Emerging as this spring’s top three mountain bike destinations are three often-overlooked regions in America’s Southwest where temperatures hover in the high 70’s with little rain in the forecast.
The only forecast on the horizon for a three- or four-day Chasing Epic weekend is some of the finest mountain bike riding in the world for intermediate to advanced enthusiasts who will experience the best trails in each locale under the watch of local guides who know every twist and outcrop around the corner.
Fruita, CO, Sedona, AZ, and St. George, UT, are three must-ride mountain bike destinations this spring, says Steve Mokan, founder and owner of Chasing Epic (http://chasingepicmtb.com/).
“In the circle of experienced riders it seems like everyone’s done Moab. It’s too crowded and over-saturated with tour companies and riders from all over,” says Mokan. “With our off-radar, bucket list routes and destinations you won’t have to worry about the crowds, just the challenging trail ahead,” he adds.
In Fruita three-day trips begin April 16 and May 28 at a per person rate of $950. Fruita (and neighboring Grand Junction) four hours from both Denver and Salt Lake City, caters well to mountain bikers, with not much going on after hours except time to tell riding stories, clean bikes and get ready for tomorrow’s challenges. It’s not unusual to see more bikes than cars on Aspen Avenue, and some of the in-town haunts (Over the Edge, Hot Tomato) are world famous. Three-day mountain biking getaways engage intermediate and advanced riders. Longer rides are easier due to few technical or extended climbs, and “the views of the Bookcliffs and Colorado River are fantastic,” he promises. He suggests the Ibis Mojo HD3 for enjoying the main networks: 18 Road (North Fruita Desert Trails), Kokopelli/Loma Trails, Rabbit Valley and the Lunch Loops in Grand Junction.
“There are enough trails to keep you busy for a week. But to get the most out of your three-day trip, you should ride with someone who knows the trails,” he recommends.
In Sedona, a four-day trip at $1,250 per person begins April 29. Sedona, just two hours north of Phoenix, is one of the most spiritual and picturesque towns in the country. Here riders from March through May can predictably enjoy 75 degrees and sunny days while engaging in rides that Mokan says, “can be very technical, so be sure to bring you’re a game. There are plenty of intermediate-level trails as well, but expect short technical sections mixed in. In Sedona it always feels like you rode twice as far as you actually did.”
Sedona has hundreds of miles of trails in and around town, but there are also networks of shorter trails, so he suggests riders need an experienced guide to link together trails. The most famous here are Mezcal, Chuckwagon, HiLine, Slim Shady, and Hangover, with his bike choice for riding here is the Ibis Mojo HD3.
Trips to St. George, UT are scheduled for both April 8 and May 14. The per person rate is $1,250 for the 4-day April departure, and $950 for the 3-day May 14 date. Near Snow Canyon State Park and Zion National Park, St. George is 90 minutes east of Las Vegas and under six hours from San Diego, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.
“Spring riding in St. George is incredible, with miles of trails right in town as well as bucket list rides out on the mesas near Hurricane, only 15 minutes away,” ‘Mokan explains. “Spring weather is perfect for mountain biking both in the valley and on the mesas. The popular trails here are Hurricane Rim (an IMBA Epic), Gooseberry Mesa, Guacamole, Little Creek, the Santa Clara trails, and the Zen trail.
“St. George trails aren’t too technical on average, and they’re not physically difficult either. It’s a great mix of fun technical features mixed in with gentle, rolling terrain. The views are incredible in every direction. Our weapon of choice for St. George is the Ibis Ripley LS,” Mokan adds.
Unlike traditional point-A-to-point-B mountain bike tour companies, Chasing Epic stays in a single town in each destination and dedicates itineraries to daily rides that cover a variety of the most epic single track trails in each area.
Mokan said that Chasing Epic provides a better overall experience for people who love to ride “by anticipating guest needs and partnering with the biggest names in the industry to put together the most all-inclusive and rewarding mountain bike vacations in today’s marketplace. With our trips, we take care of absolutely everything. All you have to do is show up and ride!”
Chasing Epic trips are all inclusive and a per person rate includes accommodations (never camping), hearty meals, high-end demo bikes (an all-carbon demo bike fleet includes Ibis Mojo HD3s, Ibis Ripley LS 29ers, and Niner Jet 9 29ers), local guides conversant with the terrain, customized eight-week pre-trip training programs, best-in-class ride nutrition, shuttles and lift tickets, gratuities and a dedicated on-site trip leader to help control gear mashers and share the stories and laughs with a group of like-minded riders.
On the premise that “the less you suffer on the climbs, the more you’ll enjoy the descents,” Mokan has engaged coaching platform companies Training Peaks and Through the Wall Training to customize individualized training programs (valued at up to $400) for eight weeks prior to departure.
He emphasizes that these trips aren’t for touring and sightseeing. “At Chasing Epic, we pride ourselves on putting together itineraries of only the best trail systems in each location, and we don’t waste time with sightseeing rides. You’ll be on uncrowded singletrack from start to finish.”
About Chasing Epic
Chasing Epic is a new adventure travel company (founded in 2016) that aims to raise the bar and set new standards in the mountain bike community. The focus is on offering experienced intermediate to advanced-level mountain bikers fully all-inclusive, locally guided mountain bike trips where everybody wants to ride — the Western US – and when everybody has time – over long weekends. Guests just need to be fit and pack a helmet, shoes and appetite for epic single track action. Each tour includes lodging, meals, high-end bikes, local guides, customized eight-week training programs, best-in-class ride nutrition, shuttles, lift tickets, gratuities and a dedicated on-site trip leader. Destinations embrace both the iconic and soon-to-be legendary; Crested Butte, Durango, Fruita and Telluride, Colorado; Sedona, Arizona; and Park City and St. George, Utah.