On board with Double World Champion Gee Atherton and Insta360 as he takes his Atherton Bikes AM.150 down the infamous Portal Trail in Moab.
The Portal Trail couldn’t be more different from Gee’s usual trail rides in the Dyfi but the AM.150 took everything in its stride. In places the trail is super-exposed, with a cliff immediately to the left of the trail plunging hundreds of feet, it’s narrow, it’s rocky, there’s dust everywhere and there is absolutely no room for mistakes.— The Athertons
You can see those “oh shit” moments in this video.
Moab has a way of stalling you in place. In the case of this trail, hope you err to the uphill side!
Might have been before the red signs flagged it. Back in the day. Hope I’m wrong. Hope it’s a big LOL!
Yeah, I guess there is some rumor involved. I’ve spent many a week riding/camping Moab. Portal is a legend in Durango, so the truth was probably stretched.
I’ve never come so close to dying on a bicycle as I have in Moab! Multiple times..
I got into a high speed bar swap on a sloping DH on Slickrock Trail. Thought it would be ugly, until I got to the bottom and realized I was about to do a 60mph cartwheel.
Didn’t start as a cliff, but it did end as one!
If you’re going Ricky Bobby here, then I’d say there’s a better chance Tom Cruise would do a fly by and catch you just before you hit the ground..
Maybe I’m just getting old, but I’m 100% down with your statement here…
LOL! That was my first thought!
For terrain alone, Moab is the best in the country.
Bombing sand pits on Slickrock Trail is badass! Climbing crazy steep slickrock is nuts.. If you ever thought you could climb straight up a Mtn if you only had the traction, go to Moab! And it’s the most beautiful desert in the US.
It’s a universe of phenomenal trails and views! And now with the west end trails like EKG, it’s like nothing else.
All good points. Kinda wish he just picked a different Moab trail.
Gee was doing it right- you have to carry serious momentum on high consequence trails there.
I almost fell off a cliff on Whole Enchilada once because I came to a dead stop.
Better to just smash, and that takes real skill. And more than my old school Tallboy 100mm of shock travel!
The little red sign comes into view at 1:04-1:05.
As much as I hate trail-neutering, I'd also be fine with working on those sections, since it would take out some of the traffic jam that forms on Portal.
Oh god! Now I remember, I couldn’t clip out, both times!
That’s why I crashed, to the happy side. Rather than plummet..
The town of Moab doesn’t see it as bragging rights..
I'm not frustrated. It is just the way it is if you ride really rocky trails aggressively. I could just not ride that ride.
I had come across the Gold Bar rim and this guy came up Porcupine just in front of me. He started down Portal maybe 100 feet in front of me. I watched him approach the crux, then I was focused on my front wheel for a few moments, I heard a clanging noise and he was gone. I didn't initially realize he wasn't still in front of me, but when I got off the cliff edge part of the trail onto the big angled ramp I couldn't see him anywhere. Again, initially I thought, "Wow, that guy must be flyin!". After a while I realized he must have gone somewhere else, still not believing he'd died right in front of me. After I rode back to town I talked to a cop and he set me straight on there being no possible alternate route.
I saw a day later on the news they'd recovered his body. He fell roughly 400 feet to the talus. And no, I didn't even try to ride the crux, taking it to be an unacceptable risk.
After watching this video now I'm wondering about the trail. The cliffside part looked like it was smoother and less gnarly than I remember, but the part of it on the ramp looked much more difficult. Was it rerouted at some point? I'll admit it has been a while since I did it, but my recollection of the ramp was that it was straightforward. I know I only walked the cliff crux, I didn't put my feet down anywhere else. In the video it seemed the hardest riding was all on the ramp.
Am I correct, or is it just early onset alzheimers kicking in?
One other thing that makes portal "harder" than most trails is that you have a solid pedal just to GET to it. I can't remember that stats of the top of my head, but it is a solid mornings' ride (couple hours plus) with decent elevation gain on Moab-blue trails (meaning ledgy, punchy, fun) just to get to the top- then you have a solid bit of blue/black on Gold Bar, which if you choose the black adventure, has some solid moves- and then you finish the day with Portal. So unless you have good fitness, most of the people that ride portal are already beat to sh*t and tired before they start it.
All that said it's on the whole one of the best days you can spend on a bike.
I would not ride it again.
Very sick riding.
For many riders that would be considered "fun".
Which is the real problem: all the spots where you-fall-you-break-your-collarbone have already been turned into handicap ramps. No one actually seems to want to ride a mountain bike anymore—it’s all about how fast you can get down a polished trail.
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