Eat, Sleep Ride. Repeat till mind and body reach desired consistency…

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This graphic came on a T-shirt I received as a piece of swag many moons ago while working in my local shop. I still have it, and occasionally wear it for giggles. At the time I received it, I was about to plunge head-long into five years of ultimately fruitless, but all-consuming racing and training. The road-sign images on that shirt were little snapshots of my day. Wake, eat a handful of boring quasi-healthy food, ride till if stops being fun, sleep, repeat. Food was fuel, consumed only to facilitate more riding. Cooking consisted of pushing 2:00 on the microwave and eating off of a paper plate.
When I started with Escape Adventures, I could have burned a pot of water. I had literally never cooked anything more complicated than microwave popcorn. I rarely even ate with other people, let alone cooked for them. It was quite an eye-opening experience to watch the likes Nikki or Jacques plan, purchase and pack five days worth of breakfasts, lunches, snacks, appetizers, dinners and deserts. The day before each tour, enough food and drink to fill two grocery carts and three massive coolers came rolling out of the store toward a waiting Ford E-350 and trailer. All I could do was marvel at piles of raw ingredients as far from a finished product as a lump of aluminum or is from a finished mountain bike frame.
In an attempt to teach me to wear a kitchen apron in addition to a mountain bike helmet, I was sent out with Nikki and Nancy, two zen masters of the guiding arts. This first tour was small, with a guide to guest ration of 1:1. In retrospect I assume that this was to keep my lack of skills from wrecking anyone’s good time. As it happens however, Nikki and Nancy would never have allowed anything untoward to happen in their kitchen, regardless of my hamfisted efforts.
The weather for this particular North Rim happened to be unseasonably cold. Forcing myself out of my ancient sleeping bag and out into the 30 degree, pre-dawn darkness would have been a chore for even the most chipper morning person, let alone a mid-afternoon chap like myself. I could barely walk upright at this hour and temperature, let alone create an artfully prepared smorgasbord of sweet and savory pre-breakfast treats. Normally, the only appreciable affect of temperature on cuisine is the inexplicable addition of pumpkin flavor into everything come fall. In the early season cold however, food prep duties were a Bill Nye-style study in the physical properties of semi-frozen fruits. To appear useful I attempted to make coffee, succeeding only in getting grounds in all the mugs. As I turned to lunch prep, nearly freezing my fingers to the cutting board, I began to wonder how I would ever get the hang of managing all the cooking and kitchen duties, let alone juggle them with driving and riding and guiding and packing and unpacking and rigging and wrenching…
My first tours were week-long anxiety attacks, consisting of one micro crisis after another. What if the guests got up before I did? Did the lunch spread look nice enough? What if I got the van stuck? Where is the BUTTER?!
It took me three years of guiding to not feel like a complete spastic around the kitchen. In that time, due to the infinite patience of the senior guides, I was able to plan and execute a meal without setting it or myself on fire. I slipped into the eat-ride-eat-ride-eat-drink-sleep-repeat routine like an old pair of flip-flips. And I came to enjoy the bonding that comes with a meal shared amongst friends. Laughing and reliving the very recent past over food and beers became my favorite way to spend an evening, and it’s one of the things I miss most about guiding. Fingers crossed, I’ll get to wear a helmet and an apron again soon.

-Heywood Ferret

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Max and Blom go to Washington

This week we have guest author/guide Marc Landblom aka Blom reporting on his recent journey to our nation’s capital for bicycle advocacy with another long time guide Max Lohmeyer (current bike shop owner of the The Hub of Salmon Idaho).  Those who know Blom and Max will know that this is a departure from their norm of being general badass bike guides who can drive a truck, ride a bike, build a damn good storm shelter, use a chainsaw etc…basically going from the physical to the cerebral.  Which is not to say guiding is not a constant mental game but much less of a chess game that politics can be….I’m very proud of those guys for getting out there and representing us mountain bikers at a grassroots level!

Well, I should let Blom tell the story! Thanks for traveling all that way to have your voices heard!  -Nancy

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In March 2013 Max and I took upon a great adventure, the adventure of democracy.  As our privilege and civil duties of being United States citizens, we drove across this great nation to participate in the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC . That’s roughly 2300 miles one way from Salmon, Idaho.  By the way, it’s almost impossible to park a full size pickup in DC.

This gathering of over 750 bicycle advocates represented all 50 states, the first time in the history of the League of American Bicyclists.

The National Bike Summit is an annual event that allows advocates to address bicycle related issues on Capitol Hill.  The first two days of the Summit were meetings within the “League”. This allowed us to create relationships with other advocates and understand everybody’s pursuit for bicycling.  The last day was Capitol Hill Day, where all +750 advocates fanned out to every office and attended meetings with senators and house representatives.

This was my second time to Washington, DC, for the National Bike Summit.  For Max, this was his first taste of democracy at a federal level. A week prior to the summit, we both stood at the State House, in Boise, Idaho, testifying to a committee about the conditions of recreational trails within Lemhi County.  Wearing torn Wranglers and a dirty baseball cap, Max worked the room, catching the attention of all committee members.  But in DC, we had to put on our “Sunday Carharts” and wash the trail dirt from our faces.  This is the big league, not Triple A.

254488_4510289514971_766813514_nBoth Max and I represented Salmon, Idaho.  We delivered the messages to Idaho delegates on Capitol Hill. We requested:

  • That Idaho helps prioritize trail maintenance within Custer and Lemhi Counties.  By having multiuse trails maintained annually, locals and visitors can access public lands for multiple recreations. Plus it will help boost local economy by attracting visitors to our area.

    Beautiful trail riding abounds in Salmon, ID.  Lets make it a permanent fixture!

    Beautiful trail riding abounds in Salmon, ID. Lets make it a permanent fixture!

  • Utilize funds earmarked for trail construction and maintenance. MAP-21, the recent Federal transportation bill, disperses funds to the Department of Transportation of all 50 states. Within this transportation bill is an earmark for “trail construction and maintenance”.  The individual states can utilize this small percentage for road construction and forget about multiuse trails. By bringing this to the attention of our delegates, we may be able to keep these funds from being absorbed by road projects.  These funds will help create employment in rural areas.
  • Utilize local youth corps for trail maintenance and other projects on our public lands.  There are 7 youth corps organizations that operate in Idaho. The Youth Employment Program is the only one from Idaho. The other 6 come from neighboring states.  We need to have these employment opportunities for Idaho’s youth, and to keep our funds within our state.

We met with Congressman Simpson’s office, Senator Risch’s office, and Senator Crappo’s office.  Their responses’ to our requests were good. Senator Crappo’s office has been working with Max to make sure the needs of the Salmon area are met.

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Marc with North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp

I also represented North Dakota for the second year in a roll.  It was important to continue my pursuit for protecting outdoor recreation in the Badlands.  Last year caught the attention of the Senators.  This year I made it clear that this battle is serious.  Both Senator Hoeven’s office and Senator Heitkamp’s office realizes that more needs to be done to protect the Badlands from being wiped out by the oil boom.  These are the requests to the North Dakota Delegates:

  • Keep a safe route through south western North Dakota for bike tourists following the Adventure Cycling routes.  The new route through Medora appears to be a good alternative to the old route through Williston.  Let’s keep safe roadways for cyclists.
  • Keep RECREATION a primary use for the Little Missouri National Grasslands and specific State lands.  Outdoor recreation is an intimate moment between an individual and his/her creator.
  • Help promote recreation towards the new residences of North Dakota.  Many young people are finding it difficult to access these opportunities. It’s easy to find themselves in the bars.  Let’s encourage them to venture outside and enjoy our landscape.  These are the people we need to keep in North Dakota.  Recreation enthusiasts are high spirited, positive thinkers, and are great influences on children.  Let’s utilize our local media to promote outdoor recreation.
  • If there are funds for recreation or for human powered transportation (ex; greenways, sidewalks, multi-use non-motorized trails) will you encourage that those funds be used for their true attentions?  Funds that may come from MAP-21, RTP (Recreational Trails Program) or any State revenues that can improve human powered transportation.
  • Help keep an open migration corridor for big game along the Little Missouri River, one that is free of bridges and other obstructions.
  • Help keep oil well locations far from National Park boundaries.

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    Nancy expresses displeasure of oil wells on the trail in the Badlands. They are already a (de)pressing reality. We just need to keep it to a minimum.

  • If Wilderness designation is create within the ND Badlands will you consider the idea of “Wilderness ‘B’”, so mountain bikes can continue to enjoy all of the Maah Daah Hey Trail.  The Badlands Conservation Alliance is on board with this idea.  North Dakota can be the model for other states to allow all non-motorized travel within wilderness.
  • Attend a Tour of Education.  This is an invitation for all North Dakota Delegates (and their staff) to experience the Maah Daah Hey Trail for a mountain bike adventure.   Or a hike if mountain biking sounds painful.  It’s important for our public officials to understand, first hand, what it means to enjoy the solitude of the Badlands.  For one day or multiple days, come out and experience why the MDHT and the Badlands are so important.  This is not a gift! This is an opportunity to learn the importance of the Maah Daah Hey Trail with the help of a trail expert.  I came to your office to address the concerns of recreation in western North Dakota.  With everything I say and photos that I share, the message is incomplete.  So I ask you to visit my office. The message will speak to you, effortlessly.  Feel free to call and set up an appointment.

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    At Senator Hoeven’s office with Chief of Staff, Ryan Bernstein.

The meetings are proving to be successful.  The message to DC has been delivered to Bismarck, North Dakota, as well.  All the State officials are taking a closer look of the oil impacts on outdoor recreation within the Badlands.  But the battle is far from over.  We can use more help to make this message stronger.  If you experienced the Maah Daah Hey Trail or other activities within the Badlands, will you take the time to help?  Will you email North Dakota officials asking them to protect outdoor recreation within the Badlands?  Address to them, kindly, what you experienced in the Badlands and why its important to keep these experience available for future recreational enthusiasts.  If you can also spread the word to others, asking them to do the same our message will grow stronger.

People to email:

Mr. Lynn Helms, Director of Mineral Resources for NDIC     lhems@nd.gov

Gov. Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota         governor.nd.gov/contact-us

http://badlandsconservationalliance.org/

I want to thank all the supporters that made our journey to Washington, DC possible.  With so much support, we have proven that Democracy works, for those who show up.  Thank you for all the help.

Marc Landblom aka Blom599208_4510268954457_2081435491_n

Guide for Escape Adventures, Secretary of Trails for SIMBA (Salmon Idaho Mountain Bike Association) blom@ridesalmon.com, Crew Boss for the Youth Employment Program and the Outdoor Recreation Advocate for the ND Badlands.

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Tips for Being a Successful Tour Guest

There are many of you Escape Adventures veterans out there reading this that know completely what to expect once we pick you up at the designated hotel on Day 1: great riding, scenery, camping and food. This is a sure recipe for fun! But we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to make sure your adventure is successful for everyone involved:

1. Attitude

First, pick a tour that seems to fit where you want to go and the ability level that closely matches yours.  It seems easy, but this can be a hard one for people to evaluate.  My best advice is that if you and/or friends and family members WANT to be there and have a good attitude about whatever comes your way, you will have a fantastic time.  We don’t go anywhere that sucks.

Attitude is everything! Our guests on this June North Rim blizzard  were smiling the whole time!

Attitude is everything! Our guests on this June North Rim blizzard were smiling the whole time!

2. No Dieting 

Not this week, not on our time.  While we gladly accommodate food allergies and dietary needs, please don’t use your week in the woods to start a new fad diet. Come. Eat. Be Happy.  Trust us, the food will be great.  It’s not like the airlines where you get a slightly better meal if you ask for vegetarian.  I have seen “vegans” eat fish and “vegetarians” eat buffalo burgers. Which is nice and all but the guides buy all the food for the week accordingly.  Plus you’re going to need those extra calories – you’ll be using new muscle groups and probably moving a lot more than you would at home.  3 hours in to a 6 hour ride is not the time to skip a sandwich.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. De-shamming 101

This is a biggie. Chances are you probably haven’t seen the guides relaxing in their bike shorts around the campfire at the end of the day. The reason is the guides have mastered the art of the de-sham (from the root word chamois, of the padded bike short origin).  Now we all know that sometimes the shower situation at camp can be scarce but you can cut way down on the funk by getting rid of that clammy shammy asap.  Bringing enough pairs of bike shorts for each day of the week is a great way to go but if you can’t, air drying them out is the next best thing. Though placement is key: NEVER hang them from the EZ- Up in the kitchen or over the seats in the van, this is very poor etiquette (this has happened).  Also please don’t ask the guides for a mixing bowl for you to use for washing them out (also happened). A ziplock and a little soap works great

This is a Sham Don't.  Use your tent area to air out your goodies...not at head height/eye level please

This is a Sham Don’t. Use your tent area to air out your goodies…not at head height/eye level please

4. Keep Your Digital Devices to a Minimum

Ever notice the word device contains the word vice? This can be really hard but actually really refreshing once you get used to it.  Put it away, take a much needed  break from the internet and connect with nature and possibly others on your trip.  Shutting off your phone for days at a time is very liberating. My father gave me a book when I turned 18 and the title is Be Here Now.  The book is rather long and winds around the point that the title sums up perfectly.  Live in the moment.  Enjoy what is happening right in front of you. You can facebook all the cool stuff you did once you get back to the hotel.

Exceptions: Cameras (of course) and music for the shuttles at the beginning and the end of the tour.

5. Fitness

Many of our tours are at high elevation which can be nearly impossible to train for. Especially for the east or west coasters. But having a good base of general fitness can increase the fun factor tenfold on our trips.  Even if you have never mountain biked before, taking some spin classes over the winter does wonders for your first time out there! We don’t mind teaching the basics once you’re out there but a good cardio base is really nice to have.  Check the details of your trip and make sure you’re not in over your head. And always keep in mind- it’s a tour not a race!  Ride your own ride and enjoy the day.

New Mexico singletrack at 10,000ft - everyone is going to feel that oxygen debt

New Mexico singletrack at 10,000ft – everyone is going to feel that oxygen debt

6. The Numbers Game

These are wise words of advice from celebrity guide Dave Gove who guided for 3 years and now makes cameos once a year:

Forget the numbers. As in time and mileage. Here are the times on tour. Time to eat, time to ride your bike, time to eat again, time relax by the fire. That’s it. And as far as the riding goes we ride till lunch and then till camp. Most of the distances are just right. 3 miles on one trail might be harder than 20 on another so don’t worry about it and go with the flow, we’ve done this a few times. The only number you need to fret about is how fat to tip your awesome guides!

7. Equipment.

If you bring your own bike please get the recommended pre-trip tune up and consider bringing your own derrailleur hanger and brake pads specific to your bike.  If your bike is older than 10 years heavily consider renting one of our demos for road or mountain bike tours.  The new technology will blow you away!

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For more details on any of our fabulous tours:  www.escapeadventures.com or call 1-800-596-2953 and feel free to ask to speak with guide with any questions or concerns!

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How I learned to stop worrying and embrace the group ride….

This weeks’ post is from guest author Erik Klaussen aka Ferret. He’s a former tour guide for Escape and is currently fighting fires in the Las Vegas Metro area when he’s not meeting up with the crew for mountain bike rides. I found this to be a nice counterpoint to my last post….there’s two sides to every coin.

There was a time when I only rode alone.  In fact, my first years on the bike were a one-man wolf pack affair.  In junior high, I rode alone because I couldn’t keep up with anyone.  My rigid high-tensile steel bike and doughboy physique ensured that I was too embarrassed to join any organized trail excursion, no matter how strict the no-drop policy.  I got a shop job, bought a better bike, and for the next few years I continued to ride alone. Eventually I rode alone because I didn’t want to wait for anyone else.  I had ridden alone for so long, I had never developed the cycling social skills to be part of a group ride. I had only one speed: training ride.  Despite race finishes that could charitably be described as mediocre, I continued to prepare for the next one and had no room in my riding schedule for camaraderie.  I had evolved into a loner so gradually I didn’t even realize my social ineptitude until I found myself riding with no fewer than four other people on every ride for three full summers.

Apparently unemployable despite my eye-wateringly expensive education, after college I headed west on a conditional job offer from the only place that gave me one: Escape Adventures out of fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.  Like most of my trips, I made the drive out there solo as well, in an Aerostar loaded with 4 bikes and high hopes for self-enlightenment.  The job, as I understood it, involved a lot of what I was already doing: driving a van and riding my bike.  I was a decent wrench thanks to my years in the shop, I could ride all day and I guess Jared just figured I would learn the rest along the way.  There was no test for group-ride leadership, and that was good, because I might never have made it past the first interview.

I’m fairly certain that my first few attempts at guiding rides were pretty rough.  I was not used to riding with anyone, let alone trying to manage the pace of a wildly disparate group of riders.  Making sure guests didn’t miss tricky trail junctions or get stranded with a flat added even more stress to what had always been a zen activity.  I told myself that riding with the group was part of the job, so there was no need to try and crush it.  But despite my best efforts to heel to the leash of the group, I still rode ahead and looped back, or waited for the group to get ahead then hammered to catch up.  I couldn’t seem to find the flow of the ride.  It was all stop and go, hurry up and wait.  After years of going at my own pace, I was struggling to figure out how a group ride worked.IMG_0120

Things got better though, I started to find the flow in the riding ahead and turning around.  I learned to relax and started to appreciate all the things I’d been missing.  Even when not riding all together, there was a sense of shared experience knowing that someone was just behind or ahead of me on the trail.  Technical climbs were bested with witnesses to prove it and someone to called you out for taking the chicken line.  It was nice to know that someone would be able to help you with your flat, straighten your hanger or take a picture for you.  Tour after tour, high-fives and ‘Yes, dude!’s proved fine substitutes for the iPod and HR monitor. Leading, sweeping or somewhere in the middle, rolling out with a group of people became the new normal.  Without ever really realizing it, I became a social rider.

Given my choice these days, I’ll almost always choose to ride with people rather than alone.  Partly this is due to my fear of dying wadded up in the bottom of a canyon and partly due to the fact that I genuinely like having other people around to share the ride.  Chasing and being chased, holding someone’s wheel and taking their line, talking shit and being challenged make the whole experience that much more fun.  This isn’t to say that I don’t occasionally like to rip a Strava lap while listening to some death metal.  It’s just that more often than not, I like being part of a pack.5 146

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The Beauty of the Solitary Ride

Like many of you most of my riding is done with at least one other friend, if not 3 or 4.  Guiding groups adds a whole other dimension to it.  But when the urge to just get out and go it alone strikes, I’ve found myself in a whole different mindset.  At first, I’m bummed no one was available to go with me, then the I have to remind myself to end the pity party and find beauty in this situation.  And it’s there, right in front of me the whole time…the details of the trail pull themselves to the front.  Spring flowers, a nice skyline, the hum of my knobby tires and the clicking of my cassette. My mind is allowed to wander (or not, depending on the trail difficulty) and all the stress of the day melts off.  And the beauty of it is that I’m riding for me, not to keep up, not to show someone how skilled I am, and not to post a fast time.

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The other night at the Moab Brand Trails was just that.  This trail system for a while has been branded (pun intended) the beginner or family friendly loops but with all the recent trail building it has also turned into a place where locals can get a good quick sunset ride in at after work.

 

 

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Oooh, crytpo scars make me mad!
Breathe, let it go…

Years of guiding have trained me well and it’s hard not shout words of encouragement to a little girl on her first mountain bike ride in Moab (I did) or try to “ranger” the other trail users when seen pulling too far off into the crypto for a break (I resisted).  I pedal on, finding fewer and fewer other riders this late in the day, enjoying the silence on the North 40 Trails. I’m reminded that I’m very fortunate to live and breathe mountain biking, a sport that is considered a hobby for most. This life is a luxury and we are the lucky ones.  How does the saying go? Its easy to make a living in Moab, but its hard to get rich….at least monetarily.

Riding back to the lot, the blood is pumping again, my mind is clear and ready to take on another day.  Life is good.  And the occasional solo ride is good too.

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-Happy Trails, Nancy

www.escapeadventures.com

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Our Top 10 Favorite Tours…

One of the most frequently asked questions from a guest to a guide is “What is your favorite tour?”  Now this is an excellent question but a very difficult one to answer because…well to put it bluntly, we don’t go anywhere that sucks.  With over 60 different tours spanning 12 western states, it can be really hard to narrow it down.  Many of the multi-day guides choose to live in Moab which may tell you something about what the  Southern Utah landscape has to offer a seasoned mountain biker.

Knee deep in bikes, just the way we like it!

Knee deep in bikes, just the way we like it!

But I can’t say how much we thoroughly enjoy traveling to other destinations. So I’ll have to cop out and not tell you my favorite tour but bring it to a top 10 list. Compiled with the input of veteran guides whose combined totals are upwards of 480 Escape Multi-day tours under their belts ! Without further ado….

Top 10 Escape Adventures Mountain Bike Tours:

1) The Maze – Canyonlands National Park, Utah     What can I say about the Maze? It is truly an adventure with some of the most beautiful, tangible and remote scenery of any of our trips. Riding with 360 degree views abound at every turn. We hike through serpentine canyons that feel like the bones of the earth exposed.

Maze Overlook 1

Maze Overlook 1

The maximum numbers allowed at the camps is 9 (including guides) and this assures you a wilderness backcountry experience like no other.  The icing is that on the final day we ride right out on to a tarmac where you catch a scenic flight back to Moab.  How cool is that?

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Mt. Hood goodness

2) Mt Hood – Oregon   This trip epitomizes flowy northwest singletrack!  With great campgrounds and many options for rides in the quiet forest, this tour is surely a guide favorite.  Add to that breathtaking views of glaciated Mt Hood every now and then, plus a waterfall hike! And we love close proximity to Portland but far enough away to leave the crowds behind.

3) Bryce and Zion – Utah   An EA classic founded in the early days of the company, this tour is a great sampler of southern Utah riding.  Starting at the top of Brian Head peak with epic downhills, we traverse through the Dixie National forest hitting key locations including Thunder Mountain at Red Canyon, the Virgin River Rim Trail, and the Navajo Lake Loop and then of course adding in sightseeing at the world famous Bryce and Zion National Parks.

Thunder Mountain! better that Disneyland...Red Canyon, UT

Thunder Mountain! better that Disneyland…Red Canyon, UT

Mountain bikers of all levels have enjoyed this 6 day trip.  For the even more core biker, get on the Brian Head Singletrack Tour (honorable mention) for a step up in difficulty.

 

 

 

 

4) The Maah Daah Hey Trail - North Dakota   Most people would say North Dakota, really? Why would I want to spend my vacation there?  But the reality is that there is a gem of mountain biking hidden in the wrinkles and folds of the Badlands of western North Dakota.  They have over 140 miles of established point to point singletrack trail circumventing Theodore Roosevelt National Park with camps perfectly spaced right about when you’re getting hungry for dinner.  It’s one of the last wild places in the west and should not be missed.

The Maah Daah Hey Trail, an IMBA epic

The Maah Daah Hey Trail, an IMBA epic

5) Best of Canyonlands, Arches and Moab (CAM) – Utah   This is a great trip to take if you want to sample what the Moab area has to offer but the idea of Moab conjures up mountain bike trails so gnarly that they should be left to the pros.  No fear, we have many expert guides eager to show you around their backyard. Plus with the boom of trail building in the last few years, there are so many new trails with a little something for  everyone.  Add in the backdrop of 2 fabulous national parks and a funky little town to base out of and you’re golden.

Delicate Arch, even better with bare feet on warm sandstone
Arches NP, Utah

6) Idaho Hot Springs and Singletrack – Idaho Remote backcountry hotsprings after a full day ride in the Sawtooth mountains? Sign me up! This tour is rated high on the difficulty scale but the rewards are well worth the effort.  If you like all day, pack a lunch, filter water out of stream sort of adventures this tour is for you.  You might even see a black bear….

Empty back country Idaho hot spring...what did you do after your last ride?

Empty backcountry Idaho hot springs…what did you do after your last ride?

7) The Kokopelli Trail – Colorado/Utah   See my blog post from 2 weeks ago for more insight on this epic route from Fruita to Moab.  More than Dirt Roads

8) The White Rim, Canyonlands N.P. – Utah Seeing a national park by way of bicycle is high my priority list when in comes to tourism.  Getting out of the vehicle and onto a bike has such freedom in it with a pace that covers so much more ground than walking.  The White Rim is a 4×4 road that traverses geologic layers which in reality is start of the Grand Canyon’s course.  This 4 day, 3 night trip is a perfect introduction to mountain bike touring and a deeper look at Canyonlands National Park.

Picture yourself riding on that road waaay down there. Now picture yourself eating dinner that you didn't have to make

Picture yourself riding on that road waaay down there. Now picture yourself eating dinner that you didn’t have to make. The White Rim, Canyonlands
Photo by Nancy Morlock

9) Spirit of Mojave – Death Valley N.P. – California/Nevada A common question about this trip is “Can we really ride in Death Valley National Park”.  The answer is yes, although we ride on 4 wheel drive jeep roads through some spectacular and surrealistic  Mojave desert landscapes.  We go places here that the normal tourist doesn’t see by getting off the beaten track. The two campsites we use in the park are very unique. And the last two days of the trip we get our single-track fix riding in Red Rock National Conservation Area.

10) Mt St Helens – Washington  This is a newcomer to Escape repertoire but it’s a definite must do.  The trails are a mountain bikers dream, flowing in and out of a rain forest, through the blast zone of a volcano, and along the banks of the Lewis River.  Views of the Cascade Range are stunning and the camping is great.  Get up there!

Mt St Helens in an August wildflower bloom!

Mt St Helens in an August wildflower bloom!

Did you notice that the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is missing?  Well, we figured you’d find that one on your own.  Of course its great! It’s the GRAND CANYON!

For more info on any of these trips hit up escapeadventures.com or call 1-800-596-2953

Keep the rubber side down,

Nancy

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The Morning Work Ride

This weeks’ blog is written by guest author Tim Schall, Moab Cyclery’s/Escape Adventures mountain bike day tour and multi-day guide.  Enjoy a day in the life of Tim..

As the world is waking up, the day tour mountain bike guide probably wakes up the same way.  A good breakfast with coffee. Often lots of coffee. Although I recommend not having too much coffee, as it can often be beneficial to not be overly awake when starting your day.photo

After a sometimes chilly morning ride to the shop you start getting bikes and the van ready. Water jugs on the van need to be checked, plenty of gas and the van should look nice and be clean. Bikes need to be prepped with pedals and water bottles. Sometimes lunches need to be packed in a cooler or on your back. In the event your bike needs servicing, now is the time to do it.

And then……..they arrive.

Your guests for the day. You watch them in a somewhat stealthy stance,  Sizing them up so to speak.  This is where you start to think of where you are going to take them to ride. After they take care of the initial monetary obligation and sign their “risk assumption waiver” you meet them.  Smiles, name exchange, hand shakes, and trust building begins.
The first thing I do is explain components and workings of the bicycle and the proper fitting of a bicycle helmet. After a quick parking lot test ride we load the bikes on the van and are off to the trails.

On the way to the trail we learn where everyone is from, where they ride, how much they ride. This is the time when you decide where you are going to take them to ride. You do not want it to be so hard that they will never ride a bike again but you also want them to be challenged and to have fun.IMG_1796 We will usually start easy and work our way up to more intermediate trails. We will see the Marching Men and the Windows
of Arches National Park from probably 15 miles away.  Sometimes will have the opportunity to walk out on Mussel Man Arch and ride down The Shafer Trail in Canyonlands National Park. The eye candy is some of the best in the world hands down.  Through the day as a tour guest you have to remember that you are riding in the mountain bike capital of the world. The trails here are fun and challenging with plenty of room to learn.iStock_000010300916XSmall As a guide I am always happy to give riding advice. It is a great feeling to ride with someone when it clicks and becomes a better rider throughout day. It’s sometimes hard to get them back to the van at the end of the tour as they often don’t want to stop riding.

Life long friendships are sometimes built and I am always interested to hear where and how much former guests are riding.

Michelle jumps for joy at the dinosaur tracks, Klondike Bluffs

Michelle jumps for joy at the dinosaur tracks, Klondike Bluffs

Then the sad time comes when we load the van again and head back to the bike shop.
Upon arrival at the bike shop  heartfelt goodbyes and wishes of “good luck” and “safe travels” are sincerely exchanged.

The morning ride is over.

Then, clean and tune the bikes. Wash and gas the van. Then get tomorrows bikes ready for the tour.

After all this is done……It’s time to take another bike ride!!!

 

 

To go for a ride with Tim or any of our other day tour guides call 435.259.7423 or click www.moabcyclery.com for more Moab day tour information! Mention this blog for a free gift!

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