You might be able to tell from the slickrock that we are down in Moab! Southern Utah is our new favorite home away from home, and we finally made time to dig out our mountain bikes and go for a ride.
Moab is known for its highly technical mountain bike trails. (In fact they used to sell T-Shirts saying "I survived" if you could ride the trails here and still walk away at the end). Luckily in the last few years, new, purpose-built mountain biking trails are springing up all over the Moab area. And some of them are even for beginners. :)
The 7Up trail is considered an intermediate trail, but much of it is just a jeep trail which runs mostly down hill. There are a few nice obstacles, and lots of slick rock. I've done this trail before, as the last section of the Moab 24 Hour Adventure Race last fall. I figured if I enjoyed it after 22 hours of racing through the night, I would really enjoy it on fresh legs!
Jim and I got a shuttle up to the trail head to save us riding about 20 miles of uphill. Our shuttle driver got a flat tire on the way up the hill, but eventually we got a spare on, and still arrived at the trailhead. From the top of the plateau, we could see in all directions, but then dropped into the 7Up trail. From there we were looking at the ground more than the sky. The trail wound around a few small canyons, with plenty of nice scenery around.
This was Jim's first bike ride in a while, and my first since that Adventure Race, so we weren't racing. The blue marks painted on the trail showed us the way, and Jim led out on what was a mostly downhill, mostly rolling course. Nothing too technical. Although I still did get off my bike a few times. Less than during the race though!
After 10 miles of trail, we ended up on the highway which runs down from Canyonlands National Park. From there it was another 15 miles back into Moab. I'd say those miles were mostly downhill (and they were), but with a steady headwind up the canyon past Arches National Park, it was hard work getting back.
Now that we're back in the saddle, maybe we'll head to some more technical trails. Hmmm...
Here's some info on all of the Mountain Bike trails in the Moab area: http://www.discovermoab.com/biking.htm