The Fruita/Grand Junction Adventure of 2007

Just returned from three days of bike riding, moto riding and business meetings. Ripping singletrack is the new golf. Today is tired but happy.

The more you click, the more I can post. Lee Likes Groceries dot com!

The photos could have been more abundant and better composed, but this trip was more about ripping than reporting.


Fireman Jeff and I drove to Grand Valley OHV Area in Grand Junction and let fly.

I didn’t throw down for the Sprinter because it’s easy to park. KTM 450 EXC, Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper, Specialed Enduro SL, Honda CRF450X.

And out they come. Jeff does the honors.

Tons of hills and ridges and washes. It’s a skate park for motorcycles. Here’s our November 2005 adventure.

I picked a random trail, and it went up up up … Jeff plans his next move.

… riding back down. This is 100x steeper than it looks.

Looking down the trail and flicking the beast through this little chicane. Yum, yum, yum.

OK, I wanted to ride across the ridge and drop into the berm with the red dot …

… but I got disoriented, got cross-rutted and just about lost it. I was actually wondering how, exactly, I’d be removed from the moto when I looked ahead and saw this little cliff. Instinct took over: I blipped the throttle, shifted back and hucked it perfectly to a 40mph backside. Thank goodness for all my bike riding. Without that instinct it would have been ugly!


We had the place to ourselves. Such is the pleasure of being a firefighter or a freelancer — flexible schedules baby!

We rode moto at the Rabbit Valley OHV area near the Utah border, and it was so dang good there are no photos. Random snippets:

Pulling 3rd gear across sand whoops, bap-bap-juuuump bap-bap-juuuuuuump! Blipping 1st gear singletrack, up rock ledges and along a tire-wide sidecut with oblivion on the outside; must … look … forward. 10 nonstop miles of whoops, ups, downs and tree slaloms. Imagine the best MTB singletrack, heart rate of 140bpm, just working and pumping and braaaping nonstop. Hard to beat.

We drove to the 18 Road trailhead in Fruita, where we ran into Kyle from Yeti-RPM. The three of us rocked Kessle Run not once, but twice. Miles of rollers and berms snake down an almost rock-free wash. The climb is so easy and the descent is so sweet — oh man. Said Jeff, “this is the first time a decent seemed longer than the climb.” Kessle Run is so blessed, I can see that being the case.

This was a no-stop, no-photo ride, but after jumping this little table and landing in the turn to the sound of ripping knobs and singing angels, I called a do-over. Kyle gets it done. Jeff shoots.

My turn. So happy-making.


Today Jeff and I split up. While I got my ass kicked by trainer James Wilson (more on that soon), Jeff explored the east end of the Kokopelli Trail on moto. The trail winds 140 miles from Fruita to Moab, and that seems like a good project.

Sweet Colorado River action.

Not super tech, but definitely fun.

Jeff, right on. Thanks for stopping to shoot a photo. That can be tough to do …

It’s orange, it’s Austrian and it’s overlooking the Colorado.

After the training session, James and I met Ryan Cranston at his house. Ryan races DH and SD for Yeti, and he works for MRP. Good guy. He took on his local loop, which did not suck.

Ryan takes his carbon 575 just past its design envelope.

Pedal your brains out, climb this rock and gap across the trail. Uphill.

Cool diving-board line. That muscly guy is James Wilson. When you’re that strong you’re not allowed to wear a shirt.

The trailhead is 100 feet from Ryan’s front door. Not sucking.

Of course Rufus came! 2.5 years after his left-leg amputation, he has cancer on his liver — but he’s still the champion and my special little precious. I’m hatching a plan to drive him to the Labrador coast this fall.

Back to work. Next adventure: Moab around March 20.

16 replies
  1. mike says:

    Awesome stuff !!

    Here in CT the riding sucks but seeing your trip pictures and reading about the fun keeps me inspired!



  2. Patrick McCarthy says:

    Hey that looks sweet!! We are still covered in snow out in the northeast. hope to get on the road this weekend where the temps will be above freezing for the first time in forever.
    I was wondering about a review on the Enduro SL?????? I just got one and I’ve only ridden it once for about 4 hours and loved every minute of it. I wanted to get your thoughts on the suspension set up for drops and jumps. I love the fork, but seem to bottom it out on even smaller drops. I put more air in it, but haven’t had a chance to ride it again. When I had the recommended air pressure for me (I’m 160lbs) I thought it was a bit soft. I still think it is the best bike I’ve ever ridden though. Thanks!!!!

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Patrick,

    My Enduro SL has FOX suspension, so I can’t comment on setting up the Specialized stuff. But I’m supposed to get it soon …

    I’ll tell you this: That bike rips!

  4. corey says:

    living vicariously through your words and pix, keep it up lee! we need it badly on the mud soaked east coast! sorry to hear about rufie, i think the homeland trip is a great idea!

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    You’re right: Not cool.

    I passed Over The Edge Sports on the way to 18 Road thinking I’d drop by on the way back, but after riding the shop was closed. I’ll be back out that way in a couple weeks …

  6. Scott says:

    Oh man, I miss Fruita. Lee, is that last riding shot from the Lunch Loop area in Grand Junction? (looks like bentonite hill)

    btw… Rode the demo forest today. Great traction, no dust, good friends, and lots of jumps. A damned fine day.

  7. leelikesbikes says:

    Scott! Yep, that’s the Lunch Loop. Great stuff! Sweet on the Demo … you’re jumping!!!???!!! Awesome. 🙂

  8. Scott says:

    Lee. The Lunch Loop area kicks butt. Did you get a chance to ride Holy Cross? Awesome flow, and the turn that goes around and under the huge boulder is amazingly cool. Our buddy Kevin Foote lives in that same area. (he’s the guy who designed a lot of the best trails around Fruita and GJ)

    I hesitate to call what I’m doing ‘jumping’. I ride off the end of ramps and keep my front wheel up. No gaps, and certainly no style.

    Give the chow-buddy a tummy rub from me. I miss that guy. Azoo jabba jabba!

  9. leelikesbikes says:

    Holy Cross = YES!!!!

    Dude, what a trail. That’s the kind of trail 6″ trail bikes are made for. Riding it with Ryan Cranston was a bonus — he knows every detail “Lee, around this bush is a rock, hit it with speed and double it …”

    Keep rocking your jmp kung fu. Next time I see you ‘ll show you the secrets; with all your riding experience, it’ll be a snap.

    Rufus says AZOO JABBA JOOO!!!!!

  10. slyfink says:

    Sorry to hear about Rufus… hope he pulls through. I hear the labrador coast is spectacular…

    Oh, and nice trip too… sounds as close to perfection as you can get…

  11. leelikesbikes says:

    Thanks re: Rufus, and you’re right about the trip. A great bro, great trails, bikes, motos, The Rufus … Living the life!

  12. slyfink says:

    I did that trip last year when I split up with my s/o of 9 years… actually I did two trips: one to the Chilcotins for some backcountry riding that is unsurpassed in my books and one to Les Gets in France that has some of the best riding I’ve ever done as well (I highly recommend both). In both places the good camaraderie of close friends made them trips to remember for the rest of my life.

    good luck dude… hope you enjoy your new life as much as I am…

  13. leelikesbikes says:

    Thanks brother. The world is an oyster, and her shell is opening for me …

    Or something like that!!! 🙂

  14. Harri says:

    Wow, I was just searching for s-works on google images and came up with this. I’ve just spent the day at work dreuling over the new 2008 specialized bikes coming out, especially the s-works beasts!!!

    It looks like you guys have your lives made!! KTM 450 and an s-works stumpy…..

    I’m just custom building an sx trail III frame at work at the moment. It’s burning a hole in my pocket but it’s going to be bloody amazing!! I’ve also got a Suzuki RM250 (2 stroke all the way). I just need the merc sprinter to go with it all.

    That looks like an amazing place to ride mtb and mx!!

    Remember, MONEY’S FOR SPENDING!!!

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