Chris Smith runs riot in the U S of A

Resident Freeride columnist, packed lunch devourer and purveyor of all things Freeridey, Chris Smith has just returned from a Freeride romp around America- find out what he got up to...

Alright folks- I've just returned from a whirlwind tour around America with Dave Wardell and Rob Rebholz- our Pharm D photographer.

For this trip I chose my STP hardtail and my Trance X- there's not much I can't do between the two of them. Flying into into Las Vegas we did the tourist thing on the main "strip" in Vegas, whilst Pharm D checked out the back streets. The next day we rode Bootleg canyon just outside Vegas- there were some great technical trails and some nice flowing downhill trails too, and it made a change riding in the bone dry with dust, rather than sopping wet with rain.

We then packed up and drove 8 hours up to Monterey, California to the Sea Otter festival, where I was competing in the SRAM Dual-Stunt competition, which was essentially a two-up sprint race over course made up of a mixture of Trials and Northshore obstacles. Practice was going well and I did some filmed runs around the course with Jeff Lenosky and Chris Akrigg- although next day I woke up feeling really unwell (something to do with burping up Strawberry milkshakes all day?- Doddy) and tried to ride but felt too ill, so that was that over for me unfortunately.

Still, we had plenty more time left over so we drove up to Utah to the Zion national park- home of the legendary 'Red Bull Rampage'.  We had a local guide who showed us all the spots- that place is incredible, there are lines everywhere. We rode some big drops, some huge hip-jumps and got some great shots. Next up we packed up and drove into Colarado, to a small town called Fruita, for their annual fat tyre festival. Meeting with Team Giant rider Jeff Lenosky, we rode some of the best trails- as in Dirt Jumping trails- I have ever ridden. They were super-fast with technical parts all over the place. We rounded up the weekend by checking out Jeff's trials demo which was super cool.

Moab was next stop on the tour, so we headed to Utah to ride the legendary spot. This place holds an amazing name amongst mountain bikers- and for good reason. We rode the Porcupine Rim trail (as recommended in the 20th Year special MBUK on page 238) which wound alongside the Colorado river, and made an amazing 3 hour ride which was 80 per cent downhill!

We also rode the classic Slickrock bike trail which is all made out of sandstone rocks, which offering the grip of skateboard grip tape made for insanely grippy riding- despite the trails name. Tthe landscape out there is just unreal- you have to check it out! We then headed out to 'Bartletts Wash' and rode the 'Super Bowl' which is a huge natural skatepark style bowl with enormous roll-in's that were great fun to ride.

I tell you, with the amount of incredibly good riding we hit on that trip, I very nearly didn't want to head back to the UK- everyone should take an MTB road-trip at some point... Chris.

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