Mountain Biking Book Cliffs Near Green River, Utah

Biking the Bookcliffs

I was grinning ear to ear from the amount of fun I was having and just starting to plan where I would need to get on the brakes before hitting the steep trench left by runoff at the bottom of this line, recalls pro skier Carston Oliver of this moment at sunset in Book Cliffs, Utah, an increasingly popular mountain biking destination.

The terrain at Book Cliffs is very complex, with lots of folds, spines, and rolls to explore and play on.  This area has the full spectrum of riding options, from supermellow to outright death-defying and everything in between, says Oliver, who left Salt Lake City at 4 a.m. to drive three hours with photographer Jay Beyer to Green River.  They took a dirt road to Book Cliffs, where they earned each descent by either pedaling or hiking up with the bikes on their backs.  In essence, it looks and feels like backcountry skiing, but without the risk of avalanches.

Getting the Shot

The terrain is what I would think the moon would look like, if you were to ever bike on the moon, recalls photographer Jay Beyer, who was photographing in Book Cliffs for the first time.

It was getting toward sunset and Carston was showing me some lines that he thought looked cool from the last time he was there, says Beyer.  I saw these lines getting last light in the background.  We lined them up and he rode four different lines, all at last light.  It worked out perfectly!  The two work together often, mostly on skiing shoots.  Biking is so much easier to shoot than skiing.  You don't have to worry constantly about avalanches, and that is pretty awesome.  The temps are nice too! 
Beyer photographed with a Canon 1D X and a Canon 70-200mm, f/2.8 lens.  Select the photo for the large version.