Preview of the 3-Day Moab Rocks XC MTB Stage Race

Apr 12, 2018
by Evan Guthrie  
John Gibson Photo

Words by Evan Guthrie

The spring has sprung in Canada (in most parts anyway) and many have flocked south to get their first taste of the trails again. Moab is a place where many have gathered for this weekends Moab Rocks stage race. The event takes place over this coming April 14-16th weekend. A small city situated near the Utah/Colorado border and known for its tourism, but more importantly to us riders, Moab is a world-class riding destination.

This year will mark the 5th running of the three-day mountain bike stage race. The first three years took place in the fall and last year was moved to the spring time. This worked out to be a great early season goal to train for and a spring board for events later in the year. Riders have three professionally marked courses, aid stations, and medical support. The event starts off with a pre-race social the evening of the 13th before riders start the following morning downtown Moab. Each day riders meet at the start and have a quick briefing on the stage before setting off. Over the course of the day riders will cross the finish line and start preparing for the next stage. This could be done with a massage, an ice bath, a chocolate chip cookie and, I assume for most, a cold, tasty beverage. Each evening there will be an official awards ceremony for each categories top-3 stage finishers and current GC overall standings. This will be followed with a photo slideshow by John Gibson and Jean McAllister, which can be enjoyed over wobbly pops from the Moab Brewery.

Jean McAllister Photo

bigquotesThe TransRockies crew loves coming to Moab - it has such a strong cycling culture! Moab is one of the original mountain bike meccas which has only gotten better in recent years with tons of great new singletrack trails coming online in recent years. We’re thrilled to be able to highlight some of the great trails in the area.Owner/Operator of Moab Rocks and Transrockies Events, Aaron McConnell

John Gibson Photo

This year's race covers 127 km over three days in three trail networks. Personally as a rider who has never been to Moab (I know, I know, please make fun of me) this event was one on the to-do list for many years and finally it was the time. After competing in a TransRockies event last summer, Singletrack 6, I am excited to return for another event in a new place. These are the types of races that bring everyone together and allow first time racers and Olympians to share their passion of the sport. These events remind me why I started this bike racing venture some fifteen years ago and still love doing it. If it wasn't great people at great events I would probably wouldn't be doing this still, because that is what ties it all together. I hope everyone at this year's race makes new friends, shares their experience over beers, and somehow gets to lend a helping hand out there to someone who needs a few words, a push, or maybe even a stick and duct tape to keep their bike together.

For some riders this will be their first event and others a training race. This is the type of event that suites all; first-time racers all the way to professionals. Riders are from right here in the US, Canada, Mexico, Spain, El Salvador, New Zealand, and Switzerland. The event is attractive with it's long loops and point-to-point stages, something different than the usual multiple lap cross-country race. You might even get lucky enough to be so far out in the hills that you can't see anyone else or hear anything but yourself breathing.

Stage 1: Porcupine Rim, Distance: 40.4 km, Ascent: 1231 meters

Stage 2: Klondike Bluffs, Distance: 41 km, Ascent: 949 meters

Stage 3: Magnificent 7, Distance: 45.6 km, Ascent: 764 meters

Jean McAllister Photo

Last year's overall race winner, Geoff Kabush, will be returning to defend his title. Geoff is a multi-time Canadian Olympian and beer connoisseur, so if any racers have questions about how to attack the course or what beer is best for recovery, make sure to consult Geoff.

bigquotesI enjoy racing but most of all I enjoy riding great trails in beautiful destinations. Moab is a such a legendary place and Moab Rocks Stage Race is a perfect way to start off my season. Exploring the three different riding areas and racing last year stages was a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward going back to this year’s event. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go ride and race in Moab?Geoff Kabush

John Gibson Photo Geoff Kabush wins Stage 2 of Moab Rocks.

Look out for event photos from John Gibson (also known as Gibby) and Jean McAllister. After previously shooting Moab Rocks, John says,
bigquotesIf you live somewhere with a winter filled with cold and snow you start to think about escaping right about this time of year. Moab is now a mecca for all kinds of bike riders. But there are so many trails now in the area it seems like there’s still room for everybody out there.

Moab Rocks has been running for a few years now and you may find yourself lined up beside an Olympian or another rider like yourself who just needed to get out of the house for a few days.

John Gibson Photo
Photos by John Gibson and Jean McAllister

Moab mountain biking trails

MENTIONS: @eveono

Must Read This Week


  • + 43
 Looks like a good race for a down-country bike.
  • + 1
 So rad
  • + 19
 down country would work great for a couple miles of most stages but an enduro fork swap mid run and some gravel grinding tires for the flat sections will definitely get you on the podium depending on your rim width
  • + 3
 Looks like they are ending the porcupine section before the fun part. How does one find out about these races in Moab a week in advance?
  • + 2
 @Kitejumping: That part is in a "Wilderness Study Area" where competition permits aren't available. The enduro race down porc always ended in the same spot.
  • + 1
 @lelandjt: Interesting, hopefully it never turns into full on wilderness where biking is banned.
  • + 8
 Driving from Pittsburgh to Moab tomorrow. Camping for two weeks. My first time riding in Utah. Can't wait!
  • + 1
 It'll make you a better rider, for sure! Get some for me, maybe I'll cross your path this weekend.
  • + 1
 Perfect time to ride in Moab! Just got back yesterday. P.S. Drink and pack more water than you normally do even if it's not hot. You'll thank me later.
  • + 2
 You will never ever see a race on the Portal trail because its way too dangerous, as there are many things that you have to consider when putting a race together, like the liabilities if people die or get hurt. The Portal trail probably has the most exposure in all of Moab, and would be the last place you will ever find a race on.
  • + 3
 Did stage 1 last week, thanks for not calling it the whole enchilada stage, and did stage 3 from town Thursday, it isnt quite Mag7 without gold bar and portal though, would love to see a race down portal Wink
  • + 3
 People who race uphills do not race down portal...
  • + 4
 Riders have died here. Riders just like you!
  • + 1
 Yeah, its got some exposure for sure! First trail I rode in Moab back in '99, did it again yesterday in high winds. One of my favorites for sure!
  • + 1
 I think it must have been you Evan that we ran into and chatted for a bit while you and your mates were setting up flags and arrows somewhere along LPS. You did a good job reigning in the judicious use of orange flagging tape being applied to nearly every tree! What an ideal weekend for a race. Not hot, good breeze, great racing I hope!
  • + 3
 Would love to go back to Moab, we went in Nov and had 21, 22 degree weather. The restaurants were good, ppl were friendly and trails were awesome. I'd go back in a heartbeat
  • + 3
 Got a trip booked to Moab in October, and the forecast is for 30cm of snow mid April. Not jealous at all
  • + 3
 actually, snow falls by the inch in UT! in all seriousness, precip there is heavily influenced by elevation and location. it doesn’t look like it’s snowing in moab itself, but up the la sal mountains is a different story.
  • + 1
 @jtayabji: I think he means snow in Canada where he lives. It did dump a few feet in Utah over the weekend, but none of it fell in Moab. La Sal's looked gorgeous on Saturday!
  • + 3
 My BALLS are sooooo happy not to be a part of this.
  • + 1
 Nice Evan!
  • + 1
 Looks siiicckkkk!!!
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