Last year I made the (very) long journey from Manchester over to Utah in the States (via three flights) to get my first ever experience of riding in Moab. And what an unforgettable trip it was.
For a lot of riders all over the world, Moab has always been something of a mecca for mountain biking. Well, as far back as I can remember anyway.
Growing up in Australia, I can recall thumbing through pages of my favourite Aussie mountain bike magazines, reading stories about the infamous slick-rock trails, and seeing photos of those distinctive red-rock formations around Castle Valley. All the wind, rain and snow that’s lashed away at the soft sandstone over the millennia has created incredible natural structures that make for captivating photography. And that distinctive environment has become home for even more distinctive trails – trails that have lured riders from every part of the planet to come experience for themselves.
Up until last year though, I’d never been. Even more sacrilegious, was that I’d actually been to Utah several times over the past 6-7 years, where I was within just a 4-hour drive of Moab. Trouble was, those short ‘n’ sweet work trips meant I’d never made it beyond Park City – admittedly a terrific riding destination in its own right. Still, it wasn’t Moab. And I knew I had to scratch that itch at some point in my life.
The exciting news that landed in my inbox early last year was an invitation from Pivot Cycles. The crew from Pivot were planning to host a bike launch for the new Trail 429 and the Firebird 29, and they wanted one of us to come along. The location was Moab. Needless to say, the office desk chair was left behind spinning as I went dancing out of the building.
Turns out Pivot’s CEO, Chris Cocalis, absolutely loves Moab. In fact, he told me that Moab was his favourite place in the world to ride, and he now makes an annual pilgrimage for work, choosing early summer and Moab as the platform to release new Pivot models. The chunky, brutal riding environment makes for ideal conditions for testing suspension and tyres, while also testing your handling skills and upper body strength. The riding here delivers a workout unlike anything my puny body has previously been subjected to.
For the launch, I took along a camera to document the experience of my first time in this little piece of MTB heaven. I’ve split the videos into a 3-part series, which you can watch below as you like:
And if you want a little more to sate your Moab-appetite, then enjoy a wee photo gallery courtesy of Jens Staudt – a very talented chap from Germany who did a bang-up job carrying all of his photo gear during some pretty warm days out under the hot Utah sun. If you like the shots (they’re all Jens’ photos), then you definitely want to have a look at Jens’ Instagram feed.
After a couple of days riding on some of the most incredible trails, in one of the most mind-expanding environments I’ve ridden in, I honestly cannot wait until next time. Moab has a reputation for a reason – it is truly one-of-a-kind. And for anyone out there who hasn’t been and has the opportunity to go at some point in their life, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
In fact, let me know when you’re going – I might join you.
Wil’s flights & accommodation for this trip were covered by Pivot Cycles.