S(p)in City – Cycling Vegas: Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon is visible to the west of Las Vegas on most days.  A band of red rock and small’ish mountains/hills provide a physical border towards the setting sun.  Beyond a border, the area has a history of being a place of year-round water, a way-station for ranchers and Spaniards, a place of homesteading dreams and a playground for the wealthy (including Howard Hughes).  Today, these different threads are combined into a National Forest with stunning vistas and about 20+ km of great riding.

Blogs and Key Links

An Early Start and Traversed Ascent

Given that about half of the trail is ascent with the other descent, overall there is on average a 4% grade both up and down.  The trouble with averages is that they don’t help your exploding lungs as you climb steep pitches.  Given that the road was one way and quiet when we started, my solution was a traversed ascent for the steeper bits.  A slow zig-zag across the road took the 8-10% grades closer the to the 4% average.

The day itself was considerably cooler than the prior day with a strong wind later in the afternoon.  While G. remained firmly bundled up for the entire ride (he was also not feel 100% due to some dehydration from the previous day), I welcomed the 10C weather.

Twelve Miles of Awesome

Perhaps the greatest challenge with this ride is selecting the photos for inclusion.  The following is a collage of the 12 mile posts found along the way, each suggesting a slightly different character found along this short ride.

2014-11-01 - Mile Post Collage

2014-11-01 – Mile Post Collage

 Wild Life Sighting

I was hoping to see more wildlife and some of the desert critters.  Alas, the following was the only desert dweller we came across on our rides (and fortunately not in our hotel room).

2014-LasVegas-Day2-Desert Critter

2014-LasVegas-Day2-Desert Critter

Trip Summary

G and I were planning on riding further on Day 2.  Unfortunately strong winds, cool temperature and G not feeling great cut our trip short.  While G took a nap, I poked around Las Vegas and enjoyed an afternoon of playing car-based tourist.  The rest was probably a good idea given the distance and elevation on day 3.

2014-11-01 - Day 2 Overview

2014-11-01 – Day 2 Overview