As my seven loyal readers know, Zoolander is an uncivilizing influence. His enthusiasm for all things cycling — the more punishing the better — is of the type to infect others with the mad belief that they would have an AWESOME time bombing mud-drenched through a cyclocross course or cracking themselves on a monster climb and MUST go find out, NOW.
For a few days in the fall, ZL and his friends see Moab, Utah in a way most of us never will, from a vantage point only attainable on a mountain bike. Here's his account of this year's tour. By the way, if you can't see it, the icon in the first picture says "Extreme Difficulty."
FrameCracker 3.0: Gonzo, Abusive, and Sick
My first tour, we lost two framesets to the sandstone gods, thus the "FrameCracker" moniker. v3.0 elevated the riding to a new level, capped with a true epic.
Day 1: Sovereign
Newer trail about 10 clicks north of town, perfect start for those rolling in from the North (Salt Lake). This is dedicated MTB singletrack, no motorcycles, jeeps, or other BS, just sweet technical riding with steep grunts, ledges, rock outcroppings, short domed slickrock sections, and some flowy fast sections.
The ride out is about a six mile gradual climb to a steeper switchback climb up a sort of mini-mesa. Very cool. There is then the option of dropping into the Salt Wash slickrock playground, but the descent is mostly an un-ridable loose rocky switchback 300-foot plunge. Totally ridiculous climbing (hiking) out, but worth it for the views and slickrock.
The ride back after the white-knuckle switchback descent is ripping technical with some great flow. Great out and back ride with just about everything including red-line technical climbing. Spent a couple hours watching the desert sunset over PBRs in lounge chairs before heading into town to get settled and drink beer at the Moab Brewery.
Day 2: Amasa Back - PotAsh - RockStacker - Jackson
This is actually four different trails, connectable in various ways, but the net-net is a killer day of technical climbing, sandstone, ledges, ripping flowy singletrack, and gonzo technical downhill with some seriously uncomfortable mesa-side exposure.
We did it as a sort of loop covering every inch of the main trails and offshoots. Had a serious bout of vertigo hanging out a few feet from a sheer 5,000 foot dropoff at the top of Amasa looking down onto the CO river. Far out.
Seriously bad ass. Spent the afternoon relaxing, drinking, then headed back over to the Moab Brewery for more pitchers of Derailleur Ale and recovery protein. Most of this ride covered newer marked trails not yet documented, but the Amasa description gives you an idea of what's up.
Ann says: Check out the videos at this link.
Day 3: The Whole Enchilada
Can't describe this one any better than the website. Needless to say it's a transcendent experience and your body pays the price. Sweet bliss and suffering.
Lots of sheer mesa exposure to throw some fear, uncertainty, anxiety, and doubt into the mix, but the views are stunning all the way around. There is just no way to put the kind of diverse riding and terrain into one ride, other than this.
We took a shuttle to the Burro Pass trailhead, an hour drive. Merrik, our driver, was a total dude really into it. Good tunes were scarce, so we sang Air Supply out loud and discussed things not printable.
To start I couldn't breathe on the first climb. 11k feet feels like your brain has shrunk and lungs collapsed. The rest of the climbing at even slightly lower elevation was back to normal; gotta love living at 800 feet. I had a KU jersey, and later in the ride we ran into some guys from Lawrence along the UPS; they were stoked to find some KS boys. Pretty cool.
We witnessed some serious downhilling knuckledraggers clean parts of P-Rim singletrack that I couldn't even fathom. Wow.
I want to do this again.
Ann says: Thanks again, ZL, and to H. for the sweet pulse-jolting pics. Vaulting regard to the three of you for what this riding takes. Hat's off, gentlemen.