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Colorado
July, 2000

Colorado was a life altering experience for all of us. We went to explore the uknown...to ride what we had only seen in the magazines. I can most assuredly say this was the best riding experience of my life. We all pushed ourselves to the limits. We reached deep down and starred our biking fantasies straight in the eye........We boldly went where no Spokejunkie had gone before (begin Star Trek theme music). This is our story.........

July 1st, 10 a.m. E.T. Columbus,Oh
We finally get all the gear loaded onto the Blazer and roll out to the cheers of the capacity crowd of 2 (thanks mom and dad). Within 20 mins. Magellan has to pee. This would become a recurring theme throughout the trip. She is the most urinary person I know.

7:30 p.m. C.T. Columbia, MO
We stop and eat and the waiter notices our bikes and asks if we are mountain bikers. We tell him our mission and we exchange the usual info when he tells me he has a Gary Fisher Big Sir. We're not even in Ohio and I'm still getting treated like royalty...This is great!!

July 2nd, 2 a.m. Goodman, KA Tucker gets pulled over by a local cop. I hear Tucker curse for the first time and my image of him is blown. I wonder what other surprises he has in store for me. The cop proceeds to ask him if he is a wanted man and tells him he was doing 49 in a 40. Tucker turns on the charm we all love and the cop only gives him a warning. If he only knew how Tucker won the chick magnet award last year and is wanted by babes around the world. 

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.  - Moab

July 3rd, Fruita, CO 10p.m 
Our 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.
The 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 chow.

We 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 matters more interesting, there were cattle all along the trail. I think we all developed a new respect for cattle, since they were able 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

Wednesday, July 5th, 8pm
Zippity Doo Dah
 
We 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 Gash.
We rode another ridge line for awhile and then Angryman turned left and headed down the final DH. This looked to be the easiest of the 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 as 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 questions(can 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 his 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 again. - Moab

At the same time on a different trail..........
Joes Ridge
 
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)

Durango

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. It had 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

Friday, July 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

Crested Butte

Saturday, July 8th
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 souled minivan. About an hour into the climb we could see where they were headed. The beauuty of Emerald Lake shinning between the purple granite of Mount Crested Butte and its neighbors was electrifying. We climbed on. 9,000 feet thhen 10,000 feet. We 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 the Euphoria. It was truely amazing. All this beautiful scenery and we weren't even on the singletrack yet. I want to stop on every switchback 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 the overload of sensory input that is flooded with thhe surrounding peaks, trees, and wild flowers. Ah, at last the top of the pass and the promise of singletrack.
Patsy and Pepe' gave us their all up the tight and occasionally muddy track winding ever higher. The cold drizzle had subsided 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 cheesecake
" Jerry Jerry Jerry Jerry Jerry Jerry"- Magellan
" 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 to everyone 

Other notables:
Magellan managed to say Jerry's name a whopping 2104 times during the week.
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 wallet there never to be found.
Turtle is insane. Only 2 hours rest for a 26 hour drive.
Durango 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.