One Decade Ago: Sarah's 1998 Fruita Gathering- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    One Decade Ago: Sarah's 1998 Fruita Gathering

    That trip to Moab and Fruita was truly wonderful.

    We've made it to Slickrock!


    Mike and Snookums.


    Steel is Real, Bontrager hardtails kick ass; but Rock Shox Judys suck ass.


    Mike, Snookums, and Hedgehog on the road to Porcupine Rim.


    We took the Scenic Route.


    We bumped into some other MTBR dudes: Canadian Kevin, Pedalboy, Mike, Hedgehog, and Celly.


    Climbing the road to the trailhead.


    Taking a break at the trailhead.


    Here I am with Snookums on Porcupine Rim overlooking Castle Valley.


    Mike on the jeep trail.
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    Last edited by parkmeister; 04-19-2015 at 03:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    Holy Carp! Has it really been that long!? I guess so, since D is 10 years old! I come to MTBR after a bit of a hiatus and find this and Anthony's farewell post. Maybe I ought to pay more attention. And get some pics off my camera.

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    Settling in at Highline campground.


    Mexican for dinner. When the sun goes down, some like to drink beer, others like to hop around the parking lot like dag fools.


    Friday morning, getting ready to ride.


    Our host and leader: Sarah.


    Conga line boogieing up Frontside.


    This is Fruita.


    Over The Edge. dr hoo, mike, chewbacca.


    Kids: Snookums, Jay, and Dee.


    Godzilla on Horsethief Bench


    The Stever
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    Bloody mess.


    Snookums on a hardtail.


    Cleans it.


    Vader.


    Piece of cake.


    Final shot: Up top: Snookums, Godzilla, Local guy, Charlie America, Celly, Spike, Chewbacca. Down low: Canadian Kevin, dr hoo.


    Thanks again Francis and Sarah, that trip was one of the most memorable and fun experiences of my life.

    See ya,

    Gary
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    Last edited by parkmeister; 04-19-2015 at 09:20 AM.

  5. #5
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    The two little ones now look like this:



    And this:



  6. #6
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    My Original 1998 Post: Hella words, no pics

    Let me begin by saying that the past week spent in Moab and Fruita was THE best week of my entire life. Period. Many, many thanks to Sarah and Troy for organizing the event and building a kick ass trail system; to Francis for creating the best website in the known universe which brought us all together; and to each and every one of the attendees who helped to make it so very, very special….

    Monday, September 14, enroute to Moab

    The adventure begins! Bob D drops off Steven at my doorstep and after a quick stop at Jamba Juice for some smoothies to go, we’re cruising outta the LA basin for the high desert town of Victorville to hook up with Scott the Hedgehog, Ed G aka Edgy, and Mike. We arrive early at the rendezvous point and bust out the Bontragers for some trials practice (Steven) and general farting around (me) while waiting for the others. Ahem, an hour an a half later, the girls finally show and we caravan northward towards the promised land. It’s almost chilly in the desert as "The World’s Tallest Thermometer" at the Bun Boy in Baker registers a mere 94 degrees. Brrrr. We gather momentum and chug through the western states. A big ass roller coaster marks the end of California and the start of Nevada. Then comes Arizona and we’re climbing and winding through the canyons and mountains that eventually leave us at the western edge of the Colorado Plateau: that huge expanse of uplifted sea floor sediment that has been carved by wind, water and ice into some the most unique and beautiful landforms anywhere on Earth.

    Darkness overtakes us somewhere on I 15 and the scenic beauty that abounds off of I 70 is literally outta sight, shrouded in inky darkness. Cruising along at 95 mph, the long shadows of cacti and tumbleweeds cast by the headlights flitter and dance to the rhythms of "Darkside of the Moon." It’s sublime. We roll into Moab at 10:30 PDT which is 11:30 local time. Ooops!!! After a wonderful tongue lashing from the manager of the Inca Inn (for being late, for not calling, for having five people instead of three…) we retire to our room. The doorstep of room 27 smells of urine; the room if possible, is even more rank than the front porch, and the bathroom is the worst of all. Lovely! Yeah, the place smells as if a pack of grizzlies locked themselves in the room for a week of non-stop drunken revelry, but I’m beat and going to sleep, without regard to the stench. The town of Moab is a magnet for tourists, many of them European, unfortunately, the last ones in room 27 apparently were Yer a peein’. The malodorous ambiance wafting about the room was a wee bit much for the delicate nostrils of the Southern (California) Belles, so Scott, Ed, and Mike hop back into the van and drive 46 miles back to a Motel 6 in Green River. Doh!

    Tuesday, September 15, Moab Utah

    Steven and I are supposed to meet the belles at 10:00 at the Slickrock Trail parking lot but we get there early because we are jazzed to be in Moab! We ride the practice loop, take in the "out of this world scenery", and head back to the lot to wait for the others. The girls are only an hour late today, and we head out onto the main loop. Mike is so excited by the terrain that I’m sure he’s gonna wet his skivvies. He’s got a bigger grin on his face than a five year old on Christmas morning. He bunny hops everything in sight. "Check out that g-out!" he exclaims excitedly as he races down into and then up out of the numerous sandstone compressions and winding half pipes. This place truly is a wonderland. The fun zone. The playground. Whatever you call it, it rocks, baby!!!!!

    Ed drops into one of these compressions but doesn’t quite make it up the other side as the rear tire washes out, blows, and his forearm discovers that slickrock is about as slick as 300 grit sandpaper. Yeowww!!!!! Many thanks to Ed for making the first blood sacrifice to the mountain biking deities.

    The weather was close to perfect, if a tad bit warm. The deep blue skies overhead contrasted beautifully with the red-orange sandstone under our knobbies. Puffy fair-weather cumulus drifted by in lazy and loose formations. The La Sal mountains rose majestically to the south. We continued around the loop, following the painted white dots of the "trail" as it wound up, down, and across the undulating waves of sandstone. Although it wasn’t mid-summer scorching, fried eggs on the sidewalk, Africa hot out there, we were riding during the warmest hours of the day, and that combined with the 4500’ elevation made the twelve mile loop seem easily twice that distance. Mike almost bonked by the end of the trail, cuz he used up all his energy on the first half of the ride where he was a jumpin’ foo. Mr. Sandpatch becomes a catalyst for social interaction, introducing Mr. Stem to Mr. Ed’s Mr. McRib. Ouch! OK boys, we’re starting to take some heavy losses, it’s time to pull back, regroup, and save it for another day… An oasis of iced tea tucked away in a cooler in the van was a much needed and welcomed refreshment at the end of the ride. Slick rock was a blast!!!!

    The lunch action was happening and Eddie McStiff’s was the place to be. After getting settled at a comfy table in the patio, we were forced against our will and better judgment to move into the dining room (no minors allowed on the patio cuz you have to walk through the bar area to get there). Jeez, only in Utah…….. The pizza: thumbs up. The brew: thumbs down. The fact of the matter is, any way you cut it, Utah microbrew sucks the big weenie. Anna, the hostess was quite the tasty dish, though, and looked much more appetizing than the brew, that’s for sure. The lone teenager of the group, who shall remain anonymous, was overheard saying: "I get McStiff when I see Anna at Eddie McStiff’s!!!!!" Yeah, yeah, yeah, take it easy, pony boy, I don’t need any mousse in my hair! Afterwards, we checked into a non-peepee smelling hotel room and unsuccessfully searched the town for a sport ute with "CELLY" vanity plates….. That activity left us pretty thirsty so we went into downtown MOAB to a BREWERY that shall remain nameless cuz the barkeep was cool or desperate enough to serve alcohol (gasp!) to the sole unnamed, uncarded teenager of our group. Did I mention that Utah microbrew sucks? Well, let me tell you, it sucks! And the only other choices are Bud and Bud Light, so you’re basically screwed….

    Wednesday, September 16, Moab Utah

    Today we ride the Porcupine Rim Trail. As per usual, we get off to a slow start, but for once, as you will soon see, it works in our favor. The whine of the day from an unnamed So Cal boy: "When I’m on vacation, I want to sleep in. I’m not waking up early, it’s not like I’m going to work! I’m on vacation, and I want to sleep in! Wahh! Waaaahhhh!! Waaahhhh!!!" The Slickrock parking area is 500’ above the town via a lung busting grind up a paved road. Past the parking lot, it’s six miles and 1500 vertical feet of dirt road to the Porc trailhead. From there, it’s an additional 1000’ of vertical climbing to the highpoint of the ride. With Ed gimping due to yesterday’s stack, and a general lack of cajones all around, we attempt a shuttle to the trailhead. Plan A is quickly scrubbed when I realize that Mike (driving his dad’s van) is crawling up the dirt road at ten mph. At this rate, we may start riding sometime around 3 pm. Not! I whip the Civic around and the van follows me back to the Slickrock parking lot. I’m REALLY jonesing to ride so we screw the shuttle idea, leave both vehicles at slickrock, and hit the dirt. Yeah, baby!! Finally!!!!! We’re ridin’!!!!! Wooohoooo!!!!

    Ed is struggling with sore ribs from the previous day’s stack, and the aforementioned unnamed whiner of the group, tired from the high altitude, warm weather, lack of sleep, hard riding, etc. is PMSing in a bad way. "We shoulda started at the trailhead! ****, six miles on this road and we’ll be worn out for the singletrack! Ed shouldn’t be riding today, he’s hurt and he’s slowing us down!" I’m thinkin’ "Sheesh, none of my ex’s ever whined this damn much! Get that boy some Midol!" I pedal out of earshot, and all is well in the world. For some reason, I am enjoying this part of the ride much more than I expected. Even though it’s just a fire road, it happens to be a fire road in Moab, where the scenery is spectacular, the weather today is absolutely perfect, there’s almost no traffic, and I’m on my mountain bike with a bunch of buddies. Yeah, baby, this is da ****!!!

    Although there was almost no traffic, there was the occasional shuttle lumbering by. I happened to glance at one of these moving outhouses when I noticed that there was a particularly hideous van rumbling up the road. A whale of a vehicle, its oxidized gray coating gave it the appearance of a scarred and barnacle laden Humpback slowly trolling for its mid-morning meal. It bore Alaskan plates. A shifty looking, goateed passenger accompanied the pasty skinned, gangly driver. "Hey, I’ll bet that’s Pedalboy and Celly!" The brakes groan and the behemoth unwillingly grinds to a halt, idling roughly, spitting noxious hydrocarbons into the pristine Utah desert air. Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!!! It really is the MTBR legends in the flesh! Also along for the ride is Celly’s bud, Kevin aka the ‘Canadian Rambo.’ After the usual round of handshakes, blurbs like, "Gee, imagine meeting way out here on this lonesome stretch of road", and you’re a helluva lot more pudgy / pasty / gangly / squinty-eyed / bald / butt-ugly / etc. than I ever would have guessed, we saddled up, locked and loaded the SPDs, and rode towards the trailhead. The Peds shuttled the gimpin’ Ed to the trailhead and then lumbered back into Moab to tend to his duties as Logistics Mgr at Rim Tours. The rest of us climbed onward and upward.

    At the trailhead, a few of us took a break, whipped out the point and shoots, and just plain enjoyed the view. But in no time at all, we were on the trail winding down the short descent through a forest of pinon and juniper. The vegetation is denser up here than at the lower elevations, but it’s still not ‘dense’ and there’s precious little shade or shelter from the sun. The descending trail soon levels and then begins Its climb towards the rim. We are technically on a jeep trail, but it’s hard to imagine driving a vehicle over this trail. It is the most consistently technical ascent I have climbed, with numerous sandstone ledges and steps to negotiate, and sections of loose rocks, stones, and gravel thrown in for more fun. It’s not North Shore by any means, but it’s plenty fun for me. I latch onto Kevin’s wheel as he bobs and weaves his way up the trail. Man, this guy is smooove!!!! On a Rocky Mountain hardtail no less!!!! (not to dis the ds crew, but IMHO, the ht crowd tends to ride with more style and finesse - but then, I am a biased Bonty rider) We continue upward, with an occasional rest (the Canadians are wilting like lilies in the heat) until we finally draw close to the rim. With a burst of energy, we climb past a false summit (damn, there’s more climbing!) and out onto the rocky edge of the rim and look out across the absolutely breathtaking vistas of the Castle Valley. It’s a three hundred foot sheer vertical drop from the edge of the rim on which we are standing to the scree slope below, and then hundreds of feet beyond that to the valley floor. Buttes stand majestically as guardians to the entrance of the fertile green valley. The muddy Colorado flows in its serpentine course to the north. Everyone, I say again, everyone is completely blown away by this utterly awesome view. We are enraptured! And to think of how few lucky ones actually get to experience this moment: a few jeepers, some equestrians, but mostly, it’s the family of mountain bikers who earn this magnificent vista through sweat and sometimes blood and tears. Yeah, baby, life is saaawwweeeeeetttttt!!!!

    The Powerbars are gnawed at and choked down, the Gu packs sucked dry, the muscles revitalized, and we are off!!! The trail rolls up and down, away from and back to the edge of the rim for a couple miles and then veers off in a westerly direction and an almost constant descent towards its terminus at the mighty Colorado. We’re still descending on the jeep trail, but the complexion is constantly changing from fast, fast!, FAST!!! buffed and smooth to rocky and loose, to technical ledges and steps. After a short stop to regroup, I take the lead, followed closely by Steven, Scott, and the others. I am determined to open a gap and stay out, way out in front. I’m in the big ring, grabbing the barends and sprinting out of the saddle, throwing the Bontrager side to side with every pedal stroke. Focused intently on the twenty to fifty feet of trail ahead, I weave back and forth across the road, searching for the fastest line. I hop the smaller rock outcroppings and ruts without losing speed or momentum. So this is what it feels like to be in ‘the zone’. Let me tell you, if feels pretty damn good!!!!! A quick glance back and I notice that there’s a gap between me and Steven, but it’s not widening. Time to put the hammer down! Out of the saddle and sprinting again. Here comes a technical section with an uphill step . Brake and downshift, pop the front wheel up and over the step, bring the back end up…. Yes! No dabs and I’m on my way. Wooo Hooo!!! Another high speed section, it’s sketchy and I’m slidin’ way too much, breathin’ like a maniac, getting sloppy, offline, and tired. OK, it’s time for a rest so I roll to a stop and there’s Steven, right on my tail! The others catch up soon afterwards. Did I mention that these boys can ride? Well, let me tell you, these boys can ride!

    I am fairly wiped at this point and we haven’t even hit the singletrack yet. Scott blows past me, then Celly, then Steven. I basically cruise, remembering the semi-exposure and technical sections of the singletrack that had me walkin’ when I was here last May. This time, I managed to ride most of the previously walked sections and didn’t even notice any of the exposed sections falling away to the river on my right that had me shakin’ in my boots last May. We break one last time just above a particularly hairy section of gigantic rock steps curving sharply to the right. An East Coast rider with another group cruises up and chats a little. Turns out he’s ridden all over the place, including Whistler and the North Shore. He scopes the route, mounts his big, DH Marin and off he goes, full of confidence, without fear or hesitation and cleans the section in grand style. We are in awe. No one else even attempts the section….

    Celly, Steven, Kevin and I make it down to the river and then it’s three miles on pavement to his Explorer for a shuttle back up to my car. Thus ended the single greatest ride of my life. Celly is off to meet up with Peds and Chewbacca, who just rode into Dodge from the Bay Area. They ride the Gemini Bridges trail and later on we all meet up at McStiffs for food, fellowship, and fun….

    Thursday, September 17, Moab Utah

    The girls are hemmin’ and hawin’ about riding today, it seems they’d rather get some beauty rest (believe me, they need it!). Steven and I are riding no matter what the others do, and we arrange to hook up with Celly, Kevin, and Chewy to do slickrock. Celly is spanked from yesterday’s double ride and Chewy’s a bit tar’d from the long drive in the tempermental Beemer, so we make today’s ride an easy one. The girls are satisfied and decide to join the fun.

    Chewy’s reaction to Slickrock was similar to Mike’s: unabashed joy! This place is so unbelievably beautiful and the riding is sooo much fun that words cannot even begin to describe the experience. Kevin whips out a camera with a freakin’ bazooka sized lens and starts clicking away. I can’t wait to see some of those pictures, I’m sure they’ll be amazing. We end up riding mainly off the trail, which is OK because we keep to the slickrock and off of the extremely fragile macrobiotic soils. Everyone manages to avoid falling off a cliff, which is a good thing. On one section of the trail, we come across a particularly good compression (the place where Ed stacked a couple of days earlier) and we ride it back and forth, like skateboarders in a half pipe. What a blast!

    We all tire quickly and retrace the white dots of the trail back towards the trailhead. Mike, Steven, and I see a symmetrical little sandstone hill off to the side of the trail which was begging to be climbed. So we try to ignore our burning thighs and grind up the hill. A good thing about Slickrock is that although the climbs can be incredibly steep, they’re also very short. Sort of like doing wind sprints…. So we make it to the top of this little hill and turn around to see Kevin setting up for a shot as there’s a little mound that’s a great launching pad. Steven goes first while I’m still puttering around on top and when I line up, I’m thinking, "This is a little steep." So I go for the jump at a traversing angle but this put a big rut right in my landing zone. Doh! I lean waaayyyy back, grab a handful of brakes, and try to hit the rut at an angle. The Judy bottoms with a wheeze and a thud and I load up the front end with the rear wheel dangling up in the breeze, but I manage to save it without losing any skin. Yes! Thanks again to Ed for making that first blood sacrifice. Mike sizes up the jump and comes across the hill, catches air, and heads directly towards the deepest portion of the rut that almost threw me. He knows he’s in trouble and it shows on his face. The front tire catches, the fork bottoms, and he’s thrown into the bars. His bike and body compress into the depression and uncoil upwards into the air. He somehow manages to maintain balance. The bike and body come back to earth, the front wheel crossed up, the fork bottoming again, his body violently thrown forward. He struggles mightily against gravity and continues to keep the rubber side down. Like a cowboy on a bucking bronco, he rides out the storm and survives!!!!! Through the terror on his face, a relieved smile emerges from the man who pulled himself out of the abyss. There were easily four stacks in that fateful landing sequence, and he just dodged all of ‘em. We all cheer wildly at the save and I slam home a high five as Mike rolls past me. That was the play of the day, folks….

    While relaxing in the parking lot after the short, easy ride, Chewy and Steven put on a trials clinic, we all test ride and lust for Chewy’s sweet FSR (can you say PLUSH???), and then Celly and Kevin make a beeline for Fruita. On a tip from The Stever, they take the scenic back route which follows the Colorado river. Good call! The rest of us carbo load at Pasta Jay’s (I dig burgers as much as the next guy, but that pasta sure hit the spot!) and then caravan to Fruita, keeping a watchful eye on Chewy’s ailing Beemer. Funny sounds or not, it’s still able to cruise in the triple digits…..

    Thursday, September 17, Fruita Colorado

    Fruita lies in a wide valley carved out by the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers. At the confluence of these two rivers is the city of Grand Junction. Fruita is about ten miles west of GJ. It’s a quaint little town with a picture postcard main street. In one of the brick buildings on this main drag, just east of the round a bout, is the coolest bike shop in all the land. Troy and Sarah’s Over the Edge Sports. Inside, you will find Konas, Ibis’, Marins, and Moots on display. Chris King goodies adorn the display cases and there’s not a hint of purple ano anywhere to be seen. Hanging from the ceiling are vintage bikes beautifully restored. There is a climbing wall in the back and up front is the most comfortable couch in all of Colorado. Friendly and knowledgeable staff are there to answer all of your stupid questions, and always with a smile! This place absolutely rocks!!!!!!! No time to hang out, though, cuz it’s after six and we’re supposed to be at Todo Bien for din din, so after a quick hello to the coolest couple in Colorado (no alliteration intended!) we’re off to meet the rest of the gang!!!!

    Steven and I are among the first to arrive. Slarts and Penny (aka The Sock, but I’m sorry, I just can’t bring myself to call her that!!!!!) are already there, and so is Jim (aka Godzilla) and his wife Christine. I’m surrounded by fantastic people here and I feel blessed to be in their company. The trickling in of people becomes an El Nino flood of mountain bikers. From Cali, it’s the Americas, Charlie, Sue, and Kaeleigh (you’re sooo cute!!!!); the Raricks and their BOMB buddy Mynette (aka certain doc); Chewy and the So Cal boys ; The Stever from Denver, another Bay Area Charlie (Zaphod) and his partner in crime Amy (Cakes). Hey, it’s the Canadians Celly and Kevin, OK, ay!!!! Here comes Spike, she just flew in from Wisconsin and boy are her arms tired! Let’s cut the cheese in her honor!!!! Phfffftttttttt!!!!!! Who did that??? Why, the pasty Alaskan, of course!!!! Oh no, it’s more Californians, dr. hoo and mtbturtle! And from the Deathstar, by way of Oregon, is Vader. I can’t remember if Shiva was there, I think he was somewhere on the other side of the Continental Divide. I’m sure our waitress didn’t mind his absence, though. A newbie, she was maxed out by the big group and probably couldn’t handle any more of us! She mistakenly served us Fat Tire Ales for the bargain price of a buck each. Yeah, baby, you rock!!!! FTA is a great beer anytime, but after sucking down the Utah crap for the last couple of days, let me tell you, it was tasting mighty delicious!!!!!! It ranks right up there with my standards: Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada (hey, I’m a Californian, what’d you expect????) Needless to say, a good time was had by all. After dinner, entertainment was provided by Chewy, Zaph, and Steven, trialsing and screwing around just outside the patio where we dined. Chewy test rides Steven’s Bonty and is caught off guard as he is launched OTB by the incredibly powerful Avid Arch Supremes. That maneuver draws the biggest applause…..

    After dinner it was time to hit the sack. Although I had reservations at the Super Eight, the past two nights found the five of us LA boys crammed like sardines into a single room. I swear, if I hear that "Where is your hand?"-"Between two pillows."-"Those aren’t pillows!" thing one more time….. So Steven and I leave the girls behind and crash Chewy’s site at the Highline Campground. Also there are Charlie, Amy, and Vader. Over in the next site is Jim (‘zilla) and Christine in the pop-up tent trailer. We lay our bags out under the Milky Way and drift off to sleep while scanning the skies for shooting stars and satellites. Life’s too good, baby……

    Friday, September 18, Fruita Colorado

    After having a gnarly breakfast of chorizo and eggs with my fellow campers, Slarts, and Penny, we head across the street to Troy and Sarah’s shop, get re-acquainted with our new friends, and also meet Shiva, in from Joisey by way of Denver; and Spater and his bud Jay from the cosmopolitan metropolis known as Orem, Utah. The gang’s all here! We caravan eastward through Fruita and then northward onto a dirt road to the trailhead of Prime Cut. Sarah gathers all of us around for a quick lecture on how to ride Fruita singletrack. (It’s simple, just stay on the path!) Straying off trail is frowned upon since the soil (as in Moab) is very delicate and is subject to damage and erosion that takes years to recover. It’s alive, it’s alive!!! Macrobiotic soils live and breathe, until you run over it and kill it, that is. It’s at this time that Peds notices Slarty’s specially endowed "package" and announces it to the group. "You’re one lucky gal, Penny!!!!" Peds re-christens Slarts as Donkeyboy. It’s classic Pedalboy, gotta love that! Wooohoooo!!!!

    Sarah starts the ride and leads the group up Prime Cut at a brisk pace, and the pack is strung out in no time flat. I’m somewhat acclimatized to the altitude from riding Moab, but Sarah’s pace has me working hard to keep up. Sarah rocks, baby!!!!! The trail rolls over hilly terrain covered mainly with dried grasses, low shrubs, and a scattering of small trees. Ahead of us are the grayish and brownish cliffs and escarpments of the north rim of the valley. The sun is blazing, and the big sky above radiates deep blue hues. The singletrack meanders into and out of little ravines and over occasional rocky sections, all of which put the bikes’ suspensions to the test. It’s mostly buffed hardpack, fast and fun! The trail begins to climb and Sarah stops to let the others catch up. The heat and altitude are challenging to some, but in no time at all, everyone is present. We ride onto a dirt road for a short stretch and then turn off the road onto more singletrack and more climbing. At another stop, the group seems to have shrunk down a bit, so I go back to investigate. Turns out a few people missed the cutoff from road to singletrack. A few moments later, we’re all present and accounted for, and Sarah is off and running, once again.

    We reach a steep, rutted, and loose section, which is very sketchy, with a couple of tight switchbacks thrown in for fun. Most, including me, end up hiking down, Steven is the only one I see clean the section, although a couple of others may have done so as well. After following a dry wash for a bit, the trail begins to climb again, clinging precariously to the hillside. The trail levels out, with little bumps that make great launching pads. I hop off one of these bumps which is a big mistake because I notice the hillside and trail curve sharply to the right as my flightpath continues straight ahead. I land off the trail in a soft patch of dirt and wash out the front, auguring in on my right side. No biggie, I get up, brush off, straighten the bars, and off I go. The trail leads to a relatively level, open grassy spot, and Sarah decides to make this the turnaround point. We hop off the bikes and break up into little groups and huddle in the shade of the few trees scattered about. Peds limps up to our tree, plops himself down by ‘certain doc’ and begs for medical attention for his wounded knee. I suspect that when no one was looking, he hid behind a rock, pulled the sandpaper out of his flat tire repair kit and created a self-inflicted ‘wound.’ Once again, the Peds takes self-flagellation to new heights. What some people won’t do for attention, I swear!!!!! The Peds takes some vicious ribbing from the group, but remains cool and collected throughout, eventually retreating to the shade of another tree with less hostile people sheltering under it. ‘Certain doc’ comments that the Peds just scored some major points for taking that verbal pummeling and walking away with a smile on his face. She admonishes us not to let pasty boy know this, though. So naturally, I casually walk over to the Peds and inform him of his little point scoring coup. Arms raised in victory, he then proceeds to let loose the most terrifyingly hideous redneck howl right into my ear. Yeowww!!! Come to think of it, it sounded just like those moose mating calls I heard on the Discovery Channel. Alaska can be a mighty lonely place for a man and his little buddy……(unless he’s lucky enough to run into a herd of reindeer, aka the sheep of the tundra. Alaska: where men are men, and the reindeer are scared.)

    We’re off again to retrace the route up from the trailhead. It’s mostly downhill and everyone is thankful for that! Half way back, a some of us take an alternate route which splits off down a side course called Joe’s Ridge. ‘zilla leads the charge and he deftly carves down the trail, which as the name implies, rides right on top of a ridge, with the slopes falling away steeply on both sides. ‘zilla: a great rider and a great person. Yeah, baby, this is soooo cooooolllllll!!! Words just cannot begin to describe the trail, the scenery, the feeling…….

    We meet up back at the parking lot, feeling like a million bucks, and what does the Peds have blaring over the home stereo??? Maybe it’s some Kentucky Bluegrass recommended by The Old Man? Not even! It’s Rupert Holmes’ "The Pina Colada Song" and Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive," followed by the Village Peoples’ "YMCA!" Aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!! And I thought Steven’s Megadeath CD was painful…..

    (continued)...


    After lunch in Fruita and some hangin’ out at Over the Edge, we’re off again for the evening ride. The Pollock Bench trail is on the southern side of the valley, carved out of beautiful red-orange sandstone layers. It’s late in the evening and the sun, low on the horizon, emits deep orange rays that accentuate the natural colors of the sandstone. The high clouds above are tinged a glowing orange along their bottom edges, fading up into rose and violet hues. Did I mention that it’s beautiful up here? Well let me tell you, it’s incredibly beautiful out here!!! The ride is short, six or seven miles over a lollipop shaped trail (half loop, half out and back), but it’s epic nonetheless. The ride starts with a climb that gets fairly technical in some spots, following a jeep trail up to the mesa. Once on top, the jeep trail rolls gently up and down along the top of the mesa. Eventually, it leads to a singletrack that steps down off the edge of the mesa and onto a ledge. Although short, it instantly becomes a favorite for many of the riders. It’s smooth and fast and in places hugs the edge of the ledge. A wheel diameter to the left is a drop off leading down into a gorgeous red sandstone canyon below. Natural berms make great launch pads. The trail screams, "Ride me fast!" but many of us cruise at an easy pace and enjoy the scenery and the sun as it disappears behind the western rim of the canyon. Sarah has picked the perfect time of day to ride this trail, and we are all so very grateful to have experienced this moment. It’s like, totally *****in’, dude!!!! Nightfall comes quickly, and we end the ride in darkness. I’ve got my Niterider, so I hang back, sweeping the trail for strays.

    Most of us gathered at the End Zone in Fruita for dinner. It was a rousing good time and Chewy, with a couple of beers in him, stole the show. He’s an incredibly funny guy and I’m kicking myself because I was so tired I didn’t catch much of his or any other of the conversations around the table. As I recall, Vader and Kevin were yuckin’ it up pretty good as well. And of course Peds was his usual goofy self; but his comments about big ol’ dumb drunk cowboys (within earshot of the big ol’ dumb drunk cowboys at the next table) signaled an end to the evening’s festivities and resulted in a quick exit through the side door.

    Saturday, September 19, Fruita Colorado

    I crawl out of my sleeping bag to find Chewy and Vader already up, sitting around the picnic table chatting with ‘zilla. All I can say is: VADER is the perfect name for Vader. A bear of a man, always seems to wear dark colors, has these big ass black wraparound sunglasses and a thick, black, bushy goatee. Oh yeah, and when he’s bombing super technical descents on that huge Rocky Mountain DH rig, he’s got the biggest ****-eatin’ grin this side of the Mississippi!!! I kid you not! Vader quote of the day: "Last night was pretty lite for me, I only had six beers and three shots." This guy is the walking, talking definition of Freeride; gotta love that, baby! On the opposite end of the spectrum is ‘zilla. Probably old enough to be my dad, he rides more as if he were my little brother: with finesse, skill, and fluidity. Could kick all of our punk asses with one pinky if he wanted to, but would more likely bend over backwards to help out in any way possible. Just a plain all around great rider and great guy.

    After breakfast with Zaph, Amy Cakes, and Steven, we’re off to the bike shop to meet for the day’s group ride. Sarah’s taking us to the Kokopelli loops, adjacent to the Colorado river. Although I caravan behind Ped’s monstrous gray van, I pull a brainfart, lose sight of the van and get lost! A couple of trips back to the bike shop and a forty five minutes later, I finally make it to the trailhead. Sorry for the delay, folks!!!! We ride Mary’s Loop and the Horsethief Bench Loop. These trails are in the same general area as Pollock Bench, and once again, the views are spectacular. But wait, there’s more! These loop trails follow along the gorge cut by the Colorado river, so at certain vantage points, you can look down and see the river gleaming hundreds of feet below as it winds its way towards Utah and beyond. A refreshing breeze blows up from the river, providing natural A/C for us very appreciative mountain bikers. Absolutely stunning. It’s somewhere along this path that the Stever becomes ‘the Bleeder.’ Can you say HEMOPHILIAC???? Luckily, certain doc is there for expert diagnosis, treatment, and impeccable bedside manner: "Looks like a clean cut. Squirt some water on it and you’ll be fine."

    I’m pacing behind Amy and Penny and notice how smooth their riding style is. I’m in awe and taking notes… And then there’s Zaph, riding around (as always) in sandals!!!!!! Kickin’ butt with his pigglies hangin’ in the breeze. I love it, baby!!! (on you, that is. I’m quite satisfied with my Sidis, thank you.) Charlie America attaches the ride-along to his Voo Doo so little Kaeleigh can grind up the hills while papa kicks back and enjoys the scenery. It’s a great to see dr. hoo and Slarts back in the saddle after all that time healing off the bikes.

    We complete the Horsethief loop and must negotiate a short, steep, rocky, super technical climb back to Mary’s loop. It’s basically a boulder strewn staircase. We pull out our cameras and watch in awe as the wildmen hike up, and then descend down this gnarly pitch. On his first attempt, Steven dabs half way down, but determined to succeed, he cleans it on his next try. The crowd goes wild! For Chewy and Vader, it’s a walk in the park. Those guys are so awesome!!! Mike gives it a shot and dabs, but successfully completes his run the second time around. More cheers! Shiva (riding the aluminum KONA with a Bomber out front, snicker, snicker) notes that the only two hardtails to clean the section are steel BONTRAGERS!!!

    At this time, some of the Cali contingent bids farewell. Slarts, Penny, Zaph, and Amy begin their long trek home. I’m takin’ pictures on the staircase below and miss saying goodbye, so I’ll do it now: It was truly a pleasure meeting, camping, and riding with you folks, and I’m sure we’ll be doing it again!!! It was brilliant! Good on ya!!! Adios, amigos.

    We press on towards Lion’s and Troy’s loops. The trail becomes rockier and Vader suffers a flat and then minutes later, so do I. We all regroup at a natural stopping point which overlooks the Colorado river far below. Tiny colorful dots on the river drift lazily by, they are rafters out for a day of fun and sun. The Camelbaks are getting low and Sarah leads a group back to the trailhead. Certain doc gathers up the rest and continues outward bound. We continue to climb over loose and rocky terrain and damn! I flatted again! A quick fix and I’m gingerly picking my way over the challenging terrain. Steven latches onto and stays glued to certain doc’s rear wheel. He’s so close, he can’t see the trail ahead and must react with lightning reflexes to obstacles in the trail. Certain doc asks him, "Are you riding this close to me for trials practice, or do you just like lookin’ at my twat????" Wooo Hoooo!!!! I’m dyin’!!!!! Gotta love it, baby, gotta love it!!! You hafta understand that certain doc is a dreamgirl: vivacious, sassy, smart - she’s a doctor fer chrissakes, cute as a button, and a kick ass mountain biker with a great sense of humor. I think Snookum’s gotta crush on her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    After what seemed an eternity of rocky climbing, we finally reach the top and take a much needed rest. Some of us test ride Peds’ Diamond Back V10 and go gaa gaa over it’s plushness (but I’m still a hardtail retro-grouch at heart). Then it’s a sweet, sweet descent into a side canyon leading us away from the Colorado river and back towards the trailhead. Vader’s got that big ass ****-eating grin action going on again. We’re all having a blast. The trail levels and there’s one last climb: it’s smooth and the grade is moderate, but the afternoon breeze is a howling crosswind and we struggle to keep from being blown off the singletrack. The trail ends and we continue on an access road that gently dips and rolls five miles back to the cars. What a ride that was!!!!!! Certain doc, Peds, Kevin, Vader, Steven, Mike, Scott, Ed, and myself are the riders that complete the full loop.

    We all pile into Wendy’s for a much needed lunch and Peds whips out a photo album with pics of Resurrection Pass, the Kenai Fjords, Nova Scotia, and Belize. Pretty damn cool. About this time, the concensus is to hit the jacuzzi action at the Super Eight, which is what most end up doing. Love is in the air and I’m positive that there’s something brewing, but Steven and I head back to Pollock Bench for the night ride, so you’ll have to get yer dirt elsewhere, kiddies... When we get to the trailhead, the group has already left. Steven jets off and I climb slowly up to the mesa where I finally catch the group, stopped while Celly(?) fixes a flat. More wonderful singletrack at sunset. Beauty, baby. On the way back, the photogs setup to capture Chewy and Steven as they launch off the big double: two sandstone ledges, one directly after the other. Chewy bobbles the first part and while letting out a "Yeowww!!!," lands the second jump front wheel first. Steven is clean on the Bontrager hardtail. Damn, they’re good…. Us mortals hike this section.

    ‘zilla and Christine have the BBQ action going on at their campsite, and everyone’s invited!!!! Foil-wrapped potatoes roast slowly in the coals, sweet corn is cooked in its husk, burgers, hotlinks, and marinated chicken breasts are grilled over the open fire. Oh yeah, there’s some beer, too. And the tequila flows freely as well. Hornitos- just what the doctor ordered!!! Troy and Sarah are presented with a gift from the group: A certificate for dinner at their favorite restaurant, a coupon for portraits at a local photo studio, and picture frames for the portraits. Thanks, Christine and Sue for picking up the gifts! BTW, the romantic dinner for two was Peds’ idea. I tell ya, whatta guy!!!! An unnamed teenager is overcome with emotion but Chewy manages to convert the tears into laughter. Chewy rocks!!!!! Troy almost manages to single-handedly get the party shut down, but as it turns out, the park ranger is a mountain biker, so we’re cut some slack. Score!!!! Hey Troy, can you speak up? I think that elderly couple with hearing aids on the far side of Fruita didn’t catch the punchline to your last joke!!!! What else is there to say??? It’s all good, baby, it’s all good……

    Sunday, September 20, Fruita Colorado

    It was a chilly night under the stars and the nagging minor sorethroat of the past couple of days is now full blown tonsillitis. Damn! It’s one last quickie at Pollock Bench and I am spanked! The rest of the group decides to take one more loop so with difficulty, I say my good byes to the riders there: ‘zilla, Charlie America, the Stever, Scott, Steven, Ed, Angela, dr. hoo, Chewy, Spike, and a hug for Celly!…. I think about stopping off at Over the Edge to bid a last farewell to everyone else, but dammit, I suck at good-byes and it’s just too difficult a task for me to handle, sniff, sniff!!!!!! So it’s out on the highway for the loooonnnnggg drive home.

    I cannot tell you all what a great time this was for me. Thanks again to everyone, it was absolutely the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Gary (severely missing the people and trails of Fruitopia) Park

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Was that the gathering...

    with the naked guys and helmets?

    How are things, Gary?
    Tequila is a pallid flame that passes through walls and soars over tile roofs to allay despair. A. Mutis

  8. #8
    Des(s)ert Rat
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    Ah yes, the nekkid guys. Those were the days...

    I'm sure there is a photo of them somewhere in the depths and bowels of MTBR...

  9. #9
    Rolling
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    Holy crap. Those photos make it look like it was 1968 with the kodachrome look. Thanks for sharing that. I just saw stever the other day. He still rides that and his schwinn underground.

    BTW, that indeed is godzilla in the photo.

    This is a huge passion hit!

  10. #10
    beer thief
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    Yeah, good stuff. I remember reading all this with envy. Amazing how 10 years flies by and all the great folks I've met through MTBR.

    Classsic.

  11. #11
    a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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    What was the price of gas then? Lots of 4-cyl cars in those pics... good idea then, good idea now.
    I read that on the internet.

  12. #12
    Rolling
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40hills
    What was the price of gas then? Lots of 4-cyl cars in those pics... good idea then, good idea now.
    Gas might have been the cheapest ever in those days! The nineties is what spurred the SUV craze.



    Quote Originally Posted by radair
    all the great folks I've met through MTBR.

    Classsic.
    You being the exception.

    Hey Sarah, your kids are so adorable.

  13. #13
    North Van/Whistler
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    damn what great memories and what good looking kids and mum!
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  14. #14
    Slarts
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    I dont want to even think about that being a decade ago.

    Denial aint just a river in Egypt.

    Slarts
    Owner
    The Bike Shop That Dare Not Speak Its Name

  15. #15
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    yikes

    holy craHp... life was so simple then. It was ride-camp-ride all summer long.

    With 2 kids, things are not the same at all. While I hit some great trails out here in the Pacific NW, full weekends of endless riding are few and far between.

    The one cycling thing that has improved is my discovery of CYCLOCROSS. Super fun suffering.

  16. #16
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    Damn, funny how one email brings up the past...

    Good times for sure...10 years? damn. I need to get back on my mountain bike!

    Thanks for the blast down mammory lane Gary!

    bryan

  17. #17
    sh*t disturber
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    Dang Gary, I'm feeling old.

    Fruita was definitely a crowning glory on what was an amazing spring/summer/fall of great adventures (Wissler/WD and Froooota) of course.

    Those were the days!

    Nice to see all the usual suspects in this thread and lots of old faces on those pics. Thanks for the great "Memory Lane" fix Gary and I hope you're all doing great.

    celly (celebrated 5 year nuptial anniversary with Spike this past weekend).

    p.s. Sar, glad to see that the kids kept YOUR good looks.

  18. #18
    sh*t disturber
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    Hiya Bry.

  19. #19
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    Woah, ten years? That's really hard to believe. It seems like we were flying down Joe's Ridge just yesterday...

    fruita1.jpg
    Me. Did Slarts take this?

    fruita3.jpg
    celly and chewy.

    fruita4.jpg
    'zilla on Joe's.

    fruita9.jpg
    Spike near the river.

    fruita14.jpg
    celly, chewy and Chester Peach Jr.

    fruita16.jpg
    Charlie America, me and chewy.

    fruita19.jpg
    Charlie's good side.

    gangb.jpg
    Everbuddy.

  20. #20
    bi-winning
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    Awesome throwback post!
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  21. #21
    Up yer kilt!
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    SHIVA?!?!?!

    Oh Gary... how much water has passed under the bridge since those days?

    I look back at those pictures with great nostalgia and remember how much just plain FUN it was to be out riding in the sunshine with "friends I have never met".

    Damn but I miss riding with you guys. I have yet to find the same level of... dare I say it, Passion up here as I had down in the lower 48.

    Anyway, I'll be back for my Turkeyday Ride with The Sock, so you'd better have a loaner for me Chris... ;:^)

    Ah, the memories...

  22. #22
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman
    You being the exception...
    Hey, I was only kidding when I called you a hack!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by parkmeister

    Snookums on a hardtail.
    25DSC_5070a.jpg

    Cleans it.
    26DSC_5069a.jpg

    Vader.
    27DSC_5074a.jpg

    Piece of cake.
    28DSC_5068a.jpg
    Hmmm...

    I've only been to Fruita twice, both times in 2005, but if I'm not mistaken, the above
    entrance to Horsethief certainly looked quite a bit less eroded 10 years ago. As I recall,
    in 2005, the boulders as well as the gaps between the boulders looked quite a bit larger
    than the above shots suggest.

    And look at those bikes! Yes, I've been riding a MTB for 17+ years, but how soon we
    forget as technology slowly creeps along in advance. Certainly, some 10 years from now,
    we may look back at the 2008 bikes and get the same laughs.

    -- Evil Patrick

    Some of my Music

    My Videos

    The trail...shall set you free.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
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    Re:

    Skimming through this thread makes me feel like Haley Joel Osment: "I see dead people."

    No wait, you all aren't really dead, just crawling out of ultra deep undercover lurker mode. Cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zignzag
    Was that the gathering with the naked guys and helmets?
    Nope, that pic was from the infamous Pedalboy's Moab gathering a year or three later. That was the funniest pic I've ever seen on MTBR, I hope someone can dig it up and post it. Fvckin' hilarious!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zignzag
    How are things, Gary?
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaphod
    With 2 kids, things are not the same at all..
    Zaph, that's got to be the understatement of the year. I've got two anklebiting mongrel rugrats running me to the ragged edge of exhaustion and sanity, but I gotta say, it's pretty wonderful.

    Our daughters: Frankie (3) and Edie (1)
    DSC_4632c.jpg

    Boy oh boy, reading some of these posts has got me choked up a bit; those are some really fond memories for me and I'm glad to have shared them with you 'Old Farts'. (and fresh ones, too)

    Thanks Shiva for those crazy funny pics and CA, I hope to see you in November.



    See ya,

    Gary

  25. #25
    Relax. I'm a pro.
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    Whoa. Memories. I didn't go to this gathering, but I remember reading about it in the college library. I finally made it up to Replay by the Bay, organized by Charlie America, and had a blast. Best riding weekend of my life. Do you remember me, Gary? I'm Antoine, the guy from the Los Angeles area on a blue Curtlo. It was a pleasure riding with you (and everybody else) that weekend.

  26. #26
    Trail rider and racer
    Reputation: Trevor!'s Avatar
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    What a classic passion post .... Thanks for sharing for us post 1998 MTBR folk.
    Trev!

  27. #27
    mtbr rememberer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Patrick
    And look at those bikes! Yes, I've been riding a MTB for 17+ years, but how soon we
    forget as technology slowly creeps along in advance. Certainly, some 10 years from now,
    we may look back at the 2008 bikes and get the same laughs.

    I'm still riding the same bike. Feel free to laugh.

    Thanks for bringing back some great memories, o oldtimers from the ancient days of MTBR who still lurk in the shadows.
    Join the Turtle Clan!

  28. #28
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    Where does the time go?. Can't believe this is over 10 years ago. I haven't been on a mountain bike for almost 10 years. NUTS!.

  29. #29
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    Thanks for this thread, guys. The last time I was in Moab was around 2000. Your sentiments capture mine regarding my own trip quite nicely. Thanks.

  30. #30
    North Van/Whistler
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    darn fine stuff
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

  31. #31
    Ser
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    Heh. I remember this trip. I’m Spater’s buddy Jay, and I still dream about Pollock Bench...saddens me it got closed down.

    Twenty two years ago. Dayum.

    Need to get back out to Fruita. I hear OTE closed years back. Is Horsetheif still a must hit ride?

    -Jay

  32. #32
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarubla_redux View Post
    Heh. I remember this trip. I’m Spater’s buddy Jay, and I still dream about Pollock Bench...saddens me it got closed down.

    Twenty two years ago. Dayum.

    Need to get back out to Fruita. I hear OTE closed years back. Is Horsetheif still a must hit ride?

    -Jay
    OTE is alive and well.
    https://otesports.com/locations/fruita/

    Horsethief is still a must ride.... there's just lots more options in the area as well.

  33. #33
    No known cure
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    Holy carp. A blast from the past and one of my favorite mountain bike memories.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

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