A week of wet and rainy weather dampened the desert dirt and made for some awesome riding this year for Ranchstyle. Grand Junction is home to some of the best trails in Colorado and I was excited to sample a classic that has somehow eluded me, The Ribbon Trail. This high speed slickrock ribbon of trail dropped us down below of Little Park Rd where we would climb up to and connect to the Gunny Loop Trail. Before the weekend even started I felt satisfied finally checking that trail off my list, but I'll be back as it was a blast.
Once Up on the Gunny Loop it was time to get into "race mode" and pay attention during our pre-ride. The track starts at the Little Park parking lot and descends 700 feet over 4 miles to the valley floor and is littered with single and double track with some seriously fun downs and lung busting uphill climbs near the finish line. I felt strong over the 11 miles of total riding for the day and looked forward to the fallowing mornings Live Train Race Enduro. It was Michael's first day back on the bike and out of the snow, so he was stoked to get the tires rolling once again and is looking forward to the season.
An early morning beckoned as we rolled up to the line for a 9am start, but the sun was shinning and all competitors were ready to ride. This event is a local, smaller regional event, but with some heavy hitting competition, this would sure be a great early season test and great training opportunity to build upon. After watching "Rad" Ross Schnell blast off in front of me I had some serious motivation to give it my all, but after sprinting off the line in 1 minute intervals I found my rear tire drifting off the trail and I came to a complete stop. After re-starting I tried to pace myself for the grueling uphill climbs that loomed near the finish, but after 13 minutes of sustained riding I didn't quite have enough towards the back stretch and faded in the last few minutes, crossing the line with a time of 16 minutes and change feeling a little out of sorts and out of shape (In comparison to Schnell who crushed the field with a sub 15 minute time), but finishing in 5th place. Michael was rolling flat pedals and still getting time in on the bike and spent the race enjoying his ride and testing bike setup as he came down in 12th place. We both thoroughly enjoyed the racing but realized that we have some room for improvement in the fitness department so we spent an additional 20 miles riding Lunch Loops with Ross as he guided us and friends around his local rides.