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 bases in Palisade and South Routt, 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 highschool 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, March 28, 2011
We have loved our vacant lot Monument view, but a vinyl sided dream home has sprouted there this spring and blocked it- as if to say, move on little buckaroos to a place where agricultural land left undeveloped has genuine value and good eats and drinks abound!
...looking oh so forward to riding the winding vineyard roads and sprawling BLM they gots up there and telling you all the tales (you can be sure we'll be regularly making the 20 minute trek west to ride our favorite Fruita Singletrack too)!
Trying to get the most out of our last months in the 81521 I have been pedalling out to Loma and the 18 Road Trailhead instead of driving. This way I get to the trailhead well warmed up with a bunch of extra basemiles built into my ride.
Monday's ride started out beautifully with farmgrid rollers and maybe 6 cars in the 7 miles to the Loma Trailhead. The weekend crowds were gone and Rustler's, Mary's and Wrangler's were all in great shape with an eerie mist hanging low over the river. Then the clouds dropped low, the wind whipped up and the raindrops started- foiled by the Western Colorado spring again!
Needless to say, a long wet and windy traverse of the farmgrid to get back to the barn. Heading east, glancing north to the base of the Bookcliffs, I was very glad I had not chosen to ride out to the 18 Road today... I was equally glad to have my LTR windshell crammed in my jersey pocket. I acquired the piece under duress after Mike the-hammer Driver had to lend me his to descend from our TT preride at the Breckenridge Classic. I soon realized this was the exact piece of gear I needed- superlight, super wind breaking fabric with full side vents to keep me from feeling like I'm trapped in a garbage bag. Sadly, the loose cut turns it in to a bit of a parachute in race conditions- but it sure comes in handy on the podium...
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Saturday was blustery and overcast- Sunday the wind died down, but the temps stayed far cooler than the forecast 60s....and, today, Monday the wind has been howling all day and now its raining. Ode to Spring!
Dave and Andrey the Badger took a little mercy on me Sunday and stopped for a good 2 minutes to take in the vista off the top of Zion Curtain...anyone who has done this ride knows this is a painfully false summit with plenty of altitude gain yet to come. Let's just say, you'll be stoked you packed an extra snack.
We linked our Zion loop with a Western Rim/ Trail 2 lap today and hands down encountered more bikes, motos and ATVs than we have ever seen out there before. Good to see folks out and about, but we all agree it is time for the BLM to work on a trail management plan for Rabbit Valley.
Photo/map poached from http://www.gjmountainbiking.com/site.html
They have done a good bit of work labeling trails- but far too little keeping 4 wheelers off the trails that are closed to them and instilling the "Stay the Trail" credo. This afternoon we ended up in an absolute cluster f*ck with an entire family of ATVs "stuck" in the rocks on the Trail 2 singletrack. Dad insisted they, "never saw any markers" - and was pretty darn well busted when Dave pointed out the tracks showing the entire family had motored right past the No ATVs sign to enter the trail.
Why is this a problem? Well, for one thing the desert is fragile and random tracks damage the eco system profoundly. For another thing- single track is a premium commodity and not one we need to be trashing- least of all teaching our children to feel free to trash. The Bernstein Bear Family and their fleet of ATVs received our Raspberry Award today. Of course, I'm sure they'll all be out with shovels and gloves helping restore habitat or build trail the next chance they get...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
While the above issue is totally obvious to us all, our next idea is certainly more controversial. We would strongly urge the BLM to designate the Western Rim Trail as a moto-free zone. The surge in popularity of this trail has created overuse and, in turn, abuse. It used to be that the motos you encountered out there represented the creme de la creme- uber talented riders who embraced the physical and mental challenges inherent in riding technical single track.
This spring the random tracks of moto gaper wannabes are everywhere- willy nilly ripping up the red dirt desert. Clearly these folks lack the skill to ride this trail, but have been attracted by the allure. Fact of the matter is there is an insane amount of mileage out at Rabbit Valley to challenge the Motos and relatively little suited to mountain bikes.
Given the fragility of the Western Rim and the damage it is enduring we would strongly urge all of our readers to contact the goodfolks at the Grand junction office of the BLM and ask them to consider closing this piece of trail to motos (and, when they do, we will be there with our gloves on to lay down some serious trail maintenance).
Watch the forecast and get out here for some good gettin'!
Grand Junction Criterium Series kicks off March 30th.
Mad Cow Classic April 9-10.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Dave got a healthy fix of 70milers on the roadbike this weekend including multiple laps up the Monument and a great Sunday afternoon group ride with the cats from the BikeShop. Thanks to the manmade miracle of daylight saving time I got out for a quarter century on the grid Sunday evening after work and, although, I always favor the trail, the road conditions are spectacular and the longer days a welcome training gift!
Today we finally got to ride together and what a great ride it was. Parking at the east parking area we avoided the connestoga scrum in fullswing at the main Loma/ Kokopelli trailhead and the dreaded salmoning certainly going down on Mary's Expressway. The plan was to get both base miles and interval anaerobic bursts by riding Lion's to Troy's, Troy's to the Frontage and back up Lion's to Mack Ridge for a little YEE-HA. This route is about single (as in genuinely single) track, exposure, technical shenanigans and plenty o' climbing (which of course means plenty o' sweet descending as well)
Climbing Lion's Loop from the west we get to see the tiers of Loma single track below- note Steve's on the edge of the lowest rim and the Steve's run-out (Or run-in, I suppose) halfway up the ridge. The singletrack in the background is the end of Mary's.
Troy's is a beautiful piece of well designed, well constructed singletrack making good use of the natural contours and features of the desert and, thankfully, with enough altitude gain (from either direction) and grunt portages to discourage 40# trail crushing rigs.
***I know, I know bikes don't jack up trails, people jack up trails****
A little kooky and off camber, Troy's is a heads up kinda ride forcing one to meditate intently on the feel of the bike beneath you and the trail beneath the bike- perfect for clearing the mind of the haunting pressures of the workplace.
No La-La-La'ing around out here, that is for sure.
and then comes the super grin of the golden rock halfpipe overlooking the I-70 and the eery subdivision we affectionately refer to as, "the not quite as promised land".
The ride back up Lion's from the frontage road totally sucks- there is no sugar coating it. This is a 15-20% grade 4-wheel track that will make you question just how much you really want the YEE-HA downhill from Mack Ridge.
We always want the YEE-HA, especially in the spring and the fall when the temps are cool and one does not have to fear death in the desert quite so much while tackling lung and leg burning ascents.
Today was perfect- we saw only 2 ranchers on 4 wheelers who pulled off the road, smiled, shook their heads and waved as we passed- Dave standing and powering through each single speed pedal stroke and me, red faced, spitting, sputtering and spinning the Granny Gear.
We stood on the ridge top, exposed to the wind off the Colorado far below until we could breathe again, then, pointed it downhill and laughed our way through the rock gardens descending Mack Ridge.
Yessirree- these are glory days in the Grand Valley!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
|cresting the summit today on le Col de Veste Jaune, C.R. 14, south Routt, Colorado|
today was probably one of my last rides (for this season, at least) wearing the colors of South Routt Velosport. Jen and i have both signed on to ride for the western slope powerhouse of LTR Sports for the 2011 season (she's on the mountain bike team, and i will be doing double duty on road and mtb). word went out from HQ today that the new team kits are in house... and temperatures in the Grand Valley have soared into the 60's. talk about perfect timing.
the great tradition of new team apparel arriving in the spring has always heralded the start of another racing season, the excitement of rolling out on the training rides with a sharp, professional looking squad, and always being able to identify who you are riding with/for at the races. it was well time for me to invest in some fresh chamois, too.
look for the (road) team to make their 2011 debut at the 2nd annual LTR Grand Junction spring criterium series on the 30th of this month (wednesday evenings, for 4 consecutive weeks, USA Cycling sanctioned). yours truly will be there, on the line.
most of the mtb racers have already "stretched their legs" a bit this season, bravely heading out to the first InterMountain Cup race in St. George, Utah last weekend for some early-season suffering in the sun. they all did amazingly well, considering how much square footage of pasty white skin that was on display.
Jen has been training hard in preparation for her title defense at the Palisade Classic on May 22nd. she is planning her season debut for the second stop of the InterMountain Cup in Hurricane, Utah on the 2nd of April. i can see some painful and humiliating smack-downs in the works this year for a whole new crop of ambitious youngsters in her category (and, perhaps, a certain young apprentice... when applicable). looking forward to that, indeed.
we hope to see all of you racer-types out at the races this year! i'm headed down to Fruita tomorrow for some quality time with Jen and a couple of long group rides (in warm weather) with the team. we'll have another Fruita trail report for you in a couple of days, but for the most part, it's all GOOD TO GO right now.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
|Jen (on her Eriksen 650b) says Trail 2 is ready for some bicycle-grooming.|
migratory birds and cyclists alike are arriving daily here in western Colorado. most trails are getting quite dry by now, and those in Rabbit Valley are no exception. some mud still persists (especially at higher elevations or north-facing, shaded areas) and the motos have churned it up all winter long, from the looks of things. the trails need riders to smooth those ruts and all of the post holes left behind by the free-range heifers. asthma sufferers (such as myself) are well advised to remember their inhalers- it seems that every farmer in the valley is burning their ditches and fields in preparation for spring planting and irrigation. lots of smoke, dust and pm-10's hovering in the atmosphere is what i'm telling ya.
local weather is still a bit unsettled as well. be sure to consult the convenient links on the right-hand side of this page when making plans for local desert riding this spring, and this blog for first-hand, on-the-ground observations. we'll see you out on the trails.
All in all, it was a really great ride. A lot of people I know never ride in the rain, but I've come to like it, actually. There are so few people out on the road that it's just relaxing - a really great way to celebrate a birthday as well.
So with that, AYC, I have an essay to write, some bearings to service, and a pie to indulge with.
Keep it classy.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
*** I will say it again for those who can't seem to grasp this concept: When you encounter snow/ mud/ standing water on a bicycle trail ride through it, not around it. If that doesn't feel right- get off, shoulder the bike and walk around. Consider the extra 45 seconds part of your annual trail maintenance time and feel pleased with yourself.
Took a looksee out at Rabbit Valley today and it looked spectacular! Rolled out of the trailhead a ways and then thought better of a Western Rim lap as I spied a band of wet badness making its dark way north. Even if the trail is dry when you start, Western Rim is not a place you want to slog back from in the rain.
I played it safe, went back to Loma and did the old Rustler's, Mary's, Steve's hotlap...beauticious!
The little picture on our Fruita home weather station is an angry cloud dumping black drops with the barometer arrow flashing down, down, down. Goes without saying, I suppose, we are in the midst of unsettled, early spring conditions and every day is a crapshoot on the trails. Lot's of folks sure are starting to roll into town though.
And the race season is off and running with the first Intermountain cup X-Country down in Hurricane this weekend. Look for LTR to have a strong presence- these guys have been training like stink and are itching for a race!
Bike Master and I are on a later season program this year, but we'll be putting on the spiffy new kit (which we understand includes tighty whities) and representing soon enough!
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The inversion has blown away. The temps are in the 50s and the trails out at Loma are dry (mostly).
***Thought for today- How cool would it be if we allowed all of Mary's to devolve into singletrack?! Try to keep it skinny...it is so much more fun that way.Looking down on to Rustler's- I could hear a lot of cheerful chatter from riders below. The river is starting to run, the grasses are turning green and the Grand Mesa is plastered with fresh POW in the background. These are good days in the Grand Valley!