Best of Durango Single Track

Shred ready and Durango bound
Mary feeling the flow at Phil's World
WSC Guide John M.

So what does a mountain bike guide do with his off time? He shreds! After our annual Western Spirit guide meeting in Moab Utah I found myself with three free days. I am tired of driving to and from my home in Park City and Moab is already so hot. So I took up my co-guides offer of a series of epic rides in Durango. Mary and I jumped in the car and we’re off. 

Dutch Trail
The first ride is in Cortez, CO about 40 minutes outside Durango at Phil’s World, home of the recent 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. 22 Miles of unbelievable buffed out flowey single track with very little climbing. The highlight for most is known as the Rib Cage, showcasing extremely fun well-built whoops, spines, jumps, banked turns, and steep drops. A perfect pit stop to spin the legs and finish the drive to Durango to start the real fun in the mountains.
The Alpine is one of my favorite places on earth. The bright white aspens, vibrant green pines and grass, and the eye popping colors of dandelions and lupine. Numerous times I nearly ejected myself right off the trail trying to take in the stunning beauty of the La Plata and San Juan mountains. The next two days were spent on some of the best single track in the world coupled with alpine southern Colorado vistas. I was in single track heaven.

One of many Dutch Creek crossings
We start day two with a long dirt climb up Junction Creek Rd to about 10,300 ft. just below Kennebec Pass. This is where we pick up the final 25 miles of The Colorado Trail. I’m willing to bet we were some of the first few who have ventured out to this trail so early in the season. Beside a few down trees and a couple tiny snow patches this trail was FUN and in perfect condition. We had about 20 miles of descent and 5 miles of climbing from this point. So have you ever had the single track perma-grin? The kind of smile you can’t swipe off your face. Dipping, carving, and jumping through the forest cruising about 20mph. Yeah, I had that. This trail was mind blowing!

Onawa on Pinkerton-Flagstaff

We park at Lower Hermosa Campground. Today, day 3, I’m with Mary and Onawa. Onawa is a mutual friend that I knew from my college racing days, and she rips on a mountain bike. The loop is 20 miles of fun. The first half of the ride is a gorgeous consistent single track climb up Jones and Pinkerton/Flagstaff. It’s a very similar environment as the CT with stunning flowering green meadows, aspens, and the snowy Needle Mountains off to the East. We eventually reach Dutch Creek Trail. Words can’t even describe the fun Dutch offers. It has legitimately made it to my top 3 best rides.

Reality sets in on the fourth day. Mary and I drive back to Moab where she rigs a truck to start a White Rim trip the following day and I continue on my way driving all the way to St. George Utah to begin rigging for my North Rim Grand Canyon trip. Life on the road, mountain biking from place to place, endless highway miles in between, living in a tent, and out of a duffle. That’s the life of a mountain bike guide. It doesn’t suck…


Tip of the Week

Momentum is your friend

Momentum can carry you over obstacles, gives the bike stability and balance.

Stay off the brakes.

Mountain Biking is about conserving energy at the right times. Not having to pedal to keep up with someone but by flowing down the trail. It’s about being smooth and efficient. The person who wins is the person who pedals the least, but when they pedal they pedal the hardest!
St. George, UT


Teton Sports

Gina Begin enjoying a starry night by the fire

Introducing the Outfitter XXL Quick Tent. This is a great little tent. I have never used a pop-up tent before and its quite impressive. I set this tent up in about 60 seconds from backpack to staked out. Its light weight 4lb package puts it in the backpacking category while the complexity of the hub and long poles lends itself to more of a car camping tent. Would I go on an epic mountain summit attempt with it? Probably not. Would I use it for weekend jaunts and car camping? Absolutely! Either way you will be pleased with ease of set up and quality of materials.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend it to a friend.


Tip of the Week

Pritchett Arch Trail

Steep Ascents

Stay in the saddle to keep as much weight (equals traction) on the rear tire as possible. 

Pull a harder gear than normal to dilute your power impulse and keep the tire from braking loose.

If climbing out of the saddle hover above seat.

Keep pedaling action smooth, a jerky action may mean a loss of traction or a broken chain.

When the climbing gets really steep the front wheel wants to float up and leave the ground. Staying seated move your weight forward by sliding your bum forward on your seat till the nose of the saddle is pretty much in your crack. Not really comfortable but IT WORKS.


Tip of the Week

Gooseberry Mesa

Cornering: Set Up Sooner

Your bike will follow your eyes. Follow the golden rule of mountain biking and look where you want to go, rather than looking at what you want to miss

Judge your speed, brake if needed.

Use selective braking zones. Smooth straight areas.

Brake before corners while on the straights.

Get off the brakes while cornering.

Let the tires do one thing at a time.

Use the entire width of the trail.


Are you a High Poster?

Gooseberry Mesa

So let me begin by defining High Poster. A High Poster is someone that rides with their saddle height high and optimized for pedaling at all times.  Do you slide your post down for descents, do you use a seat dropper, you are NOT a High Poster. I am writing this post in light of the latest rage in MTB innovations. Everyone says you need a seat dropper these days. Given my XC-racing background and long mountain biking career I am stubborn and insistent that you can descend just as well with a high post. Is that old school? Maybe.  Convince me otherwise.  So let’s look at the benefits of each…

          High Poster
·         Most efficient position for                              
climbing and level terrain
·         Lighter weight
·         Hassle free: Less moving parts
·         Durability: Seat droppers always break
·         Less expensive
·       Fixed position: Too much side to side saddle play on seat droppers
Seat Dropper
·         Most efficient position for
climbing and descending
·         Lower center of gravity
·         Ease of getting behind the saddle
for steep descents

In conclusion, I am not convinced. The hassle, expense, and weight just don’t have me chomping at the bit to put one on my bike. I will remain a High Poster. Maybe I will look back at this post with the same reverence as someone who said “Disc brakes? Ahh, that’s soo unnecessary!”  I might be that guy but I hope not. Bottom line is that when the only apparent reason you’re getting dropped with your bros is that you’re post is too high maybe it’s time to convert, until then, shred on High Poster.