Tag Archives: PBR

Elisa Jones Mountain biking sarlacc trail fruita, colorado

The Sarlacc!

“Distance lends enchantment to the view.”― Mark Twain

And enchanted the view was.

Four of us set out from my house in the early morning; Chris, Eric, Fallon, and I. We drove out to the bottom of Coal Gulch road, where we were met by Jerry and his son, Aiden. That meant we were a group of 6: three grown ups (if you count me), and 3 high school kids. Awesome.

We rode the mile on the road, warming up  in the frozen shade, and turned to climb the double track up to the Sarlacc singletrack. It’s about 2 miles of climbing with about 1200 feet of climbing. In the first few hundred yards we saw that Fallon’s lowest gear wasn’t working, so we struggled a while to get that to work for her. So rather than her suffering on this long, steep climb riding a bike in a higher gear, I gave her my 29er, and rode her bike up. It’s been a while since I rode a 26″ hardtail, and never have I ridden that long on pedals intended for cleats and I’m in flats. I took it as a challenge and had so much fun!

When I reached the top, Eric and Aiden were waiting. We talked, took pictures, and rode the few yards over to “The Sarlacc” sand pit. From that vantage point we watched the others top out, and joined them.

Before long we were flying down the flowing singletrack, nearly 2000 feet above the Grand Valley. It was cold and frozen on the North-facing slopes, but dry and hard-packed facing south. I wore short sleeves and shorts, and was comfortable. Hard to believe it’s November!

We rode and stopped for pictures and viewpoints, and to chat with other riders along the way. We took a long break for lunch at an amazing ledge, and rode on to the end of the singletrack.

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When we got to the road, we had some decisions to make. The kids and Jerry decided to ride down the road, and drive over to 18rd to ride some PBR. Chris and I, on the other hand, had some work to do. We just had to know which direction of the Sarlacc singletrack was better. So we rode it back.

The ride with just Chris and I was different. We just rode. We stopped only twice to look at the view (once south and once north), and to pick up some pinflags that had been abandoned at some point. Mostly it was fast riding in companionable silence.

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We flew down the doubletrack and back to the truck. We loaded up and drove to the 18rd TH where the others had just finished a ride. We caught up a bit, and determined that they could leave me because Dennis was on his way out with Mike so I could run shuttle for them.

So they left me. I was almost out of water and out of food, my phone battery was nearly dead, and I was getting cold after my big ride.

It was a BIG RIDE>

But when I called to see how long Dennis would be, he  said they hadn’t even left home yet. So I made some friends who were willing to give me a ride into Fruita where I could wait for Dennis in the comfort of the Hot Tomato and a cold beer;  but Dennis didn’t want to have to drive into Fruita to pick me up. So they left me, too.

Rather than sitting around waiting in the parking lot, I decided to do the one thing I could to keep warm: ride. So I left my bag of stuff tied up by the kiosk, and rode. Hard. Standing climb, up Prime Cut. I was surprised how well I rode even as exhausted and calorically deprived as I was. CHECK IT OUT> 

When I got back to the parking lot, Dennis, Mike and the kids had showed up.

I spent the next hour+ trying to keep the kids from killing each other while shuttling Dennis and Mike up the road. I was still starving, though they did bring water. The kids were more than somewhat fussy, and didn’t enjoy being held captive in a Jeep. I was about to lose my mind when we got to the parking lot and I recognized my friend, Tom Eatwell. I begged a beverage off of him, and he obliged me. That was the turning point in my experience. Either the contents of the drink, or the gesture of a friend, or the combination of both; but it saved me.

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset, and the kids eventually settled. I drove straight home with the boys; and Dennis, Mike, and Trinity stopped at the market for dinner fixings.

Somehow, I eventually closed out the day. What a mixed experience. But all good.

Mountain Biking in the dark


“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.” 
― George Carlin

“I’m not in search of sanctity, sacredness, purity; these things are found after this life, not in this life; but in this life I search to be completely human: to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to get lost, to be found, to dance, to love and to lust, to be so human.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

Wow tonight was great. I had some business in Fruita, so I headed that way and decided to bring the lights and ride a little night solo at 18 road.

I’ve been feeling really strong lately, so I hit the Prime Cut climb hard, racing the sunlight, and floated down PBR in the shadows long-past sunset. It was borderline insanity, and very fun!

I got back to the lot and donned my lights, headed up for round three and did Joe’s Ridge as well. It was freaky riding along the fin with only dark air on either side of me. But my music was pumping, and my heart raced. I felt amazing, despite fighting the fatigue of the day.

Round three I went up Prime Cut and down Kessel Run. At the top of the climb I was tired and needed some calories,  but I didn’t want to eat anything that might keep me up all night, so instead I took of my pack, turned off the music, and laid in the desert; completely alone but me and the stars and the sounds of night.

The run down Kessel was a blast, and I  mused about the first time I had ridden it- the week we moved to Grand Junction and were forced tourists due to not having a place to live. I didn’t know how to ride very well then, and it was more than terrifying. Then here I was 2.5 years later, flying through the dark- comfortable, happy.

When I got back to the parking lot, my little red Jeep was the only vehicle left. I removed my sweaty clothes and put  on my sweat pants. But before I was totally clothed the moon asked me to dance. So I obliged. He and I partied in the empty parking lot, dancing like no one was watching, because no one was.

It will remain one of the best moments of my life.

Here’s one of the songs that set me grooving: IN YOUR ARMS

Here’s some Strava action: NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS

Here’s some pictures:

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mountain biking in the dark


“If you can’t fight and you can’t flee, flow.” 
― Robert Elias

Sometimes I feel like I can’t run, I can’t crawl
And sometimes I feel like I ain’t nothing at all
Life is a journey where you stumble and fall
But I’m okay” – Nico and Vinz, In Your Arms

If you know me,  you know that I like structure. I like predictability. Poor Dave, too many time has inadvertently shaken me by requesting a change of venue. Not of time, mind you, or even activity,  but just CHANGE OF VENUE. A matter of miles. Secret Stash instead of Lunch Loop or the Monument. I go NUTS. I had one thing planned and that’s what I had planned! You can’t change it.

Needless to say, I suck at spontaneity. Not that I’m never spontaneous- I certainly can be. But when I have something planned, it’s hard for  me to change those plans. So, luckily for Melinda and I, we had only planned on a ride, not where or when.

Someone posted on our SSTS Facebook group an idea about a moonlight ride out at 18 road. So I pulled out all the spontaneity in my being and talked Melinda into heading out there for our ride. She was a good sport and we had a FANTASTIC time!

We arrived at the TH just as the sun was fully set. The views were incredible, and I couldn’t even hope to capture them on camera, though I tried.

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We chatted a bit with Tom who was just getting off the trail, and some dudes visiting from Iowa. Before long we were full-dark and climbing up Prime cut. The climb was pretty dang fun, but the descent down PBR was a total blast! I couldn’t believe the difference from the last few times I’ve ridden this trail. I was relaxed and had perfect form. I felt fast and free and I couldn’t stop laughing!

I’d given Melinda a big head-start, and nearly caught her. I really had no chance, she’s very fast! We headed back to the TH to see if any of the other ladies were to meet us. Jen found us and we had a fun time riding up Prime Cut and down Kessel Run with her. We stopped to chat, laughed a lot, shared personal stories and had fun trying out new lines.

The descent down Kessel Run was incredibly fun! I really felt like I was flying the Millennium Falcon.




Ha ha ha! Just making that made me laugh really, really hard!

We even tried to get some shots in the dark.

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Melinda is so patient with my photographer aspirations.

By the time we were done it was way, way past our bedtimes. I can’t speak for Melinda, but I sure slept soundly.