I slept like a rock last night and woke up feeling pretty good. The easy day on the bike yesterday helped as the legs were not feeling as cooked as yesterday morning. We got up and around and leisurely made some pancakes for breakfast. Afterwards we spent some time giving the bikes a little TLC before setting off on a fantastic ride, the “Lunch Loops” of Grand Junction.
Kevin knows these trails like the back of his hand. He should because has been a major player, along with a lot of dedicated folks with the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association COPMOBA, in the design and building of some great trails in the Grand Valley area. The Holy Cross and Moore Fun trails are just a couple of trails that have Kevin's signature flair for killer technical rock features and sweet flow. Having him show us around was an awesome treat. What is even more awesome about this ride is that we started right from Kevin's house and we were on single track within 15 seconds of getting started.
Directions: From Grand Junction , travel west on Grand Avenue , which turns into Broadway. Cross over two bridges, at the next stop light turn left on to Monument Road, follow the signs to the Colorado National Monument, go approximately 1.5 miles, there will be a large gravel parking lot on the left marked with a BLM sign for the Tabeguache Trail.
It only took us a few minutes on his bit of connector trails to get over to the Lunch Loops area trailhead off of Monument Road .We started out by climbing the Pete-E-Kes trail. This is a very mellow singletrack climb that was a good warm up. This brought us out onto the Tabeguache (pronounced “tab-a-wash”) trail. This trail (a jeep road through here) is a 142-mile trail that connects Montrose to Grand Junction across the beautiful landscape of the Uncompahgre Plateau. We would only be traveling on a couple miles of the route today.
We soon came up to the junction with Holy Cross, and the bottom of the Widowmaker climb. We were not hitting the Holy Cross trail just yet. Instead we continued on Tabegauche and went up Widowmaker. There is a really cool rock in this area that makes for an interesting wall ride. In the pictures below and to the left, Toni aka "Err" online shows how it is done. (Photo courtesy of Toni) The Widowmaker is a pretty steep freaking climb. You will get all anaerobic on this climb.
After getting up the climb we soon passed by the bottom/exit of “Free Lunch.” This is a new addition to the park and it is the first one-way specific built free-ride trail in the system. We were not going to be on this trail today, but everything I heard it is killer and will test your skills. We continued climbing on the doubletrack until we popped out on Little Park road where we hung a right and climbed on the pavement for short while until we reached the Little Park Trailhead on our left. We did a zippy 1.3 mile section of rocky double tracking downhill until hitting the start of the Gunny Loop singletrack.
What and incredibly awesome bit of singletrack we enjoyed here. This trail has some rocky technical sections but also has long stretches of buff and flowy goodness that will put a smile on your face. All together there is about 2.4 miles of singletrack on the Gunny Loop. We popped out onto Little Park road at one point, crossed the road and continued on the singletrack.
It was really great day so while taking a break on the Gunny Loop and basking in the sun, it somehow turned into a mini-siesta. Sometime just before before dropping off into total snooze mode, we managed to rustle ourselves up and get back to riding. Shortly thereafter we picked up the Lemon Squeezer trail. I was just about to ask why it was called that when the trail answered the question for me. The trail squeezes through some super tight sections of rock that are quite challenging. There were also some killer combo technical moves to try and figure out through here as well. It was really a bunch of fun.
Lemon Squeezer brought us back up to the Tabegauche where we were at earlier in the day. This time we took the Holy Cross trail. This trail is a real masterpiece of technical rock riding. It was also pretty cool to be there with the trail's designer. I had been drooling to ride this trail (like many across the country) for the last couple of years ever since it was completed. It was every bit as awesome as it was billed to be. It was little disheartening to see that a few selfish wannabe-riders had to dumb down some the coolest sections to shore up their own egos instead of elevating their skills to the level of the trail. Rant aside, Kevin showed us the original lines so we could ride the trail as it was intended.
After the Holy Cross trail we took a series of singletracks that I can not remember. Miramonte Canyon was one of them. We also passed by a trail that the big boys use for some serious hucking. I'll have to hit that later. In this case, “hit that” means with a lawn chair, beer and a camera because it would be strictly a spectator affair for me. After gawking at a couple of the really big lines in this area we made our way back to the Monument Road trailhead where we then made our way back to Kevin's house. Soon we were back at Kevin's for some lunch and some chill time.
While relaxing back at the house, Kevin got word of a surprise party brewing that evening for one of his fellow trail builders and longtime friend. A party and an afternoon ride....Cool