We love bicycling as a lifestyle, culture, and sport. We love to ride, build, restore, oggle and sometimes race bicycles. We also love to talk on at great length about our ideas, opinions and exploits involving all of the above. Welcome to our BLOG!

Abandon Your Car is not a slogan or ideology so much as a reminder to all of us to get away from our petro-mobiles as often as we possibly can and embark on life as an adventure by bicycle.

We'll keep you current on the important road and trail beta from our home base in Palisade, Colorado and shower you with our .02 cents about the ongoings of bicycle tribes the world over.

Be sure to tune in for Danny, AKA: the Young Apprenctice, providing the ever important perspectives of a college-bound bike geek and all around brainiac in his NORCAL Updates.

We're glad you're here- look around, drop the Bike Master a line and then get out and ride for awhile- you'll be glad you did!





go to our most recent posting here.





Monday, April 26, 2010

Rabbit Valley Rally 2010 postscript

A couple of my favorite pics from Sunday.





This Krazy Kat (aka Darin Binion) from I dunno rocked this ride single speed stylee from start to finish bumping the tunes from his backpack boombox, with the perma-grin of a man loving the ride. Thanks, dude, for keeping it real!







Jordan rocks the Rabbit Valley Rally Fruita Stylee- representing the LBS and upholding a great Fruita Monument High School legacy of outstanding cyclists (this would be the ALMA MATER of Ross Schnell, afterall). These local kids fear no bike and grow up on the trails a lot us travel a long, long way to ride. Single speed, hardtail, flat pedals and pink socks- cause we love the ride and that's how we roll.







After a race as physically and mentally demanding as this I am left thinking about how much joy certain folks exude when they ride as hard as they can sorrounded by other people riding as hard as they can. These are the folks we look for when we ride and when we race. You see them in all of our pictures. See The Meister's post from Race Day for more pics of our favorite hardcores!

And, there are the ones we didn't capture on film- the folks whose "DNF" in the standings means, I stopped to walk a junior rider who had bonked safely off the single track ledge or I stopped and abandoned my bike to hike a badly injured competitor cross country, up a boulder field to the nearest moto-access because that is what we do when we love the ride. We saw you out there and you ROCK!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

race report: 2010 Rabbit Valley Rally

here's a brief photo montage from the first race of the 2010 mountain states cup, held today at Rabbit Valley, Colorado (with a lengthy excursion beyond the Zion Curtain, as well).
weather conditions at race time could not have been better: sunny with gentle southerly breezes and temperatures in the low 60's. the rain from a couple of nights previous did wonders to squelch the trail dust and consolidate the parcours.

being as i am on injured reserve this week with a deep contusion to my right calf sustained last week when i hit the deck while pre-riding with Jen, we took the opportunity to do a bit more of a "casual" ride into the middle of nowhere and give support to all of our peeps who were racing today. so, without further adieu...



the LiveTrainRace.com encampment was a hive of activity. notice the varying techniques of race preparation exhibited here: Mike is all about business right now and ya better not interrupt him getting the groove on. notice that no one is bothering to talk to him.
Mike's younger compatriot is taking a somewhat more "relaxed" approach to the morning, however.



the local papparazzi dropped in to ride along with Kristy for a firsthand glimpse at the often overlooked but oh-so-important work done by the soigneur of a well-organized team.

that means it's time for us to ride out in front of the herd before they launch and find a nice place way out in the middle of the desert to post up, get some good action images, and haze the cowbells for a couple of hours.



and here they come...

about 5 km down the road we made our first stop. the parcours has climbed gradually up to this point and this stretch has a lot of deep sand that will be making some of the riders feel significant discomfort.



selection process at work: the eventual race winner is leading an elite field up the Kokopelli's, including reigning single speed world champion Ross Schnell (2nd rider, #46), Travis Brown, Jay Henry, Brad Bingham (in blue at left of the bunch... making one of his patented "power surges" when the crunch is going down) among others.

and only 45 km of high desert trails left to go from here, folks.



Brad brought home 7th place honors for the day. an impressive finish time was set as well, right in there with some of the fastest mountain bike guys in the u.s.




also riding to a high finish placing and bringing honors home to Routt county was Kelly Boniface. in keeping with the ways of a great champion, she even manages a very sincere smile while suffering mightily (and all the while looking quite fresh and fashionable).

you know, one of those people who makes it look easy...




there goes the Mike Driver livetrainrace freight train express. don't blink or ya miss it.



looking for the perfect spot out on Western Rim. this is about 2/3 of the way through the race course. i liked this area because the huge boulders looked like they were marching down the hill and over the cliff like giant lemmings. the trail just snakes through the middle of all the rocks and along the edge of the cliff. it's a pretty good drop to the bottom, too.



eventually, these giant rocks will end up in the Gulf of Baja. they are on their way right now as you are reading this.
looks like just the place for motivating some tired racers who might be passing by.



today's Roadrunner & Coyote cartoon hour has been brought to you by:


Jay Henry chasing the two leaders who just went by. Jay faded to 9th overall by the finish. i thought he was looking about half-cracked at this point, not really taking the best line here and again when he went by. some days are like that.
when i get a digital scanner one of these years i will be posting up a lot of images of the Colorado MTB racing scene way back in the day. i'm pretty sure that i have one of me and Jay slugging it out in a sport-class (cat. III mtb) race from about 1990 or so.
good stuff.


Ross Schnell mackin the porn-star moustache on the Western Rim. congrats to Ross on his 4th place finish today. this guy loves to ride his bike and he lets everone know it. he was yelling all kinds of stuff when he went past, but i couldn't hear any of it because Jen was thrashing the cowbell so damn loud. he was smiling, however.



super-Brad on his way to the finish. we got to watch him pass a couple of guys from about a half mile away across the canyon right after this photo was taken.


little blue dot on the left... chasing the little white dot on the right.


little blue dot getting smaller...

hooo, boy. nothin like a flat or 3 to mess up an otherwise good day of racing.


best clear your junk off the trail, because Kelly will squash it down.
standing up and hammering, still smiling.

Mike Driver powering to a strong finish.

wanna arm wrestle this guy? me neither.


and that's all from Rabbit Valley, Colorado, folks. come on out for the next edition of the race, or maybe just do some nice, casual riding here in the desert between now and then.
final word from our friend Pat West: "see ya next year!"
p.s. be sure to check out Jen's follow-up to this post.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for April 23rd, 2010

First, a little blast from the past- documentation of my very first rigid, singlespeed, 29 inch, flat pedal April assault on Zippity (april 2005, that is). I loved that rig because it was so reminescent of the bikes we first stripped down back in the day to cowboy the fire trails in the Santa Cruz mountains - ah, the day...



Meanwhile, back to April, 2010:
you may recall a few weeks ago I busted into the LBS and pronounced that Primecut, Joe's Ridge and Zippity were riding the absolute best they ever could- yesterday, I was proven wrong. The Wednesday night rain set up the 18 Road single track into unprecedented super fast tacky bliss. Genuinely, the best conditions a gal could hope for...
And, as expected, it is a sketchy Friday. Dark clouds are hovering low with a bit of random squall activity and temps haven't cleared 60. I would strongly recommend against getting too far from the trailhead at the 18 or Rabbit Valley lest you meet the mud. In fact, if I were to go out today, I would suck it up with the masses on the rocks @ Loma and leave the clay for another day.


The flocks are setting up camp all around the valley and getting after it. Given the dismal Front Range and mountain forecast, I expect their ranks to swell mightily. Good thing there is so much good cycling fun in store to greet the hinterland refugee masses. Tomorrow starts both the Ranchstyle huckin extravaganza sponsored by Grassroots Cycles and the Rabbit Valley Rally MSC Race (and rumor has it that (*deleted*) may rock the Downhill @ at the Ranch in the fabled skinsuit and Mike 'the Hammer' Driver will be laying it down with the LTR posse out @ Rabbit Valley). The weekend forecast is good and everything should be riding really well even if it rains tonight.


Finally- though I know I am a broken record preaching to the choir I cannot in good conscience fail to stress yet again the importance of riding THROUGH puddles on the trail and NOT around them. Aaarrgghh is all I had to say to those rolling back to the trailhead yesterday without mud on their bikes and shorts (but what I wanted to say, singletrack is only singletrack once- the genie cannot be put back in the bottle once it gets blown out- so try a little harder to preserve it, eh? Have a great ride!).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rabbit Valley Rally Recon...or not

Dave and I spent Monday afternoon riding the Pro/Cat I course for the Mountain States Cup race #1. The ride is epic really- amazing views and terrain changes and technical nuttiness (including many, many yards of deep sand trap) rolled into a mondo 30+ mile loop.

The world class mileage along the Western Rim has a magical way of erasing the agony of the hike up to westwater mesa (do not buy the BS that it is a "challenging uphill"- it is a brutal HIKE) and the crappy dirtbike whoopdies that must be traversed to connect the Overlook trail with the Western Rim.

At the end of the day this is a wonderfully challenging ride, but I sure am glad I won't be racing it...(have at it CAT I's !)





Atop the Westwater Mesa- looking back on the Kokopelli Trail traversing Rabbit Valley


The feedzone at the top of the "challenging climb" out of Bitter Creek. That jeep road is the Kokopelli Trail headed off to Moab and the snow capped La Salles on the horizon.





the race course goes the opposite direction along the Westwater Mesa on the Overlook Trail




I went out alone today to ride the Cat 2 course- essentially a couterclockwise 18 mile loop along the Western Rim- and it was all the more fantastic when I was not already 20 miles into an agony fest.



One of the brilliant stretches of slickrock shelf that form the Western Rim


The desert is just starting to bloom and when you look closely you can see the second wave of blossoms (the agave, the cacti) about to explode.









There was weather today- lots of weather. Blustery squalls sweeping across the valleys making dust clouds forever. Sucker holes of sunshine blasting down over the horizon revealing snow covered mountains and then swallowing them up into a single dark cloud. Beautiful and adrenaline producing.

I put the hammer down and made it back to the trailhead windswept and wet- but, miraculously, spared the agony of a redclay coated bike. In fact- it all came together so well today I think I may consider this my Race Day and save the ridiculous $50 registration fee (+$10 to register on site and $5 usage fee) on Saturday and treat myself to some yummy sushi down at No Coast or maybe a friday afternoon skills clinic and fun ride at the local huckin' park.

We'll see.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Two Hours"

It's really a wonder what one can accomplish in two hours. It seems almost as if this whole weekend has gone by in two hours segments for me.

Two hours is all it took me to dig up four beds of overgrown plants and weed around an entire house. Those two hours made that older neighbor ecstatic.

Two hours is how long it took me to write the research portion of my latest literary analysis with time left over to do some hill repeats.

But most importantly, two hours is all it took for our hike and my ride today. Two hours out of our day was all it took for us to get out, have some fun, and tire out a very peppy pup. The weather is beautiful out here, and I'm sure out in Fruita too.

So I urge you to get out for two hours today and ride on that trail that you've been apprehensive about. Destroy that 10 miles hike that you've been wanting to go on. Or, just go outside with a book and zone out into your reading.

In the words of littlejar from DC, "I’m in love with the ride, every time." Today, I'm love with the day. Get out there, AYC patron, and keep the rubber side down.

Friday, April 16, 2010

WEDNESDAY NIGHT WORLDS April 14, 2010


Wow- nearly 60hours into an 80hour work week and, I'll tell you, it is brutacious knowing how nice the riding is out there. The flip side is that I get a full week to get all after it at my leisure starting Sunday night- and the forecast is ideal.

To keep the sanity and avoid the badness of full scale Vitamin D deficiency, I did bust loose a few hours early on Wednesday evening for- you guessed it- the WEDNESDAY NIGHT WORLDS (this moniker, of course, refers to any given local race series put on to get folks OUTSIDE on their bikes and going fast).







The good people of LiveTrainRace.com and Rocky Mountain Orthopedics have pulled this event together beautifully. The enthusiasm continues to build (as does the field) and while it is not the most exciting of criterium courses, it is super safe and has the cool advantage of allowing those of us working at the start/finish to see the riders take the backstretch by looking across a vacant lot. Check the LTR website for cool pics and standings.


Local goodguys DT Swiss have donated a set of wheels for the end of race raffle each week and one of the key hallmarks of any decent running of the WEDNESDAY NIGHT WORLDS is that the fastest guy might leave with another water bottle while the junior who got lapped twice walks away with the real shwag. Good stuff indeed. Everyone who comes out ends up with a smile and lots of us wish there were beer, but we can't have everything.


Still 3 more races and you really should not miss them! And standby for further rumors of a late season mountain bike series...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for April 11th, 2010



Well, super sweet riding today along Mary's- then using the Wrangler cut-off to get some good sustained climbing in and avoid the afternoon salmon swimming upstream phenom on Mary's (this is a great alternative that has some fun singletrack lines before connecting back to Mary's after the Horsetheif cut-off) out to Lion's Loop and the dreaded climb up the backside of Mack Ridge (this is about the warmest day this can actaully be "enjoyable") and, well, the photo says it all- so worth it for the views of the River, the benches below and the mighty Loma singletrack loops. Then, of course, there is the nutty fun boneyard downhill back to Mary's...the hot lap back on Mary's (usually abandoned by early evening) and a sunset cold one back in the parking lot. That's how we roll.






Spent the last couple days on business up in Routt County and, as glad as I am to not have another 2 months of mudseason to look forward to, it sure was nice to see the early spring rituals unchanged- bikes and skis +/- kayak on the roof rack with a flyrod in the back for good meaure. Folks in Routt County will find a way to be outside getting after it and may even pull off a good old Routt County triathalon on days like these (that is combining 3 -or more- excellent outdoor activities within any given day).




I felt the excitement of roadies gobbling up the spring pave (believe I passed fastguy Barkley in the Oak Creek Canyon making an early season hot lap) and appreciated the sense of urgency of those taking their full suspension rigs for a dry run around town. These are the cats who will be hitching up the pop-ups and making a wagon train on down here now that the mountain has closed for the season-








we'll see you in a couple of days! The riding is mighty.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for April 9, 2010

(*deleted image*)

good times at the Bookcliffs/18 mile area tonight. (*deleted*) and i went out after work and managed to cover a lot of singletrack. we didn't see any other riders once we went past the campground on Kessel run.

nice warm temperatures this evening, and no wind, either. it would appear that spring has arrived with no uncertainty whatsoever. no complaints here- i'm just looking forward to a few days off so that i can get my yahs without a time or available daylight constraint to worry about.

i am also in dire need of some direct solar application of vitamin D.


(*deleted image*)

(*deleted*) rides up Western Zippity, comfortable in short sleeves, and in a colorway complimented by the skyway.


trails in the greater Fruita area are superb and awaiting your riding pleasure. Loma/Kokopellis, Rabbit Valley, as well as the 18 mile are all reporting "good to go". weather service reports that we are headed for a stretch of nice conditions for some long rides on the trail.
sweet.

roadbikes are good, too, btw. whatever your flavor, neighbor.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for April 6, 2010

Jen and i did a couple of rides today, total about 5 hours in the saddle. the trail conditions lately have been superb, so there is little new to report on that front.

the atmospheric conditions, however, have been quite heinous.

here in the greater Fruita area, we managed to avoid being "blessed" with the latest round of Colorado spring pow that has blanketed the mountains again. the wind has been snappin', though. monday was a "red flag" day, with gusts rising above 60 km/hr at times. we opted for a "rest day" and got a lot of things done around the house.
things quieted down a bit in the afternoon today, so we ventured forth to Rabbit Valley for a bit of recon on the Kokopelli's. the wind has done a good bit of filling parts of the trails with nice, loose sand, but at least it isn't the moto-churned moon dust that will undoubtedly re-appear once things have dried out a bit more and the mechanized hordes make their return for the season.

being as my trusty singlespeed had suffered a flat on Zippity on sunday, i opted to put off the repair and "test ride" one of the many premium steeds that have been arriving at the shop lately:


Turner 5-spot. braaaaap!


that much suspension travel requires an entierely new fashion diktat: vintage wool & baggies. i call my new-for-spring camouflage "juniper berry" for its green, brown and blue colorways. it just disappears into the desert...

here's what it looks like all put together and in action (double click the image and it will open a new full size window from youtube. sorry about the grainy image quality, we haven't calibrated the setting on the new camera yet.)





Jen, fashionable as always, rocks some rocks on trail #2



scenic overlook above the Colorado river



lots of wide-open views out here. Jen grinds up a short climb



scenery straight out of an old Gene Autry movie




evening brings another opportunity to ride with friends. we met up with Derek and Shaun to do some hot laps at the Loma area after the man in the black golf slacks got off work.


i never get tired of looking at this sort of thing: the view east towards the Grand Mesa from on top of Mary's



riding with friends usually means that we ride friendly. there's time to talk a bit, take in the sunset colors, and get a snack.

then we hammer.



tonight we took it easy and portaged down the Horsethief entrance instead of riding it. actually, Derek is the only one in the bunch of us who has actually cleaned this entire section. maybe next time i will keep the Turner for the evening session and give it a go. maybe.



kind of blurry, but i like this image anyway because of the light.


repairing a puncture slows the pace a bit on Horsethief bench. another opporunity to take in some nice evening scenery


fading daylight means time to hi-tail it to Munchie's in Fruita, USA for some tasty burgers and a milkshake. we definitely earned the calories today.




fade to black under the junipers and sandstone cliffs. Shaun bringin' it home for the evening (but still looking foward to the climb up the portage followed by the night ride down the Mary's slickrock)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for April 4th, 2010


A happy group sharing the love of ride on the Horsethief Bench
Spring 2009


New work schedule (5 -12 hour days, followed by 2 -10 hour days to make 1- 80 hour week) forced me off the bike most of last week. Harsh. But I went to Happy Hour after the whistle blew yesterday with a power loop of Prime Cut/ Zippity/ Kessel's - and put my head back together. Yeah baby. (Have I told you yet how much I love the buttery shifting of my new Shimano Deore XT rear cassette?! )

Sunday evenings are so sweet here. Just like all the beach towns, ski towns I've ever lived in- it gets suddenly quiet, yet the excited, joyful energy of the weekend visitors lingers in the air. Locals come out to hike or ride then sit and visit over a cold beer- their weekend chores completed.
One thing that keeps me living in small towns is the drive by wave. I learned it first after leaving the SF Bay Area to live on an island 13 miles out to sea- If you were still on the island after the last ferry departed Sunday afternoon, you would start to get the wave from every tractor, horse cart, pick up truck driver and bicycle you passed. It has been a part of the cultural fabric in every community I've called home since. The subtleties of the one finger vs two finger vs entire hand off the wheel wave remain visceral and undefined, but transcend time zones and geography.

Last evening, jamming out to the 18 RD trailhead Dave and I both were struck by the consistency of the wave from all we passed- except for those rigs piled high with bikes. In fact, most of those drivers avoided eye contact entirely, their gaze intent on something further down the road.
Strange. Ironic. A little disconcerting.

We are so glad to be here. We are so glad you are here and we know you are too. If you find you are fortunate enough to be in town when the weekend dust is settling and the pace slowing, don't deny yourself the pleasure of the wave- it is an absolute Do Not Miss.

Slan abhaile.


These cats have created such sweet maps...

The 18RD (known among the hip-wah-zee as 'the 18 mile') trails are super rideable albeit heavily bovine laden- nothing like bovine to de-groom a trail (and leave plenty of poop traps behind). Get out there and throw down some rider groom! It is so fun to ride in the cool, damp with the dust still plastered to the trail.

Heads up though- any amount of rain will make for some real unhappiness if you take it out too far in the vegetarian, superfly, Edge Loop return area. We have hauled bikes coated in 50 pounds of clay out of there in April, fearing we may never make it back to the road and die a slow death trapped to our ankles in mud. Proceed with caution!

Kokopelli trails (Loma) just keep getting nicer (read, faster). It would be a lie to say I have explored the upper reaches of Moore Fun this year but, I have it from a very reliable source that the whole deal is rideable and fun (if you like that sort of thing (-: ). Lion's and the other west end stuff is all good to go as well.

Will take it out to Rabbit Valley a little later today (visualizing the wind dying down a bit this afternoon) to reconnoiter the upcoming MSC Rabbit Valley Rally. We'll let you know how it looks and, hopefully, we'll see you out there in a couple of weeks!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for April 3, 2010

went out to the bookcliffs (AKA: the 18 mile) after work tonight with (*deleted*) and met up with 3 other guys for a quick scorch up Prime Cut to Zippity and finished off with a super fast blast down Kessel Run. we did that loop in about an hour with a brief respite to repair a broken chain. Kessel was groomed so nicely from the recent rains and riders it seemed like it had been swept clean with a broom.

considering how much precipitation has fallen in the area since wednesday, the trails are in remarkably fine condition. like buff-smooth and excellent.

several riders have reported similar trail conditions at the Kokopelli's trail area at Loma, and that Rabbit Valley is in top condition as well. there are a few puddles to deal with here and there, but for the most part, everything is DRY AND RIDING right now.

have a great weekend, everyone.

Fruita, usa trail report for April 2, 2010


April showers bring May flowers

rained hard all wednesday night. squalls of rain and snow thursday, some sun. the weather is definitely in an unsettled pattern right now. hopefully we don't get any more rain tonight or friday and things dry out a bit for the weekend. in all probability, the trails should be great by then.



soggy. as of thursday afternoon, trails are soggy. the weekend outlook is excellent, however.

in the mean time, keep your fingers crossed and check often with the real experts at predicting the weather:

the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and their excellent enhanced radar loops. here's the one closest to Fruita, USA: Grand Junction Radar loop.

also be sure to check the long-term 10-day forecast from Weather.com, because their prediction is a whole lot better than mine, no matter what i might guess on any given day. even if the sun is shining at that very moment.

and if you're planning a trip to Fruita, USA in the near future, go ahead and bring your roadbike. you might be the only one in your group who is riding instead of waiting for the trails to dry out (and we have some awesome roadie stuff out here, too, btw).