Riding Across Utah, the Dirt Way (Outside)


There are a certain number of crazy people in the world; one of those crazies is named John Humphries. John owns Lizard Head Cycling Guides, has run trips around the US for decades, and knows Utah like the back of his hand. His "pièce de résistance" trip is a hand-crafted, 400-mile route that runs most of the length of Utah, but almost entirely on dirt, running through the forgotten backroads, fire roads, arroyos, and singletrack that canvas the state, some of it unused since the days of Western pioneers. 

The route touches pavement only three times over two weeks, and traverses some of Utah's most remote and inaccessible landscapes. Dubbed "back of beyond", these are places where only hikers and cyclists can access. We did all the things. We rode hard. We didn't ride hard sometimes. Got lost, ran out of water, found water, ate copious amounts of food in the shade, got hailed on, sweat through everything we wore, then had those clothes get coated in fine red dust, took in sunrises, fell asleep under the stars. Like every incredible trips, there were lots of "you had to be there" moments. But, I'll tell you, nothing, absolutely nothing, will give you more (non-political) reverence for the state of Utah than riding your bike across it, on the backroads, through valleys, up and over mountains, under the canopy of the Western sky.