The ribbon cutting ceremony went off at around 8:30 in the morning. The atmosphere was so chill no one really seemed to notice the time. Once those gates opened groups of 7, 10, and 15 began pouring onto the trails for the first group rides. There was a ride for everyone’s flavor. The groups grew in size and number for the next round of rides, which included an all-women’s group. In all over 100 people pedaled the Beatty trails on day 1.
In addition to the 7 miles of new trail, Trails-OV has also been able to open up an additional 40 miles of fun fast and flowy single track adopted from burro trails and old two-tracks called the Transvaal System. The majority of the groups decided to do a combination of Ranch trails and Transvaal Area trails. The Spicer Ranch trails include the STORM trail, named for the parent non-profit group that started Trails-OV, the Spicer Ranch Trail, Dynamite Trail and South Pond Trail. These trails are tight and twisty, with a touch of exposure; especially on the Dynamite trail. The Transvaal trails take you to areas east of the Ranch, all the way to the edge of the Nevada Test Site ( AKA Area 51) and Beatty Wash. This area feels so remote. It is within the official “NO FLY Zone,” so often cell phones won’t work. If you are paying attention, however, you just might see a group of burros run past, the remnants of an abandoned mine shaft, or a stand of Joshua trees.
By midafternoon, as temperatures rose, groups made their way back to the tree grove for some shade and the party was on. The beer and tacos came out around 2 pm. The Las Vegas Chapter of IMBA – SNMBA, brought beer donated by New Belgium and the tacos we hand prepared by the locals from fresh ranch raised beef. Live music filled the air by a local singer/song writer who played mainly in the 90’s style of Pearl Jam. And then…”BANG, BANG, your dead”. A reenactment group took the whole crowd by surprise and put on a live gunfight show with cowboys and prostitutes. As evening came the swag came out and so did the many antics that mountain bikers will do for free stuff. Among the many laughs was an all- girl beer chugging contest and a 4 square balancing act that went on for almost a ½ hour. The happy winner walked away with a hand-made pillow with a biker on it…perfect for camping.
As the light faded yet another band came on the stage and a fire began roaring in the fire pit in the meadow. Lots of new friends and memories were made that weekend. That is the amazing thing that trails do, they bring people together.
If You Go:
Beatty is located 100 Miles northwest of the Las Vegas Strip at the cross roads of NV Hwy 95 and State Route 374, just 8 miles from the Nevada entrance to Death Valley National Park. The town sits at an elevation of 3320 and has a current population of around 1000 people. The climate in Beatty is mild, with a long riding season (September – June). There are six hotels and one casino in the town. The El Portal Motel boosts itself as being mountain bike friendly and has plans to install a bike wash facility. There are also plenty of eats as well: find morning expresso at Gema’s Café, post ride burritos and beer at Mama Sara’s Mexican Restaurant, or a big plate of lasagna at KC’s Outpost.