Adventurers in Moab may have encountered film crews, cranes, and drones surrounding bicyclists on local trails and roads this past week. Sports fans may even have recognized a few professional cyclists around town. ICON Health and Fitness Inc., a Utah based fitness equipment company, undertook a film shoot from June 25th to 30th, capturing these athletes in action for a series of training videos that will give users of stationary bikes a sense of what it’s like to bike in Moab.
ICON was founded by two entrepreneurs in Logan, Utah. According to Josh Nuckles, an organizer of the film shoot, “There are exciting things happening at ICON. We have many different kinds of fitness equipment, and we’re actually the biggest manufacturer of fitness equipment in the world.”
Nuckles works for iFit, a subsidiary of ICON. “iFit is the portion of the company that produces electronic subscription video content.” he said. Users of stationary bikes and treadmills can choose from an extensive library of videos that let them access professional training advice from athletes demonstrating their skills in iconic settings. “So basically it gives you something to work out to so you don’t want to scratch your eyeballs out,” Nuckles joked. “I’m an ultra-runner, so I have no problem running thirty or forty miles outside—but if you put me on a treadmill for two miles, I need something really engaging or it becomes monotonous.”
After filming point-of-view treadmill videos everywhere from Patagonia to Antarctica to Iceland, iFit is launching its first series of cycling videos here in Moab. “Since they’re from Logan, they wanted Moab to be the first epic shot,” said Travis McCabe, a professional road cyclist currently racing for UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling.
McCabe starred in road cycling training videos for ICON during the shoot, biking along classic roadways around Moab and guiding viewers through workouts.
“We have two different film crews—one on road, one on mountain,” Nuckles explained. “We’re focusing on iFit Coach—so it’s not just video content: it’s actually a one-on-one training session, with a virtual trainer leading you through a set of intervals.”
The road cycling crew was filmed biking on roads through Dead Horse Point, the La Sal Loop Road, the Needles area in Canyonlands, Indian Creek, Newspaper Rock and River Road. Mountain bikers demonstrated rides on world-class trails around Moab. “We’ve been on all different trails,” said Nuckles. “We’ve done Slick Rock, Navajo Rocks, Klondike Bluffs, and Bar-M…we’ve been all over.”
For McCabe, biking along the Colorado River was an exceptional experience. “Out past Castle Valley, when you’ve been riding in the canyon and the road opens up into this vast desert—that was really cool. Being along the Colorado was always special,” McCabe said.
McCabe and his fellow road cyclists also enjoyed the La Sal Loop Road. “Where the loop horseshoes around the mountains, it’s incredible to have the backdrop of Moab and all the monumental red rocks, when in the foreground we were in the aspens and the green lush forests,” said McCabe. “Those were the favorites.”
Nicole Meline, a triathlete and fitness instructor, and Kym Perfetto, a bike racer, fitness and lifestyle Youtuber, and SoulCycle instructor also starred in ICON’s road cycling shoots. Riding on mountain trails for ICON were two professional mountain bike racers, Sonya Looney and Larissa Connors, along with recreational mountain biker Casey Zaugg.
“It was definitely a good crew,” said McCabe. “We hadn’t really met before, so we were thrown into this experience for the first time together—it was a great adventure. Some of the cyclists were seeing Utah for the first time, which is amazing.”
With temperatures reaching 106 degrees last week, heat posed a challenge to the athletes and members of the production team. “The long days and the heat were challenging. No one was expecting the heat wave in advance.” According to McCabe, crews realized they had to stop shooting at 2 p.m. on some days.
McCabe expressed hopes that viewers would be inspired to get outside. “Being able to see the beautiful country they might not get to visit personally—or that they might not even have known about—that’s really special. Hopefully, the videos will inspire them to get out and actually view the country for themselves. I hope we can get even just one more person interested in protecting and caring for public lands.”
Nuckles expressed that the ICON team was excited to film in Moab. “The trails out here are world class,” he said. “We’re happy to be able to feature this place.”
“I love Moab,” said McCabe. “I didn’t want to leave.”
ByBy Emily Lawson