July 2nd, 10 a.m. M.T. Fruita, CO
We arrive in Fruita
to the warm welcome of mid 90 degree temperatures after a 26 hour
drive with no sleep. Magellan, Tucker, and myself have had little
sleep since Friday night and are weary from the drive. We frantically
search for the hotel but find the local bike shop first. We walk
in to "Over The Edge Sports" and suddenly we forget how
tired we are as we gaze at the high end Marin's and Titus's. Tucker
buys some goods as Magellan ponders a jersey as I continue to drool
over the cool specked out bikes with my favorite Race Face components.
We get the trail info and find our hotel. We check in and slip into
a deep sleep with dreams of Colorado singletrack.
4:30 p.m. We awake
form our long slumber and begin getting our gear on for the first
time in this foreign state. We head out to the store and pick up
some much needed food as Tucker and I hate to go hungry!! We now
have a full supply of food for the week. Tucker and I get our first
taste of the women of Colorado(which is now my new sponsor).
6pm We head for the Kokopelli loops just 5 mins.
down the road. On our way out of the hotel parking lot we see Turtle
pull in. He tells us he has driven straight with only 2 hours sleep.
He looked like a serial killer reject for a Visine commercial. Tucker, Magellan, and myself
unloaded the bikes as we prepared to ride Mary's Loop. As I take my
bike from the rack and set it down I keep hearing a phrase over and
over again inside my head...."This is one small step for Moab
and one giant leap for the Spokejunkies" We hit the trail and
it is unlike anything I have ever ridden. I didn't know whether to
go fast or look at the incredible scenery. The trail was rocky and
sandy with some drop off's and some spots that came close to the edge
of a cliff! One mistake and you would be crow bait. The trail weaved
its way along the ridge and I was loving every minute of it. We stopped
for pics along the way and pretty much took it easy. We rode about
8 miles but it seemed like it only lasted 5 minutes. I wanted more.
Tucker and Magellan had problems with their lungs burning from the
altitude. I was so stoked I didn't seem to notice. We arrived back
at the car knowing we had the best week of our lives ahead of us.
11:30pm We ate at The Edge tonight.
It's cool to eat at a restaurant named after a sweet ass trail. I wish
I could go eat at a place named Vultures Diner or something. Kevin
joined us a little late and we all chowed. I ordered the worlds smallest
piece of cheesecake. It was so small I could have snorted it. -
July 3rd, Fruita, CO 10p.m
first full day here in sunny Colorado. Moab, Magellan, Turtle,
Sweet Lou, Kevin and I all got our gear together and headed to "OVER
THE EDGE" to meet up with our fearless guide Jerry. This was
a cool bike shop with some great tricked out bikes on display
and even a big overstuffed couch to sit on
and loads of bike
mags to look at. And right next to it was a specialty coffee
shop with some perfect pre-ride brew. The day here in Fruita
was hot, 90+, but as we headed up into the mountains the onboard
weather station on our rented Spokejunkiemobile showed that the
temp outside had dropped 20 degrees as we climbed up through
the Colorado Natl.' Monument. The scenery was beautiful. Mountains,
cliffsÖindescribable really. There were several places where
the side of the road dropped off into an abyss which kinda of
made us Ohio flatlanders a little nervous. No guardrails either.
After several miles we finally pulled into the trailhead parking area and everybody
jumped out and began getting ready for the ride, anxious to hit our first real
alpine trail, Turkey Flats. After some fire road climbing we hit the trail.
trail was a good mix of double and single track. We hit some wide
sections with jump after jump and proceeded to get some air. One
rider who will remain nameless (but his name rhymes with Pucker)
slammed on his brakes for a quick dismount and photo op which caused
Kevin to endo and hurt his shoulder. Sorry about that Kev but nothing
comes between a good picture and me. After a break to Allow Kevin
to get his Mojo back we headed into the downhill section. This
was an awesome trail with steep drops and technical sections alternating
with smooth parts that let you rest some before the next plummet.
Moab and I blasted down followed by the others and when we arrived
at the bottom with tired hands and arms all we could do was smile.
It was almost a religious experience. A downhill dream. The total
mileage for the DH was about 5 miles.By this time we were all starving
so we loaded up and headed back to Grand Junction for some much-needed
found a great Mexican joint and consumed mass quantities then
went back to the motel to crash for a while. When we regained
consciousness the temp in Fruita had dropped so we headed out
to explore the Book Cliffs area. This is desert riding at its
best. First we hit the Prime Cut trail then got kind of lost
looking for more. What we found turned out to be the Kessel Run.
I lead down this trail followed by Moab and Turtle and I had
never had so much fun. This thing screamed down a dry wash back
and forth through dippity doos and up the sides like a serpent.
I had rabbits running for their lives everywhere ahead of me.
At one point the trail leaves the wash and climbs a short, steep
hill, a good place to rest. When we all got to the top we all
started to say the same thing, " Man! I don't care if we're lost
or not I'm having too much fun to worry about it!" We finished
up riding back to the cars with a spectacular sunset in the west,
then loaded up and headed to Red Lobster where we fueled up,
played a game of name that tune, and harassed our waitress. I
swear she was an android, when we asked for separate checks her
face went blank and I could swear I smelled wires burning. After
a hot tub soak at the motel I crashed. The rides today were fantastic,
honestly the best time of my life. I was exhausted but didn't
fall asleep right away thinking about the possibilities of the
next days riding. - Tucker
Tuesday, July 4th, 9:30 p.m. Fruita , CO
I woke up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and blueberry
pancakes. The sun was shining and I was excited to check
out another Fruita Trail that I had heard about. We headed to
Over the Edge Sports to meet up with the rest of the group
and started the drive up and into the mountains. The group
at this time consisted of Moab, Tucker, Turtle, Kevin, Jerry
(JD), and myself. The drive was very scenic, going though
canyons and noticing the changes in plant life, terrain, and
temperature. While it
was very hot (upper 90ís) in the desert, the higher elevations
were perfect riding weather, 80s and low humidity. This trail
was at about 9000 feet. We arrived at the Trailhead and geared
up and headed out. The trail started as a gradual climb, but
got increasingly steep and loose, becoming what would later
be known as JDís bootcamp. It was very difficult to ride and
eventually everyone was off the bikes and pushing. To make
more interesting, there were cattle all along the trail. I
think we all developed a new respect for cattle, since they
to climb there with little difficulty. The trail was difficult
to even walk on at times, and our faithful leader Moab pushed
onward, keeping a positive attitude, encouraging us all along
the way, what an inspiration he was, up till he fell and landed
with his hand in a big blob of fresh wet, green cow crap!
We pressed on, I think that climb was
at least 4 miles straight up. Mid way up Tucker and I got
into a deep conversation about
the varying degrees of being tuckered. There was plumb tuckered,
damn tuckered, fíing tuckered, we reached the top of the climb
finally and we were about at the highest level of being tuckered.
Mo and Jerry played follow the leader on a big rock while we
all took a break part way up. We stopped at a cowpond to rest.
This is where JD gave Moab a lesson on biology, after Moab asked
'What's the difference between a cow and a bull?" Jerry replied,
ìA cow has udders, and a bull has a dick." So after a brief
rest and checking out genitals on cattle we were off again. But the climb hadnít ended;
now we were on sandy fire road. But we were holding tough.
I will never look at Scioto
the same. This climb was like Scioto on steroids! Kevin
was almost swallowed by big sandpits a few times. At the
next plateau we stopped at a scenic over look and had a
snack and took some photos. Then the down hill fun began,
at least 6 miles of a mix of fast and smooth single track,
with some rooty and rocky technical parts. JD was cut off
by a calf and ended up landing on his feet and his bike
was hanging by a branch in a tree. The Trail weaved through
a meadow of sagebrush, and wild flowers.
This ride was definitely an endurance challenge, by far the hardest climbing
I have ever done. It was also probably more educational than the discovery
channel! For the rest of the trip, no one said a word about the climbs being
tough; we definitely were broken in. - Magellan
July 5th, 8pm
Zippity Doo Dah
arrived at the Book Cliffs just outside of town. JD and his buddy
Angryman were going to take me and Tucker on Zippity Doo Dah which
was for experts only. Tucker went about a mile and tuckered out.
That left me and the 2 locals so I knew I had to be sharp to keep
up. We started out doing some really fun quick up and down stuff.
This trail was very fast consisting of hardpacked sandy soil. We
had a couple grueling short climbs. There was some cool gradual
DH stuff that was a blast. We then hit a ridge that dropped 50 ft.
on the left. Some of you know I am not a big fan of heights but
I just kept my cool. From there we hit the ridge lines that dropped
50 ft on both sides of a 12 inch wide trail. No room for error.
It was like riding on the top of a mountain. I just focused on the
trail in front of me and saw the lines that they were taking and
enjoyed myself. The ridge line then took a 90 degree turn to the
left and went straight down.
This was the first of 3 very steep DH's. The difficult thing about
this was the trail was still very narrow with drop offs on both
sides so there was no room for error left or right. Imagine going
straight down a 12 inch wide trail but if you lock up your rear
wheel and slide left or right you tumble another 20 ft down the
side of a ridge. So you have to brake cautiously.
The second DH was more of the same except there was a 2 ft dropoff
at the top of the DH leaving you with speed going into the DH. I
was following JD close enough that I didn't see it until it was
too late and just went down it and right down the DH. If I had seen
it I don't know if I would have done it. It was that hairy. JD even
said he had never done it before and this is his home trail. We
all made it safely to the bottom. 2 down 1 to go. Prepare for The
We rode another ridge line for awhile and then Angryman turned
left and headed down the final DH. This looked to be the easiest
3. I made the turn at the top and headed down. I remember thinking
that I made it down. The next think I saw was looking up at JD
I was gasping for air. I had no time to react. I flew left off
my bike as I had apparently hit a dip at the bottom and went right
of the trail and flew off the right side of my bike taking the
impact with my face and shoulder. JD was asking me the standard
you feel this, can you feel that, any pain here or there etc...I
regained my air and asked JD how bad my face was. He said there
was nothing deep. I had all my teeth which was good news. He then
tells me that he had crashed hard there awhile back and broken
helmet. He said in my case that a less fit rider would have been
in the hospital. The damage: broken helmet, concussion, face scraped
on right side, bruised ribs, strained back muscles. This kind of
accident makes you think. I was lucky to have not broken anything.
I rode back to the car(now I don't remember riding back) and nursed
my injuries. I contemplated flying home but by Friday I was riding
At the same time on a different trail..........
We went to the
Book Cliffs area outside of Fruita. In order to redeem herself
after the trip to the equestrian Dark Side, Magellan committed to riding
the entire Joe's Ridge trail. Moab, JD, and Tucker headed off for
Zippity. Tucker was filming with his bike-cam and eventually decided
that Zippity would be bad for the camera, so he joined us. After
looking at his hi-tech camera mount, I decided that he could do
anything with a bottle of WD-40 and duct-tape. So, Magellan, Tucker,
Turtle, a local lady named JJ, and I headed off for Joe's Ridge.
This is an amazing run. It's not a very hard trail, just your typical
Book Cliff's singletrack. The catch is that it runs along a ridge
line, giving you quite a bit of exposure. It starts out winding
through the desert, then you climb a little summit and the ridge
line starts. The first section is not too bad, but it leads to
a steep drop with lots of exposure on either side. With the motivation
of his new Rage Against the Machine tape, Tucker took the lead
and was gone in a flash. Magellan was the only one to ride the entire
trail. She's got guts. The trail is not very long, and ends in
a dirt road. We then hopped over to the Kessel Run. The Kessel run
is simply a series of high-banked S-turns. Tucker was thrashing
his head so hard he popped a tube. After making sure he had tools
and a new tube, we rode on. There was a party back at the parking
lot, but I had to drive down to Grand Junction to get John Pierson
from the airport. - Kevin(aka Frosty)
After a most excellent drive through
the San Juan Mountains, we arrived in Durango. The first
order of business was
securing lodging, then food was next. We checked into our
hotel, then all pedaled a short ways to downtown in search
of grindage. Tucker's keen olfactory senses detected a
deli and we settled down to what is probably the best sandwiches
in town. Then it was back to the hotel to let the meal "settle" (reads
nap time, we ARE on vacation).
Stirring from our narcoleptic stupor at about 5, we started
getting ready to do a ride from town on the famous Telegraph
Trail system. Mo and Tucker were going to pass on this ride
because Mo was still a little woozy from the previous day's
incident and Tucker wanted to see some ancient Anasazi ruins.
So, Magellan, Turtle, Kevin, John and I pedaled back toward
downtown and the trailhead just East of there.
The older residential part of town was pleasant to ride
through. Not much traffic, nice big shady trees and wise
bike paths made it so. Then came the trailhead and the
heat and dust were to be immediate, as was the climbing.
Horse Gulch Rd is a largely abandoned ranch access road
that does not look like a vehicle has been on in years.
a nice line going up it and even more than one line in places.
Upon arrival at the first intersection, it became evident
why the bike shop dude said we didn't need a map. There was
a nice map on a post that even included a "you are here" (which
was to be the case at every intersection in this trail system).
From here we pressed on
up the Telegraph Trail, named obviously because it follows
an old abandoned telegraph
line. Some of the poles are still in place, ahh the Old West.
The climb was not too brutal at first, but progressively
steepened. A local passed us when we had stopped to "rally
up" and after we pressed on, I caught up to him. After riding
his wheel for about 1/4 mile, I noticed a snake slithering
across the trail right under his bike. His rear wheel ran
it over and it coiled and I heard the distinctive buzz of
a rattle. There it was...a Mojave Green getting ready to
pounce on any more infractions on his territorial imperative.
I was close enough to see one "button" on its rattle (denoting
at least 5 years of age). The button, its size and color
made me back up slowly because it could only be the (aforementioned)
most neurotoxic rattler in the Southwest. I yelled back to
the others to be careful as it slid into the bushes and gave
a final buzz as I passed. The local didn't even know how
close he had been.
The rest of the climb was pretty uneventful and we pressed
on to the next marked intersection. We still had a bit of go
left in us, so we decided to pass on Cites Connect and give
the Sidewinder a try. A quick drop-in on the "Suicide Climb" (ha
ha we rode down it) and we were at Sidewinder.We had another pow-wow to decide on heading
down right away, or riding North a bit, then retracing back
down. We had plenty of light, so off we went. We ended up
running out to an overlook where some other locals had told
us that there was a family of coyotes sounding-off below.
We didn't hear any coyotes, but we did take a picture with
New Mexico in the background.
After backtracking to Telegraph, the real descent began. Between
Telegraph and Grandview Ridge the Sidewinder had been abused
by horses and here I was on a hardtail, being chased by a Wild
Hare, two Loco Motos and Racer-X. The junction with Grandview
was a welcome sight, especially with the horse damage going
down there and no longer on Sidewinder.
We paused for a bit of an adjustment on one of the bikes, then
were on our way again. Passing Crites Connect, the Sidewinder
changed its name to Carbon Junction and attitude from wide-open
reclaimed fire road singletrack to a rocky, switchbacky and
narrow singletrack called Carbon Junction. It wound through
the juniper and pinyons, making me feel right at home (as in
Fruita). A final series of switchbacks with exposed straightaways
in view of the highway made it impossible to slow down too
much and we all finished in style.
A leisurely spin back to town on Hwy 3, then backtracking our
route through downtown and we were back at the hotel. Another
great meal accompanied by excellent draught beer only assisted
us in dreaming about the ride that was to come the next day.
However, that is another story..... - Lodij
7th, 11 pm, Durango ,CO
I awoke this
morning with a clear head, sore ribs, and sore back. I
felt good enough to ride and I knew this was one of the
four epic trails in Colorado. I knew this was a 21 mile
trail and it would test how injured I really was. We saddled
up the Blazer and headed out to drop Kevin's car at the
lower meeting spot for the shuttle. We drove to top of
the mountain and parked there. We unloaded our gear with
mouthwatering anticipation. We then bombed down 5 miles
of fire road to the trailhead for a warm up of what was
to come. Welcome to Hermosa Creek.
The trail started out as doubletrack for
6 miles of nothing but downhill. There were some rocky technical
sections and some air potential. The trail followed Hermosa
Creek and the scenery was the best I had ever seen in my
life. I wanted to take it easy after my wreck but I couldn't
help myself. This was bliss. We then ended up in a meadow
and began the singletrack. This was fast and furious with
just enough technical spots to keep you honest. We all flew
like the wind. Imagine Tsali with rocky sections and better
scenery.... or West Virginia meets Tsali. This is the best
trail I have ever ridden in my life up to this point. This
is an epic. This was the kind of trail that you wanted to
stop every now and then just to savor what you had just ridden.
We then hit a hard, long climb at about the 15 mile mark.
This was the only real climbing of the trail. I'd say it
was 75% downhill. The trail was off camber at times which
made for some hairy traverses at high speed. The Aspen trees
were gorgeous. I honestly don't know if I would have changed
anything about this trail.
After riding the best singletrack of
our lives we went back to the hotel rested up and headed
out to Ga Spatcho's Mexican restaurant. It was pretty good
food but the portions were small and they charged $2 for
any extra basket of chips. WEAK! We then headed out for
a night cap at Lady Falconbergh's(highly recommended) where
they have over 400 beers and the best peach-blueberry crisp
in the land. We reminisced about our glorious week of riding
and wondered how it all ended so fast. - Moab
Saturday started off with a great breakfast at the College
Diner in Durango. After sending the rest of the crew off
on their journey home, Kevin and I departed on opur own mission.
We had a 24 hour window of time to get Kev, newly baptized
Frosty, back to Denver for his departure. With an entire
day to spend in God's Country, the possibility of a brand
new epic teased our minds. There was so much to offer in
those granite monoliths stretched between us and our final
destination. Such legendary names as Monarch Crest, the Vail
Highlands, Aspens' Maroon Bells, and Gunnison all fought
for our favor. Ah, but there, off a county road marked by
a switching white line through brushed stroked mountain canyons
laid the pot of gold that was finally made apparent by the
colorado state map which had become our treasure guide. The
name Crested Butte rang out in my mind like I had found the
answer to the meaning of life. Prior to saying good byes
we quizzed Jerry for the scoup on Butte trails. He instantly
replied that we had to ride the 401. He also pointed us to
toward The Alpineer bike shop, where we could rent a couple
of suitable riggs. He also mentioned that the shop closed
about 6pm. to make town and have enough time ride a loop
we knew we had to haul ass.
We said good bye to every
one and blasted down the colorado back roads in our dust
frosted rental car baring
the graffiti of some restless spokejunkies. Other drivers we
passed over the next hundred miles probably couldn't understand
the facination we had with Moab, or just what the hell a spokejunkie
might be. We rolled into Crested Butte about 2:30. Ah, just
enough time. We found The Alpineer right on the main drag in
town and hurried in to gear up. Once again Jerry pointed us
straight and true. The staff at the shop were more thatn helpful.
They hooked us up with a trail map and a couple of dual suspension
Schwinns lovingly named "Pepe'"and "Patsy". Now I know what
your saying, "what full blooded American male would find himself
on a rig with a handle like Patsy?". Our helpful mechanic assured
us she was a true mountain cat and that he had that same day
had taken her for a killer ride. I agreed and stated the name
was simply for the purpose of using a labeling system...........and
handed her over to Kevin. The 401 has two loops, an upper and
a lower. Both loops start on the dirt road that runs Schofield
Pass. So you simply park at the bottom of whichever loop you
want to ride. And since your acending the same road to begin
both loops, you can combine the two into a giant loop. We decided
that we had enough time to ride the upper loop and get the
bikes back before they turned into pumpkins.
As we parked
and suited up a slight drizzle clouded our spirits. The
rain was cold but it certainly
wasn't going to
slow us down. We started climbing our way up the steep route
passed occasionally by jeeps, land roverrs, and one brave
minivan. About an hour into the climb we could see where
they were headed. The beauuty of Emerald Lake shinning
purple granite of Mount Crested Butte and its neighbors was
electrifying. We climbed on. 9,000 feet thhen 10,000 feet.
pass altitude as if on a stairway to heaven. I heard Frosty
cry out "Snow! We're higher than the snow!" A combination
of lack of oxygen and the surplus of adreniline added to
It was truely amazing. All this beautiful scenery and we
weren't even on the singletrack yet. I want to stop on
and take a picture. Gazing ahead, I try to burn these images
into my skull. I know that pictures will never do this
place justice. So, futily I know, I make my synapses store
of sensory input that is flooded with thhe surrounding peaks,
trees, and wild flowers. Ah, at last the top of the pass
the promise of singletrack.
Patsy and Pepe' gave us their all up the tight
and occasionally muddy track winding ever higher. The cold drizzle
and the sky was a gorgeous mixture off deep blue light fluffy cumulus.
After a another mile of ascent up the single track that wound its
way through every shrrinking pines we were introduced to a highh
alpine field of long grass and bright flowers. Sparing enoughh
time to catch our breath and snap some shots of the surrounding
peaks, we rode on again. The trail began a slow descent at first,
with a few woop-de-doos here and there. Then the decent really
began. The trail hugged the side of the mountian, in and out of
drainage lines that had gouged the mountain for centuries. Bright
yellow and purple flowers with thick waxy leaves grabbed at our
calves, and hid enough of the trail to make anything beyond ten
feet unexpected. But Pepe and Patsy knew this play ground well,
and were proper steads carrying us over rock and root with grace.
I passed my concentration from the trail now an again to gaze at
the surrounding vista in total disbelief of were I was. Heaven?
No, but possibly the closest place to it on earth. The narrow single
track continued down and down like this until we finally entered
a group of Aspen. Switching here and then again the trail finally
dumped us out on a dirt road. With great despair I knew we had
reachhed the bottom of the upper loop. Riding the bottom loop seemed
immediately neccessary. How could end such an epic ride so abruptly?
Alas, we needed to get back to Alpineer. So, Kev and I, and our
faithful mounts headed for the rental car, witth a severe case
of perma-grin. If you have the oppourtunity ride it. If you don't
have the oppourtunity, create it. You won't regret it. Crested
Butte, a.k.a. Heaven on Earth. - John
Quotes of the trip:
" I wanna see how big yours is"-Moab
to Sweet Lou after eating the worlds smallest piece of
" Jerry Jerry Jerry Jerry Jerry Jerry"-
" Shut up we are sick of hearing about
Jerry!!"- everyone to Magellan
" Time flies when you have a concussion"-Moab
"I had a concussion once and I didn't
ride for like a whole day"- JD
" You're a freak" JD
Magellan managed to say Jerry's name a whopping 2104 times during
Kevin knows his stuff about all kinds of beer. Any
questions ask him.
Mesa Verde ruins is 23 miles of winding road after you get
to the park entrance. The place has bad karma. Tucker lost his
there never to be found.
Turtle is insane. Only 2 hours rest for a 26 hour drive.
is the place to go if you're looking for natural, athletic, outdoorsy
women. It gets the Moab seal of approval.
I lost 2 testicles while riding Zippity Doo Dah. Please email
me if you find them.
If I could find a job out there I'd move in a heart beat.
You haven't lived until you've ridden out there.
Riding at 9000 ft. wasn't as hard on the lungs as I imagined.
Why does everything in Fruita close at 9?
We found out Tucker has an addiction...GU..or more specifically
caffiene..He ate 9 Gu's in 2 days. He's like Mr. Rogers on acid
when he's wired on Gu.
Our new favorite riding music and theme
song for the trip is Rage against The Machine's Guerilla Radio.
We hate roof racks. They're a pain in the ass and a roof hazard.
You get bugs on your bikes and it's pain lifting the bikes up and
down all the time. Go for a nice hitch rack like the Yakima.