Sat I ride trails out at rd 18 from my camp spot. I grabbed campsite 1 as the lost open site last night. Place is packed w/ mtn bikers everywhere. I waited for the sun to melt the frost and warm up things. I rode the front side trails, first was Zippity do da w/ its ridge line, steep hike a bike pitch where shoe prints created climbing steps, down the screamer let ‘er rip downhill, and over hill and dale. I climbed back up prime cut. Next was Chutes and Ladders w/ several hike a bike sections. I walked an armored switchback where I failed to commit to the turn. Trail undulated along the base of the Book Cliffs above. Finally it dropped out into the flat meadow carpeted w/ season ended shin high golden grass. As I dawdled on my ride a rider caught up w/ me. He was pulling a BOB. He and several riders in tow where performing trail maintenance. I struck up a conversation w/ a young guy. He told me that he and his girlfriend who was also with, quit their good paying jobs in DC and hit the road. Early 20s and getting something for themselves in their 8 months on the road. Another climb up prime cut on up to Joe’s ridge the last climb was back on the road.
RD 18 trails are fun. This time I rode that sharp high wall right angle left corner and rolled into the steep descent that was look way out the ways and stay off the brakes until just before a hard right turn and another roll away. Place was packed w/ riders but I never felt crowded out.
I cleaned up and drove back out the gravel road that was already showing washboard signs. Smooth road was a short reality. Just so many rigs making the one way trek to ride.
Made The Hot Tomato for an early salad and slice of pizza b4 the 6PM party started. Local people in costumes and visitors in their street clothes. My costume was my usual dress. I was either the famous dirt bag mountain biker JP Nuts or the dirty old man character that Arte Johnson played on Laugh In. Didn’t win a price or recognition. Tomato patrons are for the most part athletic build compared to the crowd @ the sports bar I sat in 2 nights ago watching the World Series. I drove back to my camp spot which is just across the fence from a state park, both are located within stone throw of Fruita’s waste water treatment center. Not really down by the river but by the aerating waste water.
Woke up Sun morn in good shape. Today is a ride out @ Lunch Loop trails outside of Grand Junction, the place where the Gunnison River joins the Colorado. Again I dawdled awaiting sun’s warmth. The TH parking lot was about half filled when I arrived mid morning. I have a trail map that I studied for a short while then just rode off following whatever trail made sense and avoiding Holy Cross, the premiere downhill. I wandered out on Gunny Loop all by myself.
I rode back the Tabegauch old trail and encountered a guy and woman. The guy asks me just what my riding goals where. Huh? He told me he was Charlie and we met briefly @ Charlie Brown’s bike shop in Eagle, CO summer ’10. He was riding w/ SO Theresa. We engaged in conversation for many minutes in the warm temps and blue sky. The 2 were road tripping. Charlie told me they were camped @ the Little Park TH out near the Butter Knife trail I planned on riding the next day. I finished my ride and drove up to join them. We were standing around outside when a small car w/ a bike pulled in and parked. Over walked a young woman who walked up to me and introduced herself, Ardell, and we met last year @ the Tomato. OK. She is from Revelstoke, BC and road tripping for a month. She tent camped. Beautiful sunset from up on high. We could see the line down a lower portion of the Ribbon trail. Charlie & Theresa joined me in my heated van for more conversation, Charlie used to race for Turner when Dave was in Eagle. SO much fun talking w/ Charlie as we had been to some of the same places. He’s from MN where he won a XC ski race @ Maple Lag, the only ride I did in MN. I had a greater sense of community than most of the places I have visited.
Monday AM it was the 4 of us in the parking lot. Ardell and I planned on riding Butter Knife. C & T who rode it yesterday decided to join us. Holy abused suspension as we ripped the trail. All were excellent riders. We just flew. I rode stuff I walked previously. I rode last behind Theresa and followed some of her lines after I saw her roll over a drop. I bottomed my fork for the 2nd time in its life on a transition at the bottom of a roll over. I have assimilated some lessons from the Better Ride clinic.
No riding pics. Pretty technical trail kept hands on the bars, feet pushing the pedals, and eyes down trail. I will say that I am having more fun riding as a result of the Better Ride, and I did ride faster and more skillful than if I had ridden by myself. Because the 3 in front rode whatever I followed. Look far ahead, center my weight, let go of the brakes and roll down. My pedal wheelie lifting my front wheel is coming along. Big improvement is my pedaling up the step up that completes the step up. Confidence in my strengthening legs.
We climbed up the jeep road back to the highway. Earlier talk was of riding the 2 miles up the highway to the start of the Ribbon trail. So close w/ a bit of a road climb to drop down on open slabs of sandstone dropping down into a wash then a grunt out. I hit 26 mph. Ardell smelled her heated brake pads. Mixed in where tech trails joining the slabs until we reached the wash. Bit of Sedona type riding mixed in. A great reward for our uphill grunts.
Grunt climb out of wash ended our ride almost @ our rigs.
Ardell bid adieu and headed south. I lingered visiting w/ C & T till finally heading downhill and back to Fruita. I bought a shower @ the local RV park, grocery shopped, then drove back to my down by the river camp spot.
Tomorrow my XM receiver is to be delivered to OTE. My tabs should be in the mail as well as a mail shipment. Plan is to head south tomorrow towards Durango. The weather turns nasty for 2 days w/ forecasted snow that will make the mtn roads exciting. I will avoid the passes from Ouray to Durango via lower elevation roads w/ guard rails.