I had to check it out for myself.
After months of construction delays, is the La Sal Loop road finally ready for Moab Century Tour cyclists?
Here’s my report.
What are the roads like…really? Open this map to follow along.
- New pavement in areas through town of Moab which made getting to the south side of Spanish Valley Drive more pleasant and less bumpy.
- Riding past Ken’s Lake and Pack Creek to begin the La Sal Loop has similar conditions to years past…some road degradation that is easily avoided because…..well, you are riding up-hill!
- Section nicknamed "the little and big nasty"… surprise … are just as steep with 3,000’ elevation change in 7 miles! 😊 (Did you know this is a bigger challenge than France’s Alp d’Huez?!). Sections are not great but unless you have a cycling super power, you’ll be riding slow enough at these 15-19% climbing grades to choose your smoothest route.
- Improved roadways and areas with new pavement begin at Geyser Pass continuing across the La Sal Loop and ending at stop sign where you’ll turn left and continue toward Castle Valley. That’s 25+ miles of awesomeness!
- Castle Valley to Hwy 128 is chip sealed, the standard in Utah rural roadways. You’ll be picking up speed, but roadway is absent of any major degradation.
- Route turns left onto scenic byway 128 to return to Moab and you are again on new silky smooth pavement that cyclists at the Skinny Tire Festival in March raved about! Enjoy 9 miles of sweet roadway through the canyon and along the Colorado river, before moving to the bike path and eventually to Archway Inn Hotel for your 65 mile finish.
You may have noticed I’m taking you in a counterclockwise direction. There are pros and cons to both directions in terms of views and challenge and we know if we put it to a vote the tally would split down the middle in terms of which direction you prefer. But one aspect tips the scales — safety. The section from Spanish Valley to Geyser Pass is scheduled for re-pavement next year, and when that happens, either direction will be epic to ride. But this year? With areas of road damage present? I’d rather have you traveling at a slower speed over the less than perfect road conditions so you can safely traverse the smooth line to follow.
So that’s the scoop. I know you’re going to love it! Have any other questions about the ride? Feel free to email us!
Founder, Skinny Tire Events