Colorado -> Utah -> Nevada - Arizona Fall 2010

 
 
 
 
 
  

This was my only trip abroad this year, I had originally planned to have a 2 week MTB trip to the USA in April but the volcanic eruption in Iceland coupled with the complete over reaction by the uk air traffic control meant my flight was cancelled. Also me and my wife had planned a 1 week trip in July to Italy to do via-ferrata in the Dolomites but the night before we were due to fly out the cat got sick and needed emergency care. As the cat quite frail being 20+year old, we had to cancel the trip - I could have gone on my own but climbing around mountains on my own didn't seem like a good idea (Of course solo Mountain biking on trails in the middle of no-where is completely safe...)

 

So when I saw a sale come up for British airways flights I decided to buy tickets for flights from England (Heathrow) to USA (Denver) and then back via Phoenix for a 3 week MTB trip to the USA in September.

I also booked a Standard size SUV for the 3 weeks (Note : You get charged a large fee for a one way rental)

Note : British airways Baggage allowance is no where as good as it used to be when i first started flying to the states.

In the good old days it was 1 * 32kg bag + 32kg bike bag free, then they changed it to 2 * 23kg bags + 23kg bike bag free, But now its a pretty sucky 1 * 23 kg bag free , and then every other bag you want to take costs £64 for a return trip if you pre-pay, unless you fly premium economy where you get a 2 * 23kg free, or business where you get 3 * 23kg bags. Make sure you check the small print before you book your tickets, as I needed 2 * 23kg bags + bike bag to get all my tools, spare parts and gear over with me.

Once I'd booked my tickets I got in touch with riding buddies in the states to see if they would be around for rides while I was out there, then I planned my trip. I built up a complete itenary, booked my first couple of nights hotels and downloaded GPS tracks for almost all the rides I did, which made for a very smooth running trip when i was stateside - and I was able to ride everyday (Apart from when I did an overnight hike through the Zion Narrows).

I packed my bike up the weekend before i was due to fly out , it takes quite a bit of time to pack the bike as I strip it right down to try and avoid anything getting damaged

 

 

Here is the Route and the rides I did on my trip

2010 Route Map

 

I drove over 1800 miles on the trip and spent $350 on gas, during the trip had two rental vehicles (Both Dodge Journey SUV's)- due to getting puncture on the way back from the Rainbow rim trail

It wasn't a cheap trip to do excluding the cost of the flight I spent just over $4000 dollars on my 3 week trip for food, lodging , gas, car rental etc, but you only live once so you might as well spend your money on something you enjoy doing i.e. a lot of fantastic MTB riding.

The trip would have cost even more than this if it hadn't been for the generosity of some of my MTB buddies out in the USA who invited me to stay at their great homes while I was riding in their areas. Sleeping in a real home is so much nicer than staying in a hotel.

Here's a picture of some of the electronic gear I took with me.

I used a variety of tripods to take a lot of my pictures. The Velbon V-Pod is very handy as its light weight but extends to almost 1 meter high, The Gorilla Pod is very handy for attaching to trees, or balancing on rocks and the ultrapod is handy for wrapping around branch's.

I took two cameras a Canon Ixus 200IS which take nice clear widescreen pictures, and my older Canon Ixus 950IS which also take nice pictures - but not at wide angles. Both Cameras have a handy 30 second timer which I set to take 6 pictures at a time, so I can usually get a couple of ok pictures when i set the camera up on a tripod.

As you can see from my site I take a lot of pictures , I think the fact I stop often and take pictures is one of the reasons I'm able to ride everyday of my trip as I get plenty of micro breaks on my rides.

For navigating I used a Garmin Etrex Vista HCX with USA topo maps loaded on it, I managed to find GPX tracks for all the routes I rode on the internet. Which makes riding trails you don't know on your own a lot easier than messing around with paper maps.

My bike Lights are a Exposure MaXx-D and a Exposure Diablo, my bigger light stopped working on one ride due to the heat at night in Sedona - being UK designed I guess they wernt expecting you to ride at night when its 89f when they designed it.

I also had a Vio POV headcam setup on my helmet.

 

I've posted full reports for each day on the following pages, every picture can be clicked on to get a bigger image.

You may need to click to allow active X to see the embedded Flash videos on the following web pages

Check out the Holiday Links page for details of useful sites I used for planning this holiday.

Click here for DAY 1