Imagine it: you’ve booked the flights, you’ve got the bikes, you’ve planned your route. You’re going road tripping in the USA and you’re going to take in as many classic trails as you possibly can.
So, what do you really not want to do when you’ve got the trip of a lifetime coming up? Yup, you guessed it: crash.
That’s what happened to Jakob Næss. Luckily for him, he’s also a trail runner, so he carried on with the trip and acted as driver and drone pilot in between grabbing some trail runs while his friends went shredding.
In just under two weeks, Jakob and his friends managed to cover over 3,000km of driving (that’s 34 hours in van together, plus sleeping in a van together, so you’d best make sure the people you travel with are your friends!), picking up a whole bunch of classic trails along the way:
- The Whole Enchilada
- Zen Trail
- Mag 7
- Doctor Park
- Reno / Flag / Bear / Deadman Loop
- Trail 401The Ribbon
- Strand Hill
- Hangover Loop
- White Line
- Rabbit Valley to Western Rim
The boys from Norway had to alter their original plans, upon finding that the heat at the end of June was just too hot in Utah, while there was still snow at Lake Tahoe in Colorado. Jakob says if he was to do a similar trip in the year, he’d go later – so the summer peak temperatures had passed and the snow had melted:
We met a lot of heat in the Grand Junction area as well – forcing us up at 03:30 in the morning to not melt away in the desert heat. But my God how fun the trails were! And riding with the rising sun in the morning just gave the trails and the views they provided an incredible sensation of belonging. Being in the right place at the right time. We continued the success of eary starts in Moab and Sedona as well – which also were safely placed in our categoriy of ‘hot places’.
Despite struggling with the heat, much fun was had – and eventually Jakob couldn’t resist the temptation to leave the running shoes behind and ride some trails.
Asked if he had a favourite trail, he said:
If I were to pick one, I would say Doctor Park (Crested Butte, Colorado) was probably the most memorable trail. At least for me. It was the first trail I did in Colorado – taking it easy with my injury. It was fast, flowy and playful, with some minor tecknical stuff at the end and at the top. I say minor’ because it was really just more rocks and some sharper turns.
The Whole Enchilada missed out on the top spot, possibly due to being a victim of high expectations:
It was really a series of amazing sections. You start at around 3000 meters in a forest section. High speed, sharp turns, good fun, and then the forest slowly fades to desert at the end. This trail had everything in one go: technical stuff, super flowy stuff, dirt, rocks, sand. Pumpy sections, high speed sections…and really boring sections. I think this definitely would have made the top of the list if it was not for the gravel road part at the end. The 30-40 minutes of “not-what-we-expected-or-wanted-part”.
If seeing these boys having all the fun makes you want a taste, Jakob has some tips:
It is much more comfy to sleep in a motel than a car! Or a motorhome if you have one, or can afford to rent one (Hehe). We also used, and were very happy with, the MTB Project app. Really easy to find trails – with offline maps, and good descriptions and information. Strongly recommended from us! If, for some reason you choose to do it in the same months as we did (heat season), get up before the sun and ride as much as you can during the morning hours. It is a much better temperature at this time, and you will see some stunning sunrises.
Two weeks, a whole pile of driving…anyone else checking the balance of their Adventure Fund?
Check out the video and you’ll notice Jakob and his friends are pretty rapid…maybe us mortals ought to be looking at a three week trip? And definitely not doing anything silly like crashing just before we go…
Jakob assures us his hand is OK:
Haha. My hand is much better, thank you for asking. Although I did the trail running for the first few days, I still pushed into biking a bit too early. But it works, and I’m planning to do a lot more biking this coming season.
Funny thing though: the last night in the US I awoke to some incredible pains in my right stomach area. It turnd out that I had gotten myself some nice kidney stones during the night, you know…just to top the pains of the trip to the max. So we barely caught our plane home, after me spending four hours at the hospital in the morning. Luckily, the USA doesn’t have as strict rules on prescription pills as in Norway. So half dosed and half high, we/I got home safly. That’s probably another bit of advice: keep yourself hydrated!