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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Trail musing

The above picture is of Andy's Loop out at the Tabeguache. It has been the ugly step-child of the trails out there. Just rode down it today - figured I'd check it off the list for the year -- still no flow to it. It's really not fun to ride up or down. It's a shame because it has so much potential. It could be a killer descent, and one of the longest out in this area.

As many of you know, I live on the western slope of the Rockies in Grand Junction, CO. It's a great place -- the redneck issue is becoming less of one each year, we have great weather (we are where the mountains meet the desert), and fantastic trail systems for running, biking, hiking etc.

This time of year, we get a lot of tourists coming to mountain bike here. There was once a time when they only frequented the Loma (Kokopelli) and Fruita (18 Road) trails. Now the local's favorite of the Lunch Loop -- not called the Lunch Loops despite what the signs say -- is seeing it's parking lot full nearly every evening and all weekend long.

We're happy to play the cordial host, but please, if you come to visit adhere to a few rules:

1. DON'T ride off trail. Even when you are crossing paths in opposite directions with other riders. Just barely pull your tires to one edge of the single-track, place one foot off the trail, preferably on a rock if you can, and lean your bike away from the trail. When you ride off the trails and create a new "scar" off the side of the trail, you'll be able to come back and visit it in 2 or 3 years -- it'll still be there; the desert heals very slowly.

2. Try to ride in smaller groups. Every weekend this spring I have seen huge groups -- 15, 20, 25, even 35 (!!) riders. This can't be fun for anyone in the groups -- the fast riders are always going to have to wait and the slow ones will feel guilty for slowing everyone down, but you also create a juggernaut on the trail that can take a lot of time to get through if you're a lone rider heading in the wrong direction. If you come over in a big group, try to break up into group of maybe 6-8 at the most -- you'll be a lot more nimble, everyone will get to ride more, and you won't irritate the locals. BTW this goes for riding anywhere -- we break up into boys and girls rides when we head to Crested Butte in the summers to ride.

3. Know the yielding rules. On a mountain bike you basically are supposed to yield to everyone -- hikers, runners, horses, and other mountain bikers going uphill. If a runner/hiker sees you and steps off the trail to let you by, it's because it's expedient to do so sometimes. Thank them.......and don't get used to it.

That's all for now. I want to reinforce that we love it that we're a popular destination, but you'll have a lot more fun if you're not stepping on everyone else's toes.

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