UTCX Cyclocross

Cyclocross bike racer climbing a hill at Soldier Hollow park in Salt Lake City, Utah

|| Cyclocross is a sub genre of the bike racing world with a culture entirely its own. Here, a cyclocross rider climbs a hill during a UTCX cyclocross race at Soldier Hollow in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’d like to attend more of these events, heckle more actively, and maybe race for a lap or five. All the local celebrities were out, including Mr. Tommy Chandler. Tommy made a short video of the event that can be found here. ||

Dawn Light

Warm, early morning light turns the dramatic sawtooth mountains yellow near Stanley, Idaho.

|| Twenty-percent rain was what the forecast read. Really, this translated into about twenty, full minutes of rain–at two AM. I’ll take that.

We took Friday off from work with the hope of bagging a ride or two on the trails around Stanley before it rained. Luckily, we beat the rain. And after the clouds rolled in and rolled out at night, we were left with this incredible sunrise.

An incredible view awaited us at this campsite off the Nip Tuck road. Hunters rolled up and down the dirt road all morning, checking for deer and signs of a chance to earn an early tag. We left during the day, rode Fischer Creek, hit the hot springs near town, and then made dinner as a blast of frigid air rolled through camp. Clear nights bring cold temperatures, but that might be the only problem with being able to see the stars so clearly.

Without a blanket of clouds to warm the land, your toes turn cold in a hurry. ||

Starry Night

A camping tent glows under the starry sky at a campsite in Stanley, Idaho.

|| Light spills up and onto the branches of a tree at a campsite in Stanley, Idaho. This particular campsite is located at a hard-to-reach location on top of a hill. The hill overlooks the town of Stanley at night, and provides an incredible view of the Sawtooth mountains in the morning.

At night it’s easy to see the stars and pick out constellations. Salt Lake suffers from a massive amount of light pollution, and traveling to a place like Stanley drives that point home in spades. During the fall it can be downright frigid at night. Take a zero degree sleeping bag, a warm hat, and a down jacket. You’ll need all three.

High fire danger had skunked our campfire dreams all summer, until the ban was lifted the previous week. We built a toasty fire, heated some soup, and swapped stories until it was too late to think about anything other than bed. Although it might be different for some, I sleep like a rock when I’m camping. Back home there’s just too many distractions, but in a tent it’s just you and your heavy eyes. ||

Creeping Green

Moss growing on a tree in Oregon

|| The green moss that grows over the trees in the Pacific Northwest is amazing. I shot this photo while photographer Re Wikstrom and I were traveling through Oregon on a bike trip. The texture of the moss attracted me first, but the pale color of the bark was what really drew me into the contrast.

Oregon has some incredible mountain biking. We were just outside Hood River at this point during our travels. I had no idea, but apparently Hood River is a mecca for windsurfing. Years ago I saw the windsurfing movie that Poor Boyz Productions released in between ski season. PBP is usually known a production house for winter flicks, but they also have the beach scene dialed. ||

McKenzie River Trail

Austin Holt riding a bike on the McKenzie River Trail in Oregon

|| Although I picked the spot and did the riding, I have to give the shutter props to photographer Re Wikstrom. Re snagged this photograph while we were ripping along the McKenzie River Trail in Oregon. Although the trail starts in a mass of volcano rock, it slowly snakes its way down to the river.

Despite the fact that you shuttle this trail (drive to the top, leave a car at the bottom), there’s lots of pedal time. A downhill bike would be fun for a few sections, but a mid-travel trail bike is definitely the way to go. My Santa Cruz Heckler held its own* through twisty forest sections, slick roots, and the technical bits of rock at the beginning.

No one mentions the bridges you have to cross during this ride. Some are wide enough to ride across, some have railings on both sides, and some are so skinny your bars barely creep through from start to finish. The rhythm goes: ride, ride, ride, pedal, pedal, pedal, StairMaster, and repeat.

Ride this trail, it’s one for the bucket list.||

Falliage

A colorful photograph of yellow, orange, and green Fall foliage in Park City, Utah

|| Bright, colorful scrub oaks make for a visual explosion of foliage just off the trail in Park City, Utah. Every year there’s a flood of amazing photos from the outdoor photographers in this area. Last year I took handheld flashes out into the woods and lit a number of these trees at dusk. This year it felt right to just wander and see where the trail would take me. I’m glad I did. ||

Stormy Singletrack

Skiers Shaun Raskin and Weston Deutschlander ride mountain bikes in Brian Head, Utah on a stormy day. This all-mountain and cross country trail is called Bunker creek.

And down came the rain. Sometimes you get lucky in Brian Head, and sometimes it just pours. According to the locals it had been raining since the first week in July, and this was simply a continuation. Shaun Raskin, Weston D, Re Wikstrom, and I rode for three days, through mud, cow turds, and across wet, slippery roots. Singletrack had turned to rutty ditches and fast, technical downhills turned into a two-wheel slip’n slide punctuated by trees.

The Location: Bunker Creek

Here Shaun and Weston pedal up a hill during a Bunker Creek shuttle ride. Later in the day we were treated to sun, just enough to turn the mud on our bikes to cement.

Want some beta on the area? Leave a comment.

Forest for the Trees

Trees against the sky on an overcast day in the forest in Brian Head, Utah

Trees along the side of the Dark Hollow mountain bike trail in Brian Head, Utah

|| The Dark Hollow and Bunker Creek trails ribbon through the forest above Brian Head, Utah. Drive to the top of the mountain, unload your bikes, pedal a few hundred vertical, and you’re treated to an hour of screaming-fast riding across well-traveled single track, rock gardens and roots that bite at your feet, and views that give you more than a moment of pause. Mud was the order of the day for this particular ride with photographer Re Wikstrom and riders Shaun Raskin and Weston Deutschlander. Our grins caked with mud and our bikes soaked, we skidded up to the shuttle truck at the bottom well after darkness fell. Two more days of riding to go, and it only rained more. ||

Powered by Pedals

Looking down at the trail below the bikes, shoes, and muddy tires of three mountain bikers in Utah.

|| A Yeti, a Genius, a Jekyll, and a Kona went for a ride at Brian Head. Pictured here are the feet, bikes, and tires of Weston Deutschlander and Shaun Raskin on the trails outside Brian Head, Utah. Although you can’t see the mud in this particular photo, it was omnipresent during our trip. Once you’ve driven four hours and put in the time to park to trucks there’s no turning back, so we rode regardless of the weather. Fast, slick, and fun, it’s like playing in puddles for no good reason when you’re a kid. The best part is that it makes for some amazing photos.||