The Amer­i­can South­west is one of the most adven­ture-endowed regions in the world, and when it comes to moun­tain bik­ing, few oth­er places can com­pare. Whether you’re look­ing for down­hill, sin­gle­track, or just an excuse to see some awe­some scenery, the Amer­i­can South­west won’t leave you disappointed.

moab utahThe Whole Enchilada—Moab, Utah
If you hap­pen to find your­self in Moab, you can basi­cal­ly point your moun­tain bike in any direc­tion and find some amaz­ing rides. Con­sid­ered one of the best moun­tain bik­ing des­ti­na­tions in North Amer­i­ca, if not the world, Moab con­tains the right com­bi­na­tion of out-of-this-world scenery, a wide range of high-desert rid­ing and canyon cruis­ing, and a wel­com­ing com­mu­ni­ty that real­ly ties every­thing togeth­er. Throw in all the oth­er excite­ment that Moab has to offer, includ­ing two near­by Nation­al Parks and plen­ty of pub­lic land for camp­ing, and this South­west des­ti­na­tion can keep your wheels turn­ing and your wan­der­lust sat­is­fied for years to come.

While routes like the Slick­rock Bike Trail and the Moab Rim Trail are worth check­ing out dur­ing your vis­it, if you want to get a taste of every­thing Moab offers, the Whole Enchi­la­da Trail encom­pass­es mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent trail sec­tions and scenery for an incred­i­ble ride. Includ­ing more than 25 miles of rid­ing, span­ning the dis­tance between the top of the La Sal Moun­tains and the banks of the Col­orado Riv­er, the Whole Enchi­la­da is not for the light-heart­ed or first-time rid­er. Shut­tles are near­ly a must to access this trail, and win­ter rid­ing atop the La Sal Moun­tains is pret­ty much out of the ques­tion, mak­ing for late shoul­der sea­sons and sum­mer the best time to take a bite out of the Whole Enchilada.

Turkey Springs / Brock­over Mesa Area—Pagosa Springs, Colorado
While it might be up to some debate whether south­ern Col­orado can be con­sid­ered the Amer­i­can South­west, if one thing can be agreed upon, it’s that the south­ern foothills of the Rocky Moun­tains con­tain excel­lent moun­tain bik­ing. No bet­ter exam­ple of that can be found than the town and com­mu­ni­ty of Pagosa Springs, about 50 miles north of the New Mex­i­co bor­der, which boasts an impres­sive num­ber of trail sys­tems near­by. If you are new to the Pagosa Springs area or are just look­ing for a well-test­ed clas­sic, the Turkey Springs / Brock­over Mesa area in the near­by San Juan Nation­al For­est is right for you. Fea­tur­ing more than 100 miles of trails to explore and link up, even if this isn’t part of the Amer­i­can South­west, this lit­tle slice of Rocky Moun­tain rid­ing is well worth exploring.

black canyonBlack Canyon Trail—Phoenix, Arizona 
Tout­ed as the Ari­zona Out­back, the Black Canyon moun­tain bike trail sys­tem entices many rid­ers from Phoenix and beyond to explore the trea­sure trove of trails found at the base of the Brad­shaw Moun­tains. Par­al­lel­ing the bound­ary of the Prescott Nation­al For­est, the Black Canyon trail encom­pass­es more than 60 miles of trail, with plen­ty of access to explore the whole thing over a hand­ful of week­ends. Rid­ers on the Black Canyon Trail can expect to cruise by saguaro cac­ti, sprawl­ing sage­brush and many oth­er dis­tinct fea­tures of the Sono­ran Desert, giv­ing rid­ers ample oppor­tu­ni­ties to stop and enjoy the scenery. With so many miles to choose from and a seem­ing­ly end­less desert envi­ron­ment to con­tend with, it’s best to car­ry some knowl­edge of the area or the appro­pri­ate guid­ance to help you nav­i­gate the desert land­scapes safely.

white mesaWhite Mesa Bike Trails—Albuquerque, New Mexico
Locat­ed just about 50 miles north of the bike-friend­ly com­mu­ni­ty of Albu­querque, the White Mesa bike trails await with oth­er­world­ly sur­round­ings to explore. Fea­tur­ing a daz­zling dis­play of desert geol­o­gy, rid­ers can expect to nav­i­gate through an envi­ron­ment of vibrant col­ors, rocky out­crop­pings and fast-flow­ing sin­gle­track. With just over eight miles of trails to explore, expe­ri­enced rid­ers can make the White Mesa a quick morn­ing route, but if you have time, the entic­ing ter­rain and far-away feel­ing of this remote rid­ing will encour­age you to stay longer. White Mesa is an excel­lent win­ter rid­ing option, as opposed to the sum­mer months when the heat can be sti­fling and dan­ger­ous, mak­ing these New Mex­i­co moun­tain bik­ing trails a great way to bat­tle the win­ter blues.

Odessa Moun­tain Bike Park—Odessa, Texas 
Cre­at­ed and oper­at­ed by the Per­mi­an Basin Bicy­cle Asso­ci­a­tion (PBBA), the Odessa Moun­tain Bike park pro­vides a slice of sin­gle­track heav­en amidst a desert land­scape. To explore the nine miles of trails found at the Odessa Moun­tain Bike Park, you must wear a hel­met and you also must be a mem­ber of the PBBA ($25/year). Pay your dues though, and you’ll quick­ly see the val­ue. Fea­tur­ing two aban­doned caliche pits that define many of the sprawl­ing inter­me­di­ate routes, and some flowy ele­va­tion changes, the Odessa Moun­tain Bike park also has a begin­ner loop that encir­cles the entire prop­er­ty. Con­nect­ing from there, more expe­ri­enced rid­ers can hit obsta­cles like rock gar­dens and ridge­lines, show­ing every­one who vis­its the Odessa Moun­tain Bike Park a good time.

bootleg canyon

Boot­leg Canyon Moun­tain Bike Park—Boulder City, Nevada
Locat­ed not far from the glim­mer­ing lights of the Las Vegas strip, Boot­leg Canyon Moun­tain Bike Park is an inter­na­tion­al­ly known des­ti­na­tion for down­hill, cross-coun­try and some of the most fun you can have on a moun­tain bike. Fea­tur­ing more than 36 miles of inter­con­nect­ing trails that mean­der through desert land­scapes, with occa­sion­al glimpses at the sparkling waters of Lake Mead, all lev­els of rid­ers can find some­thing to chal­lenge them­selves at Boot­leg Canyon. Boul­der City’s full-ser­vice bike shop, All Moun­tain Cyclery, pro­vides shut­tles to the top of the down­hill sec­tions through­out the year, mak­ing for a fast way to under­stand why the Inter­na­tion­al Moun­tain Bicy­cling Asso­ci­a­tion has dubbed Boot­leg Canyon one of their EPIC Rides.

 


 

San Luis Obispo County’s (SLO CAL) stunning scenery is best taken in slowly. Whether you prefer to take in the sights on foot or in the saddle, SLO CAL has no shortage of opportunities for every experience level.

 

SLO CAL’s abun­dant hik­ing trails pro­vide end­less oppor­tu­ni­ty for expe­ri­enc­ing the land­scape up close. The rolling hills are a vibrant green in spring, and turn to gold in the sum­mer. A chain of vol­canic peaks, known as the 9 sis­ters, tran­sect SLO CAL’s most promi­nent val­ley and paint a strik­ing land­scape from San Luis Obis­po to Mor­ro Bay. Many of them have well-kept trails and we high­ly rec­om­mend you take advan­tage of the bird’s eye view! 

For south-coun­ty hik­ers that want to gain some ele­va­tion and ocean views, you can’t beat the Avi­la Ridge trail or the new­ly-opened Pis­mo Pre­serve. Avi­la Ridge starts in Shell Beach and climbs the tow­er­ing oak-filled hill­side that sep­a­rates the small beach towns. For those will­ing to make the trip to the peak, the tree swing at the top will make you feel like you’re swing­ing on the edge of the world. The Pis­mo Pre­serve to the south offers hikes that will take you through some of the most pris­tine coastal hill­sides. While it’s cur­rent­ly only acces­si­ble with a guide, the expe­ri­ence  is well worth it and expect­ed to be open-access in the near future.

If moun­tain bik­ing is more your style, you’re in luck. SLO CAL is home of some of the most awe-inspir­ing sea-side moun­tain bik­ing trails in the coun­try. Take a dri­ve just south of Los Osos & Bay­wood Park to Mon­taña de Oro State Park and you’ll find your­self climb­ing hills of sage and descend­ing with sweep­ing views of dra­mat­ic seas. The mel­low bluff-top trails pro­vide great options for begin­ners and those seek­ing an up-close view of the crash­ing tides below. Pack a lunch, you’ll have a hard time tear­ing your­self away from this dreamy single-track.

Adja­cent to Mon­taña de Oro is Mor­ro Bay’s South Jet­ty. The long sand­spit is home to oth­er-world­ly dunes and is a must-see if you’ve nev­er had the expe­ri­ence. Sev­er­al trails wind between the bay and the sea and are acces­si­ble only by foot or kayak. This human-pow­ered expe­ri­ence is one you won’t for­get any­time soon.

Of course there are more than enough impromp­tu-oppor­tu­ni­ties to stretch your legs and enjoy the SLO CAL beau­ty. The north coast of High­way One is flush with all-access board­walks. Pull off near the famous Piedra Blan­cas Light Sta­tion and take a walk around the 19th cen­tu­ry grounds, or make a stop just north of Cam­bria at the Fis­call­i­ni Ranch Pre­serve. The untouched bluffs and drift­wood sculp­tures offer a unique view of the entire coastline.

Wher­ev­er the trail takes you, from the hill­tops to the sea, we’re sure you’ll find what you’re look­ing for. 

 

G e t t i n g    T h e r e
Now with direct flights from Den­ver, San Fran­cis­co, Seat­tle, Los Ange­les and Phoenix, get­ting to SLO CAL is eas­i­er than ever. Come stay and hang out, we dare you to get bored in this explorer’s paradise.


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The weath­er out­side may be fright­ful, but you don’t have to let that keep you off your bike. With prop­er prepa­ra­tion and the right frame of mind, you can make moun­tain bik­ing a year-round sport. Fol­low these tips to keep on track right through winter.

Prep Your Bike
The good news is you don’t need a spe­cial­ized bike to put tires to snow—unless you’re look­ing for an excuse to buy a new ride, in which case go for it. Keep your tire pres­sure about 10–15 psi below nor­mal for the smoothest, most skid-free expe­ri­ence pos­si­ble. If you want to invest in a win­ter tire, choose one with wide-spaced lugs to help pre­vent the buildup of slushy frozen mud. Be sure to clean your bike after each use, as your tires will like­ly kick up a cor­ro­sive slur­ry of ice and road-clear­ing salt.

Dress for Success
As with most cold weath­er sports, dress­ing in lay­ers and sport­ing win­ter acces­sories can help keep you com­fort­able and safe. Obvi­ous­ly, the more the tem­per­a­ture drops, the more you’ll need to bun­dle. Your needs might range from adding knee warm­ers or thick­er socks at about 55° Fahren­heit to long-sleeve jer­seys, vests, and cycling tights at freez­ing temps. For snowy or extreme­ly cold con­di­tions, invest in a pair of win­ter cycling gloves and a pair of stretchy water­proof cycling booties to be worn over your reg­u­lar bike shoes. Add a pair of well-fit­ted sun­glass­es to help with the glare from the sun or snow.

Get Psy­ched Up
Prob­a­bly the biggest chal­lenge of a win­ter ride is get­ting moti­vat­ed to head out in the cold when you could be sip­ping cocoa by the fire. But when you’re appro­pri­ate­ly attired, you’ll be ready to han­dle the ele­ments. And every­body gets stir crazy just hang­ing around inside. Exer­cise is a great mood boost­er and stress reliev­er, so get out there and go for it.

Loosen Up a Little
In the cold, we tend to tense and hunch. But if you want a fun, injury-free ride, you’d bet­ter relax. Keep your arms and legs flex­i­ble to absorb the shock of frozen ground. Make like a cow­poke and keep a stand­ing, bow­legged stance. The faster you trav­el, the far­ther ahead you need to look. Focus­ing on the track below your tires makes it impos­si­ble to pre­pare for unex­pect­ed obsta­cles ahead. If you’re feel­ing a lit­tle shaky or are strug­gling to stay loose and flex­i­ble, give your­self a pep talk. Stay­ing pos­i­tive and stay­ing focused can help you to gain con­fi­dence as you ride.

Hydrate!
Chilly weath­er doesn’t exempt you from drink­ing water. Even though your sweat might evap­o­rate more quick­ly in the dry, cold air, you’ll still be sweat­ing hard. A good rule of thumb for a low-tem­per­a­ture ride is to con­sume 16 ounces of water per hour, but we all sweat at dif­fer­ent rates. You can fig­ure out your ide­al hydra­tion plan by sim­ply weigh­ing your­self before and after a ride. If you weigh less after your ride, you’ve prob­a­bly per­spired hard and need to up your water intake. If you’ve gained some weight, you could be over­do­ing it, so sip a lit­tle less next time.

Respect Trail Closures
Bikes can be tough on sen­si­tive trail sys­tems, etch­ing them into a messy, haz­ardous criss­cross. Gen­er­al­ly, if you’re just deal­ing with fresh crisp snow, it’ll be fine to ride. Avoid super mud­dy trails, which are sus­cep­ti­ble to scar­ring from your tire tracks. Check con­di­tions before head­ing out to find the best spot for your ride.

Be good to your trails, and they’ll be good to you.

Check out this sweet video of South African Nation­al Down­hill champ Tiaan Oden­daal giv­ing a sneak peak of the 2013 Elite Worlds Cham­pi­onships Down­hill track. He casu­al­ly gives beta for the course as he’s fly­ing at Mach speed, and even unex­pect­ed­ly jumps over a truck at minute mark 3:08.

On August 26 through Sep­tem­ber 1st, the best moun­tain bike rid­ers from all over the world will descend onto these spe­cial­ly built cours­es for the MTB World Cham­pi­onships and dawn the col­ors of their nation to com­pete in what is arguably the biggest cycling event of the year. And even though this is big news for moun­tain bik­ers, many pro­fes­sion­al rid­ers in Amer­i­ca sim­ply can­not afford to trav­el over­seas to rep­re­sent their coun­try due to state­side rac­ing restrictions. 

SHO-AIR Inter­na­tion­al, the trade show and event logis­tics coor­di­nat­ing com­pa­ny that is also a proud spon­sor of the Can­non­dale pro cycling team has pledged to donate $100 of assis­tance to each of the 35 cyclists select­ed by the USAC. In addi­tion, they’ve also cre­at­ed a grass­roots fundrais­ing cam­paign on gofundme.com. This effort has gained trac­tion and raised more than $19,000 for these world-class ath­letes, help­ing to keep the dream alive. Inter­est­ed in find­ing out more? Click Here to learn more.