Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Joe's Ridge: I conquered it!

There it is...and there I am, terrified, yet making my way down, Joe's Ridge.  This trail out at 18 Road in Fruita (ok, probably not really in the city limits, but you get the point) has terrified me for probably 2 years now.  From this perspective it doesn't seem overly steep or loose, but when you are riding down it it seems like the steepest trail ever built.

Let me back up a bit.  The 18 Road trails combine some desert single track, like that seen here, with little patches of single track through tiny junipers and pinyon pines (you can see some in the background).  There are some great intermediate trails like Prime Cut, Kessel, and parts of Joe's.  There are longer more difficult trails like Chutes and Ladders and there are mind-blowing terrifying to even think of Expert Only trails like Zippity-Do-Da.  It's a great place to ride if you have the time to get out there.

After a nice ride up Prime Cut (it's the most fun way to get to the top unless you want to ride up the gravel road) we crossed the gravel road and followed the single-track to the intersection.  Here we took the right fork, crossed a campground road, and headed towards Joe's Ridge.  There is only one other intersection you need to remember:  After crossing a wash the trail will start to climb.  One portion will go straight ahead, but there will be another portion of trail turning sharply up and left.  Follow that one.  Eventually you com to a very nice overlook.  From here, if you've never ridden the trail, you might want to walk down and check out what's ahead (see photo above).

There isn't anything technical to this portion of the trail.  There are no rocks to really get in your way, no ledges to worry about...there is just a very narrow steep trail.

Once you conquer that portion, the rest is fun!  Still narrow, but not quite as steep, you cruise over more hills and make one more climb, then head back down to the campground road.  From here you can turn left and ride back up about a mile through the campground.  This will take you to the place where you originally crossed the campground road and headed down Joe's.  Turn right, then right again and you'll be on Kessel Run, the most fun portion of single track at 18 Road.  You bomb down this for about 3 miles, then turn left and make one tiny climb back to the parking lot.  What a fabulous afternoon ride!  (about 1.5-2 hrs)

Here's a view, after the final climb on Joe's, of the whole roller coaster ride:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Delightfully Exhausting Labor Day

As all long weekend should be, Labor Day weekend was thoroughly exhausting.  We left GJ fairly early Friday morning (and by fairly early I mean 10:30) and headed up and over to Snowmass Village for the JAS Festival.  More specifically we were there to see Wilco, a fabulous band lead by Jeff Tweedy.  Since the concert didn't start til 8 that evening, we had plenty of time to take a gondola ride up the Elk Camp lift with our bikes.  You know us--we don't go anywhere without the mountain bikes--especially not to a mountain without them!  We tackled the Government Trail which, even with the gondola ride, still involved some climbing, and then rode up a second time on the gondola to bomb down another trail--Snowmass Way.  It was dusty, dirty work but hey, someone had to do it.

Me with dirty legs after our Snowmass ride.
Of course the concert was fabulous.  We danced around for several hours to Wilco's crazy lyrics, fast beats and occasional purposeful discord.  The next morning we headed up to Aspen and over Independence Pass to Leadville and on to Frisco--one of our favorite towns to visit in the fall.  The views going up and over the pass were amazing!
Heading down Independence Pass
Frisco for us means visiting friends and biking some fabulous woodsy trails.  I love GJ biking with all its rocks and dust, but there is nothing quite like the smell of a great forest when you're biking.  I love the shadows, the trees towering over head and the thrill of whipping around switchbacks just barely wide enough for you to turn through without hitting your handlebars.  We biked our favorite Frisco trail--the Peninsula trail around Lake Dillon.

 and then the next day got up and biked a three hour lollipop with our friends that put us high on the Colorado Trail near Breckenridge.  Last year that ride almost did me in...this time I was much faster and was smiling almost the whole way!  (Except for the dreaded long slow ascent from the ranch...ugh.)  What I can tell you about this trail is that it starts off of Tiger Road by the Dredge.  Parts of it are called:  The Power line, Blair Witch, the Trench, and then there's of course the Colorado Trail itself.

all in all a fabulous weekend!  Oh right, as if all that biking wasn't enough, on Monday my friend Alice and I headed out for one last trail run before the BF and I headed home....4 days of fun...for some :)