March 21, 2011

Spring may be here, but it hasn’t sprung at our place in the Wyodaho Tetons. We have four feet of snow on the level, and it's still coming down as I write this. But just across the road there’s a foothills ridge, wind-scoured and south-facing, that will be free of the white stuff soon. Talk about a microclimate; it’s a desert island — prickly pear cactus even grows there — in a sea of dense conifers. Before long it will look like this photo, which I shot a few years ago.

But even though I’m still skiing, the vernal equinox always puts me in mind of ride planning. If I were to jump in the truck and hit the road today with my bikes — both mountain and road, of course — I would head straight for one of these places:

San Rafael Swell, Utah. Late March might be pushing the weather envelope a bit at this million-acre-plus gem, but that’s okay. Cool canyon camping at its best. Thursday’s forecast: Mostly sunny and 57 degrees.

Death Valley, California. A smorgasbord of backroads for mountain biking in a surreal, national-park environment. Thursday’s forecast: Mostly sunny and 88.

Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas. I’ve been hearing reports that this hidden Chihuahuan Desert treasure is getting really popular with the Lone Star State mountain-biking crowd. Gotta see it for myself. Thursday’s forecast: Mostly sunny and 84 (but Wednesday, sunny and 95 ... gadzooks).

Sedona, Arizona. Besides the outrageous redrock road and trail riding this area dishes up, I like the fact that the town and state names rhyme. Perhaps that's partly responsible for Sedona’s reputation as a place of harmonic convergence. Thursday’s forecast: Sunny and 70.

That's where I would go, but I live in the Rockies. You upper Midwesterners and Northeasterners: What hot cycling spot would you head for if you could jump in the car today and be there tomorrow?


Photo by Michael McCoy


BIKING WITHOUT BORDERS was posted by Michael McCoy, Adventure Cycling’s field editor, highlighting a little bit of this or a little bit of that — just about anything, as long as it related to traveling by bicycle. Mac also compiles the organization's twice-monthly e-newsletter Bike Bits, which goes free-of-charge to over 45,000 readers worldwide.


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