IN THE FIELD PART 2
IN THE FIELD PART 2
IN THE FIELD PART 2
On the Road with MAAP in Moab
IN THE FIELD PART 2
IN THE FIELD PART 2
IN THE FIELD PART 2
On the Road with MAAP in Moab

Moab can be a pretty punishing place to ride. The bitter cold temps, snow flurries and whipping winds sting enough as it is. And when you toss altitude, jet lag and language barriers into the mix… All the ingredients needed to make this the sort of trip you talk about for a lifetime.

After a string of demanding days on the saddle along the Colorado River and through Arches National Park, the team was little wrecked but not entirely broken. Thankfully, the weather calmed down a bit and the temps spike up to a welcomed 20°C – but not before blanketing the La Sal mountain range with snow. Who’s ready for Day 3? Breakfast! Coffee! Layers!

The La Sal Mountain Climb

Referred to by locals as the ‘Big Nasty’, the La Sal mountain climb shoots up to a nauseating 2,545m. With our cabin sitting in the shadows of the La Sal range, every morning during breakfast, the climb taunted us as much as it inspired us. Now, we get to see just how far this grueling route will push us. Shoveling a few more bites of eggs and sausage in the mouth, the team geared up to go up.

Among the ample anecdotes given to us that day taking on the weathered road and steep pitches is one particularly poignant idea that speaks to the unchanging resonance between focus and fortitude – which is the inextinguishable drive to push one’s self just a little bit further.

Flat!


A handful kilometers into the climb we struck a minefield. Pppppppsssssssssss! One tire after the other fell victim to an insidious little weed in Moab known as the Goathead. It grows everywhere. Seriously. Everywhere! The huge thorns ruthlessly pierced through tires. Though annoying, the pause was actually welcomed. A few of us used the opportunity to adjust our layering and contribute to the local watershed … errrr ... shed some weight.

So. Much. Steep.

At the start of any enduring climb, there’s usually a Q & A process one goes through: “Am I really committing to this?” … “Yes.” … “Okay, but really?” … “Definitely.” … “Seriously?” ... “Yes. It’s happening.”

The ever increasing resistance of a climb like La Sal is both merciless and glorious. With no clock or timeline, we calmed the cadence and steadied the breath – patience leads to progress when tackling over 1500m of climbing in under 40 kilometers.

Well above the martian red rock playground that surrounds Moab, we were surrounded by peaks reaching heights of 3,877m above sea level. At this point, it’s like trying to breath through a straw. Chipping away at the wall in front of us, we all started to splinter off and settle in.

With combination of deceiving grades and thin air, talking got replaced by internal monologues and a strong desire to secure the necessary oxygen for each and every turn of the crank. We pressed on. Moving ever-upward, we passed through changing terrain and pushed our legs and lungs to flash point.

Wait... Closed?

At the top, a road closure stopped all forward progress. Before the team arrived in Moab, a few of us from MAAP scouted the full loop. Though undergoing serious road maintenance at the time, the road was open. The misshapen pavement and stretches of gravel would’ve made for an incredible descent down into Canyon Valley. However, Mother Nature had other plans. A heavy storm and car accident from the night before made the road down into Canyon Valley impassable.

So, instead, we popped open the coolers, grabbed a coke and took in the view! This arid little corner of Utah is a remarkable part of the world. A pre-historic sea once roamed by giants now displays Nature’s creative genius for all to enjoy. Being up here with a panoramic view of the Martian landscape punctuated that idea.

Let it rip!

Though welcomed, the stop at the top turned our legs into cement blocks. The sub-zero temps at north of 2,500m elevation didn’t help either. Nourished and charged after a few bars, bananas and Cokes, we clipped in and started down. At first, we stuck together. Thinking we’d take it easy on the descent after that crushing climb.

But then… Virginia and Jane took off!

These two can fly. And fast… really fast! The rest of the group sort of just looked on in amazement - sure, slightly alarmed but totally and completely amazed at the confidence, poise and power these two displayed as they ripped down the mountain. The rest of us, well, we didn’t want to rush our last ride in Moab ;)

Back down in the Spanish Valley, we regrouped for the last handful of kilometers to the cabin. On the left we gazed upon a mighty wall of Moab’s incredible red rock rising straight up from the desert floor and to the right sat the humble, snow capped La Sal range, a reminder of just how far and high two legs, two wheels and a group of friends can take you.

Pack up, Eat up and drink up!

As we plopped down on the grass in the front yard of the cabin, we sat there in silence, smiling. With our lips cracked from the dry air, our bodies exhausted from basically everything, and our stomachs crying for food, we passed around sandwiches, brownies, a few IPA’s and more Cokes, and just indulged in the moment.

Before the day’s light crept away, we made the move to pack up our bikes, shower and wash our gear in preparation for the haul home. We had to pull ourselves up off the grass. Partly because we were tired, sure, but also because the reality of the trip ending started to sink in.

Between the language barriers, riding styles, and unpredictability of Moab, we had no idea if this first MAAP Field Trip would actually work out. Bringing a group of people together from different pockets of the world – from Dubai, Sydney, Seattle, Malmo, New York City, Tokyo, Fort Collins, Orange County, and Italy – to ride in totally foreign and challenging terrain without having ever met one another before had all sorts of room to fail. It was either going to blow up in our faces or bond us together. To our delight, it was the latter. Our shared passion for adventure, riding hard through challenging routes, and having a blast while doing so with others, brought us together and kicked off something we’ll never forget.

Now, back to reality. And to planning the next trip!

MAAP Field trips

From local trips to global adventures, MAAP Field Trips bring committed crews of people from across the globe together to take on imposing routes and terrain that often get overlooked or ignored, share in common experiences, and create new stories with others passionate about progressing the sport of cycling.

Footnotes

Photography by Jeff Curtes & Erik Jonsson

Moab, UT, United States

Moab, UT, United States

IN THE FIELD PART 2

On the Road with MAAP in Moab

Moab can be a pretty punishing place to ride. The bitter cold temps, snow flurries and whipping winds sting enough as it is. And when you toss altitude, jet lag and language barriers into the mix… All the ingredients needed to make this the sort of trip you talk about for a lifetime.

After a string of demanding days on the saddle along the Colorado River and through Arches National Park, the team was little wrecked but not entirely broken. Thankfully, the weather calmed down a bit and the temps spike up to a welcomed 20°C – but not before blanketing the La Sal mountain range with snow. Who’s ready for Day 3? Breakfast! Coffee! Layers!

The La Sal Mountain Climb

Referred to by locals as the ‘Big Nasty’, the La Sal mountain climb shoots up to a nauseating 2,545m. With our cabin sitting in the shadows of the La Sal range, every morning during breakfast, the climb taunted us as much as it inspired us. Now, we get to see just how far this grueling route will push us. Shoveling a few more bites of eggs and sausage in the mouth, the team geared up to go up.

Among the ample anecdotes given to us that day taking on the weathered road and steep pitches is one particularly poignant idea that speaks to the unchanging resonance between focus and fortitude – which is the inextinguishable drive to push one’s self just a little bit further.

FLAT!

A handful kilometers into the climb we struck a minefield. Pppppppsssssssssss! One tire after the other fell victim to an insidious little weed in Moab known as the Goathead. It grows everywhere. Seriously. Everywhere! The huge thorns ruthlessly pierced through tires. Though annoying, the pause was actually welcomed. A few of us used the opportunity to adjust our layering and contribute to the local watershed … errrr ... shed some weight.

SO. MUCH. STEEP.

At the start of any enduring climb, there’s usually a Q & A process one goes through: “Am I really committing to this?” … “Yes.” … “Okay, but really?” … “Definitely.” … “Seriously?” ... “Yes. It’s happening.”

The ever increasing resistance of a climb like La Sal is both merciless and glorious. With no clock or timeline, we calmed the cadence and steadied the breath – patience leads to progress when tackling over 1500m of climbing in under 40 kilometers.

Well above the martian red rock playground that surrounds Moab, we were surrounded by peaks reaching heights of 3,877m above sea level. At this point, it’s like trying to breath through a straw. Chipping away at the wall in front of us, we all started to splinter off and settle in.

With combination of deceiving grades and thin air, talking got replaced by internal monologues and a strong desire to secure the necessary oxygen for each and every turn of the crank. We pressed on. Moving ever-upward, we passed through changing terrain and pushed our legs and lungs to flash point.

WAIT... CLOSED?

At the top, a road closure stopped all forward progress. Before the team arrived in Moab, a few of us from MAAP scouted the full loop. Though undergoing serious road maintenance at the time, the road was open. The misshapen pavement and stretches of gravel would’ve made for an incredible descent down into Canyon Valley. However, Mother Nature had other plans. A heavy storm and car accident from the night before made the road down into Canyon Valley impassable.

So, instead, we popped open the coolers, grabbed a coke and took in the view! This arid little corner of Utah is a remarkable part of the world. A pre-historic sea once roamed by giants now displays Nature’s creative genius for all to enjoy. Being up here with a panoramic view of the Martian landscape punctuated that idea.

LET IT RIP!

Though welcomed, the stop at the top turned our legs into cement blocks. The sub-zero temps at north of 2,500m elevation didn’t help either. Nourished and charged after a few bars, bananas and Cokes, we clipped in and started down. At first, we stuck together. Thinking we’d take it easy on the descent after that crushing climb.

But then… Virginia and Jane took off!

These two can fly. And fast… really fast! The rest of the group sort of just looked on in amazement - sure, slightly alarmed but totally and completely amazed at the confidence, poise and power these two displayed as they ripped down the mountain. The rest of us, well, we didn’t want to rush our last ride in Moab ;)

Back down in the Spanish Valley, we regrouped for the last handful of kilometers to the cabin. On the left we gazed upon a mighty wall of Moab’s incredible red rock rising straight up from the desert floor and to the right sat the humble, snow capped La Sal range, a reminder of just how far and high two legs, two wheels and a group of friends can take you.

PACK UP, EAT UP AND DRINK UP!

As we plopped down on the grass in the front yard of the cabin, we sat there in silence, smiling. With our lips cracked from the dry air, our bodies exhausted from basically everything, and our stomachs crying for food, we passed around sandwiches, brownies, a few IPA’s and more Cokes, and just indulged in the moment.

Before the day’s light crept away, we made the move to pack up our bikes, shower and wash our gear in preparation for the haul home. We had to pull ourselves up off the grass. Partly because we were tired, sure, but also because the reality of the trip ending started to sink in.

Between the language barriers, riding styles, and unpredictability of Moab, we had no idea if this first MAAP Field Trip would actually work out. Bringing a group of people together from different pockets of the world – from Dubai, Sydney, Seattle, Malmo, New York City, Tokyo, Fort Collins, Orange County, and Italy – to ride in totally foreign and challenging terrain without having ever met one another before had all sorts of room to fail. It was either going to blow up in our faces or bond us together. To our delight, it was the latter. Our shared passion for adventure, riding hard through challenging routes, and having a blast while doing so with others, brought us together and kicked off something we’ll never forget.

Now, back to reality. And to planning the next trip!

MAAP FIELD TRIPS

From local trips to global adventures, MAAP Field Trips bring committed crews of people from across the globe together to take on imposing routes and terrain that often get overlooked or ignored, share in common experiences, and create new stories with others passionate about progressing the sport of cycling.