Tuesday, April 9, 2013

St. George, Utah - Mountain Biking

I have been debating the purchase of a mountain bike for the past few years.  Utah offers an almost unlimited amount of mountain biking adventure potential, but I worried that my interests in road cycling, backpacking, and running would not allow enough time on a mountain bike to justify the expensive purchase.  I finally decided to buy a bike and I went with the Scott Spark 950 29er full suspension mountain bike.  Thanks to Roger, and the guys at Contender Bicycles in Salt Lake, for all of the advice.

I spent the past weekend with Roger, Keith, and Melissa, in St. George, Utah trying out the new bike.  In addition to some mountain biking, the trip offered a chance to escape the cooler weather of northern Utah and attend Hunter and Col's patio celebration on Saturday night.

Trail head at Santa Clara River Preserve

Roger and Keith

View from Sidewinder Trail

I found the riding to be a lot more difficult that I was expecting.  The primary challenge was feeling confident enough to tackle hills and obstacles while clipped in to the bike.  It is much more difficult to unclip from the pedals in a panic and I found myself on the ground several times.  I also had to walk my bike at several points because the trail was too challenging for my skill level.  Fortunately, both Roger and Keith are very patient people and mostly ignored my minor temper tantrums along the way.

My new bike!

Flowering cacti along the trails

Suicidal Tendencies bike trail - not the best choice for my beginner skills

Roger and Keith

The Barrel Roll trail was mostly great and I was able to ride my bike a lot more than I did on Suicidal Tendencies.  But at that point in the day, my frustration with my ability was limiting the fun.  The views from Sidewinder, Suicidal Tendencies, and Barrel Roll were fantastic and hopefully I'll get a chance to try these trails again when I know what I'm doing.  We called it a day around 3pm and headed off to Hunter and Col's house to enjoy a fantastic evening on their newly finished patio.

On Sunday, Roger took me over to the Bloomington area to try some easier riding.  We spent a few hours riding on mostly flat and rolling terrain, and while the scenery wasn't as fantastic, the riding was more suitable for my skill level.

Bloomington Trail head area

Enjoyable easy riding

With very patient Roger!