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.
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
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.
Look out for event photos from John Gibson (also known as Gibby) and Jean McAllister. After previously shooting Moab Rocks, John says,
Photos by John Gibson and Jean McAllisterMoab mountain biking trails