Fall Moab (Fiscal Year) 2013: Moab, Rebooted

11.13.2012 | 10:04 am

I love Fall Moab — a weekend each Autumn (after all the tourists go home) where the Core Team heads out to Moab and ride our collective brain out. It’s a hallowed annual tradition. For example, I’ve written reports on 2012, more 2012, 2010, more 2010, 2008 and 2006).

But for the past few years, as far as I’m concerned there’s been a problem with Fall Moab. And that’s the “Moab” part.

See, in the past few years, Moab’s kind of lost its charm for me. Slickrock, Amasa Back, Goldbar, Porcupine. Yeah, yeah, yeah. All very nice trails. None of which were exactly scratching my singletrack itch (Dug explains the problem in his post, here, so I’m not going to go into it too deeply).

And the hotel’s have become ridiculously expensive.

And other places have amazing desert singletrack.

And in general, we had a case of Moab-induced ennui.

I know. Complain, complain, complain.

My point is, we’ve been going elsewhere for Fall Moab. Like Saint George. Or Fruita. And since we’re not particularly strict about terminology — do you really need to go to Moab to have your trip be called “Fall Moab?” We assert you do not! — this has more or less solved he problem

But for Fall Moab (Fiscal year) 2013 (Fiscal), we decided to head back to Moab. Just because, well, it had been a while.

I have to say, though, I didn’t have high hopes.

I was so wrong.

See This for Yourself

While we’ve been away discovering St. George, someone else must have come to Moab, ridden the popular trails, looked around at the endless slickrock and desert, and then said, “I think we can do better.”

And then that person (OK, it’s possible that more than one person was involved) got to work and created — at a minimum — three new completely genius trail networks, which we sampled on the three days we were there:

  • Klondike Bluffs: OK, Klondike Bluffs has been around for a long time. But it used to be a pretty blah network. Now it’s been extended, re-imagined, and otherwise awesome-ized. We rode EKG, Baby Steps, Mega Steps, and probably other stuff too. The point is, it’s now got well more than a full-day’s worth of extraordinary high-desert trail and singletrack, and I would have called it pretty much unmatchable if the following day we hadn’t gone and ridden…
  • The Magnificent 7: This was, without question, the finest, most exciting, extraordinarily fun desert singletrack I have ever ridden.
  • Moab Brand Trails: We only got an hour of riding in this network, but that is actually part of the attraction. Right off the highway, you can string together loop after loop of fun mountain biking, for whatever duration and difficulty you like. I want to go back and see more.

Really, though, you kinda need to see what the riding was like for yourself (note that this video contains footage from Klondike Bluffs and The Magnificent 7, but not from the Moab Brand Trails; my camera battery had died, and I knew I had plenty of fantastic footage already).

I recommend, by the way, watching this in HD and expanding it out to fill your screen to get the full effect:

And don’t even think about asking for an apology for using the Big Audio Dynamite soundtrack. That may be the best song I’ve ever selected for a video, and you know it.


Fall Moab has been re-booted (see Dug’s post for an explanation of the usage of “reboot” here, as well as for other great photos from the trip) The only sad thing is that I have not been rebooted. Which is to say, I am as clumsy as ever. Here I am, bleeding:


I wish I could say that this came from the nearly-flawless-but-ultimately-doomed attempt on an especially tricky and technical and difficult move. And not that I just fell over onto a sharp rock while unsuccessfully trying to get my cleat out of my pedal.

But you know what? It wouldn’t be Moab if there weren’ blood.

And I did, after all, clean this one:


There are already talks about where we should ride for next year’s Fall Moab. St. George seems to be the current favorite.

But my vote is we go back to Moab.


  1. Comment by Clydesteve | 11.13.2012 | 11:04 am

    Dude – the one you did clear? Did you give any thought to the consequenses of failure? It looks like about 200 feet of unstoppable tumbling would be the price of getting a pedal snagged on the rootwad instead of cyclocrossing it up the root step.

    Well played.

    (‘Cyclocrossing it’ is the way I describe chickening out on a move and carrying my bike over the move whilst still maintaining dignity.)

  2. Comment by Clydesteve | 11.13.2012 | 11:06 am

    BTW, that look on your face in the blood picture… exactly what are you sitting on?

  3. Comment by MattC | 11.13.2012 | 11:13 am

    THAT looks like my kind of riding! I LOVE the technical stuff…(though in all fairness…I’m more of a ‘blue trail’ guy rather than the ‘black diamond’ stuff (things like 2+ foot drops in a descending switchback of rocky rubble is not my kind of fun).

    Been to Moab once long ago..rode the slickrock in mid-july (I was passing thru town and just HAD to ride it…however I was the only one out there). It was a blast, right up until I thought I was going to die from the intense heat and lack of water (and not knowing how to get back to where I was parked). Going in a group would be the best! You’re a lucky man Fatty, living close enough for a road trip any time you want.

    And cool video…though the tire’s erratic movement was somewhat disconcerting…was that 30fps recording? Makes it quite interesting…(did you run this thru imagage stabilization software? It was ROCK solid video…very nice!)

    Yep, 30FPS recording at 1080p. I actually DIDN’T run image stabilization on this video (well, I did, but decided I liked it better without it). One really great thing about mounting the camera on the saddle facing rear is that the resulting image is automatically more stable. I have my theories why (the rear of the bike is more planted than the front, a turn is more pronounced up front than in the rear), but they’re just speculation. – FC

  4. Comment by Clydesteve | 11.13.2012 | 11:18 am

    Actually, now that MattC, a nerd in his own right, and I mean that in the most postive way, mentioned the framerate, I was actually just wondering if I could calculate your average speed, knowing:
    a) framerate
    b) the distance between knobs on your rear tire
    c) the frequency of apparent wheel stoppage

    I am pretty sure I could. But this was a fun ride not a race, so speed is irrevlevant, right?

  5. Comment by Clydesteve | 11.13.2012 | 11:19 am

    crap. irrelevant.

    Shmirelevant. – FC

  6. Comment by MattC | 11.13.2012 | 11:54 am

    Clydesteve…if there’s more than one guy, then it’s a race. Undeclared of course, but a race nevertheless. With lots of little races in the overall…fewest crashes, most crashes, who can clean what section nobody else can, etc etc. Rarely is overall speed the main race objective. But that too is surely a contested point among ‘friends’.

    In this case, we actually weren’t racing (on video anyway). Before filming a segment, I’d pick out a friend and ask him to stay behind me, about 15 feet. That way I kept him in frame (I think MTB video is most interesting if there’s a rider in the frame) but not filling it up to the exclusion of the terrain. My friends were really good about obliging, and I have about 2 hours worth of good footage I haven’t rolled out here. Narrowing it to 6.5 minutes wasn’t easy! – FC

  7. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.13.2012 | 12:44 pm

    I agree. Best soundtrack yet.

    But a few questions:

    Hotels???? I thought you were men! Sleeping on the ground, cooking brats on a open fire (see Fall Moab 20aught, something), and fating up a storm. What’s this we now hear about hotels?

    Singlespeed??? Not yet one in my quiver (hint to Wife#1)
    Is it the ‘manly man thing to ride in Moab, or is it the nature of the trails that makes the simplicity of the bike match the sparsee open beauty of the land?

    Guide Book:

    Please accept my deposit for Fatty’s Guide to Utah’s Rides, A trail book any ‘friend of fatty’ would carry in their car.

    Great Report…and great ride you lucky dog!!!

    I actually was riding a FS geared bike (my Superfly 100) most of the weekend. My right wrist and palm are in bad shape, due to a wreck racing last weekend. Most everyone else was riding SS not because they wanted to for this trip, but because that’s what they love riding in general. (If not for my wrist, I would have been on a SS, too.)

    As for hotels, well: we’re getting older. And it was cold, windy, rainy and even snowy in the evenings (blizzarding, on one of the nights!)

    - FC

  8. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.13.2012 | 12:46 pm

    “…fating up a storm.” I think that’s probably a mispelling. I’m sure you can work it out.

  9. Comment by Kanyon Kris | 11.13.2012 | 12:50 pm

    Good post, you aptly summed up the trip.

    Very good video. With the rock so bumpy I thought it would be a a jiggly mess, but you have some video-fu.

    Watching the video I chuckled that I was on camera so little, which is fine by me (a little camera shy) and completely appropriate since: I’m slow, have a hard time with abstract concepts like being close enough to the camera to be seen, and rarely did any noteworthy moves (on account of my chronic wussiness).

    This was a good-for-the-soul trip. A few days out with the guys riding, eating, exploring, braving the weather, the quiet of the desert. (Real) serenity now.

    The real reason you aren’t in the video much is because for the parts you were in, mostly, the sun was behind us, causing a ton of glare. Everyone had some of that, but you — for no reason I can figure — were almost ALWAYS that way when it was your turn to be my on-camera guy. – FC

  10. Comment by TominAlbany | 11.13.2012 | 12:59 pm

    Big Audio Dynamite!

    This alone makes this your best footage ever!

    Question: I noticed it was all rear tire. Have you forsaken the front camera?

  11. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.13.2012 | 1:18 pm

    Was just ’stalking’ you on Strava(just ask, and i’ll stop, no need to involve the courts)

    When you said you went riding all day, you were kidding just a little. It seems that for every minute ridden, there was a minute of ‘rest’.

    Great looking routes! I intend to share with my daughter(11y.o) and see when whe wants to go.

    Thanks Fatty!

  12. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.13.2012 | 1:36 pm

    Side note:

    Any FoF’s interested in Thanksgiving Day Appetite Seminar ride in Fairfax (yann, Dr. Laura, et.al) 8am at the Java Hut parking lot, I look forward to seeing you. You can email me at David.Houston-at-macysdotcom

    about 20 miles, a nice beer at the finish, and you’re ready for turkey!! hope to see you there. Mr Fisher has been seen both in the recent, and the waaay past!!
    though he wears a more updated kit.

    [Photo removed at request of copyright holder. - FC]

  13. Comment by Saso | 11.13.2012 | 3:39 pm

    Video is great. Music…well, let’s just say I have a different taste.

  14. Comment by Nadrich & Cohen | 11.13.2012 | 5:43 pm

    Great video! Sucks that you got a scrape :(

  15. Comment by Wanderer | 11.13.2012 | 6:02 pm

    Fatty, I can’t watch your videos anymore. First there is the indescribable sense of rampant jealousy until I realize I could man up and go riding like that. Second and far more pronounced is the angle. Sorry, I like to see where I’m going, not where I’ve been. Other than that, great vid!

    I need to set up 2 cameras so I can switch POVs. – FC

  16. Comment by NW Biker | 11.13.2012 | 6:30 pm

    Please, for the sake of my rapidly waning sanity, take the apostrophe out of “hotels.” Please. I’m begging you.

    Great video. Makes me wish I was brave enough to take a bike off-road. I’m not and, at my age, probably never will be. But it sure is fun to watch.

    I’m sorry, but I post my first draft. If I actually took the time to clean up all my writing errors, I’d never post anything. This blog is definitely an “as-is” item. – FC

  17. Comment by Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill) | 11.13.2012 | 8:26 pm

    Good stuff, but I have to admit I keep hoping for a recap of your day at the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow. I noticed you still have a cut on your nasal bridge to match the new one on your knee.

    I should. I really should. – FC

  18. Comment by rich | 11.13.2012 | 10:18 pm

    What a great video!
    We made a trip out to Moad a few years back on our way to do a hut trip. Only got one day on the slickrock trail. Really wish we would have had you guys as a guide…

  19. Comment by Tom | 11.13.2012 | 10:48 pm

    Great story. I spent 7 days riding and hiking around Moab the end of oct this year. I would recommend it to all. We were in a camper and stayed on the river and in town and at Deadhorse state park. All good fun. But I must say the butter trails of Bend Or (home) were super good when I got home too. Thanks for the cool video.

  20. Comment by Skippy | 11.14.2012 | 1:46 am

    Your neighbour and fellow Blogger , asked for a retweet of this petition , today : http://t.co/LG8TgGy1

    We take so much for granted in the English speaking Countries , that it takes a child to waken us to their reality ! Already my local radio , at request , are working on a German language version .

    My comment on the petition :

    ” Words out of the mouth of a child and the ” Cowardly Bastards ” try to make her take them back !
    She will become as famous as ” Ghandi ” and when she is older will achieve as much for her country people !
    Meanwhile as an ” Icon ” she will need continual protection since she will be the catalyst for the destruction of those groups responsible for her injuries .
    Lead the world in putting an end to the shame that allows Children to be deprived of the best education facilities that can be made available ! ”

    Please forward links for UK, Aus , NZ petitions !

    Fatty’s army will know more and act swiftly .


  21. Comment by Mark J. in Dallas | 11.14.2012 | 9:23 am

    Hey Fatty-

    Love the videos. Keep ‘em coming. I have two questions for you:

    1) How “technical” would you rate these rides? As you can see, I’m in Dallas and these trails are beyond anything we have remotely close. I’d love to go but don’t want to kill myself in the process.

    2) Do you always ride tubeless? I believe you do based on previous posts. You use Stan’s or something else?

    Thanks for the opportunity to live vicariously through you as I sit in my cubicle all day…

    -Mark in Dallas

  22. Comment by Dave T. | 11.14.2012 | 10:16 am

    Tucson has some great desert trails to enjoy during the winter. The weather is typically around 50° deg F in the morning and a very nice 70° by mid-day. The Arizona Trail also cuts through town. You ought to check us out sometime.

  23. Comment by Repack Rider | 11.16.2012 | 12:07 pm

    Hmm. Big picture from my website posted, without a link, or credit, or…

    Here’s the origin: http://sonic.net/~ckelly/Seekay/seminar2.htm

    More: http://sonic.net/~ckelly/Seekay/seminar.htm

    And of course the site itself:

    Sorry about that. Removed. – FC

  24. Comment by kiera willis | 11.25.2012 | 9:14 pm

    oh! that was adventurous expedition. It’s kinda hard though. great video too! Biking is the most interesting sports for me second is horse back riding.


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