This photo is Tom Stengel at Desert Iron in Moab adding extra support to our custom bike rack. Why? The approach “roads” around Moab work a rack hard due to all the rocks and ledges… kinda like The Whole Enchilada for a van or our Cruiser.
The terrain we bike on is, of course, even more challenging and downright abusive on our bikes. Lesser bikes will not cut it; not for the whole season. We buy these upgraded, high-end bikes because Solfun visitors to Moab are looking for an ultimate experience. That includes the beefier, higher tech mountain bikes we enjoy. The eye candy aspect is there too.
Experienced riders come to us with good single track skills. I’ve asked them what works for them and I agree with all they expound. I’d love to hear from you regarding what works for staying on track, especially when it’s tight and essential. What I hear the most is balance and where you keep your eyes. Keeping your focus ahead about 20 yards or more helps you anticipate obstacles and you get less front wheel wobble. Staying balanced over your bike always help you ride better and on track.
A few years ago I was following my son, Mark, on a narrow single track ride. I asked him to pick up his pace as I was about to fall over. He did, but told me I needed to work on my balance. Me? I’ve played a game for years where I focus on my balance with center axis right oner the bike left to right and front to back. When I’m winning the game, I can ride over and through all kinds of nasties and look like it’s easy… it feels sooooo good!
The “eyes out” part I learned as a Freestyle Skiing (moguls) competitor more than a few years ago. My coach would holler at me as I came out of the gate, “Up, up, up, up, up!” I was watching what was happening at the front of my ski’s, not anticipating what was a few turns ahead on my line. When I keep my eyes out on the mountain bike trails, I anticipate my moves and ride better and safer. My “computer” already knows wuz up in the nasties out front. Watching up close is sorta like driving your car while watching the hood ornament. Up, up, up, up!
The woman in the photo has her eyes out front and has her center axis right over the bike. If she were standing on both pedals she would have even better balance. Give me your ideas on balance and focus, would you? Any other mountain biking skills would be appreciated.
I found this photo of Pat, my lovely bride, on the same ride as the photo above. Notice how balanced she is as she stands on both level pedals, eye’s out… committed to greatness! (There’s a topic….commitment.)
I’ve wanted to snowboard down this huge drift across from the entrance to Arches National Park for years. If you’ve been to Moab, you’ve seen it! You can do it in a plastic sled or other imaginative mode. My friend Scott Anfang is a member of the US Snowboarding Demo Team as is this rider…. see his acumen on the sand.… another sport we can add to the Solfun lineup!?
Ever wonder who designs Solfun’s logo, web site, printed material, signage…everything? Why would I work with someone who resolutely refuses to ride a mountain bike? He’s John Boak. I sold high-quality color printing to John for his annual reports and other tasty projects, for about 25 years. It was a natural to ask him to design for Solfun as I was already spoiled by the Boaks I have hanging in our home and office. I love the biker dude logo he created…. I was the model!
To the left is one of John’s recent creations. Pat says, “No more art, Allan!” If you have a moment check out John’s web site. I think he is so very clever and imaginative. It’s really fun to see his mind at work.
Is an apre ride beer an essential part of mountain biking in Moab? I think it is a great end to an awesome ride. We cannot include beer on our tours since we do not have a liquor license. We tell our guests when they book that they might want to bring some beer with them on the tour and we’ll supply the cooler… a happy ending to an exciting day on the trail. I thought this photo of my friend, Dave Harlan and me says just that!
We get some very interesting guests at Solfun… Roger Bolt is one of them. He rode with us a few years ago and has kept in touch. We encouraged him to come back with his band and play in Moab at Frankie D’s. We know Moab would go nuts over Roger and his band.
The type of person who would spend the money to travel all the way to Moab is usually a very live wire. We meet a lot of people who are just fascinating and so much fun to ride with on our tours. A mountain biker is a special breed of cat, not unlike athletes in other sports, but unique to mountain biking in it’s own way. A lot of mountain bikers are skiers and snowboarders… adrenaline junkies?
Enjoy Roger’s video of his band. Is he not one very cool dude?
Pat and I got out of town to ski and snowboard in Big Sky, Montana, Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Park City and The Canyons in Utah. It dawned on us that it would be loads of fun to ski with some of our past guests, which we did a bit of last year at Park City. We’re gonna take notes on guests who ski and invite them to join us next year.
It’s really fun skiing and riding with people we have mountain biked with; cementing a long term relationship. (We are still friends with our first Solfun guests, Brad and Keith.) We might develop a package we could offer to include mountain biking in Moab and skiing in Telluride…2-1/2 hours of very scenic driving. We do get some bookings in March from guests coming here from a ski destination. Skiing the west and mountain biking Moab on the same trip is about as good as life can get.
We have some friends coming here this month from Steamboat to thaw out. That is just what we did when we lived in Steamboat… April 15th and we were heading’ to Moab to play on that slickrock! That champagne powder in The Boat is amazing and they had a pretty good year as far as snow goes. We got there right after a big dump… perfect.
It’s probably the coldest winter in Moab in a long time, we hear from the old timers. We’ve been riding up until late December, but we are getting some snow this year and the temps are definitely low… woke up this morning to 5 below. We’ve been hiking quite a bit to get some exercise, but it’s a little slippery for mountain biking. Those Surly fat tire (Really fat!) bikes are fun in the snow. No land speed records, but a nice change of pace. We’re getting desperate for some “real” heart thumping exercise and have promised ourselves to join the South Side Gym.. tomorrow.
One winter tour this year… we had a very interesting and charming couple from Australia (Sydney) call us about mountain biking a couple days on January 2nd and 3rd. They had flown to New York and were working their way across the country. I suggested they fly to Tucson instead of Moab so they would have suitable weather. They said, no, that they have wanted to see Moab for years. They are avid mountain bikers and would be happy just to see the place.
We ended up taking them on a driving and hiking tour around the Parks (Of course!) and up to Fisher Tower off of River Road. They were blown away by the scenery and we did break a sweat in some speed walking on Intrepid Mountain Bike Trail at Dead Horse State Park. The good news… they will be back in June to do our Desert Survival Course! We look forward to seeing them again and giving the mountain bike experience justice!
Pat and I went to Vegas for a week because we had a cheap place to stay and we heard the biking there was pretty good… it was. Yes, we did a few “Vegas Things” like a show and a couple of outrageous meals on the strip. The rest of the time we played daytime tourist at places like Lake Mead and Valley of Fire… beautiful. Hoover Dam was impressive. Anyhow, what about the photo above? Well, we had a mountain bike guide at Cottonwood Canyon outside about 20 miles outside of town. It was very pretty and more desert-like with the flaura and fauna found over there.
I have to tell you, it was wonderful having a guide. The dude in the photo is Merrick and we ran into him at a local bike shop when we went in to ask directions. He said, “Dudes, I came to Las Vegas to ride bikes! C’mon, I’ll ride with ya!” Well, his was the nicest guy and boy, could he ride a bike. I’ve seen riders that good before, but they are far and few between. It was such a pleasure to not have to search for the trailhead and all the other details that frustrated us on this trip when we were self-guided. What a pleasure! Need I say with our very strong bias… it’s better with a guide for so many reasons and it’s worth the money!
Last night five Solfun guides and I went out to catch the “magic moment” light to shoot some very cool mountain bike action shots with photographer, Bret Edge. (Bret’s studio is in Moab and he is an awesome photographer.) He needs some good mountain biking shots for his portfolio and we need some better photos for our new (soon to be revealed) web site.
We got some unbelievably awesome shots! I’m going to learn from what I saw Bret do and adopt some of his technique into my own photography. I can pass some of this onto our guests when we do photo tours. Can hardly wait to get them onto the new site which will go live in about a week or two. Rock on!