Tag Archives: COPMOBA

Building a Pump Track with COPMOBA in Montrose

Sharon at the pump track

A pump track is a short dirt track for bicycles that is designed to teach you how to use momentum and your whole body to propel yourself forward without pedaling.  Imagine how you can pump your legs on a swing to gain speed and you have the basic concept.  The Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) got approval from the Montrose City Council to build a pump track and skills area at Cerise Park in October and now, after only three days of volunteer labor the track is a reality, open for riding this past weekend.   The track was even featured on the front page of the Montrose Daily Press, with two photos of Jay.

Sharon with the other volunteers building pump track

The track was built that fast because of community support.  The city lent their equipment and operators.  Donny, the owner of Cascade Bicycles and a former project manager in construction, directed the crews.  Bill Harris, a COPMOBA Board Member who literally wrote the book on mountain biking around Montrose, recruited the volunteers.  Rob Brethouwer, founder of the Montrose Area Bicycle Alliance brought the crew lunch.  Each day at its peak we had a crew of a dozen volunteers all of whom cared about making Montrose a town that had a lot to offer bicyclists.  Several of the volunteers were older and they were excited about bringing kids and grandkids down to the track.  This project got everyone excited because they saw it as a fun venue for all ages, a place where young kids could get a feel for mountain biking by pedaling over rollers and experienced racers could build up speed and just fly over the rollers and into the next turn.

Jay and other volunteers building pump track

This project was particularly fun because it offered a chance to learn new things and problem solve.  When we showed up on Tuesday morning there were only three other volunteers.  We started on the first berm and realized that the dirt was so dry that it would just slough off and couldn’t be compacted.  We had water, but our only delivery method was to transfer the water from the truck into buckets and then use a bucket with holes in the bottom to sprinkle the water over the dirt.  It was a strenuous and messy process.  The project leaders quickly started brainstorming and calling around to get the right tools and pretty soon we had a hose and a pump and could spray down the track.  None of us had ever built a pump track before, but together we figured it out and learned a great deal along the way.  I hope I get an opportunity to build another track and put those new skills to use!

North Fruita Desert, 18 Road Trail System, Fruita, CO

Fruita desert

North Fruita desert

On our way through Fruita, Colorado Sharon and I rode and camped in the North Fruita Desert right next to the 18 Road trail system.  This area is the smoothest and most flowing in the Grand Junction / Fruita region.  My top two favorites are Zippity Do Da and Chutes and Ladders to Edge Loop. Joe’s Ridge and Zippity Do Da both offer fast steep exposed trail that goes right down a ridge line.  It looks intimidating and sort of is because of the speed you can carry, but the trail tread is smooth and most of the turns are nice, wide, sweeping and a little banked.  This whole trail system could be easily ridden in two days or one super epic day.  One day for everything besides the Edge Loop and one day for the Edge Loop.  The area is not without a few tough climbs, Prime Cut to Chutes and Ladders offers up a tough climb with multiple short steep pitches and a switchback or two.  The speed and flow are what make the campground and parking areas fill up.  This is a very popular trail system, because of its fun for everyone factor.

Riding the whole Edge Loop is something I have in my sights, as I just have not got a chance to yet.

Sharon here, adding my two cents since I had the opportunity to ride this trail system as well.  Kessel Run is the only trail marked as beginner and it is a ton of fun.  You can ride it in both directions and it is just made for a fun rollercoaster ride.  Kids love this trail, which can be a bit hard on the ego, but also inspiring to watch a seven year old girl flying both up and down the trail (while guys with big heavy bikes get their friends to shuttle them up the road).  I am also really stoked about the new trail we helped work on, Down Uppity.  You can get to it from Vegetarian (an easy but pretty boring connector trail) and it is a smooth easy route.  It is only harder than Kessel Run in terms of being up on a rise with a bit of exposure at times, but it is every bit as flowing.

Grand Junction Lunch Loop Trail System

I will start with a map.

Map of lunch loop trail system



Lunch Loop BLM Map [PDF]  – Trail conditions and info available on COPMOBA’s site.

Yes, this time I actually remembered to take a few photos. Still cell phone pictures, no helmet mount video cam yet. Which is sad because I had a great day on the bike and managed to ride nearly everything I tried. Not wanting to snap my fork or jaw bone, with no full face helmet, I skipped two large drops.  That said I also rode many of the big drops.

This system runs the full range from the flowing, easy Kids Meal Loop to the full on, big obstacle free ride session offered up at Free Lunch.  I took a bit of time and rode a lot of the trails in the system.  After more than three hours of riding I still missed a few, but hopefully I can ride them when we pass through Grand Junction again.  I started by climbing a good deal, up Tabeguache.  I then turned and climbed Pre-Nup.  Climbing Pre-Nup is a good challenge.  I was up to most of it except one switchback that was ridiculously steep increasing radius turn with ledges.  Coming down the switchback would probably be a lot of fun.  From the top of Pre-Nup I picked up Lunch Line and rode it to the start of Free Lunch.

View from top of Free Lunch

I of course stopped to snap the photo of the view above, then on to Free Lunch.

Free Lunch screening drop

The rock shown in the photo above is a ramp that drops into the start of Free Lunch.  There is a sign next to it explaining that this is a difficult trail and if the first drop is too much you should pick another trail.  I rolled this one at a good clip.  There are much bigger more technical drops later on that are optional.  I went for one of the bigger drops and it was actually quite smooth.  Later on in the ride there is no clearly defined trail, only boundary markers to stay within.  This was a lot of fun, picking an interesting but not too interesting line.  From the bottom of Free Lunch it was on to Holy Cross.  Holy Cross was super fun with some good solid rock gardens, ledges and other features and also a good bit of speed and flow.  No wonder everyone that lives around here says Holy Cross is a must ride.  From the end of Holy Cross I rode Ali Ali to Raven Ridge and climbed the ridge.  From here I took High Noon back over to Pucker Up.

start of Pucker Up trail

The rock berm in the center was even more fun than it looks.  At the bottom of Pucker Up I took the Tabeguache trail down to Curt’s Lane. I hadn’t planned on being out so long, but once I got warmed up I just didn’t want to stop.  Still plenty of stuff I did not ride left for next time.  Just a great day on the bike.

Got Trail? Learning from COPMOBA

Fruita desert

North Fruita desert

Five hours after we put the trail tools back in the truck we finally got back from our trail building volunteer project with COPMOBA.  When I was a volunteer manager, I would measure the success of our volunteer leadership team by how late the volunteers hung around afterwards swapping stories and brainstorming new ideas.  After fixing a new trail at 18 Road in Fruita we spent at least 1 hour hanging out in the parking lot and then headed into town to grab pizza and a free beer at the Hot Tomato Cafe (a local restaurant owned by mountain bikers).  This is a very successful club with a lot to teach us.

Bike trailer used to haul trail tools, photo by Giselle Smith

Bike trailer used to haul trail tools, photo by Giselle Smith

For one, this club knows what it is about and they walk their talk.  Sustainable singletrack.  In their mission statement they are specific, they are about building and maintaining sustainable singletrack.  When we got to the parking lot on Saturday they were loading a Bob trailer with trail tools so that we could ride out to the work site.  WOAH, I thought, these guys are hard core and resourceful.  It sent a great message, as we rode our bikes out to the work site we passed recreational riders who saw the trailer hauling tools and knew what we were about.  We got a lot of thank yous during the day and a few questions from riders about how they could get involved.  Awesome!

COPMOBA receives grant from REI for Fruita trails

COPMOBA recently received funding from REI to build an interpretive mountain bike trail in Fruita

The trail we worked on was a new trail they had built with approval from the BLM (who owns the land).  As part of the 18 Road trail system they are building trails with good flow.  IMBA refers to this style as flow country trails which are designed specifically to take mountain bikers on a “singletrack joyride”.  I love this development in trail building because the trails are not prohibitively technical for beginner riders, but are fun for all levels.  We had the opportunity to fix two of the turns which had originally been built with an increasing radius and therefore would force the rider to slow down and turn in too tightly instead of being able to flow from one turn to the next.

COPMOBA Crew working on Down Uppity Trail, Photo By Giselle Smith

COPMOBA Crew working on Down Uppity Trail, Photo By Giselle Smith

The video below shows some of the trails in the 18 Road system:

COPMOBA crew working on the Lower Uppity, photo by Giselle Smith

COPMOBA crew working on the Lower Uppity, photo by Giselle Smith

Being on the trail with COPMOBA, I was reminded of proper trail etiquette.  18 Road is a busy trail system and we encountered a lot of riders.  Depending on how much we had torn up the trail, sometimes riders would need to wait till it was all clear and other times they would need to dismount and walk their bike through the section.  The COPMOBA members instructed riders to actually pick up their bikes so that they wouldn’t leave tire tracks beside the trail.  They also talked about the importance of riders sticking to the center line and not going off trail to pass or for any other reason.  It’s about sustainable singletrack.  They are going to build a trail that can handle a lot of riders, but the environment can only afford it if you can stay on that trail.

Jacob and Jay working on Down Uppity, photo by Giselle Smith

Jacob and Jay working on Down Uppity, photo by Giselle Smith

Grand Junction and Fruita are mountain bike towns.  COPMOBA sees a lot of community support and we were thanked for our time and effort by free stuff from supportive businesses.  Free beer and clothing – what a great way to recognize and retain volunteers!  I hope we can do more with COPMOBA in the future.

Sharon sporting COPMOBA shirt and hat

showing off my new shirt and hat from COPMOBA