Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vegas MTB

Mountain biking in the Southwest - now that is "chicken soup for the soul." I spent 3 days in Las Vegas last weekend with my cousin getting a taste of the excellent trails just outside "sin city". Wow, they were awesome. Lost every penny I gambled ($2 at the airport on the way out of town).

DAY 1: It was a rather cool 30 degrees when I woke up on Saturday morning. It warmed up to about 45 degrees when we got out to the trail head. We hit the trails in Cottonwood Valley. The Spanish Trail cuts through this area, we were on the lookout for the wagon-wheel tracks, but I missed them since I was busy avoiding the multiple cacti. The most wicked of the cactus was the the choia - that's the ones with all the nasty stickers in the photos below. Luckily, I learned quickly and missed those guys the entire trip.

The scenery was awesome. The area is so different than the Pacific Northwest. This was real desert riding (not that Central Oregon stuff). The trails were rocky and dusty. Definitely more technical than I'm used to (got to work on that balance: a swiss Ball is on the Christmas list).

DAY 2: We hit the cowboy trails on Sunday. Wow, you soon learned where the name came from. Rocky, bumpy, and technical. Near the top is a gypsum mine (the rock they grind down for sheet rock in homes). I brought about 15lbs of samples down the hill in my back-pack. I figured the extra weight would help me keep from flipping over the handlebars (must have worked).

Great view of Vegas at the top of the hill. The descent was a quite a roller coaster (note to self: bring my full suspension Stumpy next time). The views again were awesome.

DAY 3: Snow in Vegas?!?! Yep, I was one of those tourists that only thought there was gambling, strippers, and sagebrush in Vegas. I was proven wrong as I blazed fresh tracks through virgin powder. Luckily, it was all downhill. My cousin was kind enough to shuttle me up the road a few times (he prefers extreme skiing in the snow). Mt Charleston is the mountain bike escape when it's 100+ in the summer. It's nice and cool at 11,000 feet and there are fine trails to enjoy.

Sunny weather and access to trails only known by a local. Now that's a trip to paradise. Enjoy the photos below.

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