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Utah's Mecca of Mountain Biking



Slickrock Trail
in the western state of Utah is one of the most popular mountain biking trails in the world, boasting 100,000 visitors a year. A local physician has frequented the trail for years, and shares his passion with other riders on a mountain biking website.

Bruce Argyle is an emergency room doctor at Alta View Hospital at Salt Lake City, Utah. "The nice thing about emergency medicine," Argyle said. "Is once you're through your shift, you can leave your patients behind. You can go out to do whatever you want."

One thing that Argyle does a lot after his shift is mountain biking. "I have been mountain biking for probably 20 years," he said.

Over the years, what started as Argyle's personal hobby developed into a useful resource for the mountain biking community. "I created the website to help people how to find the trails that I have already ridden. Give them directions and how not to get lost."

One of the world's most popular mountain biking trails is in Utah's Moab region. "We are heading for Moab, Utah, which is the mountain biking Mecca of the United States. Moab is the home of the famous Slickrock Trail, probably the most famous mountain biking trail in the world."

On average, more than 100,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to the trail each year. The formation of the trail is a story in itself.

"Slickrock is on Navajo sandstone," he explains. "We have to go back about 150 million years to the Jurassic era. This was sand dunes near an ocean. The sand dunes built up very deep and then petrified. So what we are riding on is rock made out of sand dunes. It erodes into rounded, dome-like shapes that's fun to ride a bike over."

The mere sight of the surrounding cliffs and canyons is enough for anyone to have second thoughts about biking through this terrain, but not Argyle.

"We are coming to a spot that I have never made it through without crashing, so we're gonna see how this goes."

Maybe the magic of being in front of the camera worked - this time Argyle did not crash. "King of the mountain!" he said.

Anders from Colorado is making the attempt from the opposite direction.
"I have made it before," Anders said. "But it's been a long time. I think that's the line there."

Anders is obviously used to crashes. "There is a little bit of danger to it (mountain biking) and the sense of thrill as you get going downhill fast and jump off of logs and rocks," he said. "So it's fun, it's a good exercise. It gets you to see the outdoors. You see places you couldn't possibly see with your stomach up against the steering wheel of a car."

The view of the vast petrified sand dunes against the backdrop of the snow-clad La Sal Mountain in the distance is worth every bit of effort to conquer the treacherous trail..
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