Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trent's 9 Miles of the Sweetest Downhill Single Track

Trail up Cottonwood Canyon
Yesterday John came into the store, having recently returned from Fruita. "Fruita is my new favorite place to bike!" he tells me. Yeah, I like the trails in Fruita, but the fall colors, the smell of the pine trees, and leaves on the trail are much more to my liking. So I invite him to go on a nice trail up AF Canyon, great climbs, and sweet trails, but a little more technical than what I have ridden with him before.

Then today Mike came in the store. He just won his category at the Senior Games in St George. Mike has been on a few missions the past few years. He notices a change has occurred while he was gone, everyone is riding 29er's. We talk through the 29er's vs 27.5 and 26 mountain bikes, and he figures the 29er is the right bike. I am in luck, the right size and right priced bike is in the shop ready to go.

New bike, so time for a ride. He tells me of this great ride he is going on with Trent. Over the river, and through the woods to Strawberry Ridge, and then 9 miles of the sweetest downhill single track.
Gotta love the leaves

Sounds fun, so I invite myself and John to the trip. John comes back into the store to work out the logistics of the trip and finds out the plans have been changed. I've never been on these trails, but Trent and Mike like them so they must be good.

It starts out great. A nice climb, some fun rock sections to try and clear and then some steep sections that challenge the heart, lungs, and ability to pick the right line through the rocks. John tells us that there are six things he likens to hell, and this one is near the top of the list. Trent assures John that when we hit the 9 miles of sweet downhill it will erase all the memories of the hard climb.

Finally we arrive at Strawberry Ridge, a dirt road with some good climbs and fast downhill. After a few miles we are looking for the sweet 5th Water trail, and turn off on a trail. I'm thinking if this is such a sweet downhill it should be somewhat smooth and flowing, but instead it is trail that hasn't seen much action. The brush is encroaching on the trail and the surface is more grass than dirt. Hmmm, are we sure this is right. After awhile it is apparent that this is not the trail you are looking for. The smarter people in our group go back to the road and head down to the correct trail, but Mike declares, "never turn back" and in the spirit of adventure we continue on.

Trent's sweet downhill trail
Then the trail decays into a maze of game trails. Determined we continue on. Of course the game trails disappear and then we find ourselves bushwhacking. Lycra shorts are not the right attire of this. Before long the legs are a mess of blood and scratches. But by now we are beyond the point of no return and we continue down following an on-again-off-again stream flowing down the bottom of the ravine.

We keep finding bits and pieces of game trails. On the north facing slope there are pines and a lot of dead fall, and the south facing slope is covered in scrub oak and brush that tears at the legs and bike.
Almost a single track here 

Well with Mike and Trent you can always count on an adventure. I grab out the Handycam rename it the AdventureCam, get some video of Trent's sweet single track, and keep bushwhacking. Finally we come out to the Center Line trail.

Bombing down the trail I meet up with the smarter people from our group at the hot springs, which remind me a lot of Yellowstone. There is a warm vapor in the air with the strong smell of sulfur. Overall it was a great trip and mini adventure. And of course...

I just love to ride my bike.
Sulfer in the creek adds a milky blue to the water

Waterfall above the hot springs

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