Fruita, Colorado – October 6, 2013

Today I drove north of town to the North Fruita Desert/18 Road trail system at the base of the Bookcliffs. The Bookcliffs are the dominant cliffs that form the north wall of the Grand Valley. I parked at the trailhead where there were already a good number of cars. It was sunny with a forecast high of 64….perfect biking weather. I started with a trail called Prime Cut. It was about 2 1/2 miles, all uphill. It took me to a second, higher parking lot. Apparently a lot of people use two vehicles, and shuttle to this upper parking lot to avoid the climb. I rode down Kessel Run. It is a downhill only trail so you don’t have to worry about riders coming up. Kessel Run was one of the original Fruita trails and still a favorite. It is an amazing flowing, twisting, singletrack trail. It follows a ravine, snaking up one side and then the other as it takes you all the way back to the lower trailhead. The faster the better on this one…..loads of fun. It was a bit crowded though and I had to slow for others and sometimes pull off to let others by. I came upon a boy who was probably 7 years old. He was stopped at the top of a very small hill. His father was telling him, “We are not going to walk all the trail. You’ve ridden stuff harder than this; you can make it down this”. The little boy said “OK, but I want to wait a little bit and think good thoughts”. I thought that was pretty good advice when faced with a difficult section. I decided the easiest way back up was to ride up the gravel road to the upper parking lot. It was still all uphill, but a shorter, more direct, and easier route than taking Prime Cut again. There were several people riding up the road, so apparently it’s an option many people take. After reaching the upper parking lot again, I cut over on Frontside to Joe’s Ridge. Joe’s Ridge is a narrow trail which follows the top of a ridge. It was designed by a guy named Joe……hence the creative name. It’s fast, twisty and a wild ride. I descended a steep downhill that abruptly ended in a gully and went back up. I had too much speed and knew I would probably go over the handlebars when my front tire hit the gully. I got my weight as far back as I could, hoping my front tire would climb the other side when I reached the bottom. I ended up having my weight back too far and I lost control at the bottom of the hill. I slid with my bike until everything came to an abrupt halt.  My saddle was shoved up someplace it was never meant to be. I sat on a rock for a bit assessing the damage. My bike was ok, I was bleeding from my elbow and knee, and my butt/crotch hurt so much I wasn’t sure I could even sit on my saddle. I walked it off, felt a bit better and continued down the trail.  Joe’s didn’t take me clear to the bottom so I cut back over to the gravel road. I went back up to the top and did another run down Kessel. I drove back to Fruita and went straight to the Copper Kettle Brewery for a couple of glasses of painkiller. I returned to my motel, showered and then went to a great little Chinese restaurant for dinner. I stopped at Walgreens for some ointment for my trail rash. After my crash today I was having second thoughts about riding a trail called Zippety Doo Da tomorrow. Riding that trail was one of my main goals on this trip. I’d watched numerous videos on YouTube and read a lot about the trail and it was definitely one I wanted to check off my bucket list. Joe’s Ridge is an easier trail and a stepping stone on the way to Zippety. The crash had wrecked my confidence and I wasn’t sure I could ride it. I spent the rest of the night re-reading the description of the trail and watching more video of others riding it. I went to bed still undecided of my plan tomorrow.

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