When it comes to my hobbies, you could say that I’m a jack of few trades, master of none. I enjoy several different activities and have a moderate ability in all of them. One of my newer hobbies is mountain biking.
Last year a friend of mine was looking to upgrade her mountain bike. She had a hard tail bike and was planning to get a full suspension bike. When she told me she was looking to sell her old bike, I was definitely interested. When she told me the price she wanted for it, I was sold.
I spent last Summer riding my mountain bike at least once a week at a local trail system known for being a great place for beginner mountain bikers. Mountain biking is technically challenging. You bike over rocks and roots, you bike on trails with switchbacks, and you’re doing this while either climbing uphill or descending down.
Last Summer I developed a love for mountain biking. It’s slower than road biking, but you’re constantly challenged by obstacles along the trail. I love being on trails, seeing wildlife once in a while (there are moose and deer where I bike), and not having to dodge road traffic. I stuck to the beginner trails last Summer and developed some technical skills. I’m still a beginner mountain biker, but I’m definitely looking to improve on my technical skills this year and start biking on the tougher trails.
So when some friends invited us to join them for a weekend of mountain biking in Fruita, Colorado, Troy and I were in. I went to Fruita once before, with a rented bike, shortly after I moved to Utah. I remember it being technical, there was one trail that I specifically remember being very challenging. I tried to get up the first hill of the trail, but there were so many steps and obstacles, I ended up turning around within the first quarter mile. I was a little nervous about this trip, I didn’t want a repeat of my first experience in Fruita, but with more mountain biking experience this time around, I was excited to see if the Fruita mountain biking would be easier. We packed up the truck and headed down.
On our first afternoon there, we biked a mellow trail right next to the campground. We descended down a trail called Kessel Run, then came back up a trail called Prime Cut.
Along Prime Cut there were washes that were filled with tumbleweeds. I’ve never seen anything like it! Also on Prime Cut were some moderately steep hills that I nearly fell on. I’d bike up the hill only to see a small obstacle at the top and I would almost fall from trying to get off my bike to walk up the rest of the hill. I quickly learned to start out the steeper hills walking and not biking.
The next day we drove away from camp to ride a trail called Horsethief. It started with a big rocky climb, lots of obstacles and steps. It didn’t take long for me to realize this was the same trail that I couldn’t do on my first Fruita trip. It was still pretty challenging, but this time around I managed to get past the first quarter mile, whew!
Horsethief is a technical trail, by far the most technical trail I’ve done. There was a lot of walking, I was slightly paranoid about crashing and ending my running season early. But the longer we were on the trail, the more comfortable I got with the technical aspects of mountain biking. Moments of thinking “Whoa, this is a big obstacle, I better walk this!” became “This doesn’t look as bad as that other obstacle, maybe I should try biking it because I’m tired of getting off my bike to walk.” So I started biking more technical stuff and it wasn’t bad, it was fun!
After Horsethief, an ~8 mile ride, we grabbed cocktails at a local distillery, then headed back to camp. Some people decided to ride another short ride at camp, I was content to read.
The next day most people were biking again, I decided to run. I couldn’t leave Fruita without doing one run on those trails.
After that it was time to head home. Troy and I had a great time in Fruita, and we’re planning to go back this Fall. I’m excited to get back on the bike now that I’ve done some technical riding. It’s been a rainy week at home, but it’s looking like I’ll get to bike next week. As I was walking Pudgy the morning after we got back from Fruita, I noticed this:
Our Aspen trees have leaves! Looks like Spring finally came to Park City!
Any mountain bikers out there?
What are your favorite outdoor hobbies?