Well I guess it's time to go home.

Here I am sitting at the bar at Il Vaggio Italian Kitchen outside of Delta gate D4 in the Salt Lake City Airport drinking a beer that is not 3.2 alcohol by volume finally and reflecting on the past 5 days of adventures in Salt Lake City, Provo and especially Moab.   

After landing in Salt Lake City a few of us headed to Provo to stay instead of driving the entire 4 hours to Moab. 

Provo is an interesting college town. It basically has 2 bars and they mostly sell 3.2 ABV beer. The laws in Utah are certainly interesting from the severe restrictions on ABV to the shot measuring devices to not being able to get a double shot but can get a drink with 2 separate shots. None of which makes much sense and is from a different time for sure.

The three of us had some brews, talked about mountain biking, life and ate some below average food at a Japanese restaurant before heading back to the hotel.

The next morning we got up early (not by choice as the 2 hour time change I never got used to) and headed to Moab. The first hour the terrain changed greatly. We started in mountains with lush green forests and soon thereafter we were in high desert and then it was like we were in a movie of the wild west with nothing but rock and sand for as far the eye could see.  In the distance you could see an enormous snow covered La Sal mountain range peaking over the horizon in all its intimidating glory.  

As we got closer to Moab the terrain  got seriously more rugged and I had the sense that many people perished in that harsh unrelenting environment over time and it is intimidating in that way.  

We got to Moab with some time to blow before our first ride and checked out all the bike shops.  Moab's bike shops are well stocked with gear and bikes of many different brands. 

 

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We grabbed lunch  at the Moab brewery which even they cannot sell beer above 3.2 from the tap but they had a 9.6% 137 IBU double IPA in a can that was pretty good but super bitter.

 We finished lunch and headed to the Rim Condos that we were staying in to meet everyone and get setup in our rigs for the next 4 days.

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I got to ride a Spot Rollick 607 which is a sweet ride.  It's a 650b, 160 mm travel, carbon bike that rides incredibly well. It has what they call the living link suspension that uses a leaf spring which eliminates some cartridge bearings and allows the bike to pedal up more efficiently. I was thoroughly impressed with the bike.

Before, during and after setting up our bikes we all met each other and then off to the trail head for our first ride.

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 We split into two groups and our guide Dave gets us together and we set out into the desert for our 16 mile ride.  Having only been to Utah once before and long before I mountain biked I wasn't sure what to expect exactly but I knew it would be at the very least be a ton of fun.

The trail starts out flowy and fast and every so often we would hit pockets of sand that attempted to bring you down and if you went off the trail at all the bike would become instantly unwieldy.  This was an interesting part of Moab as the consequences of mistakes is higher due to the small stuff trees, cacti and loads of rock not to mention the fact that you are riding on cliffs much of the time.

As we rode we eventually came upon slickrock. This stuff grips your tires incredibly well and you can gain speed in a hurry. This first day was mainly to get used to the terrain, our bikes and the elevation.  We did that and had a great time.

Soon after we finished we headed back to the condos, got our room assignments and showered. We had some time to talk to our roommates. One of the great part about s trip like this is that 12 people can come together with the love of the great outdoors and mountain biking and have a great time.  

 To be continued....

Preparation For Moab!

Photo by ikick/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by ikick/iStock / Getty Images

On Wednesday I am heading to Moab for what is going to be an amazing adventure with Chasing Epic and Alexander of Singletrack Sampler.  I am totally stoked as this is going to be completely different than the riding I have been doing in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  The only slickrock we have is a small loop in DuPont and I am guessing Moab will be a dusty mess instead of the wet rock we have had this winter/spring so learning that surface will be entertaining I am sure.

I have been gearing up for this trip since I decided to do it in December.  I knew my fitness was not going to be good enough for 4 days of 15-30 miles and 1500+ of elevation a day and didn't want to be that guy that holds the group back.  So I put myself through the wringer and rode Pisgah and DuPont almost exclusively for a few months to gain the fitness quickly.  I made sure to climb, climb, climb to make sure I can hang.

Now I am comfortably at the point that I can ride 1500-3000' feet of elevation over 15-20 miles multiple times a week and hit a downhill park on the weekend and still have some in the tank. 

Our itineary looks amazing.  We will be hitting all the epic rides in Moab.

Day 1 - Chisholm to Navajo Rocks

Day 2- The Whole Enchilada (UPS Down) plus Pipedream

Day 3 - North Klondike AM, Bartlett Wash PM

Day 4 - Amasa Back Trails (Hymasa, Ahab, Pothole Arch)

This will also be the first time on a trail bike that is not my Motobecane Team Fantom 6x6.  I will be riding a Spot Rollick.  It will be interesting to ride a different bike for sure as I have only ridden my trail bike and my newly acquired Transition TR500 DH bike.  I believe the Spot will have an Eagle on it so it will be nice to have such a large gear ratio compared to my 34/42 combo that gets me in trouble sometimes due to the lack of ratio but it is great for getting in shape!

Look back later this week for some more posts and some unedited video of the epicness of Moab!

  

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Pisgah Day 1 - Cold and slick.

This week I was able to get up to Pisgah twice and put in some hard miles on some difficult trails.  The first ride I didn't take video as it was so cold I wasn't sure what would happen to my gimbal and cold weather gloves and trying to hit record on the go pro would have been futal at best.

The first ride was Sunday, me, and a few friends (new and old) decided to hit up Pisgah even though it was 11 degrees at 10 am!  

 Top of Black Mountain Trail.

Top of Black Mountain Trail.

We started at the Horse Stables and climbed Clawhammer up to Black Mountain which had some beautiful frozen waterfalls I wanted to take some pictures but, didn't want to stop because it was so cold.   Can't sit still when its this cold for any amount of time when wet, so we proceeded to do upper Black Mountain and down the other side after a very brief break.  This trail is no joke on the way down.  Short but gnarly.  

We then proceeded down Avery Creek, and my confidence was growing.  One of the hardest things to gauge in mountain biking is when you are overconfident.  It is important to figure that out because once you are overconfident bad things frequently occur.  I was riding faster than normal and felt great until.....  

Avery Creek is a fun trail with some technical aspects for sure.  Technical rock gardens on ledges everywhere, drops into other rock gardens, switchbacks with drops in them and you can gain a ton of speed in a hurry if you want to. 

There is one switchback in particular that you can take the high side of the turn and drop down.... that was no issue.  Coming down a couple of hundred feet from there were some drops, and there are two lines you can take.  Around them or through them.  I opted to go down the middle of these because I was overconfident and the bottom of my front tire dropped into a hole under the leaves and OTB I went and slammed back first into a tree.  Always fun.  I got up quickly though as my pack took most of the brunt, my elbow hit a rock pretty hard but can't dwell on the little things so back on the bike and down to catch the guys.

There were a few treacherous stream crossings because of the ice.  One, in particular, Patrick slipped on and damn near went off the ledge.  He was laying on the ice holding his bike that was hanging over the side!  It was risky being out there for sure.  After that, it was pretty smooth sailing to Avery Creek Road.

Avery Creek was only the first leg of this ride, so I had some more learning and climbing to do.  We took a short break at Avery Creek Road and ate some food before heading up.  I bought a delicious chocolate chip cookie from Sycamore Cycles on the way into Pisgah and that hit the spot!  One guy dropped as it was still freezing and sometimes opting for a beer and a fireplace is the right decision!  

The three of us that were left headed up to Bennet Gap.  Bennet Gap is another gnarly trail that is classic Pisgah.  Huge drops, extremely technical climbs and obstacles that I won't even attempt at this point as I will probably end up on a stretcher but it is super fun.

I had done Bennet once before on Black Friday and had no issues.  I walked a couple of things that I rode this time around but I didn't crash at all, but this time it would be different.  Once we finally got to the actual downhill, there are some fun obstacles such as trees laying on the trail that can be jumped.  One, in particular, can be dangerous if you take the wrong line and land on a branch of the tree or you don't have your hands at the end of your handlebars as sometimes they will drift inside and you don't gauge the width correctly, and you clip a tree, which is exactly what I did.  Clipped the tree, went OTB for a second time on this ride.  My confidence was shot.  

We hit the gnarly drops after that section and was down to lower Bennet, but I didn't try anything new and took it easy.  Lower Bennet was easy enough and back to the stables to grab the cars and head for post-ride beers at the Hub!  

Lessons learned:  Overconfidence is dangerous and when riding to make sure my hands are at the edges of the handlebars. Also the cold isn't as terrible as I thought it was going to be.

Burial Brewing Company - Surfwax IPA.  First Burial beer I have had and was impressed!

Introduction: Bikes and Beers?

First off I would like to welcome everyone to my blog and hope your 2018 is going to be as amazing as I hope mine will be.  

I am George Greiner, a 35-year-old, database consultant, fitness aficionado, beach volleyball player, craft beer lover and a mountain biker.  After many years of playing beach volleyball, I have decided to take a break and transition into mountain biking as my main hobby and would like to share my journey with you all and hope that if you already don't have an affinity for mountain biking that you will get one.

I have some goals set that involve my newest infatuation. Those goals are to bike at least 2500 miles which will be tracked by Strava, go to a couple of clinics to learn proper cornering, jumping and whatever else they can teach so I can send it to the best of my abilities. I will also participate in at least one race be that enduro, downhill or possibly XC.

So why mountain biking?  Mountain biking is incredibly freeing; it brings me back to my roots in nature as I am an Eagle Scout and spent many days in the woods, it can be done solo if needed and the people are amazing.

Here in the upstate of South Carolina, I have access to some killer places to shred within 2 hours such as Pisgah, Bent Creek, DuPont, Fire Trail System in Cherokee, Paris Mountain, Bailey Mountain Bike Park just to name a few.  

I am fortunate enough to be in a position to bike whenever I want due to my current career choices and hope to go on a journey from a beginner (less than 400 miles logged) to a skilled rider over the course of the next couple years.  I have already ridden most of the trails in Pisgah, Bent Creek, Dupont and had some crazy adventures while doing so.  

 

New Belgium

 

What about the craft beer you ask?  Well, mountain biking and beer are synonymous, and here in the Carolinas, we have craft breweries everywhere with more opening up all the time.  After shredding I always hit up a brewery, bike shop/bar or some event that has beer flowing, and I will review those places when I hit them up and try a new beer post ride which I will rate on Untappd.

A few other things I may write about on this blog will include fitness and of course beards! I have been on quite the fitness journey since I  moved here to South Carolina 3 years ago.  I was overweight even though I exercised frequently and am now free from that due to now understanding how to eat properly and it is a passion of mine to spread the word on how food works.  That understanding has now allowed me the freedom to eat and drink beer without having to worry about gaining weight.  With that said I also lift weights a few days a week and have reshaped my body over the last two years.  A little effort and a lot of science go a long way!  

I will have to figure out how to train both for hypertrophy and for mountain biking, which due to cardio demands will be difficult and I will explain the plan of attack in more detail in a later blog.  

I hope you follow me on my journey and below you will find all the links to follow me on my adventures on this wild ride we call life.