Once again it's Spring in Norcal and it's time to trek to Fruita for the Fruita Fat Tire Festival.That means sponsoring the Barleywine ride. That means smuggling some hoppy beverages through the Zion Curtain.
Five guys, too much beer and a four bike rack. Yes, you can fit five bikes ona four bike rack with an assist from tie downs, zip ties and duct tape.
As usual, we left in the evening and I drove through the night to Moab. We met Kevin (Grand Junction) and Brian (SLC) at the Moab Diner for breakfast and then hit Amasa for a long loop that is the subject of this video:
The post ride parking lot scenery wasn't half bad either.
Then it was on to Fruita where we stopped by Over The Edge to hassle folks.
We spent the next few days riding Holy Cross, Eagle's Wing, the Ribbon, Joe's Ridge, Kessel Run, Moore Fun, Mary's, etc. and I didn't take a single photo. I spent the time shooting video for this compilation:
Catching the sunset at the 18 Road parking lot after sessioning Joe's Ridge was a great way to top of a great ride.
Jeff Lenosky was in town for the Festival and put on a good mountain trials demo.
--warning, there's only one trail picture amongst some car/scenery pictures so click another link if you're looking for lots of bike content--
Another year, another solo blast to Moab and Fruita.
I disassembled two bikes and stuffed them into the car (along with roof racks), for the long trip out to Colorado. The packing was an adventure inand of itself.
Once packed I hit the road and took my favorite remote route, HWY 50, "the loneliest road." The scenery was great as usual.
I met Kevin (from Fruita) and Tim (Moab local) in Moab and we went on one of Tim's backcountry routes. Once again Tim showed us a very good time as we followed him around on one his mystery tours.
Kevin snapped this photo of me on a fun little roller:
The next day Kevin and I rode the Amasa/Pothole/Rockstacker/Jackson's loop and the headed to Fruita. Then I rode a bunch while taking no pictures and shooting zero video.
Then I took the bikes apart and stuffed them back into the car for the drive home.
More great scenery:
Fruita/Utah Road Trip '05
Been there, done that. Five times now.
This year we had a car full of Norcal love (and IPA and Barleywine) and a plan that involved driving all night long to sneak Gooseberry in before we invaded Moab. So we left at 8:30 pm on Monday, I gobbled a bunch of Vivarin, everyone else slept and we found ourselves in St. George at 6:30 local time with not a single "real" breakfast joint open.
So we gorged ourselves at a Denny's before htting the mesa. Yummy.
I left the camera in the car, the riding was superlative as usual (except for the part about halfway through when the Dennys food poisoning kicked in for a bit) and eventually we found our way back to the car.
The goatse-inspired donuts in the parking lot were a hit.
We reflected on how nice the trails and how scenic it was this year after all of the snow/rain while having a few post rides drinks.
It's too bad that there are no garbage cans at the trailhead though. We found a nice spot for the refuse.
Next up was a mad dash across Utah to reach Moab in time for dinner. After a few bio breaks, some rain and a a smattering of rainbows, we hit town.
On Wednesday we rode somewhere around Moab. It was kind of cool looking in places.
Steeper than it looks. really.
Rich riding daintily so that his Ellsworth doesn't break.
Some guy who came along for the ride on a slightly different line.
Apparently the locals are VERY excitable.
Not a bad spot for a break.
Andy from NM flying his 5Spot
That night we headed out to Fruita for the 10th annual fest.
During one of our trips to town, Ken, a mad hucking Canuck, test rode his next bike.
We spent time on the newly reopened Holy Cross trail in GJ, but alas, no pictures. Look for a video sometime soon.
Prepping for a Bookcliffs session, Mike discovers that his water bottle cage can hold more than water.
Saturday morning dawned with dark skies and the prospect of rain for the annual Barleywine Ride which was to take place on the Ribbon. With 20 riders showing up at 10 am an advance team left to climb the Ribbon and give frequent weather reports.
The verdict: it was wet when it was raining.
This years ride included a number of riders from such exotic third world countries as the UK, Canada, and New Zealand.
We all shuttled up and met the scouts as they hit the top of the last slab. Here's Scott rocking his Sycip SS up the last few yards of the climb.
Marc, Mike and Kevin weren't far behind and were enjoying the rain just as much.
Heading down this section which is interesting when dry and tacky was even more tricky when soaked and with tires packed with sand. Noel (www.knollybikes.com) shows how it's done while the crowd looks on.
Marc riding past my nemisis, the tree that jumped out and stabbed me a few years ago. Fortunately someone amputated the offending branch.
Some damp regroups.
Somehow, I don't think that Noel's doc knows what his patient, who is still recuperating from surgery that involved plates and screws, was planning to do in Colorado.
Using all 7" of front travel as well as squashing the tire.
Not to be out done, Megan showed how it's done as well.
Kevin scouting for lost riders as we made our way out on Andy's
As we finished out, Noel looked pretty happy. Who wouldn't be after finishing a fun ride unscathed on a bike that you designed and built?
Then again, he's always happy, no matter what happens on the ride (three years and umpteen surgeries ago at the '02 FFTF)
Then it was time to go through the barleywine that we had smuggled past the Zion curtain.
Kevin descibing the size of ...something.
Dean, one of UKers that was doing a feature about the FFTF for Singletrack mag (no you can't get one of those jerseys, I asked).
As the crowd thinned, the cleanup started.
In a touching show of cross border cooperation, Alex and Rich work together to fix the part of the wall that had fallen.
Next on the agenda was the yearly mayhem known as the Clunker Crit. I'll shut up and let the pictures speak for themselves.
The I gobbled another handful of Vivarin and we drove home.
p.s. Happy birthday OTE!
So the usual suspects were busy, begged off, made up excuses and/or generally made themselves scarce. So I did a solo burn across CA, NV, UT to ride in Moab and Fruita.
The mission: drive a long way, ride lots, take too many pictures, smuggle barleywine through Utah to Colorado, hook up with friends from across the US and the World, avoid tickets. Not necessarily in that order.
Day 1, Monday
Get up early. Drive across Hwy 50, the "loneliest road in America" and eventually get to Moab.
Summary: two "license and registration" scenes, one radar detector with a blown fuse that is the cause of the scenes, one replacement fuse found in Ely, NV, lots of great scenery, one ticket. No riding. Two pictures.
Day 2, Tuesday
After a night spent in sumptuous splendor at Arch View Resort I awoke to beautiful weather and half a day to kill until Rich arrived from Boulder. So I went and rode around a relatively uncrowded Slick Rock Trail for a few hours.
(insert numerous "oh wow!" scenery shots from Slickrock here)
As you can tell by the coolness of the pictures, I left my CF card in my big camera and took my trail camera along for the ride.
Half-time summary: No pictures because some idiot left card in other camera.
Rich hit town around 2 and we decided to do a Porcupine shuttle to "save our legs for tomorrow" which was a planned top secret 8 hour epic.
Despite every single square inch of Porc being over-photographed, I took some pictures.
climbing to the rim
cruising mellow doubletrack
La Sals from the rim
A classic route, great riding, small group of two, and a great way to finish the first real day of the trip. We drove up to rescue Rich's truck and headed to eat and meet up with Rob who was in town with his family on vacation, all of the way from NH.
Day 3, Wednesday
This was the day that we had all been waiting for. An epic route that skirts some of the Moab classics but takes the techiness up a notch or 9.
We meet for breakfast, we proceed to the parking lot where we are going to drop a car, one of the cars jumps on a rock a cracks an oil pan, we spend a few hours getting it towed into town, it's blowing 65 mph across the high terrain, the epic plan is scrapped.
Instead we do a portion of it and it is all that it was built up to be. Remote (10 people have ridden it including us), technical, beautiful, technical, and remote.
(I would insert pictures here but then I would have to kill you, shortly before I was killed for spilling the beans on this route)
Day 4, Thursday
So long Moab and hello Fruita. 11 am finds me in a new State and meeting Sarah, Kurt and Anthony for a ride on Moore Fun, Mary's and Horsethief.
Ah, Moore Fun is more fun than should be allowed off road.
sporting the pink
anthony drops in
kurt explores a alternative line
looking at the Horsethief entrance
Three and half hours of fun riding and not many pictures. I was having to much Moore Fun.
Oh yeah, it was raining pretty hard all night. (<-----that's called foreshadowing)
Day 5, Friday
12 souls gather in Grand Junction and depart on a 30 minute drive South to the trailhead. There are still clouds lingering over the high country but the weather appears to be clearing.
We reach the trailhead, the soils are tested, and the ride is a "go." Some folks shuttle the 11 mile dirt road climb, we ride it, and we even stop to snag a picture of JD riding some rock. My legs are flat from the previous three days riding. great!
We reach the shuttle boys, regroup, and begin climbing on more primitive BLM roads. My legs are still flat.
Then we hit mud. Then we hit clay. And more mud. We press on. It gets muddier.
Bruce, Anthony, Matt and Rich at the beginning of the slogfest.
The group pushes on, hoping, and believing, that the mud, being exposed to more sun and much more wind, will have dried out on the top of the plateau. We stopped at some point when the clay situation wasn't so bad and folks looked remarkably chipper. Oh, how that would change as the hours passed.
The clay got thicker and the trail got steeper. My legs don't feel so flat anymore because I haven't pedaled in hours.
It started to rain off-and-on. It snowed/hailed. The bikes got heavier and heavier. 70 pound bikes that won't roll was funny for the first 10 minutes. After 5 hours nobody was laughing about it.
We reached the top of the main climb at about the time that we were supposed to be ending the ride, if it had been dry. My bike was heavy. Really heavy.
We kept plodding and carrying our behemoths. FINALLY we came to the turnoff and started descending. My bike has great tire clearance front and rear so I was able to actually descend without having to pedal since I got enough speed going to clear the tires, for the most part.
I was out in front so I was the one to discover that we were on a dead end spur that ended at a bentonite canyon. Finally, a map was busted out, a GPS was turned on, and it was confirmed that we had turned too early.
So we slogged way back up the way we had come. We regrouped. We were going to turn back. Until JD found the trail he had been looking for.
So we kept going. Barely riding. Lots of hauling. It was getting dark. It was raining. Group food supplies were running low. We weren't too confident in when we were going to get off the plateau. Or how. Or where.
Finally there was some climbing that I could do because the soil was slightly more sandy and I had good clearance. So I took some pictures of the hardy group. At least our next of kin would have something to look at.
Then we found the double track across the top of the plateau. Then the sun set. Thankfully there was a 2/3 moon. We rode by moonbeams. Every shadow could be a rock, a bush, or a small pink elephant. I think we were having issues with low blood sugar.
We found the techy singletrack descent and rode or walked it. When we were within sight of the end of the trail we took a group photo to confirm that we were all there, and alive.
Anthony has a great account of this ride right here.
Day 6, Saturday Grand Junction and Fruita, barleywine style
Last year I smuggled a whole bunch of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot barleywine through Utah for a big group ride. This year's plan was somewhat more limited due to the fact that I could only cram 3 six packs into my car and due to the fact that most everyone had been on the deathmarch the day before and felt like they had been sat upon by Oprah (fat Oprah not the skinny version).
So we opted to shuttle up some of the climb to Eagle's Nest/Wing. This is one of my favorite rides.
brian does crack
rich doesn't crash
rich threads the needle
joe drinks Bud (what's that doing on a barleywine ride?)
brian is chased
JD squeezes through
follow the leader
a rare buff section
joe drops out
The reward. Bigfoot and Scott's homebrew mead.
After we were done, we headed to Fruita for the Clunker Crit. I took too many pictures and they are all right here (click on the picture):
So we had a bunch of leftover barleywine and decided to share the wealth and find a scenic spot to drink them while the sun set. We decided to head out to 18 road and then up to Joe's Ridge.
heading up 18 road towards the Book Cliffs
the final climb on Joe's and the imbibing spot
then it was down, down, down to the double track leading to Kessel
Day 7, Sunday
I was supposed to leave that morning but was forced into staying because of a stellar ride that was going off on Monday morning. So I hooked up with Britt, Joe, and Bruce for some more Horsethief and Moore Fun, fun.
Moore Fun Climbing
We found these love birds goin' a courtin'
and finally I took yet another slab shot of Joe
Day 8, Monday
We met, we drove, we shuttled, and then we climbed and climbed. We finally made it to around 8800' and our route was in sight.
someone brought a surprise. champagne, cheese and crackers?
...and then the ride was over, the bike was disassembled and stuff into the car, and all that I had left to do was drive 1,000 miles home and take a few photos along the way.
Hwy 21, Utah
Well, it seems as if this has turned into a yearly tradition, with good reason. Lots and lots of fantastic riding, amazing scenery, and good friends that hook us up with the local delicacies.
As usual we left at o'dark-thirty and eventually arrived at Gooseberry Mesa in the late afternoon. Our weather timing was perfect as it had rained earlier in the day. Getting to the Mesa was interesting since the dirt/clay roads were soaked and packed my tires to the wheels wells.
After a bit of slow speed sliding diagnally (no traction at all) we arrived.
These guys were happy to finally be out of the car.
The total elevation gain between the start of the trail network and the summit is only 200 vertical feet. You do go up-and-down, up-and-down to get there though.
Everyone rode the most played-out spine in the county
Riding Goose this time around was different in that we didn't see any other people during the 2 1/2 hours that we were out and because there were so many puddles everywhere. Usually there is phenomenal traction (and you need it it many spots) but all of the water made it more challenging than usual.
Dots mark the trail and you spend much of your time chasing dots...
zion in the distance
So then we were riding along and Jed had a Stan's Tubeless System failure and while he fixed it, we played in puddles.
Then we hit the car, drove for a while, had bad road food, and crashed at a hotel-notell.
Moab meant that we were hooking up with an old Bay Area buddy, again, who is wrenching at Poison Spider for the Summer while waiting for the pow to return to Alta.
Local knowledge rules. So much so that the only pictures that are being published from our Amasa Back adventure are from the normal touron route up the jeep road to the top. Words cannot describe the ultra-tech singletrack that we took nor can words describe the stunning scenery that we encountered along that trail.
(please don't email me for details, routes, etc. Even if I could remember I can't tell you. Heck, it was only the fourth time our buddy had done it and he got lost a few times)
Here are a few shots from the climb up Amasa.
Almost to the top, the rock jumble bit.
A wallride is discovered
Then it was on to the REALLY fun part but alas, no pictures for web consumption.
When we were done we saw some crazies BASE jumping from one of the faces that line Cane Creek Canyon.
A sequence showing the typical chute deployment spot.
This guy's chute didn't pop until way, way down the cliff.
Then we drank some brown water aka Utah beer, ate a bit of food and headed to Fruita.
Ah, back in the land of buff singletrack, technical singletrack, and everything in between. Friday morning found us back on Moore Fun for some more fun. This trail never disappoints despite the fact that I usually bang my derailleur on one of the many tight spots.
A short down on the way up
through some rocks, a constant theme
view from the top, not bad at all
Playing at the top...
Of switchbacks, ledges and slabs...
Following more fun on Moore Fun we convened for the second annual Barleywine ride/Ribbon shuttle featuring a whole bunch of BIgfoot that had beenn smuggled through Utah at great risk.
This was a Fruita Shuttle which means that there was at least a thousand feet of climbing after we got shuttled to the top. It was a nice option considering the earlier rides that we had already accumulated (do I sound like I feel guilty about shuttling?).
How often do you get to do a group ride with 30 other people?
where are they?
the Horde approaches
past fields of crypto
don't bust the crust
Check out info on crypto here
barleywine rehydration project
The next morning we headed out and rode The Eagle's Wing which was another great trail, no photos, just video once I get around to editing it down.
That afternoon we checked out the yearly lunacy known as the Clunker Crit.
...and then we headed out to Joe's ridge where we found a great place to relieve ourselves, despite the nice restrooms that have been installed thanks to donations from riders.
One of thses days I'll have to actually take some pictures on Joe's Ridge but once again, I just did the video thing.
The next morning we did a quick blast around Horsethief bench, packed up,
...and headed home.
Yet another Spring is here and that means it's time for the Fruita Fat Tire Festival once again. This year we decided to take the Southern Route rather than The Loneliest Highway (Hwy 50). Even though it adds 100 miles to the trip it proved to be easier driving and also passed by Gooseberry Mesa.
We left at 4:30 on Wednesday morning. After a slight delay around Vegas with a smoky car, we arrived at Gooseberry late in the afternoon.
This ride is still a favorite.
We did a little climbing,
a little posing,
a little eating (if a pickled sausage bought at a gas station is considered food)
and a few hours later we were back in the car headed towards Moab.
We never made it that night because the driver conked out so we decided to get a little Beaver instead.
The next morning we drove through some pounding rain to reach Moab. It had been a few years since I had been to Moab. It had been a week since Mike was there riding the White Rim. Not much seemed to have changed.
We hit Porcupine Rim on this stop and we weren't disappointed. It had everything:
A string of Jeepers idling on the trail and stinking it up with exhaust fumes, fumes from someone's leaky gas tank, a stereotypical 'neck in a wife beater squatting on a rock and sipping a Bud while a bunch of dudes squirmed around under a broken down Jeep.
Two Freds TALKING WAY TOO LOUD because they were wearing earphones. "YEAH DOOD, I NEED TO FASTER MUSIC TODAY BECAUSE I'M JUST RIPPING IT UP"
Wide double/triple track that made you concentrate on line picking
Techy singletrack with great views of the Colorado.
Here's some video from this ride:
After sending Scott up the road to retrieve the car (in a thunderstorm), we packed up and headed to Fruita for some beer swilling at some bigwig party. We took the scenic route
Friday morning called for a visit to Moore fun with a return via Mary's loop (with a slight 30 minute climbing detour because we took a left when we should have gone straight). Moore Fun didn't disappoint. Still one of the tighter, techier trails in the area which isn't surprising since it was laid out by that madman Kevin Foote.
The view from the West end of Mary's wasn't half bad either.
Friday afternoon saw a large group of people congregating at Kevin's house (he was still out on the Edge Loop) for a run down the Ribbon,
Lemon Squeezer and Bentonite Hill. Some Scot guy riding an Ibis Silk Ti joined us. Many mechanicals later, we finally reached Kevin's porch for the important stuff. Beer.
It seems that many people haven't enjoyed barley wine style ale before. Many were left gasping after being informed that they were 9.6-10% alcohol.
Saturday morning saw us meeting Nathan and Jason for a run around Horsethief Bench. A few of us attempted the drop into the bench, with varying degrees of success. Marc was the only one to clean it, despite breaking his finger during an endo on the first attempt.
The best crash award was nabbed by Jason for his high altitude dismount. No pictures available but there is plenty of video forthcoming.
We returned to Fruita for the Clunker Crit (pics will be posted elsewhere) and then, just as the weather started to turn really nasty, we hooked up with JD and John for a run down the Flight of Icarus.
As we drove up to our starting point the sky got blacker and blacker.Then it got even blacker. Then it rained really hard.
Then the rain turned to sleet. Then it started snowing.
Then it started snowing sideways.
By the time we reached the start of the ride it was 31 degrees and snowing sideways.
I was really bummed. My shell was back in California and despite having a bunch of layers on, it wasn't prudent to ride without some type of wind stopping shell.
Then fate intervened. Mike was waffling since JD told us it was a 2.5-3 hour ride and sunset was only 2 hours away. Marc put the pressure on and as soon as Mike decided to bail Marc grabbed his balaclava and I stripped his shell from him and unloaded my bike.
Cold and wet, we started the descent into the goopy snow-covered mud.
15 minutes later the snow cleared, the Sun came out, and we were sipping beer before the first big descent.
Miles away on his way back into town, Mike was cursing at the top of his lungs.
The ride was magical, steep, and muddy until it turned magical, steep and not so muddy.
3690' and 1:40 later we were done with some of the best ridgeline surfing, rocky rut carving and not so successful shrub avoiding that I've ever done.
In fact, the ride was so good and we felt so bad about Nathan, Scott, and Mike missing it, that we hooked up with some Chet Peach guy
the next morning and rode it again.
The weather was sunny and windy and it was much drier.
Here's a bit of video from the ride
After we were finished, we packed up and made the fifteen hour trip home.
Sitting in my office on Wednesday morning I had a serious
case of short timer's disease. We were scheduled to meet at Marc's
at 2 but I was patiently waiting for my new rear brakes to arrive.
They finally showed up at 11:45 and I blasted home to install them.
I was kind of in a rush since I also had to pack.
An hour later they were installed, my tee shirt had some fresh hydraulic fluid stains and I proceeded to throw a bunch of cycling clothes into the back of the poseur SUV and head on over to Marc's. I got the four hands waving kiddie salute as I pulled away. Sniff.
We loaded up and hit the road only to get stuck in Sacramento's ugly traffic.
<note: these first pics are tweaked video captures so the quality is a bit poor>
We decided to take a short detour and check the snow coverage up around the Yuba Gap (Eagle Mountain) since we might be heading up there in a few weeks. The snow is melting nicely, but there is still plenty underneath the trees:
We also took this opportunity to check out (once again) the sturdiness of the Thule rack, since we anticipated some high speeds and bad roads ahead.
We popped over Donner Summit:
and eventually rolled into the colon of Nevada, aka Reno:
This is where we avoided our first "incident" with law enforcement. A special thanks to the fine makers of the Valentine One and a hearty "haha" to the Nevada trooper and his instant-on radar gun.
The route that we drove across Nevada is HWY 50, which is known as the "loneliest highway." Miles and miles of bleak desert, mountain ranges, deer, elk, rabbits, mice and livestock separate a few small towns. As usual, we would drive for over an hour without seeing another vehicle.
Once we left what passes for civilization in Northern Nevada, I enabled the DEATH BEAMS, cranked up the stereo, set the cruise control and settled in for the long drive through the night.
We avoided our second "incident" in the town of Eureka where the speed limit goes from 70 to 55 to 35 to 25 in about 300 yards.
Can you say "speed trap"?
We stopped for food in Ely around midnight and shortly thereafter I started getting drowsy despite the massive amounts of chocolate that I had been consuming. Mike had a full thermos of coffee ready and I gave him the word. Unfortunately, he didn't respond and appeared to be in a coma. I would later find out that he had his ear plugs in.
More chocolate, louder music and some self amusement (it's amazing how you can make yourself laugh by taking unflattering pictures of your sleeping buds while driving at mach 9. OK, maybe you had to be there) and I was wide-awake once again.
We rolled into Grand Junction at 8 am their time and pulled up in front of Kevin's house. It seemed quiet so we decided to sleep in the car until folks got up. Ah, sleep! Finally some shut-eye for me.
Five minutes later Kevin opened the front door.
I met Kevin six weeks before in Arizona and when he heard that I was heading to the FFTF he opened his house to us. What a great guy. Here's a pic of him and Clancy in the street in front of his house:
Since Kevin's official FFTF duties didn't start until noonish he offered to take us on a ride from his house.
We climbed up through some BLM land that was simply gorgeous. We climbed and climbed up to the first ridge.
We were headed for the slickrock fingers that can be seen up on the ridge in the middle left. We dropped down a luscious bit of singletrack and stopped so Kevin could show us a natural cave/tunnel that they planned to re-route the trail through:
The trail was nice and technical. Here's a small ledge that's followed by a tight switchback:
We got to the bottom and noticed a herd of freeriders. Kevin explained that the BLM often let them graze in the area:
Kevin took us on a side trip that is a local "semi-secret." I could tell you where it is but then I would have to kill you all.
It's a slot canyon that starts with a nice drop-in.
Then we rode and did a bit of portaging.
The canyon was absolutely stunning, although we all were listening for the sound of an onrushing flash flood. We just kept climbing.
Along the way we found a vulture that had augured into the canyon.
At the top of the canyon we found a cool overhanging cliff/cave and some more drops.
We then headed back down the canyon.
And had an interesting time getting our gear out.
From there we climbed and climbed up to The Ribbon, which is the aforementioned slickrock boulevard that leads to the ridge line.
Grand Junction is in the background.
A view looking up the slickrock (that's Marc in the
Looking down a narrower section.
And an even narrower section.
Once we reached the top we did a fantastic descent back down to Kevin's house. The only trail names that I remember are Lemon Squeeze and Bentonite hill. It was a frolicking descent replete with fast technical single track with slow technical drops thrown in for variety. The only pics that I took where on Bentonite Hill.
Here is the lower section that can't bee seen in the pic above:
Eventually we rolled back to Kevin's house and started unloading our gear while sipping some tasty hop induced beverages.
While we were milling around this guy on a motorcycle rolls up. My first thought was "holy shit, no helmet, call the cops" but then I remembered that Colorado doesn't have a mandatory helmet law like California. I put the cell phone away and said, "Hey, you must be Jerry."
We shot the bull for a bit and then he had to leave (I forget where he went now but that whole part is kind of a blur since sleep deprivation started to kick in. Next we headed top register for the festival, eat and then crash for about an hour on Kevin's couch.
That night we ended up at a "Glitter Girl" fund raiser party (trail advocacy/access money was raised) where we saw JD again as well as a cool slide show by the local guy that just won the ditasport/Iditabike thing (1100 miles on a bike through Alaska). Sick stuff.
After that, I slept. Finally.
The day dawned cold and windy. I cracked the blinds and looked out onto Kevin's front lawn. Snow. 3 inches of friggin' snow
after driving almost a thousand miles! Why was I here?
I decided to do some maintenance on my bikes while I waited for the other guys to wake up. I got the Electroshock's brakes
readjusted and was just starting to tune the Huffy's drivetrain when.............
I woke up. Sunny, mid-60s at 7am. Excellent.
We decided to join Kevin on a FFTF ride that he was leading on a new trail. This new singletrack actually starts from a point
two miles into Utah and runs along a rim overlooking portions of the Kokopelli trail.
It's being built by the local trail riding motorcycle group, who will name it when they're done. Until then, it's simply called
"The Epic." The trail is nice rolling singletrack with some ledges sprinkled throughout. Some of the views were just atrocious.
We rode and rode and found some of the aforementioned ledges.
We rode some more, and found some more ledges.
Eventually, after about 18 miles we returned to our vehicles and trekked back into Fruita to grab some food and line up a ride for the afternoon.
Marc was racing the singlespeed race the next morning and Mike was feeling a bit whooped so they opted to take my car and retire to Kevin's house rather than ride. Kristian and I hooked up with another local named Brian for one of the classic Fruita rides, Mary's and Horsethief Bench.
The ride starts with a mellow climb to the edge of an escarpment. From this point you can see the Horsethief trail.
There is an interesting rock jumble that must be negotiated in
order to ride Horsethief.
The nasty part is just beyond Kristian in the last shot (who cleaned it for the first time on this ride).
The singletrack was sweet and flowy with some fantastic views.
There were a number of nice ledges sprinkled about.
We climbed out of Horsethief and continued on Marys. This was the best part of this ride. Technical climbs with ledges and nice
droppy bits. The views weren't too shabby either.
We rode out to the end of Mary's and rather than take some gravel road back to the cars we turned around and rode the singletrack back around and through and down. A lovely way to finish a great day.
We decided to go to dinner at a local restaurant that purports to have over 100 beers available. I was intrigued because I had just been telling Marc and Mike that I had a semi-tradition of drinking a large bottle of Chimay Red (any beer that is corked is a good beer) after a particularly good day of riding. I was due for some beer made by Trappist monks.
We hooked up with John and Jason (from Over the Edge Sports) and their gang for a hearty meal. Amazingly, they had Chimay. As we were finishing our meal our waiter brought something to the table. He explained that he made a Chimay Man for all of his customers who had the good taste to order the best beer on the planet.
And then we were four.
After that we went back to Kevin's house to watch sick videos of crazy Canadians jumping from huge rocks into trees. Then we slept.
We've all heard the old tale about the guy that gets drunk, gets a tattoo, and regrets it in the morning.
I wasn't exactly drunk, but I woke up on Saturday with a mighty cool tattoo courtesy of Fat Tire Amber Ale.
After dealing with my newfound body art, we blasted down to the ride tent to meet up with a fellow named Brian for another
classic Fruita ride. He took us on a loop that started with Lions, progressed over to Troy Built and ended climbing Mack Ridge and the descending back to the cars. I was having so much fun that the only picture that I have is of this lame friggin' idiot who showed up for the ride.
Fred had come out to play. Fred as in the stereotypical "Fred" of cycling. Clueless. Dweeby. Unskilled.
All of the proceeding attributes can be excused, because people come in all shapes and sizes and degree of geekiness. When you
add INCONSIDERATE to the list, the Fred deserves to be flayed alive. Do I have strong feelings about this idiot? Maybe.
The ride starts with a slight, and I mean slight, climb on a gravel road. Middle ring for about ¼ mile. Fred was walking it
while being passed by two women in their mid to late 50s. Trouble is a brewin'..............
This ride was listed as a moderate pace (the only faster pace is "race pace") but as being somewhat technical.
At our first regroup we wait a bit for the main body of the group to arrive and we wait quite a bit longer for Fred to arrive.
First clue Fred! If you are that far off the back, that early in a ride, it's time to go your own way out of common courtesy.
We climbed up some sweet single track to a minor portage with a nice drop out of it. We ended up riding this section for about
twenty minutes while we waited for Fred.
Here's Fred in all of his glory:
It seems that Fred broke his chain on the climb. Fred proudly proclaimed to Tim (riding sweep, err Fred) that his chain had lasted four years and that he was carrying a chain for just such an occasion. Fred was clueless to the point that he didn't realize that a new chain on a four year old drive train "no worky." He even argued with Tim when Tim told him to use the old chain. Tim politely suggested that the guy have a bike shop install the new chain.
Once Fred's bike was running again we continued riding some swoopy single track on Lions and rode the ever-lovely Troy Built. We had plenty of chances to chat as we waited for his Fredness.
The climb up Mack Ridge was a steep rocky double track/road. We waited at the top for 30 minutes for Fred. Everyone was sharpening sticks and taking dibs on who would impale him first.
The descent down the single track was fast, rocky (very sharp edges) and a blast. Then it was back to the cars for a rally race type drive on a gravel road and eventually back to Fruita for the afternoon races. We never saw Fred reach the parking area. Some coyotes might have eaten well.
Fruita's famous Clunker Crit was a racing event that garnered international attention (one spectator was from South Africa). The contestants in the freak heat had some interesting ideas about pre-race training and bike set up.
Man! That guy could corner.
And then it was time for the main event. Noel Buckley, semi-famous North Shore guy (Appeared in NSX3) accepted the challenge from a local thug and well known trail builder and acolyte of the narrow track..
Unfortunately, the many hours of specialized training didn't mean squat as another contestant forced the ruffian out in the first turn.
Nonetheless, he worked his way back up through the pack.
He was dominating kids a third of his age.
Eventually he caught up to his competitor from the great white North.
But, alas, it was not to be a storybook finish for the local boy. His trusty steed broke down and he had to switch to one of his
many, many, many, backup bikes.
He encountered additional problems with this high-tech wonder and subsequently started slipping towards the back of the highly
From this point on, Noel was racing against himself and eventually won.
After the races we headed up to ride Joe's Ridge.
On the way we warmed up with some hill climbing......
..........followed by some more rally racing at 70 mph on a gravel road and eventually we arrived in the parking lot.
We climbed up something and descended down Joe's Ridge to the Kessel Run. A thunderstorm was threatening and the sky was pretty dramatic. As we rode down the knife ridge it was dark to the left and sunny to the right. This was a fantastic descent.
After we finished the ride we headed out for food, more Chimay, and sleep.
The end times.
Sunday morning. Our last day in Colorado before the arduous trek back to the land of fruits and nuts. The drive home weighed heavily upon our souls. We needed some riding to distract us.
Or, more appropriately, enter JD, five minutes late. Here's how it came down:
I knew JD was working till 3 am and had posted a ride for 9am. We showed up at about ten till and found a large group of folks milling about the ride tent. I went back to the car to try and find some clean clothes to wear on the ride (unsuccessfully).
At 9:01 am I notice a group congregating around someone. I walk over. There is the vaguely familiar guy extorting the crowd to go with him up to the Perimeter ride because the ride leader has flaked on them. Huh??? This guy claims to "kind of" know where he is going and doesn't want to wait around for JD.
The herd mentality is taking over. Fred (I'll call him Fred because he is an UberFred) finally poses the question, "OK folks, who's going with me?"
Some loud mouthed guy from California steps forward and says, "I'll wait for JD."
The crowd shrugs off the bewitching spell of the UberFred as one by one folks pipe in with, "I'm waiting too." UberFred slinks off and heads for the trails. JD shows up three minutes later and folks begin the caravan to the trailhead.
As we gather at the trailhead, UberFred decides to rejoin the ride. It is then that I begin to choke due to the bowel-shaking
horror. Recognition. It's the same Fred from yesterday's ride!
JD is leading and Larry (I think?) from Philly volunteers to ride sweep for JD. He's a very kind soul for tackling these baby-sitting duties. We roll out and plan to regroup at a cow pond. It's a middle ring cruiser on double and singletrack. When we hit the pond it's just JD, Marc, and me. The rest of the group arrives and we all wait for UberFred. Marc and I exchange a knowing look. It's going to be a long morning.
Luckily, Uberfred dropped out somewhere along the way (or was shot, I'm still not sure) and the ride was great.
We rode front side and took some breaks to soak in the scenery:
and took time to admire the Fruita sticker on JD's new warranty
From there we headed to Zip for a raucously fun big ring descent.
http://www.petefagerlin.com/video/zip.mpg ( 13 mb)
JD worked his fork over on the descent.
We eventual worked our way through some jumpy roller thingies and made it back to the parking area. A great way to cap off four
days of riding!
The return road trip began with a trip back to Kevin's and along the way we saw a few interesting vehicles. Guess which one is JD' s:
We showered, packed up and hit the road for the marathon drive home. We had daylight through some of the high speed sections of Utah and Nevada and made much better time. The Valentine One came in handy on three occasions on the way back. Gotta love that technology:
They call highway 50 the "loneliest highway" because it is so desolate. Here's a picture of some of the stark landscape that you drive through:
Chimay man took the wheel for a while....
and we finally understood why we had no trouble with animals entering the road in front of us.....
http://www.petefagerlin.com/video/going_home.mpg (1 mb movie)
Grand Junction to the Bay Area in just under fourteen hours, of which I drove 12. Asleep at 5 am. Woken by the kids at 6:30.
At work by 8:30. Reality bites.