No trip is ever perfect no matter how much you want it to be and this trip to Fruita was no exception. After ending "the day that kicked ass" at the Iron Man movie we drove back to our campsite needing a good nights sleep. As we were driving back a wind storm kicked up which pretty much ruined any possibility of a getting much sleep in the tent. We crawled out of the tent at dawn not the least bit rested and packed everything up for our final ride and drive home. We ate breakfast and headed to the Tabeguache or "lunch loops" area. I have always wanted to ride this area which is Grand Junction's version of the BST, but it never seemed to work out. One time I got the flu midway through a Fruita trip and couldn't ride and two other times I got rained out. Since this trip was kinda last minute I didn't have much of an opportunity to plan our ride for the day so I figured I would just look at the map when we got to the trailhead and make a plan from there. Bad idea. I saw a couple of trails that sparked my interest. One was the Ribbon which my friend Ian had ridden before and said was fun and the other was Andy's trail which had a cool name;-) We started off climbing Eagle's trail which was do-able but pretty difficult on tired legs. I later found out this was mostly used as a downhill trail. From Eagles's we cut off on Andy's. After a couple miles on Andy's it became too steep to ride. We seemed close to the top so we chose to walk the last little bit. It ended up being a 3/4 mile hike. At the top I saw the trail turned into a hike a bike portage down to the ravine below. I should have turned back here but I saw the junction to the Ribbon trail far below so we continued hiking. I later learned that we rode this trail backwards as well. We carried our bikes down to the trail junction and headed up the Ribbon. From my crappy map it looked like we were at the high point of the Ribbon trail and it would be a downhill romp to a paved road. We could then take pavement back to the car since it was getting late and threatening rain. Wrong! We were at the bottom of yet another trail that is generally ridden downhill only. By the time I realized this we were halfway up the trail and we decided just to ride it out and use this as a learning experience. From where we started the Ribbon it gained 1500 ft of net elevation in three miles of technical slickrock with more like 2000 ft of total climbing. This was not fun on tired legs from three days of big miles on rough trails. We finished the trail way later than we wanted and were forced to blow the elevation we gained riding pavement with a 30 mph cross wind. Lovely! The good news was the scenery was amazing. It was some of the prettiest riding I have ever done. I also think the trails have a lot of potential to be fun if ridden the proper way (although I don't think Andy's trail would be worth it any way you ride it, too much hike a bike). As always click the pics for the blowup.
View from Andy's Trail
More Andy's Trail Wide open slickrock field on The Ribbon with Rhonda in the distance.