This is a blog post I never thought I would be writing, for a couple of reasons. The first is that I continually describe myself as a “rock climber” and mountain biking was low on our list of things to do with a toddler. The second is that I never thought I would have a two year old capable of mountain biking!
After a spring of snow in along the front range, we have been desperate to get out to the desert. We had such a good time in Pueblo that we decided to make the five hour drive out to Fruita and do it all over again. It turns out, even a rock climbing family can have a lot of fun mountain biking. And it might be time to add another chapter to the story we tell about ourselves.
We chose to spend our weekend riding around the trails at 18 Road, in the desert north of Fruita, because they include smaller loops that allow Mark and I to take turns while the kiddo plays at the trailhead. Also, because the Kessel Run is the most fun I’ve ever had on two wheels.
And on Saturday, we got to do just that. Mark and I took turns riding the Kessel Run while the other parent played with the G-kid around the trailhead. Early in the afternoon, though, G made friends with a 4 year old girl who was camping with her mountain biking parents and riding her own pedal bike all around the trails that day. G hopped on his strider and they took off on some of the smaller hills and flat trails around the unrestricted camping area. I had to run hard to try and keep up with him. He is really getting fast!
The little girl’s family had a sweet camp set up in the campground, and they offered Mark and I a place to relax out of the sun and away from the dust and noise in the parking lot. G and his new friend painted rocks (and each other) with water colors, played with shovels and toy construction equipment, and generally had a great time.
While they were relaxing and playing, I took a trip up the Vegitarian loop and around Down-Upity. These trails weren’t on my map or in our guidebook, suggesting some new trail building in the area recently. I had a great time. The technical curves and steep hillsides around Down-Upity were full of delicate, precise riding that helped me feel like I am building more control in my biking. These trails are less popular, and I saw more desert wildlife. Several large lizards and interesting birds ran from the sage along the edges of the trail.
On Sunday we came back with our trailer and nabbed a free campsite as the campground emptied (I’ll write more on camping in future post). G napped in the shady trailer while Mark and I took turns cranking out miles. Mark rode down PBR (Pumps Bumps and Rollers) which was full of whoop-di-whoops and giant bike jumps. I rode up Prime Cut for the first time and remembered how to shift appropriately on short, steep, up-hills. I rode down Kessel run for a second… ok, maybe third… time. Mark took a loop through the Vegetarian to Down-Upitity landscape and enjoyed it immensely.
And as soon as the Go-Kid woke from his nap, he was demanding bike rides. He probably spent 2 hours flying around the Fruita landscape, scooting, riding, rolling, running, and squealing with joy the whole time.
When I was pregnant, I read stories of family adventures and imagined what our story might be like. I imagined sport crags and climbing gear, a kiddo who loved rocks and dirt and sun and … climbing. But what we have is even better! A kid who loves rocks and dirt and sun, and bikes as well, and I never knew it was possible.