is just another suburb of Salt Lake. The locals that live in Park City know that’s simply not true. And so it goes, the endless debate (and rivalry) on which town/city is better to live in. Either Park City, where the mountains are at your fingertips because you live in the mountains, or Salt Lake City that sits right at …

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Best Mountain Biking: Captain Ahab & HyMasa Loop | Moab, UT

The Captain Ahab and HyMasa is another iconic mountain bike ride for the expert rider in Moab, Utah. If you’ve ridden the Mag7, Klondike Bluffs, and Moab Brand trails and found them too easy, then the HyMasa and Captain Ahab loop are surely going to test your skills! The climb up HyMasa is beyond technical, with countless step-ups that will test the best riders. The climb makes the descent down Captain Ahab completely worth it, that is, if you want to ride some of the most challenging features and rocky sections in Moab! All said, if you only have a …

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Best Mountain Biking: Mag7 -Gold Bar Rim – Portal | Moab, Utah

For years I’ve starred up at the canyon wall that surround the town of Moab, wondering what exactly is up there any how could I get there. Well, a few weekends ago, I found out exactly how, and it was followed by one of the best days on a mountain bike I’ve ever had. I’m talking about the classic trail link-up of Mag7 to Gold Bar to Portal. Each of these three trails is unique and incredibly challenging for drastically different reasons. And 5 1/2 hours later, my two friends and I were back at the truck, exhausted, and ready for a beer to cap off an incredible day on the bikes.

What exactly is the Mag 7 – Portal Finish trail in Moab? Well, it’s a 21 mile trail that starts on top of the Plateau where Canyonlands National Park is located in Moab. From the trailhead, the route descends down both flowing and technical slickrock for 10 miles. The first half descent tracks down Getaway (Blue), Bull Run (Black), and Arth’s Corner (Blue). Following the first half, starts the difficult section of this trail. Once you cross Gemini Bridges Road, it’s a gnarly, steep, and punchy climb up 1,700ft of desert riding on the Gold Bar Rim Trail and Gold Bar Road. After you successfully navigate the climb to the top of the cliff’s edge, the fun has just begun. A technical traverse along a cliff with a 1000 feet of nothing over the edge on the Gold Bar Rim Trail, followed by one of the most technically demanding and challenging trail, called Portal.

TrailForks Mag7 to Portal Route

The ride isn’t a normal start and finish from the trailhead, unfortunately, there’s a bit more logistics to go into it. You need to shuttle to the top, leaving a vehicle at the bottom for the finish. After that, my two friends Nate and Tyler dropped into the trail for our epic ride ahead of us. Even though the ride is primarily downhill (3,800 feet of descending), in the desert, even when you’re going downhill, it’s still filled with punchy climbs that are exhausting. But that didn’t get in the way of riding some of the most fun trails at the Mag7 area. We took turns leading out down some of the technical features and flowy sections of Bull Run, regrouping after each section to share the stoke. And the first half descent was capped off with my favorite trail in Moab, called Arth’s Corner. This trail is packed filled with rock drops, huge sweeping slickrock sections, and tons of difficult step-ups that require all of your focus and energy to navigate.

Upper Mag7 has amazing views of the LaSalle Mountains

Gold Bar Jeep Road Climb (Mile 10.5)

After the first half descent is done, it’s onto the uphill section. See, in the desert, the trails are made up of either soft or slickrock. Slickrock, which is the infamous orange and red sandstone of Moab, is a mountain biker’s dream terrain choice. Unlike back in the day, when horses and wagon wheels couldn’t gain traction on the rock, which is how it got its name, mountain bike tires grip to slickrock like velcro! This is absolutely required to accomplish some of the difficult, back-to-back sections of climbing up steep 1 to 3 feet step-up climbs. You’re able to crawl up the steepest rocks and never loose traction, well, as long as your legs can keep pushing. And that is required to climb up the Gold Bar Road, which is normally only tackled by modified Jeeps and off-roaders with big engines. And we struggled up this hill, very, very slowly, with very high heart rates.

Example of the average steep, step-up climbs in the desert

Gold Bar Rim (Mile 14.7)

Once you climb up, you treated to one of the most incredible views of the Moab area below. Arches off to the east, Moab to the south, Canyonlands and the Colorado River to the West, and of course, the snow capped LaSalle Mountains off in the distance. And after eating a few snacks, to help replenish our energy that was quickly draining, we headed down on the double black diamond rated Gold Bar Rim singletrack. This trail was wild! Starting off with very steep and technical features that slot between narrow rock sections, spitting you out onto huge slickrock slabs. Each descent was followed by a quick climb up to the next feature, and repeat. All while you skirt the edge of the rim, following the trail that goes ever-so close to the void below. On this section, Nate somehow blew the crank off his bike on a climb, which had us trying to do some trailside repairs to keep riding. Eventually, we were able to get the crankset with it’s damaged splines back onto the bottom bracket with some critical input from Tyler coming up with the solution and we were back riding to the end of the Gold Bar Rim trail, which meant the fun was about to begin on Portal.

“Don’t Look Down!”

Portal Trail (Mile 18.4)

The proline rated (harder than double black diamond) Portal trail, is a Moab classic for the extreme riders out there. Broken up into two sections (Top Half and Bottom Half) will have your nerves, and tires, on edge the entire time. The first half is the iconic portion of the trail where you are quite literally riding on a two foot wide sliver of trail on the middle of a sandstone rockface. As in, hundreds of feet of rock to the right side above you, and hundreds of feet of nothing on your left side. The trail isn’t too technically demanding (relative to the second half), but does feature a few sections that you absolutely must walk your bike, because even the slightest miscalculation will result in certain death. But that doesn’t stop the fun to be had flying along the trail, clearing rocky steps, floating down the chunky drop sections. But once you clear the first half, you are treated to the most difficult riding I’ve ever done. Not so much the steepest trail, but sections of technical rocky features that your tires need to hit the perfect line, maybe only an inch or two wide, in order to have a chance of navigating successfully. I say a chance, because each feature flows immediately into the next, requiring you to maintain your wits about you, looking ahead at the next feature, while your tires are still navigating the one you’re on. The sections of trail can twist, turn 180 on a dime, and drop 10 feet, all within a few yards of trail. And of course, throughout the trail, are sections where the rocks are so unevenly spaced, that the slightest error will result in your front wheel getting stuck and you flying over the handlebars like superman into a less than soft landing. 

Steep exposure along with very technical lines

With that being said, nearly every section of Portal trail can be walked down if you’ve gotten in over your head. Which we definitely did on some of the switchback features. There was no way we were able to control our bikes enough to navigate a hard chunky section at full speed, stop on a dime, then flip the bike around 180 degree, and down a 6ft slab. Just wasn’t going to happen. So it begs the question, can you only say you’ve ridden the Portal trail if you clean every feature? Or is there an acceptable percentage that you can walk? Either way, it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a mountain bike! Will I do it again? You bet! But hopefully I’ll be in better shape next time, so once I get to the top of one of the most difficult trails in Moab, I’ll have all my strength and energy to really rip down that trail! And somehow, all three of us reached the truck without any major crashes, and in good enough shape to head into town for some beers at Moab Brewery!

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Mountain Biking Gooseberry Mesa | Bucket List Riding

The mountain biking at Gooseberry Mesa (Trailforks Link) is unlike anything else in the world. The landscape is completely unique, even among the already diverse Utah riding styles we have in the mountains and the deserts. But how could a mesa, with only 100 feet of elevation gain from trailhead to point, have nearly 700 feet of climbing on the average ride? Well the answer to that is short, steep, and out-of-the-saddle punchy climbs that highlight the entire trail system, that’s how. And though that might sound like most riders’ nightmare, I’m here to explain why the slickrock trails at …

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The Eden Epic | A Truly INSANE Mountain Bike Race

7 Hours in the saddle. 8,000 vertical feet of climbing. 3 miles of hike-a-bike. Oh, and of course a rain-storm that came in just as the racers were on the 9,500′ ridgeline dropping the temps to a finger-numbing 40 degrees. That’s just a part of the sufferfest that is known as the Eden Epic mountain bike race. Mixed in, during the 45 mile perpetual slog, was actually a stunning landscape that wrapped around high above the Eden valley. Check the course out on The race course was a mix of forest roads that were rocky, muddy, and steep, as …

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YETI SB 130 LR Review | My Dream Mountain Bike

As it turns out, a new bike, with components from 2022, will ride a whole lot better than a top of the line bike from 2015. Who would have guessed?! But it all seriousness, each year I’d see the new bikes get released with incremental improvements and I could never really justify spending all that money on a new bike. Well after waiting and saving for 3 years, I finally pulled the trigger and bought my dream mountain bike, a Yeti SB 130 Lunch Ride. Overall, I was looking for a do-it-all trail bike to handle the long days on …

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Gear Needed to Get into Mountain Biking

Getting into mountain biking, back in 2016, was one of the best decisions I ever made. Mountain biking has taken me from mountain tops to desert landscapes, with some of the best times with friends I’ve ever had. So, with that being said, mountain biking can be a daunting to get into. The websites like PinkBike and Backcountry will make it seem like you need a $10,000 mountain bike and all the top gear in order to hit your local trail. I’ll let you in on a little secret… that couldn’t be further from the truth. I got started with …

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My Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails from 2020 | Ranked

2020 I spent a lot of time riding my mountain bike and I wanted to put together this list of my favorite/top 10 trails I rode this year. The trails span Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Idaho. Of course there are so many more trails I rode that would love to top this list, but it’s hard to beat these trails. Check’m out and enjoy. #1 Ribbon Trail – Grand Junction, CO Flat out, this trail is unlike anything you’ve ever ridden. Wide open desert slaps that descend a thousand feet from the Colorado Plateau. Its been on my bucket list, …

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First Bikepacking Trip | Video

First Bikepacking trip was a success! It’s like bike touring, but on a mountain bike, and over some gnarly terrain. You strap everything you need for a night of camping onto your bike and go have an adventure. A quick, overnight trip up to the Wasatch Crest from Park City after work. My buddy Tyler joined me for this sufferfest of a climb, but was all worth it the next morning for a 10mile descent back home. The Route we took started in Kimball Junction, then headed up the UOP, up BLT, followed by a very steep climb on Moose …

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