Monday, October 12, 2009

Desert Dessert, Day 2

Day 2 in the desert came with little fanfare. Must have been due to my aching body, my aching head, or... Well, I should've taken pics of all the beer cans scattered around the campground but I wasn't moving quickly enough to snap a photo. You get the idea. Bagel egg sammiches, lots of Gatorade and the prospect of a fantastic day of riding got me back around to my normal self soon enough, though. Needless to say, with others suffering from a condition similar to my own, we didn't get started to gung ho. No one felt like packing up the all the gear and getting into the truck, so we opted for another day riding at Rabbit Valley. That's part of the beauty of this area. Not only is the place extremely remote, but there is a ton of riding to be done. Our goal was to cover enough ground on Sunday to have ridden 95% of all of the riding to be done from Rabbit Valley (that we know of). I think we achieved our goal over the course of 2 days.

We rolled out of camp back towards the highway and the start of the Mountain States Cup Fruita time trial race. Like our night ride on Friday, we headed up trail 4. Trail 4 starts out tame enough, but just keeps climbing and climbing relentlessly. It's funny how the desert jacks with your head. The climb was only 400' or so but it felt like forever. Steep stuff those desert climbs.

We were heading to an unnamed bench just east of Wild Horse Mesa overlooking the Ruby Canyon area of the Colorado River. The trail is innocently enough called Rim Trail, #8. You can see the trail from a ways off and see it rising up and down near a pink and orange cliffband. What you can't see, though, is the beach sand. I knew it was there and have ridden the loop enough to know the "correct direction." Correct or not, some parts of it still kinda suck. Other parts are other worldly.

And there are plenty of super fun swoopy sections.

Almost all of the swoopy sections end up with a sandy climb. Almost all of them.
Until you get to this point. Here, the rim trail overlooks Ruby Canyon, which the CO River flows thru. You can see Mee Canyon on the other side. From here until the end of the Rim Trail, it's nothing but non stop technical. Tough rock moves and unending ledges and drops. It's like a little bit of Moab, but it's in Colorado. The dirt is red and the rock moves are tough. I was extra stoked that I cleaned all the drops. Going down of course. I still had to hike up a few big drops, as the trail rolls in and out of little grottos, all technical.

Then, at the end of the Rim Trail, there is, of course, just a little bit more sand. Not much, though.
A brief and surprisingly do-able climb led us off the bench and back into Rabbit Valley proper. We reconnected with our Friday's night ride route that took us down and out on trail #3. It was narrow.
With good views of the desert in all of its barren glory.
Such a fun descent that had a little of everything.
And sadly, back at the campground too soon. We packed up quickly and said another good bye to the desert.
See you next Spring ;)

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