We arrived Wednesday to chilly temps but sunny skies. Seems Spring is a late bloomer this year in this neck of the woods. But when you're in the high desert, these are perfect riding conditions.
The group from SD arrived minutes after we did at the rental house, which, by the way is fbombing sweet. 3 beds, 2 baths and a gigantic covered patio, upon which I'm sitting and staring at the mountains. The place was still locked up so we went and grabbed some grub. We discussed plans for the day and since we had two vehicles, the choice was clear: shuttle run the Ribbon/Eagle's Wing/Lunch Loops. I didn't bring my phone on any of the rides to capture quick images but once I get home, I'll post links. But for anyone who ever comes to GJ to ride, the Ribbon is an amazing experience. I call it a parking lot in the sky. It starts out on a giant slanting slab of slick rock. You can ride all over the place at crazy speeds. The views of the Book Cliffs are breath taking. It'd be worth just hiking it! In order to continue down the trail, one either has to grow huge cahones or hand down bikes. I didn't see it but I guess Eyeberg and one of the SD riders, Kara, who knows how to work a downhill bike, managed to endo one right after the other on a very sketchy lip. Thankfully they both fell the correct way and no bones broke. Kara did wow us with her skills later in the ride, attempting anything that pointed her straight down. She didn't always make it but she was willing to try. Once down the ribbon, we rode through a wash before climbing back up to the road that connects to Eagle's Wing. The terrain is normally dry and sandy and takes much effort to ride. One has to be comfortable with getting a saddle enima to make it most of the way up. Unfortunately, the surface was dry but the muck underneath wasn't and I slipped and sat myself right down in the clay. It was hard to get traction just to walk up. But we all finally made it and continued on. Eagle's Wing is a rocky, ledgy climb up and a rocky, ledgy descent. It's not one that fits my skill set (or lack thereof) but I do what I can and just take my time. Ryan unfortunately took another spill, this time spraining an ankle and giving him a strawberry on his hip. He mellowed out after that. Once down to lunch loops, we did Holy Cross. It's a techy rider's wet dream. In other words, Roxy's night mare but it lacks the exposure so I just walk most of it. All in all, it was a great way to start this leg of the trip. The Todds dug the Ribbon. It's pretty bitchin. We came home and put steaks on the barbi. Helluva way to top off a great day.
The next day was our epic day. I was (and still am) battling a head cold but it was to be 70 degrees (our warmest day of the trip) so I wasn't going to let a little sniffle get in my way. We did everything at Loma and Mack exits, starting with Mary's Loop/Horse Thief to warm things up. Thenjust R&R and the Todds went onto Troy Built and Steve's Loop and down Mack Ridge. Lots of slow techy riding, which suits me just fine. For all of the work, we are rewarded with amazing views of the Colorado River as well as all of the trails we rode that day, as they are stacked up on top of each other: a riders paradise. We came back all smiles and no blood. I did smack a square edge with my front tire and tore the side wall but other than that, it was a great ride. We topped the night off with burgers on the grill and when the other group got back, loopy and tipsy from a long day of riding and drinking, an ice cream run was ordered. But when ya burn thousands of calories a day, guilt doesn't even come into play. It's why we ride, people.
Today, Friday, we took the Todd's out to Rabbit Valley and rode their race loop. It was pretty overcast and windy but we went anyway. Luckily we had a head wind to start so our return trip was all big ring and big smiles. After that ride we stopped in Fruita to pick up our race packets and then we hit the Hot Tomato, the world famous pizza joint owned by two down hill chicks from New Jersey. Post za, we then hooked up with our SD peeps and hit 18 road for one run down Joe's Ridge and Kessle Run. What a fbombing blast. So much fun!!! We were pretty spent by then and called it a day. As I write this, RF and Eyeberg, (aka Magic Man) lost his Garmin somewhere along 18 road, so they are trying to find it. That totally sucks. I hope they luck out.
Tomorrow will be a chill day as we prepare for race day. An easy ride at 18 road is the plan and rest. I was feeling the rides today and my cold wasn't helping. But as us bikers say, a dose of pedal time will cure anything.
Next entry will be a race report. Scheduled start times for Sunday are 10 for the Todds and 12:30 for R&R.