My son’s school district had Friday off last week, so I took this as a sign – a sign that it was time for a mountain bike road trip! Being 5 ½ hours from Fruita, a three-day weekend crosses that threshold that makes a run to Fruita/Moab a hard-to-pass-up proposition. So I took a day of vacation time and we headed West.
Day 1: Grand Junction/Lunch Loops
Miniskibum has had an explosion in biking ability since last year, so I decided he was ready for Holy Cross. We headed up Pet-e-Kes, down Holy Cross, out onto Miramonte Rim, took Lunch Box over to the next mesa and finished off with Kurt’s Lane, Kid’s Meal and some time in the skills park. It was a great ride during perfect weather and Miniskibm declared “I think this might be my new favorite ride!”
Miniskibum getting techy on Holy Cross
Me getting to roll a big one on Holy Cross
As if this wasn’t enough adrenaline for the day, we then headed to the Grand Junction Motor Speedway for some killer go-kart racing. These aren’t your typical lame tourist go-karts, but rather legit racing machines. They even have some that (supposedly) can hit 130mph!
Day 2: Moab/Amasa Back and Fruita/18 Road
Saturday, made the 90 minute drive from Fruita to Moab and hit one of Moab’s big classics. The climb up Amasa Back is nothing short of Brutal, but full of techy fun and the scenery was superb. Of course, the return trip (downhill) made the whole thing worthwhile. While not necessarily a “new favorite,” we both decided Amasa was an A+ ride.
Amasa Back scenery
Miniskibum ripping down the Ledges on Amasa Back
As we made our way back to the hotel, we decided we had enough juice to hit a few more miles of singletrack, so we cruised up 18 Road in search of the new PBR trail, which turned out to be everything I had been led to believe it was—and more! This is the funnest, flowyest couple miles you may ever see. It’s downhill enough that you rarely have to pedal, but not so steep you have to ride your brakes, so you can just let ‘er rip and flow freely without fear, especially since it’s a downhill only route (unlike Kessel Run). Sorry, no pics on this one—this trail does not invite one to stop and take pictures; rather it invites one to just go and not stop until the trail bottoms out below the 18 Road parking area.
Day 3: Carbondale/Red Hill and Eagle/Boneyard.
I had wanted to try the Red Hill trails for a while. This is a fantastic network just off the highway as it passes by Carbondale on its way to Aspen. The area offers a superb variety of steep, technical, swoopy, buff, scenery, vicious climbs and rockin’ descents. We had the good fortune to meet some helpful locals that pointed to the best loops and let us know what is the best direction to go around each loop. The initial climb up the Three Ribbon trail was often seriously steep and highly technical; always challenging but always entertaining. Our final descent down the Blue Ribbon Trail was among the best I’ve ever experienced; flowy, technical with rock drops, rollers and switchbacks, bobbing and weaving through the pine and juniper forest on perfectly hardpacked red dirt. Definitely swing by this one if you’re an advanced rider in the area!
Part of the Red Hill climb
View of Carbondale and Mt Sopris from the top of Red Hill
While pretty whipped by this time, we decided to hit one more ride on the way home. Stopping in Eagle, right off I-70, we hit up The Boneyard. Climbing another 1200 verts may not have been wise at this point, but Miniskibum was game and we could always turn around if we had to. Fortunately, most of the climb is smooth and low grade and lent itself to fairly easy spinning, even around the many switchbacks. The downhill on this ride is another beaut, and seems like it pays you back more than you earned on the climb. What a great way to finish!
View of I-70 from the climb up to the Boneyard
Start of the boneyard descent
So now, I've created a monster. We weren't even home yet before Miniskibum began demanding I plan another Fruita run. Gotta love a kid like that!