Monday, October 1, 2012


For a change of pace, I spent the weekend riding a mountain bike around the trails of Grand Junction and Fruita.  

I used to mountain bike a lot, well, exclusively. I have fond memories of hammering up the canyons around Boulder in preparation for the 24 Hours of Moab race, zipping around the trails of Buffalo Creek and screaming down the glorious Monarch Crest/Rainbow Trail gem near Salida/Poncha Springs.

In the last 5-6 years, though, it's been all running, until this weekend.

A good friend of some 20 years came to town from the Bay Area for a weekend of desert mountain bike riding. That seemed like a good excuse gather up a group of friends from the Roaring Fork Valley to get back in the saddle for some rough miles on the old mountain bike. Truthfully, I was looking at the weekend with some trepidation. I wasn't worried about the legs. Training for and running a 100-mile race gives one a certain amount of endurance fortitude. That said, trail running doesn't do much to prepare one's backside for two solid days on a soft-tail mountain bike.

Yep, I'm still running old school. A 10-year old Moots YBB.  A great bike in its time, and still a nice ride. However, compared to the high-tech machines people ride these days, with their 29'' wheels, disc brakes and full suspension, the ol' Moots is showing its age (mine doesn't have braze-ons for disc brakes...).

So, Saturday, we show up at the Lunch Loop trail system outside Grand Junction.  What do you know, there's Yeti Cycles all set up with a truck, a huge trailer and 30 bikes available for demo riding.

After 10 minutes, a wee bit of paperwork and handing over my drivers' license and credit card I found myself on this monster.

The Yeti 575, all mountain joy.
All I can say is wow...and expensive - $4-5,000 depending on what components one wants.

I'm sold on the whole 29'er wheel thing, as well as full suspension. This bike probably weighs about seven pounds more than my Moots, but other than during the hike-a-bike sections, I didn't mind the weight. The braking, plush -- but, not too plush ride -- and comfortable geometry was amazing. Many times during the five hours (sorry, Yeti guys, I just couldn't get it back any sooner...) I had this bike out, I began to remember why I used to love mountain biking so much.

In addition to riding a bunch of the Lunch Loop loops, we rode the Ribbon Trail (using a car shuttle).

Dwight at the top of a stout climb on the Ribbon Trail
View down into the Lunch Loops/Tabeguache Trail System
A slickrock(ish) section on the Ribbon Trail. There were a bunch of these huge slabs.
On day two, we headed over to Fruita and spent the day riding in the Kokopelli Loops trail system west of town. This time, I was back on the Moots. The ride was way rougher, but, man, what fun. The trails here (as in the Lunch Loops area) are excellent. A nice mix of rock, dirt and gravel, with a hearty dose of fast flat sections, technical rock gardens and cliffside clenchers.

Bob (with Luka running and panting just behind) wrapping up Steve's Loop. 
Looking down on a portion of Steve's Loop. A bit of exposure here.
Keith on a section of the Steve's Loop trail shown in the previous pic. Cliffside. 
All-in-all, it was a fantastic weekend of riding and catching up with old friends. A big thanks to Bob, Dwight, Keith, Mark and Trevor for a very memorable weekend.

Anyone got a full-suspension 29'er mountain bike they aren't using? I'd be happy to store it in my garage for you. I promise to only ride it to church on Sundays, more or less.

Bonus Pic o' the Day:

We came across this woman at the end of Steve's Loop. A hardcore dog-loving mountain biker, to be sure.  Note:  there actually are two dogs in there.  See the pointy ear to the right of the fluffy dog...  Crazy.

1 comment:

  1. Two dogs in the pack. Lol.

    Great pics.

    Hopefully will be in Fruita next weekend, riding something good.