Wednesday George

When I arrived home from RAWROD I had an e-mail from Alex inviting me to ride with him Wednesday in St. George. I was pretty trashed from RAWROD, but I wanted to ride the trails he mentioned so I told him I was interested. By Monday evening I was feeling recovered so I told Alex I was in.

He picked me up at my house and off we went. Good conversation on the way down.

Alex had a campsite he wanted to try - the Virgin dam trailhead. It was a nice location near the edge of the Virgin River gorge. We talked for a while then time for sleep (theoretically). It was a nice evening, no wind, only the sound of the river down in the gorge, but I could not get to sleep. Finally at 3 AM I relented and took a Tylenol PM - I was asleep half an hour later.

In the morning Alex warmed up burritos for breakfast. We broke camp, got ourselves and the bikes ready and start down the Hurricane Rim trail. It's a fun trail as it winds along the rim in and out of gullies with a few technical stunts here and there.

But I was concerned when the moderate climbs revealed the RAWROD fatigue still lurking in my legs. And although I didn't ever feel hammered, I did have this low-level tiredness all day. Fortunately it didn't interfere with my riding too much.

The Hurricane Rim trail ended at highway 59 which we crossed to start up Gould's, which doesn't start auspiciously - it's an ugly double track climb with shot up appliances here and there. But not long after the climb the single track starts and the fun begins. I quite liked Gould's. It has good flow and scenery.

Gould's took us to the top of JEM where we stopped for a snack. I walked the nasty switchbacks, but then it was all fast desert single-track cruising - often in the big ring.

At the junction with Hurricane Rim (not far from camp) we did an out-n-back so I could experience the exposed riding along the gorge. It was fine, but a few spots get your attention with a touch of vertigo.

Back at the junction we finished Hurrican Rim back to camp (dodging grazing cows a few times). We ate some lunch then decided to drive down to Santa Clara to check out Barrel Roll and the new trails there.

Only a few yards up the Barrel Roll trail we took the new Precipice trail I'd heard about on UMB. It had only been finished and open for use a few days. Only a few wheels had been on it and the dirt was still soft in spots but it was a fun trail.

I need to note that one of the main objectives for Alex was to see the Spring blooms of the desert. Disappointingly not much blooming up on the Hurricane Rim, but down around Santa Clara more plants were in bloom. We stopped several times as we spotted flowers to observe and take pictures. Here are two among the 10 or more we saw:

Once on top we took the Sidewinder trail as it switchbacks over and over to climb even higher. Here's the view back down toward Barrel Roll, Precipice and the trailhead:

When Sidewinder reaches the top it makes a small loop then you go down the way you came up. From the top are views like this:

After a fun descent of Sidewinder we did the Barrel Roll loop. I made one of the three technical spots up top - I was run down and not very spunky, but Alex was cleaning stuff well. The descent was long, fast and fun.

Back at the car we solar showered then drove to In-N-Out for dinner then headed for home.

Today I was near zombie at work (I guess I need that Sunday recovery day), but the trip was totally worth it. All six trails we rode were firsts for me and all were ones I've wanted to ride. Alex was a good riding partner and enjoyable to be around and talk with.

It's obvious to those in the know that St. George has been a mountain biking destination for several years, and with the new trails they keep adding every year it keeps getting better. Get down there before it gets too hot.


Watcher said...

I think the Zombie Work Day is always the price of a 1-day SG run, and it's well worth the cost. Though the Zombie Work Day seems to be getting more pronounced as I get older... That purple flower pic (Phacelia maybe?) is A+!

eber said...

JEM/Rim/Gould's is one of my most favorite trail systems in the state. I like to start from the Virgin trailhead on JEM (that section that gave you vertigo).

How would you rate the Santa Clara trails compared to JEM/Rim/Gould's or even the Bloomington system?

PS - I borrowed one of your Horsethief pics for my RAWROD post. Hope you don't mind.

KanyonKris said...

Watcher - thanks for the flower ID.

eber - The Santa Clara trails are shorter, more rocky and technical. But the grades are generally moderate so you can cruise them. Definitely worth riding.

Glad you liked one of the photos enough to reuse it. Chad (MOCougFan) was the photographer.