We had a successful dealer demo yesterday morning at Bears Best. After a rocky start with a few cancellations, late arrivals, and realization that there are a few “pick up” entrances in front of the Mandalay hotel, we drove out to the trailhead for Bears Best from the strip and met our demo van at the trailhead. The area is being built up as large residences, so the trail head climb into the trails is actually a paved road quite popular with the roadies. There is a popular Strava segment here, as we observed a cyclist doing hill repeats in the blazing afternoon heat.
We had a total of 5 guests on Wednesday morning along with our company riders for a total of 9 people. Caveat: I have NEVER ridden in Las Vegas, or in the dessert, for that matter. Our demo guy was the only person who did a recon mission on the trail, so we were all relative newbies here. Everyone else had way more experience riding, have dessert ridden, or live in that type of terrain, so we were able to really ride the right type of trails that would be indicative of riding styles of our dealers, even if it was a little more novice in terms of technicality or drops.
I rode last through the entirety of the ride for two reasons; I am slower than everyone else and since I am a wimp in hot weather, I really had no idea how I would hold up. At one point, though, I got lost and did a long uphill repeat to meet up with the guys, only to realize I was on the correct trail, and had to head back down again.
Our guide told me to ride ahead and just stop and wait at an “intersection”. I followed a trail incorrectly and took a wrong turn. I will probably never ride “ahead” again on an unknown trail.
This is me ending up at an intersection of gas pipe tubes sticking up out of the landscape.. .. see the little lower right offshoot? That was me just wondering where the heck I was. There are points in the desert trail that just don’t look like trail or not trail, you know!?
The city was visible in the distance but didn’t know where I was in relation to the trail or my buddies. At this point my water was running low, I was fatigued and not sure if I should wait for them to possibly meet with me (assuming I was at the right intersection) or go back from where I came.
Thankfully, I had cell coverage, but I was not desparate enough to phone my buddies so I just back tracked uphill. After riding up all the rocky bits of trail I just bombed down, I was starting to get a headache from overheating and my throat was burning from the dry heat.
Luckily, I stuck with the whole ride. Next time I go on a group ride in a new place, I will always stay with the group!
Since there were a few stops in the ride with 3 different mechanicals and flats, the whole ride went about in a fairly slow pace. I was overheating, so I volunteered to head back to the van and ready the snack and drinks for all the riders. There was a local who we met in the middle of a mechanical fix and he suggested the group follow him via an out-n-back trail. It added maybe another few miles to the group ride, but everyone was in. Our demo guy escorted me to a spot where I would be able to head back out and told me that there was a really steep hill climb and then I’d see fire road and head back to the pavement. Thankfully, I am used to climbing, so the hill turned out steep, but I just trudged through it.
We had coolers full of ice cold water, sodas, beers, salsas, chips, beef jerkey, some chocolate candybars and nuts waiting at the van, so I set everything up on a fold out table. We hung out for another hour or so talking shop and then headed back to the convention center. I think the best was watching the road guy do laps up the steep hill while we sat on coolers and van ledges drinking beer.
I had a really great time riding a new trail and got a glimps of what it is like to ride in Vegas! I know it wasn’t Red Rock or Bootleg Canyon, but it was a quick and accessible trail that proved fun and flowy!
Next time in Vegas, I’ll be sure to try a new trail or take this one harder!
By the way, bring and drink a LOT of water. My heart rate has never been this high before! Keeping yourself cool will keep you levelheaded, too. The temperature ended up being a low 90’s that afternoon, but the entire ride was exposed. Thank you to the local trail builders who made and maintain that trail. It was safe and fun to ride.