Thought I should post up a bit more about the trip Charles and I just returned from. It turns out that St George was an excellent choice for some great riding/weather. Excellent was reinforced even more by the hospitality and intro's we got from the crew at Desert Cyclery.
Before I get into that, lets flick the time machine backwards a few days... Here's a shot out the Airbus window on the way down to Las Vegas where we would be picking up our minivan for the two hour night drive into St George. Air Canada now has onboard entertainment planted into the chair back in front of you, allowing for a choice of several movies and other offerings. Bond, James Bond. I have to say the new Bond movie "Casino Royale" is my fave amongst all the other Bond flicks.
When planning a road trip like this, no expense is spared. Welcome to the EconoLodge. For the more discerning crowd, I recommend bypassing this one but for two frugal (cheap) mtb'ers it worked out well. The beauty of staying at this place would be its close proximity to Neilson's Frozen Custard (ice cream shop across the street) and Cafe Rio (Mexican restaurant across the street) we were regulars. After five days of Mexican the EconoLodge doesn't smell any better. ;-)
Since Doreen was back in Calgary with the boys, I couldn't think of a better sight to wake up to in the morning.The Ellsworth held up to everything that was thrown at it, with the exception of my rear dérailleur (uugh). Fortunately Desert Cyclery helped me out with that one under the expert hand of Andy on the wrench.
All told we did approx 15hrs of cross country riding or approx 18hrs of trail time if you count the three hours were either waiting for someone to catch-up or just simply enjoying the views. The terrain is way different than riding Kananaskis Country, it's similar to Moab but better in my opinion. Some of the trails we hit were Paradise Loop and associated offshoots, all of Gooseberry Mesa, Bearclaw Poppy trail, Bloomington Micro-Loop, Stucki Springs, Church Rocks/Prospector Trail, Rockville Bench/Slickrock Swamp and Zen Trail. I might have forgotten one or two of the trails and some we did more than once. Here's a shot of Charles and I about to dive into Paradise Loop which you can see heading off into the distance behind us.
This was a reasonably common sight, either Charles or I hanging off our bikes trying to catch our breath after a good effort. Even though we were working pretty hard during most of the rides, the terrain was so much fun my perceived exertion felt way lower than it should have been. If I was redlining my heart rate I was just having so much of a blast that I didn't want to ease off. The trails we did were quite a bit easier both technically and climbing wise as compared to riding in Kananaskis Country. It's so different from the stuff we usually ride, it feels like a massive skateboard park designed for cross country racers. To ride it well, or ride it fast you had to work pretty hard, and we worked pretty hard. My body is a bit tired now that I'm back and it looks like I'm going to be on the CompuTrainer again since we have more snow in Calgary at the moment. From desert to snowbank, hilarious. If someone wants to head to St George again tomorrow, give me a call, 'cause I'm in.
Uhmmm, heading there again tomorrow, that was a joke.