A mountain biker traversed the Porcupine Rim Trail during a previous Moab Rocks race. [Photo by John Gibson / Courtesy of Aaron McConnell]

There are many different ways to explore the great outdoors in southeastern Utah, as Moab was just reminded by the steady crawl and roar of Jeep Week.

In its wake comes Moab Rocks, another annual spring event that whips and weaves through surrounding areas on two tires, lung power and determination.

The TransRockies Race Series presents the three-stage mountain bike race for the 14th year in a row, spanning April 14, 15 and 16. The event draws participants from Moab’s own backyard and across the world to ride some of the region’s best mountain biking trails.

TransRockies Race Series President Aaron McConnell said the event has come to attract a variety of skill levels, from professional riders to weekend warriors.

“We moved the event to the spring a couple years back, to present it as a season opener,” McConnell said. “Lots of people from Canada like to hit Moab in the spring. This is a great chance to ride and race early on some really cool trails, with support from aid stations.”

Moab Rocks provides a fully supported format that combines three of the region’s well-known trails – Klondike, Porcupine Rim and Mag 7 – into a three-day event full of fun, camaraderie and competition.

Evan Guthrie of Peachland, British Columbia, raced Singletrack 6, another TransRockies event last summer, and is looking forward to his first Moab Rocks experience this year.

“I was blown away with the atmosphere, experience, and organization,” Guthrie said. “So coming to Moab for another one of their events was exactly what I wanted to have on (my) spring schedule.”

Moab Rocks categories include open men; open women; 40 and older men; 40 and older women; and 50 and older men.

Guthrie is teaming up with last year’s open men’s winner, Geoff Kabush, for their journey to Moab.

“(We are) planning to make this an action-packed trip, so I’ll try and ride some other trails and taste some of the local beverages,” Guthrie said. “I know Moab is a riding destination and I look forward to experiencing that through the race. Visiting local shops, eating at different places and sampling the coffee and beer is usually a priority for riders, so this ties nicely into the community.”

The full-swing culture surrounding mountain biking is part of the draw for many. Moab Rocks includes daily awards and slideshows as well as nightly socials with Moab Brewery beer – providing ample time for kicking back and exchanging advice and enthusiasm.

“From what I’ve experienced with previous races … an event runs because of the community round it,” Guthrie said. “Most events only happen in cycling-friendly places, otherwise you wouldn’t have these long-standing events. Most of the events are heavily backed by local volunteers and we, as racers, always appreciate the long days put in by cheering and smiling volunteers.”

Spectators are also welcome, and encouraged at the starts and finishes, according to McConnell.

Participants and spectators are reminded to stay on trails to avoid harming cryptogamic soil (as well as rattlesnakes), to follow course markings and not to leave waste behind.

“Moab has such an incredible mountain bike history, and it’s only fitting that it has a great event like Moab Rocks that showcases some of the best riding,” said returning racer Payson McElveen of Durango, Colorado. “I can’t think of many better ways to efficiently see this amazing part of the world, or feel like you’ve earned those sights along the way.”

“I know Moab is a riding destination and I look forward to experiencing that through the race. Visiting local shops, eating at different places and sampling the coffee and beer is usually a priority for riders.”

Three-day mountain biking race returns to Moab on April 14

When: Saturday, April 14, through Monday, April 16

Where: Register at Swanny City Park, 400 N. 100 West, on Friday, April 13, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Cost: $419 for the three-day event

Information: www.transrockies.com/moab-rocks

Entry is $419 for the three-day event, with a field limit of 200 persons. For more information or to register, go to Swanny Park on April 13 between 5 to 7 p.m., or go to www.transrockies.com/moab-rocks.