In the saddle: Fat-tire frolic |

In the saddle: Fat-tire frolic

Bob Ward
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

FRUITA, Colo. – In bad need of a little exercise and a day to clear our heads, a buddy and I headed west to the Fruita vicinity for some fat-tire frolic on Monday.

It was my first mountain bike ride of the season, so I had to pump the tires, clean the transmission and mentally prepare for exhaustion and soreness. Fortunately, having a buddy along meant that we could push and support one another if our early season legs began to bonk or someone threatened to wilt on a long climb.

It was a clear day in the upper 60s, and we could see the snow-covered La Sal Mountains from our launch point off Interstate 70 near the Utah border. It was a perfect day for riding but there were few people around, which was a good thing considering our pasty-white legs and relative lack of conditioning.

The ride began with a steep descent on a four-wheel-drive road from a tall mesa, then involved a lot of rolling ups and downs on wide-open benchlands above the Colorado River. Lots of wildflowers, including some bright red cactus blooms. After about 90 minutes of riding, we stopped on a promontory above the river for a snack and reflected on what a great idea we’d had to take the day off.

Shortly thereafter, with food in our bellies and more courage than wisdom, we reached a junction and chose the long way back to the car. This turned a ride of roughly two hours into a ride of more than three, including a lung-busting climb back onto the mesa where we started, and a long, bumpy traverse across the mesa to the vehicle.

We were tired and sore. But the rewards were handsome.

Back at the car, we had cold beer, sandwiches, raw carrots and fruit. We sat in the sun on the sandstone, relishing the warmth and the taste of the food, and congratulating ourselves on a longer-than-expected ride.

Spring is here.

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