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Thread: Moab Century

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    Senior Member CAAD5AL's Avatar
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    Moab Century

    Wondering if anyone has done the Moab Century and can give me some benchmarks for what to expect from the "Big Nasty" hill climb portion? I'm trying to find a comparison around Salt Lake with a similar grade and distance as that climb so I know what to expect! Thanks for any input!

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    cycling for 50 plus yrs colorado dale's Avatar
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    Its do able


    L'Alpe d'Huez...average 7.8% grade, 21 switchbacks, 1850m (6060 feet), as described by Bicycling Magazine.

    The "Big Nasty" section of the LaSal Loop Road....14-19% grade, 3000 ft elevation gain in 7 miles.

    "If a pro race finished atop the 'Big Nasty' it would be labeled out of category", says author Dave Shields. "The Big Nasty is probably steeper for a short section but the Alps is more sustained", adds Dave. "Competitor's attacking and hugely insane crowds makes it even more challenging". He's refering to the Alps, not Moab. Whew!


    Ron Kiefel, 7 time Tour de France competitor said it's the downhill of the "Big Nasty" that is definitely out of category. "We didn't see anything like that in Europe".

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    Do Little Cottonwood Canyon a few times to train for it. Little Cottonwood is steeper than "The Big Nasty", and about the same length. Also, the Big Nasty comes early in the ride, so that helps. I honestly like the climb. The toughest part of that ride is the stretch before the Big Nasty, along Spanish Valley. It's a slight, almost unnoticable incline, but I swear, it's ALWAYS into a tough headwind. Try to get in and hold the wheel of a big, or strong group.

    After you reach the top of the La Sals, it's miles and miles of down hill. Then a beautiful, rolling hills type of ride along some of the most beautiful scenery on earth, along the Colorado River.

    One of my favorite centuries anywhere.

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    Senior Member CAAD5AL's Avatar
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    Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. I've never known what the % grade is of anything around here, so I didn't know what to expect - the comparison to Little Cottonwood helps a lot - I've done it, I like it, I think I'll be okay! I thought it was only 9% at the steepest sections, though? I also do Emigration on to the East Canyon/Big Mountain summit quite a lot - how does that compare?

    While I'm at it, do either of you know what the grade is of some of those shorter, tougher blasts around the city? In particular, I've always wondered about Virginia Street and that section of 3000th East above 215, (up to Fort Union)? I know it's not a comparison, but I've always wondered - Virginia above 11th Ave in particular seems to me to be the steepest, albeit short, climb in town, but again, I always thought it was only like 10%, so when I read 19% for 7 miles I got a little worried!
    Last edited by CAAD5AL; 08-15-08 at 11:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAAD5AL View Post
    Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. I've never known what the % grade is of anything around here, so I didn't know what to expect - the comparison to Little Cottonwood helps a lot - I've done it, I like it, I think I'll be okay! I thought it was only 9% at the steepest sections, though? I also do Emigratoin on to the East Canyon/Big Mountain summit quite a lot - how does that compare?

    While I'm at it, do either of you know what the grade is of some of those shorter, tougher blasts around the city? In particularly, I've always wondered about Virginia Street and that section of 3000th East above 215, (up to Fort Union)? I know it's not a comparison, but I've always wondered - Virginia above 11th Ave in particular seems to me to be the steepest, albeit short, climb in town, but again, I always thought it was only like 10%, so when I read 19% for 7 miles I got a little worried!
    Ya, the 14-19% grade mentioned earlier sounds a bit steep. I don't recall any portion "feeling" steeper than 10%. I have honestly never ridden Emigration, or city creek, or anything north of Millcreek.

    I stick to Millcreek, Big and Little Cottonwoods, American Fork, and Provo Canyons.

    Also, I love Butterfield Canyon. It warms you up with 3 miles of 8% hits a .75 mile section of what I have been told is 18-20% grade, and then "levels out" to a consistent 10% for the next 2 1/2 miles. The decent is fun, lots of switchbacks, but also LOTS of rocks. Great training ride.

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    Senior Member CAAD5AL's Avatar
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    I'll have to check out Butterfield. Emigration itself isn't very steep at all, about 5% I think, but if you go up and over and continue on to East Canyon reservoir it's just a beautiful ride with some great climbing. So many great canyons here though - hard to pick a favorite!

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    Senior Member Sagebum's Avatar
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    Sorry if I am taking this away from the original intent but recently while visiting in SLC I did Big C to the top of Gauardsman Pass. John Sunderson's book, The Complete Guide to Climbing by Bike lists Big C as a contender for the hardest climb in the state. I thought is was just a nice climb. Seems like Little C would be harder due to steepness. It would be nice to know what you SLC locals think.

    Also, at the top of Gaurdsman, it looked like a nice smooth dirt road towards Park City. Is it worth riding down there on a road bike and back up?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagebum View Post
    Sorry if I am taking this away from the original intent but recently while visiting in SLC I did Big C to the top of Gauardsman Pass. John Sunderson's book, The Complete Guide to Climbing by Bike lists Big C as a contender for the hardest climb in the state. I thought is was just a nice climb. Seems like Little C would be harder due to steepness. It would be nice to know what you SLC locals think.

    Also, at the top of Gaurdsman, it looked like a nice smooth dirt road towards Park City. Is it worth riding down there on a road bike and back up?

    Thanks in advance.
    Ya, Big Cottonwood isn't nearly as steep (save Storm Mountain section) as Little Cotonwood. Perhaps the difficulty was based on mileage (Big=14.8 miles & Little=8 miles) or total elevation (Big=4100+ & Little=3700) I prefer Big Cottonwood, more miles and more climbing total= more downhill.

    Very few things on earth can compare to almost 15 miles and 4000 ft of downhill on tarmac.


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    Senior Member Sagebum's Avatar
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    Thanks cadence

    Yes, I thought Big C was a great ride and appreciated the shoulder with the orning work traffic.

    How about the idea of going down to Park City and back? At the top the road looked smooth and was paved a ways down. dow it saty smooth? Any idea?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagebum View Post
    Thanks cadence

    Yes, I thought Big C was a great ride and appreciated the shoulder with the orning work traffic.

    How about the idea of going down to Park City and back? At the top the road looked smooth and was paved a ways down. dow it saty smooth? Any idea?
    That i'm not sure about. Last time I took that road was years ago, and it was all dirt and 4x4 road.
    Maybe i'll give it a shot this week, and let you know. Not if it looks to sketchy though. My new carbon fiber bike doesn't like dirt.

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    Hey, Sagebum, a few years ago, they had a century ride that went through the Valley of Fire (which is where me and my wife got married) called Tour de Fire

    I can't find a registration site for it, do you know if they are still running it?
    If so, do they have a website or something? Thanks.
    Last edited by cadencesdad; 08-24-08 at 03:16 PM.

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    Senior Member Sagebum's Avatar
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    I am familiar with it by name only. http://www.tdfire.com/

    I live near Tahoe so it is at least 400 miles from here and in an altogether different state.

    PS

    I signed up for the Moab Century never thnking abut a place to stay......couldn't find a room or a campsite to rewerve. I'll be in Grand Juntion so will head over early to find a camp spot alng the river I guess.
    Last edited by Sagebum; 08-25-08 at 10:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagebum View Post
    I am familiar with it by name only. http://www.tdfire.com/

    I live near Tahoe so it is at least 400 miles from here and in an altogether different state.

    PS

    I signed up for the Moab Century never thnking abut a place to stay......couldn't find a room or a campsite to rewerve. I'll be in Grand Juntion so will head over early to find a camp spot alng the river I guess.

    Hey, I am thinking about doing the same thing. There are some of what I consider great campsites along Onion Creek. No tables, or toilets or running water or anything, but there is usually nobody else around. They ran one of the discovery channel geo-races right through our camp spot.

    These guys are supposed to be expert navigators, but at night during the mountain biking leg of the race, we must have had five different teams come right into our campsite, while we were eating dinner, only to realize they followed the wrong traill.

    Anyway, Onion Creek is just west of Fisher Valley. There should be a sign and a dirt road. Onion Creek is beautiful, and the road crosses the creek 20 times or so, as it carves out small grottos in the cliff walls.

    If your not in the mood for camping, give the Big Horn Lodge a call. They are great, and allow dogs, which is good for us.

    P.S. Thanks for the link. I tried everything to find their website, and just decided they must not be running that any more.

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    Sagebum, I agree with cadencesdad, Big C is not one of the toughest rides in the state. There are some good inclines (storm mountain and one little section up to Guardsman Pass) but most of the time locals will ride it to get the extra miles in. If you want a difficult ride next time you are in SLC try multiple canyons.....the beauty is they are all relatively close together. One other comment, the downhill in Big C is long and fun, most of the downhill you are at 38-45 mph.

    Little C is fun for the downhill as well, 40 + mph most of the time, however it's a lot shorter than Big.

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    Oh yeah, I wouldn't recommend riding over to PC on that dirt road. The last time I was on that road (2 years ago) it was full of pot holes and loose gravel. You could do it, but it wouldn't be that much fun.

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    Senior Member CAAD5AL's Avatar
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    Well that was just a great ride - the summit and descent were unbelievably beautiful!

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    JF1
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAAD5AL View Post
    Well that was just a great ride - the summit and descent were unbelievably beautiful!
    Yer gonna have to do better than that! So how does it compare to, say, the Tour de Park City?
    I'm thinking of heading down to Moab this weekend and trying part of the route.
    J
    Good times.

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    Senior Member CAAD5AL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JF1 View Post
    Yer gonna have to do better than that! So how does it compare to, say, the Tour de Park City?
    I'm thinking of heading down to Moab this weekend and trying part of the route.

    . . . well, I haven't done the Tour De PC, but the Moab ride is definitely worthwhile. Kind of a slim turnout this year, but I'll definitely put it on my must-do list from now on. I honestly don't think I've ever been on a ride I liked more. The climb is just fantastic - LONG with some definitely steep sections to keep you honest, but it kind of rolls and gives you a break just when you need it, then starts in again. I didn't understand why they do it so late in the year, but at the top the aspens were changing colors and the contrast the with all that red rock down below was a perfect reward for the effort. Add to that the bizzare charred landscape on the descent side from a fire about a week ago and the whole scene was just surreal. I've got some pics in my phone I need to load and I'll post a few - I doubt it will do it justice, but hopefully it'll capture some of it.

    The descent was pretty fantastic too! I think the low turnout was kind of a blessing, though. I saw more than one person fail to make the turns and nearly go off the road, and saw another guy who must have been riding his brakes overheat and blow the tire right off the rim. Many more rookie riders clumping up and I think there'd be a a real potential for some serious accidents. As it was, you just had to keep a heads up for the occasional slow guy and got to let it run for 30 miles of just hammer-down perfection.

    THEN, after all that, finishing with 40 miles of rollers surrounded by those huge cliffs along the Colorado . . . I'm tellin ya, it just doesn't get much better!
    Last edited by CAAD5AL; 09-22-08 at 10:17 PM.

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    JF1
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAAD5AL View Post
    . . . well, I haven't done the Tour De PC, but the Moab ride is definitely worthwhile. Kind of a slim turnout this year, but I'll definitely put it on my must-do list from now on. I honestly don't think I've ever been on a ride I liked more. The climb is just fantastic - LONG with some definitely steep sections to keep you honest, but it kind of rolls and gives you a break just when you need it, then starts in again. I didn't understand why they do it so late in the year, but at the top the aspens were changing colors and the contrast the with all that red rock down below was a perfect reward for the effort. Add to that the bizzare charred landscape on the descent side from a fire about a week ago and the whole scene was just surreal. I've got some pics in my phone I need to load and I'll post a few - I doubt it will do it justice, but hopefully it'll capture some of it.

    The descent was pretty fantastic too! I think the low turnout was kind of a blessing, though. I saw more than one person fail to make the turns and nearly go off the road, and saw another guy who must have been riding his brakes overheat and blow the tire right off the rim. Many more rookie riders clumping up and I think there'd be a a real potential for some serious accidents. As it was, you just had to keep a heads up for the occasional slow guy and got to let it run for 30 miles of just hammer-down perfection.

    THEN, after all that, finishing with 40 miles of rollers surrounded by those huge cliffs along the Colorado . . . I'm tellin ya, it just doesn't get much better!
    Awesome. I'm going to make it for sure next year.
    J
    Good times.

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    Senior Member Sagebum's Avatar
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    Moab Century Pics

    Yeah, that was an excellent ride. The weather was perfect, even enjoyed the little shower a few miles from Moab. The Nasty's went by more quickly than expected because I thought it was 3000 ft in 7 miles from the "Big Nasty" sign. From MTB experience there, it would be miserable in June, July or August.

    I put some pics of the 3 days on my BikeJournal Blog if anyone cares to see. The 3 dates are Sept, 19, 20, 21.

    http://www.bikejournal.com/blog.asp?...date=9/19/2008

    Good rides!
    Last edited by Sagebum; 09-29-08 at 03:24 PM.

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