In the Saddle |

In the Saddle

Janet Urquhart

While the trails of the upper Roaring Fork Valley are still covered with spring snow and mud, local mountain bikers seek their thrills and spills elsewhere. I on the other hand, am not interested in either thrills or spills, so Rustler’s Loop outside of Fruita proved a perfect choice for my first single-track outing of the season. I’m a novice mountain biker. For me, getting both feet clicked into the pedals is technical enough. There were enough bike rack-laden vehicles and hard-core looking Lycra types to riddle me with self-doubt when we pulled up to the main Kokopelli Trail parking lot off Interstate 70 on Sunday. (Take the Loma exit, just west of Fruita, and follow the frontage road to the lot.) It was packed with people looking to do any of the six loops and assorted trails that can be accessed there.I was assured by my more seasoned biking companion that Rustler’s Loop, at a little more than four miles including the short ride between the lot and trailhead, was well within my capabilities. Actually, it was. I only got off my bike for one short uphill over boulders (and so did the guy who came up behind us).The ride offered a lot of manageable ups and downs, some good views looking down at the Colorado River, and stuff that I found challenging but not so daunting that I wanted to throw my bike down and stomp around in a hissy fit.The trail was dry and in great shape. I assume the others out there were in similar condition. In fact, the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association was doing trail work Sunday and signing up members (and offering free beer to new recruits). An enticing start to the season.

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