Photo Essay: Summer Highs and Lows

As I biked in to work this morning, I started thinking back over the many days I spent biking this summer… not that summer is over yet, but fall is definitely making its way towards the Western Slope of Colorado.  There’s a chill in the air, leaves are anxiously waiting for a chance to turn golden, orange, and red, and I’ve seen recipes popping up on Pinterest involving winter squash. Yep, fall is coming.

This past summer was a great one for mountain biking in Grand Junction.  Most weekends when it was super hot, we were able to get out early and get a good ride in before the temps reached 100.  We took some familiar trips and rode some great new trails.  We got new bikes (frames at least), conquered new obstacles, and of course had a few crashes.

These are some of my summer highlights:

Riding the Captain Ahab trail in the spring was a treat.  It’s a great new technical trail branching off of Amasa Back in Moab, UT.  My advice:  follow the dots.

Purchasing my new Diamondback bike frame this summer was a great moment indeed.  I was already lucky enough to have a Fox adjustable front fork that goes from 90 to 140 mm travel.   Now, I also have a great Fox Float rear shock with Kashima Coat that has a 3-position “adaptive logic” propedal platform.  Let me tell you, climbing is so much easier.  I’d like to say that I’m tough, and who needs all that extra stuff, but hey, that extra stuff is amazing.  I no longer have to worry about getting forward when climbing to keep the front from popping up, steering through rocky uphill sections isn’t a struggle, and I swear I’m climbing faster too.

P.S. The Diamondback’s name is now Dirk Benedict.  I imagine he looks something like a cross between Chuck Norris and Ben Stiller’s character from Dodgeball.

There were several days of epic riding in Crested Butte, including that 26-mile ride.

The day I finally made this drop on Mary’s Loop was a special day!  We don’t often ride the trail west-to-east, so I don’t often have a chance to think about this drop.  Adelle caught this pic right as my front tire hit the ground, so everything looks a little awkward, but like most drops, it looks worse than it is.

On the other hand, there was one ride on Western Rim when an ill-timed jump on a whoop-de-do left me with a giant tire burn on the inside of my leg… that’s what happens when you get over confident!

This day on Gunny Loop (the weekend after my crash), when I just couldn’t wrap my mind around anything technical for the first half of the ride, was quite memorable.  My head just wasn’t in it.  Every obstacle seemed insurmountable and my frustration grew with each dab of my foot, walk of my bike, and last-minute stop before a tough section.  Finally, I had to tell myself to just ride.  Some days we have to remember that biking is supposed to be fun; we don’t have to beat ourselves up every time we don’t ride a section of trail.  We should just enjoy the ones we do, and try to challenge ourselves when we can.

And there have been multiple rides on my new favorite route: Lion’s and Mack Ridge out in Loma.  The climbs on Lion’s test my fitness, and the downhill on Mack makes me feel like I can conquer just about anything.

And to think, this end to the first bike ride of the season seems like it happened only yesterday…

**Side note: I do own more than one bike jersey, although one of them somehow made it into almost every photo in this article.

I hope you’ve had an awesome summer of biking with plans to make it an awesome fall!  Fall, in my opinion, is the perfect time for bike trips to places like Moab, Gooseberry Mesa, Park City, UT, and Lake Tahoe.

Where are you headed next?

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