A Different Spin

It may be known as a mountain biking mecca, but Moab has some of the best road cycling in the region.

March 2013

It’s no secret that Utah’s arches national park—a red rock wonderland just five miles from the town of Moab—is open year-round, but my friends and I had heard that there were fewer visitors in March. And apparently the tip was true: When I pulled into the main parking lot last spring, it was empty. I jumped out of the car and unloaded my bike with giddy disbelief. We were about to pedal through one of the most storied landscapes in the West—and we’d have the road completely to ourselves.

Three months earlier, when my road cycling club began organizing this trip to Moab for spring training, I was skeptical. In my mind, Moab was a fat-tire paradise. Not only because of Slickrock, the most famous mountain biking trail on the planet, but also for Jeep week, when jacked-up four-wheelers take over the town. What could Moab offer a roadie? The email from the club promised mild temperatures, unrivaled scenery, and, in early spring, wide-open roads devoid of sightseers. I decided to give it a try.

After the five-and-a-half-hour drive west from Denver, we settled into Rim Village, an adobe-style cluster of vacation rentals on the south side of Moab. The three-bedroom condos have double garages to store bikes, full kitchens, and a community hot tub for après-ride relaxation. Our plan was to bike the three most highly acclaimed road routes in the area over the course of a three-day weekend.