Moab resident Mark Sevenoff rode the trails at a past Moab Rocks event. [Photo courtesy of TransRockies Events]

In the world of mountain biking, “stage races” are spreading around the globe. In 2004, one such race landed in Moab, and it has been returning each year with participants from across the world.

Moab Rocks, the three-stage race under the umbrella of the TransRockies Race Series, has sprung forward this year, and will be held from Saturday, March 25, through Monday, March 27, kicking off with registration and the first nightly social on Friday, March 24.

In years past, the event was held in the fall, but the race’s director, Aaron McConnell, seemed enthusiastic about the new schedule in an interview with Ben Welnak, the owner and creator of Mountain Bike Radio.

“The trees are just starting to leaf out and it might be a bit cooler at night,” McConnell said. “There’s a good chance there will be snow up high, so we will be on the lower part of Porcupine Rim.”

Twenty-five miles of the Porcupine Rim and 4,200 feet of elevation gain mark the first stage of Moab Rocks on March 25. The second stage is more than 25 miles and includes 2,800 feet of elevation gain in the Klondike area on Sunday. The third and final stage is around 30 miles and 3,600 feet of elevation gain on the Mag 7 Trail, with a 9-mile timed descent on Monday.

“Actually doing it as a race is a good option because you’ll see three great trail networks with support out there in terms of aid stations,” McConnell said. “Our crew (will be) out there as ambassadors on bikes … and the route will be marked, and there’s medical (services) on course.”

McConnell started mountain biking in his teens, and has acquired more than 20 years of experience in sport event promotion and race directing. He came on board with the TransRockies Race Series in 2004, two years after the concept traveled overseas from the TransAlps Challenge.

When Welnak inquired about the skill level required to participate in the race, McConnell suggested that, while the terrain varies, some experience in mountain biking is necessary.

Moab Rocks Director of Operations Kevin McDonald said that bikers from different levels and different parts of the world are drawn to the event.

“Last year in Moab, there were these six girls on a bachelorette weekend, and they decided to take their time on the trails,” McDonald said. “They spent about seven hours every day enjoying the scenery, not really racing at all, but having a good time.”

Past participant Jeff Kerkove said that the TransRockies crews know how to put on a great event.

“You get your money’s worth when you sign up,” he said. “The three days of the event is like mountain bike summer camp.”

“No matter your skill level, riding and racing in Moab will test rider and equipment to the max,” Kerkove added.

As for the competition, categories include Open Men, Open Women, Men 40 and Older, Women 40 and Older, and Men 50 and Older. First through third place in each category will be recognized, as well as daily and overall winners. Spectators are welcome.

Moab Rocks includes a nightly social near Swanny City Park, beginning Friday evening before the first stage after registration and opening ceremonies.

“We’ve got some free beers from the Moab Brewing Company each day, we’ll do a rider briefing, and then following stages one, two and three, we will do a slide show and an awards ceremony where we will present all the stage winners from the day,” McConnell said. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get together in the evening, and then you know, you can go out to dinner afterwards or go chill out afterwards in (your) hotel or campground.”

Accommodations and meals are not provided, and participants are encouraged to make reservations at their earliest convenience.

Moab Rocks brings staged mountain bike racing to area trails next weekend

“The three days of the event is like mountain bike summer camp.” 

When: Saturday, March 25, through Monday, March 27; registration and social on Friday, March 24

Where: Porcupine Rim, Klondike area and the Mag 7 Trail

Cost: $159 for one day, and $399 for three days. Discounts for local residents are available; email


For more information, or to register online, go to Local residents can register for a discounted price by emailing Kevin McDonald at