At what point to grown men grow up? As the horizon called 40 approaches, I have no idea when that will occur…or is supposed to occur by normal ‘adult’ standards. I am fitter than ever and the good news is that the SAME exact feelings I had when riding on my GT as a kid still rush through me to this day when I turn the cranks. All of us make the little braaap moto sounds, pull wheelies, table every possible lip…and of course case stuff when we don't get it right and laugh about it. Or in my case, cringe and bleed…but more on that in a bit.
The boys and I got our game on and headed out due west on the 70 to Fruita CO. A city that has some SUPER interesting history and how the mountain bike LITERALLY has changed the game for that town and its growth. The crew: Ward Baker, Rob Batey, Bobby Noyes, John Guillaume, Paul Luger, Rich Zirk, and our man, “Mr. GPS”, Dave Weber. We drove out Thursday AM and headed back Sunday and our rides took us over some absolutely amazing terrain in both Grand Junction and Fruita proper. We nailed out The Monument in Grand Junction, a mad swing into Utah via Zion’s and linked up basically 3 rides into a 6 hour epic and finally wrapped things up with some of the faves in Fruita via 18 Road.
The Grand Junction stop was rad…save for a blown spoke 1/2 hour into my ride. The boys and I were railing some crazy sandy and rocky singletrack in a desert like landscape when a rock flew into my wheel and I heard a ‘ping!’. I looked down to see that I’d cracked the solid aluminum spoke on my Mavic Crossmax 29’er rear wheel. I split up from the crew and flew down the highway to Grand Junction calling 411 on T-Mobile to find out where the shops were. I was able to get a great guy on the line from ‘The Bike Shop’ where he told me to bring ‘er on in and he’d get me riding. The crew there was SUPER helpful and 15 minutes later and only $4 bucks lighter, I was dialed in with a Ksyrium spoke to hold me over until I could see the Mavic guys at the Fruita Festival who were there for support. I was able to get back to the Monument trail system and put another hour of riding in so the day was not blown out.
Day 2 was THE epic. We cruised west on the 70 until we hit the Rabbit Valley exit near the Utah border. Weber downloaded another rider’s GPS file system and we literally overlaid this guy’s coordinates the WHOLE way. Mad ride 6 hours and essentially three major trails in a day. The GPS info can be found here but this is the map of what we loaded up on Garmin 305 and 705’s:
The ride was unbelievably epic. Endless singletrack that traversed some insane landscapes and terrain. Endless miles of singletrack weaving through desert and cacti and other various trees…some of which I’ll never forget (more on that in a sec).
We were loaded for bear with TONS of food and water. I went through a 70oz CamelBack and 2 large bottles but would recommend more to anyone else doing this ride. We all pushed the pace hard with tons of smack talk going down…mainly between Bobby and Batey as the Torrance bros were noticeably absent and would have been instigating. SO, I just went to the front as much as possible with a grin and set tempos that had Ward laughing…
So back to those mystery trees. After a nice haul we made it to the top of this mesa. We refuled (I’m LOVING the Clif Blocks products these days! The new packaging make it easy to chomp down the blocks while riding and pack easier) then stepped on it again leading us to this downhill section. It was a pretty benign hill with a little technical lip…something I’d probably have hucked with some style points added. Not a very ominous incline. But this tree at the very top of the chute was slightly jutting out. Ward went first and the tree whipped back as I went through 2nd and totally took me out! These trees are like WALLS…no give! The tree took out my handlebar and I yard saled nice and violent like down into a rock garden. I remember my head hitting hard and just thinking: OK, teeth and cheek are gone. But my knee, shoulder and hip got it the worse. After allowing my bell to un-ring, I was not going to abort….plus I had no idea where I was, so got on it again and just continued my thing…grooving in and out of the sick scenery.
The rest of the weekend days were spent frolicking all throughout the Fruita area, mainly 18 Road and railing the usuals which could keep you in grins all day (and did). We did clover leafs from and to the car to avoid camelbacks and do ~1-2 hour ‘sorties’ essentially all day until we suddenly realized there was beer to be had.
The Fruita Fat Tire Fest seemed to be fairly well attended, probably stymied a bit by the inclimate weather that came in Saturday evening. We hit up the festival on Saturday mainly to see the vendors there and grab an adult beverage or three from New Belgium, a major sponsor of the event. Alas, people STILL got their food, drink and bike on…
Later that evening we piled into the End Zone, a massive sports bar where all the festival-goers had congregated and prceeded to get our beer on. They were pouring a lot of goodness including a beer I'd never had before, Palisade Brewery's Farmer's Friend. DEE-LISH! We even ended up doing some roller racing!
All in all a fantasmic weekend of killing it in the desert with the homies. Here's the rest of the digital celluloid. Click here to go to my Flickr set.