October 31st, 2011
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.
Zippity do dah looking North to Book Cliffs
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.
Tamer piece of trail
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.
Ardell and Charlie
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.
new exit out of gulch
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.
October 28th, 2011
I waited 2 days b4 riding to let the trails dry out. Today I drove out to Kokopellis TH west of Fruita. Parked next to a car of Canadians who said they read about me. My purpose today was to ride step ups and rollovers using the skills taught @ Better Ride. I had mostly positive results. trick is to look far ahead for a point of reference and let the reflexes handle what’s under the wheels. Crazy, I look down to see what the front wheel rolled over.The trail system here goes places w/ tech features mixed in. Right above the Colorado River swollen and darkened by rains & snow melt from 2 days ago. I am riding slower and burning fewer calories.
Met Anne & Jen @ Hot Tomato where I ate dinner Wed night. Eric and Monica introduced themselves to me. Eric said he reads my blog daily. Hi Eric. They are from Colorado Springs.
Connected w/ Over the Edge bike shop.
My Patagonia micro puff mango color jacket arrived at the USPS that substituted for my Pisgah jersey while cleaners removed the yogurt spills. Did wash in local laundromat that uses a mag card that I had saved from earlier visit. Cooler and higher humidity takes longer to dry my riding clothes that are hung on a clothes line inside my van.
Something is happening inside my body that I can’t put my cure on. I scored a DR appointment last night. He wore his shirt out, moused hair, cowboy boots, and chewing a wad of gum. I viewed him skeptically as a professional. After his diagnosis I viewed him less than thorough. He didn’t succeed.
After the DR visit I treated myself to dinner @ Red Lobster for a taste of lobster. Expensive dinner. Lobster has a pleasant taste but I prefer Dungeness crab.
Tomorrow is a Halloween party @ Hot Tomato which is why I am here now.
Tonight I drove out to RD 18 for Book Cliff rides tomorrow. A woman talked w/ me today @ the TH who said that the gravel road had just been graded. I jumped on driving out as the road had always been horribly washboarded. Established campsites were almost all full. I found one way at the end of the loop. Place is packed w/ riders. Tomorrow will be a wonderful day for a ride shared w/ the most number of riders I have ever experienced here.
I camped 2 nights one block away w/in sight of State Patrol barracks on a dead end side street. No visits. Below freezing each AM.
I called WA dept of licensing following up on my mail order tags. Spoke w/ same woman who told me how to order my tabs online. She said she mailed the tabs yesterday which means I passed the last hurdle of life on the road out of state living.
Rangers lost World Series.
October 25th, 2011
Wow! I have been visiting people along the way spending time w/ them and not attending to sharing. Catch up.
Sat Brenda drove Mark and me again back up out of town for another coaster geek ride down backbone where Tony lead me last year. Good trail system just above Salida, well made and fun to ride w/ a few tech features mixed in.
Mark working his way down
Fun part was later that night when we went hot springing @ Mineral Hot springs resort for soaking and watching the sunset on the peaks to the east. Friend Don suggested the Valley View springs for its location up against the mtns, however our view was from further away w/o our noses pressed against the mtns. Long soak.
Sangre Cristo mtns behind geodesic dome
I checked out the dome that is used for a greenhouse. A dome is on my short list for a house I will have built.
Drove back to Salida. I cleaned Mark’s bike chain for Squirt lube.
I called Tomichi Cycles in Gunnison Sat and talked w/ Susan and made arrangements for a Sunday ride. Sunday is husband Bill’s day out and Susan’s kid care day.
Bid adieu to Mark and Brenda in Salida and headed west over Monarch Pass @ 11,300′. At the pass I noticed bare trees stripped of fall colors that Salida still held onto. Windy drive.
Arrived @ Bill and Susan’s house in Gunnison and renewed friendships. Chris joined us and we piled into B & S’s short roof Sprinter for short drive out of town to start of our ride. The first part was climbing on cow paths in the sage that cut my legs up. Our route joined Aberdeen loop, a single track over fractured rock. Riding here is open to the sky and visibility almost as far as your eyes could see. A bit windy that made some climbs into the wind particularly trying. Bill and Chris put together a 22.9 mile 3 hr 14 min 2763′ climbed ride. I am 22 years older than Bill that showed. I was gapped but never left behind.
Bill and Chris disappearing into the sage traveling a cow path
B& S shared their dinner w/ me. A shower and a sleep spot out in front of their house. The temp dropped to 22 in the AM.
Monday was Susan’s ride day that she invited me on along w/ her friend Barb. This day we left just after 9 in much colder temps. However, back in town later the temp was 72. 50 degree temp swing. We started up Bambi’s in the deep shade so cold that my nose hurt breathing in. Susan is a very good tech rider. We rode down Skull Canyon which is a fist full of tech challenges a few of which I left unrideable by me. We dropped down to Beaver Creek, on of many such named creeks in the state. Susan broke ice over puddles on the trail. Later we returned the same way and there was still ice over other puddles. On our way back a male rider just like that appeared behind me. it was Dave Wiens legendary Leadville race winner. He was picking up litter on the trails. Susan introduced us. I helped pick up litter. This ride was 16.55 miles in 2hrs 36 mins climbing 2183′.
Susan scampering down Skull canyon slickrock
Hartman Rocks offers some very challenging riding. Great weather and great riding made for a great day.
Back @ B&S’s for a shower saying good bye and looking forward to meeting in Sedona this winter.
Next stop was Montrose @ Cascade bike to pick up a map of the new Sidewinder trail that I first learned of in Green River and Susan shared her brief ride. I found the bike shop just after 5. As I walked to the door a guy stood in the doorway as if he was going to close the store. I walked faster and said something as I entered the store behind his back. He turned around and looked @ me and called me by name. It was Drew whom I rode w/ last year @ Grand Junction and met several other times back east. Drop dead incredible. He and Kimila, his wife, were riding in Fruita and Grand Junction summer of 2010. They were so impressed w/ the area that and went back to Atlanta and Kimila filed job transfer w/ WalMart for a position out here. She got one 30 days later in Delta just up the road from Montrose and Drew scored shop manager @ the bike shop. Drew put together a plan that I could not say no to: sleep in their farm driveway and do a shuttle ride on Sidewinder the next day. Kimila said of their new place that it was big enough for Craig to camp in. She did not know I was at their house when she pulled in the drive way. Her headlights caught the back of my van for her surprise. Great company. We sat around catching up.
Today we worked the weather forecast to get in our 10 mile ride on this very tech Sidewinder trail. I broke a spoke nipple on a previous ride that caused the adjoining spokes to creak on every pedal stroke. I finally got my big chain ring scar when i slipped backwards onto the teeth. My confidence is growing both in step up climbing and roll overs. Very technical trail. Rain caught us right at the finish when we were in the tightest part of the wash we descended. Skies were overcast w/ sun breaks and warm.
Drew and Kimila on Sidewinder
I drove Drew back to Montrose to his shop and he fixed up my wheel which is still running true after almost 2 years of riding. I knew there was a thorn or nail in my tire and I found it after Drew took it off the rim. About 1/16′ dia and 1/2 long into the inside of the tire. Credit to Stan’s for sealing the leak. I pulled the thorn out. Drew pumped up the tire and the Stan’s sealed the leak. Great shit.
Tonight is dinner @ their house. I am fixing my Waldorf salad.
Tomorrow the forecast is for likely rain that I will use to drive to Grand Junction and a rest day after 7 days of straight riding.
Rain fell overnight in Olathe, Denver got snow as did the mtns above me.