Tag Archives: prime cut

Matt Janson and Elisa Jones 18 road trails fruita, colorado sunset panorama chris and joy works

18 Road…with the Works

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
Mark Twain

I would add to that: good food, good scenery, and good fun.

Here in the Grand Valley we are blessed to have all of the above.

Matt and I closed on our house this week, so we spent the weekend working on the house. That means we spent pretty much the 18 hours before we headed to 18 road scraping 1800 square feet of popcorn ceiling.

We were a little bushed, to say the least.

Nevertheless, I have- FINALLY- come to acknowledge the importance of putting off what you can do tomorrow so you can have some fun today. By adopting this philosophy you end up being able to get that job and MORE done the next day because you’re in top mental and physical form.

Unless you drink too much.

We had only about 80 minutes before sunset when we set out from the TH. Matt and I had made it out there first and waited for Chris and Joy Works to join us. The plan: ride bikes, bbq food, drink beers. As a bonus, we got to watch the winter sun set.

It was our first time riding with this couple- though we have hiked many a mile of trail with them, and truly enjoy their company. We climbed Prime Cut and descended Kessel Run and by the time we conquered that route the sun was not high enough for us to conquer another.

It was all well and good, though, as the SUPERMOON was rising over the Bookcliffs and the sunset gave us quite a show.

We also had some hot brats, Soul Shakin’ from Palisade, and if there is something more delicious than grilled pineapple after a ride, I can’t imagine what it would be.

Once we were nice and cold, I got the privilege of being the DD to drive home.


Here are Matt, Joy, and Chris. I LOVE being out on the trails with these 3 peeps.


Matt was a little worn out. I’ve been working out, though, and was feeling GREAT!img_7343

SUNSTAR! BOOM!img_7344

A man of many talents- not the least of which is beard growth.img_7348

Obligatory pano.img_7349

Chris does a chips+salsa photo bomb. Again: BOOM!img_7351


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:

IMG_1891 IMG_1892  IMG_1950 IMG_1951IMG_1893What a great way to start off my last month of this experience.