Category Archives: Trans Utah

TU finds a home

Trans Utah is bound to generate a lot of questions, especially since the route has not yet been established.  Other considerations include equipment (what will it be like doing a multiday at elevation in the fall??) and rules (what is this team category anyway?). 

 TU gets it's own link category to the right, and I've set up a forum to handle the Q & A.  I'm not a big fan of MTBR and wanted something I could keep track of better.  You'll need to register to make your first post. 

Fire away!

Trans Utah date

It's high time I set a date for Trans Utah if I expect anyone to do the ride with me, so without further ado, here's what you need to know.

  • Start: Friday, Oct 3 at 3am. 
  • Route:  The starting point is my house in St George, the finish point is Escalante.  The course will include elevations of 2500 to 10k; a bit over 300 miles; Lots of everything - dirt road, fireroad, singletrack, a touch of pavement,  big views, lotsa fall colors in the high country.  I'll have a GPS file ready in September.
  • Services:  there will be long sections between towns but options will exist roughly 10 miles off-route.
  • Concept:  this is leg one of a route that will eventually go to Moab from StG. 
  • Rules:  similar to GLR, AZT etc, with the addition of a 2 person team format.  Self-supported where the self-supported concept applies to the team as a whole, whether that team is one or two riders.

The route is point to point.  That means we need to do some shuttle action.  The drive is about 3 hours one way.  I've cleared Thursday, Oct 2 to do some shuttles with folks.  I'll also open my house to anyone that's in, well if you don't smell funny.

Any questions?  Who's in?  Ah, that's right...anyone likely to do it is out flogging themselves on the CT right now.

Calling all Ladies

Think hard for a minute here:  what is missing from the self-supported racing genre?  I'm talking about the ones that take more than a day, where you are way out there with overnight gear.  I can count on one hand the # of ladies I'm aware of who have done (2 of them out there at it right now - go Mary, go Jen!)  such efforts.

Why is this?  There may be arguments for wild critters like bear, mountain lions and the like being higher on the foodchain out there - but really?  I think it has more to do with the accessibility to this type of education in remote places:

Seriously, it was all crystal clear to me last fall when Ion and I were shot at and harassed by drunken rednecks on ATVs for 2 hours in the night.  That experience will forever change how I choose where to camp.  I hate to think how that would have gone down for a lone gal...

I have a solution. 

Introducing the 2-person self-supported team category.

What is it?  Teams of 2 can race self-supported events, where all the standard rules apply to the team.  IOW, teamates can help each other any way they see fit - dividing up gear, sharing gear, telling each other they look marvelous, whatever.  The team must still be self-supported.  They don't have to stick together at all times - it's up to them how they handle that.  But each member must cover all the course, and the finishing time granted the team is that of the last to finish.

Some motivations for this would be...

  • rider safety
  • removing (at least minimizing) the concern for personal safety among female racers
  • creating an environment where those lucky few that work better together than apart can do so and not be penalized for it...
  • I want to do Trans Utah with Lynda as my partner.

Trans Utah will have such a category.

So...calling all ladies!  If the issues mentioned here have been holding you back...tell your partner to start training and join us this fall.

I know there are some fast gals out there in the endurance world :)

Good luck at the Firecracker Sarah!

New toy for this boy

Siren Mary, Brendan, and Matt stopped by for a bit yesterday.  They are on their way to Banff for Mary's start to Tour Divide.  Mary looks so good!!!  Calm, strong, witty, she's in a great space leading to this most epic of epics.  We talked strategy and equipment...they even pulled her bike off the car for us to spin around a bit.  Killer handlebar setup with tons of position options from cruiser upright to aero back stretching.  Sorry, no pics (I was slacking on the camera dept!).

They also left us with this little beauty.

I never thought I could be so excited for a times have changed.  This bike has a long history keep the story short, it never could have happened without Lynda.  It's been custom built by Brendan to my specs with the goal of multi-day SS forays in mind, hence the big front triangle for frame bag storage.  It's a 29er.  Did I mention it's a single speed?

It just so happens I have a pair of sweet liteweight wheels laced up by MC to go on her.  The Explosif is getting canibalized - at a frame weight of 1.5 lbs heavier than the Siren it's been benched ;) 

There's been lots of help getting it built up.

First ride in a few hours!  Then I'll break it in at KMC this weekend.  How better to get the ride dialed, eh?

Time has been tight lately...too much livin' to keep up on the blog - but TransUtah explorations continue.  The latest was a foray to find an entrance to the west side of the Paunsagunt plateau - not as easy as one may imagine.  Private land everywhere in the valleys beneath the rim, you can get within a mile of Forest Lands most anywhere but that last mile could get you shot...success was finally had though, here's the teaser.

From June 08

Trans Utah ‘sploring resumed!

Smith Mesa was the object of our tires today.  Not very technical, good thing cause you can't keep yer eyes on the trail.  Plenty steep though.

Rumors of ejector seats and flying monkeys abound behind these signs.  We sure wanted to explore...but resisted.  These signs really pull ya in don't they?

This is where the monkeys land.

Hey Matthew Lee, this is for you bro.

Zion is part of the route...but not by the standard entrance.

Sun, snow and wind today.

The route was clear to 6500' - ok it was plowed.  It climbs to something over 9k - but we'll have to wait a few months for that ride.

Views so big as to leave imprints in our brains...daydream fodder.

Trans Utah: when, where?

It's almost March and everyone is getting their season plans in line.  It's high time I make an announcement on Trans Utah.

The route is massive.  The long range plan is this: 

  • fall '08 St George to Escalante or Big Water
  • fall '09 Escalante or ? to Moab
  • fall '10 St George to Moab

Originally it was going to be a spring event, but the reality is that due to massive quantities of sand in these parts the route will need to get high - and winter snows prevent the spring timeframe.  Fall it is.

The exact route for this year's edition is yet to be determined, but I have a lot of GPS files to look through, and ground recon to reflect on.  Some ramblings and images are here:  It's spectacular country between StG and Escalante - huge views, all day climbs, enough color and contrast to keep the imagination busy for...a lifetime.  Elevations will range from 2,500' to 10,500'.  Distance?  hmmm....300ish.  Amount of climb?  Roughly 35k'.  Generally more rideable than GLR but nearly as remote.  There will even be some really, really fun singletrack.  The route will flirt with Zion and Bryce national parks, the Markagunt and Paunsugunt plateaus, the GWT, Grand Staircase - possibly ending at Big Water via Smokey Mountain road.  Plenty of surprises in there too.  A GPS track will be provided for the route.

For the timing, I'm somewhat open.  The tentative date is Oct 3.  This is 1 week before 24 hours of Moab, so clearly you can't do both.  The other date would be 1 week later right during the Moab event.  So all 3 of you that might be interested in this, have an opinion?  ;)

Yep, it's a point to point.  The route will make the added logistics worth the effort, I promise.

Smoky Mountain ‘sploratory

The Smoky Mountain road between Big Water and Escalante covers huge expanse of remote, lonely, beautiful country.  The road surface is actually quite good for the most part.  Water availability is not bad either.  It's been dry for a good long while yet we found plenty.  The area lends itself nicely to an ambitious 2 day or ambling 3 day bike trip - I highly recommend it so I'll post a few more details than normal for this one.

A lot of these pics ya gotta click for the big version...

Near the start of the route (starting at Big Water) this sign looks so new and official.  Not to worry, the man was nowhere to be seen and every other sign was bullet riddled, old and illegible ;)

After a bit the climbing comes on in earnest taking you up to the southern end of the Kaiparowits plateau.  Initially steep, it rolls a lot through drainages and contours in other spots.

Lake Powell in the distance, Smoky Mountain road contouring below.

Ion working it up the final grunt to the plateau.

Other signs of life.  This was the first (but not last) time I would hear yee-haw! this trip.  Cowboys are grumpy.

We took a diversion.  At Collet Top we headed over the Left Hand Collet canyon to descend to Hole in the Rock road.  The Grand Staircase site said the road conditions were "unknown."  In the future I'll know unknown means non-existant.  The conditions were unknown cause this rockslide prevented vehicle traffic and the road was later abandoned. 

For the most part we traveled a stream/canyon bottom for 11 miles.  Most of it was rideable but very slow.  Sand, water, big rocks and boulders, a bit of slickrock - a real cornucopia of conditions.  Slow going, but it really put a smile on our face anyway.  It's not everyday you get to ride something like that.

A cruise on HitR road took us to Escalante.  It'd be easy to get lodging there and not take the overnight gear...

But you'd miss out on this.

You'd also miss out on the redneck locals.  For future reference don't ever camp in the open near towns on a Sat night.  Holy crap...repeated high powered rifle shots overhead scared me beyond belief.  And here I thought I was afraid of nothing in the woods....drunk johny reb and his 12 half brothers were playing all sorts of antics.  Big spotlights looking for gawd knows what, they spotted us in our sleeping bags.  Shit.  Nothing like being the evening's entertainment for local drunken idiots.

Yea, nice sunrise pic but note the atv track in the lower right corner.  This shot was taken from where I was camped.  They came by within inches in the middle of the night spewing rocks and hoots and hollers.  The episode lasted at least 2 hours...

Heading south from Escalante on the Smoky Mtn road takes a nice climb to the ride's high point.

Beyond this point there is a wonderful section of rolling road.  It skirts several canyons, crosses others, big views abound.  You'll have to ride it to see it, I was too enthralled to stop ;)

I took a spur to the SW on Heads of the Canyons road.  It goes in and out of several drainages.  Plenty of up and down and road conditions similar to the Kokopelli trail.  I kept having deja vu...then I realized riding this was remarkably similar to the White Rim - except much less traveled, more tech and more climby.

It drops through canyons on it's way to Big Water.  This looked old and abandoned but there was food in the cupboards - oops!

Everywhere to the north is wilderness study area - no motorized vehicles allowed.  Nice ATV tracks here, not one of them turning around at the signs.  What is about ATVs that requires disrespect for land and your fellow man plus mass stupidity to ride them?  My disgust is complete.

Strange black hearted canyons on the way into Big Water.

So there you have it.  This may be the off-season and all...and I think I'm chilling out but I've got quite the string of 25 hour weeks going here.  It's just too much fun to stop!