Mountain Biking in Fruita, Part 1

April 18, 2009 at 8:22 pm

The prelims are over, and I survived (and passed)! The day after the oral exam, we packed up our gear and headed west to the desert with my little brother TJ.

Now we're having fun!

There’s pictures from our weekend up in the gallery!

Friday we drove, through a huge snowstorm, over the mountains and out to the western edge of Colorado. Where the mountains meet the desert and the big Colorado river starts carving its way through red sandstone. Fruita is a small town, west of Grand Junction, that has developed a huge system of great mountain biking trails and a great community of riders.

Mark hikes a bike up a narrow section of trail

We spent the weekend camping at the Colorado National Monument, which is perched on top of a mesa south of Fruita. The camping is expensive at $10 a night, but there’s water available, nice bathrooms, picnic tables and charcoal grills. Plus the views are absolutely incredible. Pretty lux, all around.

Saturday we geared up after breakfast and decided to try and find some easier trails to get our groove back. We headed west to the Kokopeli Trailhead, and rode a few of the loop trails in the area.

We ended up riding almost 15 miles on Saturday, over beautiful trails, some fast and fun, some slow and technical, some scary and exposed. It was a beautiful day, a lot of hard riding, and we had a great time. On the map above, we started with the first, smaller loop on the east side, called Wrangler’s loop. This was a little hard for us at first, even though it was graded “green.” But after about 3 miles, we got our legs back, and had huge fun on a fast, long, downhill section of the trail.

Much “WOO-HOO”-ing commenced.

TJ with the wheelies!!

We then set out on the bigger loop – starting with Mary’s Loop, a “blue.” This was fun, but harder. The views were gorgeous, and we worked our way out into the desert. We stopped for lunch at the “Pizza” overlook, where an aid station was helping runners on a 50 mile trail running race. We ate a snack and relaxed for a while, then decided to head down Steve’s loop.

This was a steeper, but very fun trail. It dropped down a steep hill to near the river, and then winds back around some awesome slot canyons. We picked up Handcuffs to get out of the canyon – rated a “black diamond” it was steep and slow going, but we made it out and back to the car. Happy, exhausted, a little sunburnt and ready for pizza and an afternoon nap. In the evening we enjoyed some sight-seeing in the National Monument, endorphins, night steaks, and Fluxx.

Looking back at the steep, technical, exciting Mary's Loop trail