Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fruita Trip

Well, Rich and I made it to Grand Junction/Fruita, and back, with no problems. We came back to Denver ahead of a big storm which ended up causing highway closures and a huge 70 car pile-up on I-70, yesterday.

Here we are in the parking lot, Saturday, getting ready to ride with Rich's friends (who had gone to GJ on Friday). Rich has a full-suspension Yeti, and the other guys were on similar fully-suspended rigs. I was on the 69er, with the rigid fork.

Nope, I didn't crash. That resulted when a carnivorous man-eating tree reached out from the inside of a turn and tried to eat some Buffalo Jon Wings. It doesn't count unless the blood gets in your glove.
This one counted. Kinda like getting cut with a dull, turpentine-covered knife.

Here's Rich, Tim, Rich II and me at the top of the Ribbon Trail, above GJ. You can see across the valley, behind us. I have on long sleeves, because we had gotten to an elevation where there was still snow on the north-facing slopes, and the breeze was a bit chilly.
I happened to lead the pack back down the first granite-slab portion of the trail. Top speed of 24 mph. I think the full-suspension guys were a bit confused about me staying in front. None of them seemed to understand that I was riding rigid by choice, not because I'm a penniless bum.
I am a penniless bum, of course, but that has little to do with my bike choice.

One of these days I'll learn that if I ask myself, "Can I make it through that?" that the answer is probably "NO!" I don't normally shave my legs, but I decided to shave part of this one with a granite boulder, as I slid along its top surface, listening to metal shave off of my bike frame as it, too, slid across the rock.
The 69er worked great, for me, with the exception of a bent chainring causing hideous, repeated, chain suck. This made me ride in the middle ring on the last third of the ride, or so. Still, I'd say that 99% of the trail I didn't ride was due to my lack of skill or conditioning, not some limitation of the bike.
At the end of the first day's ride, we had covered 14.4 miles of gnarly, technical trail.
That night, we all ate ribs then sat around the campfire for a couple hours. The other guys were staying in a pop-up camper at the state park in Fruita, and I drank a bottle of wine while the other guys polished off a little mini-keg of beer.
Rich and I retired to the Super 8 at the end of the evening. As we walked to the car, Rich II came up and said, "So, what's the deal with that bike you rode today?"
"What?" I asked, not sure what he was asking.
"Why were you riding that bike? What's the deal with that bike?"
I, with Rich V's help, tried to explain that:
a. it was the bike I had built up, and
b. I just like riding it.
I don't think he ever understood why I wasn't on a full-suspension bike, like all the magazines say you should be.
The next day, RV and I lazed around the motel, eating the free breakfast and watching Myth Busters on TV, until 10:00. We then went to Single Tracks bike shop, in Fruita, and I replaced my small ring. The guy there was ultra cool, and offered me tools and a stand to do the labor, so all I had to pay for was the ring, itself.
Rich and I hit the trails at 18 Road (video has LOUD soundtrack), and had a blast. We only rode about 9.6 miles, and the wind started howling in advance of the storm front which was to chase us home. We got back to the parking lot just as the other guys were pulling in.
So, after saying our goodbyes, we hit the road and hotfooted it back to Denver, on dry roads with a tailwind. Two hours after we hit town, I saw that it was snowing so hard on Vail pass that chain laws were in effect. Seems like we timed it pretty well.
The commute to work and back, yesterday, was kinda painful on my old legs. Looking back over the past two weekends, I have ridden 70 miles on the fixed gear, commuted seven days (counting yesterday and today) and ridden the trails on the Western Slope. Pretty big week for me, especially at this time of year.
Coincidentally, I hit 3300.0 miles, even, on the year-long commute, today. Eleven months in the bag: I have one month to go on the One-Year Challenge.


At 5:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've always found bike shop owners/guys to be very helpful and friendly, especially in contrast to most of the shop workers I run into.

At 7:32 AM , Blogger Apertome said...

Woah, that looks like a fantastic trip. How far are you from Fruita? I've seen write-ups from some guys here who've gone there, and it sounds incredible. Just too far.

I bet the 69er is fun. My mountain bike has front suspension, and shitty front suspension at that. Only occasionally have I wished for full-suspension, although if I had the cash I just might get a full-suspension rig.

Congrats on the commuting, you're almost there!

At 8:52 AM , Blogger Jon said...

It's about 4-1/2 or 5 hours from here, depending on traffic. Close enough to be convenient for the quick weekend trips, yet far enough away to be special.

I'm actually looking at building up a vintage, rigid bike for old-school rides. I'd like to get a vintage club going, but most people I know look at me like I've suggested place-kicking puppies when I mention it.

3 weeks to go on the ommuting! Woo hoo!

At 4:23 AM , Blogger Mark said...

Any pics of the 69er?

At 8:22 AM , Blogger Jon said...

Thers are some in this post from last November 10:

At 11:20 AM , Blogger Mark said...

How does that ride as a softie? A softie with some squish up front, 60 - 80 mm would be awesome.

At 6:13 PM , Blogger Jon said...

The soft tail set-up lets the smaller rear wheel flow over the stuff the bigger wheel rols over. A common complaint about 69ers is that the rear wheel can't keep up with the front, in that department, so I figured this would even things out. And, it worked.

At 6:16 PM , Blogger Mark said...

That might have to be my next project, unless I just get either a softie/fully 29er.


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