Tag Archives: Rustlers

Kelly Ryan mountain biking rustler's trail

Catching Up with a Good Friend

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

It would take me too long to recount how I know Kelly and why I like her.

Let it suffice to say that we have the kind of easy friendship that never goes stale and no matter how long a time passes between meetings we still have an understanding of where we stand.

She came to town to pick up her husband, but came early so we could get a ride in together. I’m afraid she out-listened me as I caught her up on the many doings of my life, but I hope I was a good listening ear for her as well.

We rode Rustler’s, as she had never been to the Kokopelli trails and I ride only a singlespeed on the dirt now.

It was another amazingly beautiful October day and we couldn’t get enough of the sunshine, the yellow cottonwoods lining the Colorado River, and the cliffs reflecting on the water.

I ended up having more time than I expected to cover more trail [or I thought I did…I was still 10 minutes late to my board meeting….probably worth it].

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Elisa Jones jeep trail winter

Flip flops in the snow, unabashed selfies

“The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on on the story.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Yes, Lord of the Rings is probably my favorite book. Here I am upon the end of a year-long journey. I have been reluctant each day to experience the trail, because I know that the time is too near, too precious, and this will end.

And yet it won’t, will it? The trails are in me, every experience has shaped me, and I am intimate with them now.

For several weeks I have longed for as deeply-moving a concept as this trail adventure. Something to change me in ways I need over the next year. Finally, inspiration struck- while delving into a period of meditation. Now, I feel less despair at the end, because it is also a new beginning.

This morning I was fraught with indecision- the nemesis of my adult life. I had originally planned to see the red rocks of Moab today. But the idea of two trips to Utah in one week, the financial burdens required of the second, and the illness of my husband the night before, all collaborated to keep me in the Grand Valley today. Also, the hope for a ride with someone I esteem as well.

I couldn’t sleep, as I watched the clouds blush in the sunrise outside of my window. I crept downstairs and prepared the morning for my family, then snuck out of the house, into the Jeep, and up to the trail. Music and Mt. Dew my companions.

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I headed home for a quick change and to pack up my bike. I met Dave and Kurt and we drove out to Kokopelli, where we joined with Noah and Sparky. It was going to be a hard ride and I regretted my frozen summit experience last night, and the 4 hours of sleep I had been permitted.

But there’s a reason why we call it “playing bikes”. We rode Rustler’s, Mary’s, and Horsethief. Better trail companions are hard to find! Noah and Sparky were willing to demonstrate and coach, and all were patient with my preference to walk an obstacle or two (or 6). My bike is in bad way right now and I didn’t trust it.

This turned out to be an astute choice, as the front tire went flat immediately after my heart-pounding, flying descent down Mary’s. We met more friends in the parking lot, and had a nice visit until I was too cold to hold still another moment.

The sun had been out most of the time, with only a few flights of snow that blew through. The lighting was amazing, but my photo opportunities were secondary to embracing the opportunity to ride with this crew. IMG_2275 IMG_2276 IMG_2279 IMG_2280 IMG_2281 IMG_2282

Mellow Moonlight Magnificence

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.” -JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Despite being tired and filled with the wrong mixture of chemicals (me) and not enough calories (Melinda), we rode out at Kokopelli (Loma). We climbed up Mary’s in the moonlight, and decided that though we could handle the drop down to Horsetheif, we didn’t want the climb back up.

So we lollipopped Wrangler- which was surprisingly fun in the dark! Then back down Mary’s- which was not-surprisingly terrifying in the dark! Then we did a lap of Rustler’s- which was incredibly fun in the dark! Melinda laid down some of her best times out there, actually.

When I got home, I was cold. Like, for hours.

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