Desert Revival: Bitchn Grit Goes to Moab


Words: KP
Photos: KP and Friends

There comes a time in every cross season when I start to question my sanity. Why did I choose a sport where riding in frigid, wintery conditions is the norm? Why didn’t I stick to road racing where the biggest concern is deciding which sunny café we should stop at for a quick coffee and snack before venturing off onto a beautiful canyon climb…not whether or not I’ll get frostbite or ever be able to use my hands again.   

OK, OK, I exaggerate… (and I kid… love ya, roadies). We do live in Colorado where it’s not really THAT cold and I don’t often face frostbite as a real threat. But by the end of ‘cross season, the dark and wintery days do start to wear. And that is where the annual Desert Revival comes in.


Four years ago, Nick and I stumbled into the best Thanksgiving tradition ever: Escape to the desert. This sunny, mountain bike-filled revival comes at the perfect time of the season, just as the cold temps become permanent and the short fall days start to drag on. We started this tradition in Sedona, Arizona or basically my favorite place on earth, but opted for the closer, more convenient Moab this year.


So, after returning from a disappointing race weekend in Indiana at the Major Taylor Cross Cup, Nick and I packed up our camp gear and mountain bikes, dropped Cori off with the grandparents (she’s not much of a camping dog), and hit the road to meet up with Dani and Alex and a group or desert-loving friends for a shred-tastic couple days in Moab.


While Moab didn’t offer the same warm, sunny rides that we’ve had down in Sedona, it does have the same revitalizing red sandstone rocks. There’s just something about that landscape that fills the soul. Plus, you get to feel like a superhero, scaling treacherous red rock walls on the bike, descending the steepest shit you can think of, and having no fear because it’s so damn sticky that your tires just grip and ride on… most of the time.  


We hit some of my favorite trails in Moab including Amasa Back and Captain Ahab. It’s amazing how quickly you can turn off the ‘cross brain and enter full mountain bike mode when you want to. Our rides included fewer miles but plenty of stops, snacks, and just general playing around on bikes. Dani and I agree we need more of this type of “training” in our lives. If not for the skills and strength you get from mountain biking, but for the fun attitude and the “lets just see if we can do it” way of looking at each challenge.

So, after spending a couple days crushing the sandstone singletrack, and getting crushed by it a as well, we’ve all returned from the desert feeling fresher, better, more excited to take on the final stretch of ‘cross season. It was the perfect reminder of why we love riding bikes, no matter what wheel size, tire width, or frame material. Bikes bring out the best in us and sometime, when we get a little stuck or a little frustrated, switching up the bike is all that we need. At least that’s the case for me. Or maybe this refreshed attitude and softened perspective is simply due to the copious number of s’mores consumed by the fireside. Hard to say.

Kristen LeganComment