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Archive for June, 2013

Singletrack Solitude: Destination Fruita

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The legend of Fruita, Colorado has been ringing in my head for a couple of years now. I have heard stories that the singletrack there was some of the smoothest and fastest around. The promise of a change from the usual fare here in SLC, which is still awesome, sounded appealing. We decided to head down mid-week to avoid the crowds and have free run of the trails.  Heading out from Millcreek Bicycles early on a Wednesday we put the drive behind us in about five hours. The cloudless skies and ample sunshine lifted our spirits and we were stoked to get out and ride. The town of Fruita is rather small but it has a pervasive mountain bike culture and lots of friendly faces. A quick stop at the City Market and liquor store for supplies followed our arrival. We also stopped by Over The Edge Sports to get some local bike-shop beta from those that know best.

Desert Beauty in Fruita, CO

Desert Beauty

Our area of choice was 18 road. Only ten miles out of town, this trail system offers tons of options for intermediate and advanced riders. The North Fruita Desert Campground served as our home base and we set up our tents and headed out. Just 100 yards from our tent door there were several trail options. Talk about convenient!

My weapon of choice for this mission was the Rocky Mountain Slayer 70.  A bike that lives up to its name, this would prove to be the ticket for full scale desert rallying.  My amigos were repping the Specialized line by riding the Enduro and Stumpjumper 29er.  Fine choices indeed.  We selected Kessel Run, a smooth gradual descent with some tight turns and fun berms. A few minutes in I hit a patch of loose rock and buried the wheel in a small bush. The abrupt stop sent me flying over the bars, but my ninja training allowed me to tuck and roll and end up back on my feet. Only slightly bruised, I hoped back on and caught up with my group.

After riding Kessel Run, we cruised back up 18 road to Prime Cut. This uphill only trail was somewhat technical and involved a challenge in gear selection. Topping out around 2:30pm the sun was beating down and we sought refuge in the shade of a tiny juniper tree. The mild spring temps had given way to full-fledged summer. However, it did keep the crowds to zero. We had miles of singletrack all to our selves.

Next, we moved on to a newer trail called P.B.R ( Pumps, Berms, and Rollers) for a little excitement. The trail had lots of jumps and hard packed berms ready to be railed at high speed. We dominated the run and popped back out at another junction. This time we headed out Edge Loop and connected with Chutes and Ladders. The winding trail stretched out into sparse foliage and tall grasses that resembled the Serengeti. Countless pedal strokes led us through the varied terrain and we caught a glimpse of a Proghorn Antelope sprinting across the open country.

Deciding where to ride in Fruita, CO

Decisions, Decisions

The 4 mile trail looped us back to camp and we chilled in the shade and enjoyed a few ice cold Fat Tires. We took in the fantastic scenery and relaxed, awed by the splendor of this place. As the sun arced lower into the western sky, we mounted back up and went for one more ride. Joe’s Ridge picks up off of Frontside, just a short climb from our camp. This classic ride give and elevated view of the area and puts riders on a narrow ridge with precipitous drops to either side. Undeterred by certain danger, we pedaled on and found it to be one of our favorites of the day. As the sun went behind the book cliffs we headed back to camp to cook dinner.

The absolute clarity of the desert sky at night is awe-inspiring. Stars and planets be-speckled the pure blackness like so many diamonds. We enjoyed the fire, food, conversation, and cerveza. Then it was off to bed to rest up for day two.

Awaking by seven the sun had already started to warm the earth and we knew prime time was almost upon us. A delicious breakfast of oatmeal pancakes and nature’s meat candy (aka Bacon) gave us the sustained energy we would need for the trail. We cruised back to Joe’s ridge and did a hot lap down to 18 Road. Along the way we spotted what looked like a new trail and we decided to try our luck. A rusted sign read “This is an advanced trail: Do not go around obstacles. It is meant to be ridden fast.”

Riding singletrack in Fruita, CO

Riding fast and smooth

Perfect. We dove in and quickly found our rhythm. More hits and hips, berms and rollers to fulfill our adrenaline fix. Too good not to do another, we headed all the way back up and did the Joe’s Ridge/MOJO combo. It was now noon and unbearably hot. We downed a beer, said our goodbyes to Fruita and hit the road back to SLC. A great trip by anyone’s standards.

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