Today's rides brought us to the Bookcliffs, a long mountain ridge on the north side of Fruita. The riding here was surprisingly different than the mountains to the south. Whereas the southern mountains were very rocky, the Bookcliffs area is best described as huge mounds of dirt on a huge uplifting plateau. Within a relatively small area, the local riders have used the natural terrain to construct what is best described as a huge mountain biking park. These trails were laid out with such skill it's almost incomprehensible. From swoopy banked turns that require almost no pedaling for 2 miles, to a thrill-a-minute rollercoaster ride up and down huge mounds of earth, the riding was unlike anything any of us east-coasters had ever encountered.
The trails are fed by one main run called Prime Cut, which is sort of like a ski lift to the top, except this one required human power! Once we reached the end of Prime Cut, you could hit Kessel Run for over 2 miles of swoopy banked super-flowy singletrack, or continue to climb some tight switchbacks to get to the top of Joe's Ridge or Zippety Do Da.
A very exposed swooping turn at the top of Zippety Do Da
The day at Bookcliffs consisted of taking one run after another, then either riding back up to the top or grabbing a shuttle (some in our group were too tired to ride so they kindly drove us to the top in our vans). I personally did Prime Cut, Joe's Ridge, Kessel Run, and Zippety Do Da (twice). What an amazing experience.
Kessel Run was so fun I almost felt guilty. It didn't seem fair that it could be so much fun and require so little effort. Just an occasional pedal spin here and there and a lean to the left or a lean to the right. When I reached the end you couldn't even pry the grin off my face.
Joes' Ridge was, not surprisingly, along the top of a ridgeline. Imagine being on the spine of a protruding ridge, with 45 degree drop-offs to either side. Then add in big ups and big downs just like a rollercoaster.
Entrance to Zippety Do Da - Experts Only, folks!
Simply amazing. Now multiply that by about 10 and you get Zippety Do Da, labeled a double black diamond, expert's only run (with good cause). The pucker factor, as us mountain bikers like to call it, was off the scale. You need to look at the pictures and definitely the video to get a feel for this one. Most everyone did this trail, but only four of us did it a second time, everyone else was a bit too terrified the first time around. I personally did it again because I didn't have the helmet cam mounted on my first run, but the 2nd run was definitely more relaxed because we knew what to expect.
Unfortunately, my time at Bookcliffs was almost cut short, as I had a catastrophic bike failure on the way to do Zippety Do Da for the first time. I entered a gravity well and just as my full weight was driving into the bike on the way out of the well, I heard a crack and a pop and felt a spash of liquid all over my legs.
This is what a mountain biker's playground looks like!
It turns out my suspension linkage snapped and my rear triangle drove directly into my frame, right where my water bottle cage is mounted. As it drove in, it squished my water bottle so it exploded and sent Gatorade all over the place. It was quite an eery feeling. As I sat dispondent on the side of the trail, realizing that my joyride at Bookcliffs had suddenly come to an end, Dave (the tall one) from Ct. offered up a few nylon straps and said maybe I could use these. Well, I didn't think it would work but after a couple tries it actually held the suspension in place. I gave it a quick field test and it was solid - wow! I was able to ride the rest of the day with a majorly jury-rigged bike. The repair was quite solid throught the rest of the day. I then called Poison Spider Bicycles in Moab and they said if I got the bike in by 6:00 tonight they could have it repaired and ready to go by 9:00 AM Thursday - sweet! I wa able to get it in by 6:00 so hopefully I'll be all set come the morning.
Zippety Do Da
Distance: 17 miles
Climbing elevation: 2450 ft.
- Prime Cut-Joe's Ridge_Zippety Do Da
- Zippety Do Da