The Moab Century Tour Features Big Climbs and Stunning Views

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By Audra Jeske and Annie Andrus — In the desert of southeast Utah is a road cycling event called the Moab Century Tour. Held annually in September in Moab, Utah, it is a multi-day event put on by Skinny Tires Events. Day one features a stunning ride up to Dead Horse Point with distance options of 38, 60 or 100 miles. The second day is a 64-mile ride through the La Sal Mountain roads, with a challenging climb worthy of the name “The Big Nasty.” Organizers, Mark Griffith and Beth Logan do a tremendous job creating and marking the courses, aiding, and supporting the riders, and providing a memorable ride.

Dead Horse Point Overlook. Photo courtesy Annie Andrus

The Moab Century, along with the Skinny Tire Festival held in March, are fundraisers for cancer. After event founder, Mark Griffith lost his brother to cancer, he was inspired to do something that would not only raise money, but provide an uplifting experience physically, as well as emotionally. Many of the aid stations are staffed by cancer survivors, creating an inspiring environment as riders refuel along the course.

Audra Jeske (rider) enjoying the flat after the steady, but pleasant climb. Photo by Annie Andrus

With a casual rolling start, and no timing chips, the Moab Century has a relaxed feel, very suitable for Moab. Riders start at the Archway Inn on the north side of Moab then continue north and quickly get onto the bike path that crosses the Colorado River beginning the 32-mile climb to Dead Horse Point.

Audra Jeske (left) and Annie Andrus appreciating one of the many marvelous rock formations along the way. Photo courtesy Annie Andrus

The path weaves steadily upward through beautiful red rock for 9 miles before heading up towards Canyonlands. There are so many picturesque places to get off and enjoy the view, so be sure to drink in the towering canyon walls and majestic red rock monuments as you ascend into the canyon. Fuel up at one of the many nicely spaced aid stations, stocked with sweet, salty, and juicy snacks, while friendly volunteers hold your bike!

Annie Andrus (left); Audra Jeske right) at top of Dead Horse Point overlook. Photo courtesy Annie Andrus

After miles of climbing, you are rewarded with the famous views of Dead Horse Point, including Horseshoe Bend. Be sure to look off the edge and admire the spectacular vastness of the Canyonlands area. Enjoy the working downhill back to Highway 191 and finish the century on a 30 mile flat out and back along the Colorado River Portal.

The Colorado River from the top of Dead Horse Point. Photo courtesy Annie Andrus

In addition to the native flora of sage and cedar, keep an eye out for arches and petroglyphs. With sleek canyon walls on one side and a slow-moving river on the other, it is a perfect finish back to the Archway Inn where you’ll recover with a smoked pork and chicken lunch, ice cold drinks, and perhaps even a well-earned nap in the cool shady grass.

A well put on event in a place known for adventure, and challenging courses surrounded by breathtaking scenery, the Moab Century is a must-do ride.

Event Info

September 16-17, 2023 – Moab Century Tour, Moab, UT, The Moab Century Tour sends riders across Moab’s unique topography of mountain passes, canyons, and the mighty Colorado River.  From gaining elevation into the La Sal Mountains (including “The Big Nasty!”), to carving down red rock canyons, and finishing along the Colorado River, this event has landscape worth training for! Live music, beverages, great food await you at the post-ride party. Join us in September when temperatures cool down, the fall foliage comes alive, and cyclists from across the country unite in red rock country to experience awe-inspiring landscapes. An annual fundraiser to benefit cancer survivorship programs, your registration includes a donation to Moab Healthcare Foundation. Groups use the event to inspire fundraising for large and small foundations. Ask how your beneficiary can participate., Beth Logan, 435-260-8889, 435-260-2334, [email protected], skinnytireevents.com

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