We drove the nearly 8 hours from Los Alamos to Fruita, CO on Thursday after work to one of the free campsites at the Book Cliffs area a few miles north of Fruita
Friday morning we drove into Fruita to pick up my rental mountain bike, a Santa Cruz Carbon Tallboy 29er. I hadn't mountain biked in over six years and 29ers didn't exist back then. I was stoked to try a bigger bike. Our first ride of the trip took us up Prime Cut to Chutes and Ladders out in the Book Cliffs area
The Fruita area is quite scenic
After some ups and downs through some small canyons we opened it up on some smooth, fast singletrack
The trails are well signed
Beist cruising in an open field near the end of the Chutes and Ladders ride
This is what I look like in full riding regalia and on a 29er. Andy Thien Photo.
After shaking off the cobwebs on the Chutes and Ladders ride we stepped it up a bit for the Zippity Do Dah trail. ZDD has a lot of exposed ridge riding and a couple of exhilarating steep descents off the ridges. Super good fun.
Andy cranking along one of the ridges
The first of two steep, fast descents along the ZDD trail. This angle doesn't do it justice really. Later in the weekend I sat near this descent for a couple hours to take photos and 50 percent of the riders that came up on it, walked down it.
Saturday morning we woke up to rain, drizzle and temperatures in the high 30s. It was a leisurely morning but we eventually met up with our friend Chris, a Grand Junction native, for some riding in the Lunch Loops area and an ascent/descent of the Ribbon Trail
The trails in this area were more technical than the stuff we had ridden the day before. Chris cruised up just about everything and then supervised us fumbling on just about everything
As we rode, the clouds lifted and the day got progressively better
Looking at the road that winds its way up into the Colorado National Monument
Bill busting down a steep descent into the canyon that would lead us up to the Ribbon Trail
Chris, our unofficial guide for the day, pointed out a sweet pour off into a deep canyon as we ascended the Ribbon Trail
The Ribbon Trail is named after the "ribbon" of sandstone one rides for quite some time. Near the top of the trail it's a huge, wide-open expanse of sandstone. A veritable playground for mountain bikers.
Andy cranks up the Ribbon with Grand Junction in the background
Colorful dirt and sandstone near the top of the Ribbon Trail
This little pour off required a short scramble and bike shuttle on the way up. On the way down, however, Chris managed a line through it and was able to ride it top to bottom. Andy followed suit but Bill and I opted to not push our luck.
Cruising more of the wide open Ribbon with high consequences on the left
At the top of the Ribbon we spent some time trying to find the other half of Chris front fork and then snacked before clipping into our pedals to enjoy the super fun descent
Chris, Bill and me having a blast cruising down the upper part of the Ribbon Trail. Andy Thien Video.
A sandstone ramp on the descent
Chris jams along
After the Ribbon Trail we took the Holy Cross trail back down to our car. Chris and I rode right past this bull snake before Andy pointed it out and subsequently molested it
Andy molesting the snake. It was pretty pissed off.
Chris cruising a very technical section of the Holy Cross trail
Andy didn't nail it on the first try but went back up and cruised it the second time
We bid Chris goodbye and headed back to camp at the Book Cliffs. The sunset light that night was pretty impressive
Sunday would be my last day of riding for the weekend because renting a high-end mountain bike is expensive. So we drove out to Rabbit Valley, the last exit of I-70 before reaching Utah, to ride the classic Western Rim ride.
The La Sals had received a good amount of new snow just a couple days prior
After riding for 5 miles on some fun singletrack of trail #2, we reached the first notable viewpoint of the ride with a great view of the Colorado River
More photo op!
The trail snaked along the rim of the canyon for many miles. I wanted to look around more but feared a big air into the canyon.
Smooth and fun cruising along the Western Rim. Andy Thien Photo.
Andy and Bill cruising along above a 250' drop
Gratuitous precipitous riding shot!
After riding along the rim for many scenic miles the trail intersects with the Kokopelli "Trail" (it's a dirt two-track here) and we rode the Kokopelli back above the rim
After the 16 mile Western Rim ride we had time for one more ride that afternoon. We hit up the 3-4 Loop. It's a six mile loop using trails #3 and #4. It was entertaining but after the Western Rim, it was a bit of a let down.
Andy bombing a fast and smooth descent on the 3-4 Loop
Vista along the 3-4 Loop. Pretty scenic.
Getting cleaned up at camp with the Sun Shower. Andy Thien Photo.
Back at camp that night we were treated to a nice sunset with a nearly-full rising moon
Monday morning I went out to take photos along some of the trails while Andy and Bill went for one more ride of the trip. I sat near the first major descent of the Zippity Do Dah trail in hopes that I'd see Andy and Bill come riding down. They ended up doing another trail so I took some shots of other random riders
This is the last image of the trip. I had a fantastic time and we all came home no worse for the wear (minus sore crotches from the saddle time.) I just may rent a mountain bike for one weekend next year too!