We used to put up many of our tours at Camelot Lodge which, sadly, no longer is in biz. They were located on the far side of Hurrah Pass on the Colorado River. Took a spirt of adventure just to get there! We rode our bikes all over that end of the Moab Desert and then some. Included in each tour was a camel ride. The guy in this photo is Brad who was one of our first guests. He has been here many times and we still stay in touch. He’s a very cool guy and if you look carefully he’s wearing bike clothes…he’s not the hairy one. Not as much fun as sand boarding, but a real change of pace from mountain biking.
Picture flying down a badass Moab trail with some nasties and very colorful distractions. Whoa! What is that flower? I tell you, Moab has some of the most beautiful flowers and they contrast vividly with the earth tones all around us. When I stop and run to take a quick photo with my iPhone, I see more of them and try to figure out which ones make the best shot. It’s hard to get good focus when there is a breeze, which is all the time… almost. It’s so beautiful here, especially with all the rain we have been getting. I swear the sage brush by our house grew a foot yesterday after a big gusher.
Pat and I have operated Solfun for 12 years now and we have many friends who we first met as Solfun guests. We share vacations with them as they return to Moab and we often meet up during the winter to ski or snowboard together. Chris and Tiffany from Denver were Solfun guests about five years ago. It was their first on a mountain bike and later that winter I taught them basic snowboarding. They are both competitive mountain bikers now and Chris just had his first win… he’s the guy in the green hat on the podium!
We just love spending time on the trails with our guests as they catch the mountain biking bug. We bask in the day’s adrenaline and a beer after the ride or going to dinner together at the end of the day. We like the Mexican at Miguel’s… I order The Whole Enchilada.
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.)
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?
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!
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!