Gunny Loop

October 10, 2011
Lunchtime, and a chance to get in a quick loop somewhere close ….. where is it going to be today? It’s gotta be close, and not run too long, and get a little bit of everything in…… I think I’ll head to the Gunny Loop.
OK, blaze up Little Park Road and park at the pullout where the Tabeguache hits the pavement. This makes for a quick start and my favorite way to get going. Helmet, shoes, bag – check. Sometimes I forget those things – have been known to do an occasional lunchtime ride in my work shoes and socks … you too? Dress in a hurry and drop the trusty steed off of the bike rack. Brake check – clip in and blaze immediately onto the trail, dropping through the little rock jumble, and hit that little rock kicker with a little speed that lets me know the Quick read more or view full article ride is up and running.
Confession - I like the Gunnector Trail. It does its job quite well – connecting to the old part of Gunny with trail that replaced road, and it does it in a rolly, climby, little-of-this and little-of-that fashion. And at lunchtime, I rarely see another soul on the trail. Isn’t that one cool thing about riding around here? More often than not you have a trail to yourself - I dig that. There are a couple of small ridges to climb up and over, contouring your way along, with a number of fast paced descents. That first mile or so just get’s the legs moving and the blood flowing. Climbing again up through the rock band that sort of tops the local area, you continue South and pass that trail that peels off down the gully. We just worked on the lower part of that trail, to complete it, and I don’t even know that it has a formal name yet – though it does have a sign now!
Pick up the pace a little.
Contouring again, tiny rock blips here and there, leading to and past the trail that joins in from just slightly higher up Little Park Rd. You ride past a spot where some souls are using a small rock ledge to form an impromptu drop onto the trail from above … note to self, we should formalize that line, it’s a good one. Round the corner, a quick lunge move up a small rock, and you’re now on top of that very same rock ledge, though you don’t really see it. A bit further on and you cross one of the old double track sections of road out there, then take advantage of that quick curve and smooth descent down into the next drainage. A couple fun rocky corners and groovy curves, and you climb up to the main old double track that used to be the main descent into Gunny.
OK, yes, you can still ride down the road for those of you that dig a fast and groovy and rocky double track descent. I happen to prefer the new section of trail that loops South and East. You start that bugger with some crunchy embedded rock – but keep your flow through there, don’t grab much front brake anywhere, and you are set for a good section of descending that has formed up pretty well as a fair fast techy descent. This wraps East and then North and ties back into the old double track again after another section of large embedded rock.
Some folks have made some grumpy noises about that new section of trail – don’t much care for the rocks they say. To me it represents one thing about trails – ride what you’ve got and enjoy it.

Now you drop back onto the older Gunny singletrack section and pick up a bit of speed. The fun rocky corner comes up quick – drop and duck and weave for a second and carry lots of speed through there – round the corner and head East – down the fast descent towards the river. This section is a hoot. You can slow down and enjoy the scenery… OK, never mind. It doesn’t last forever, but it is a nice slice of descending that lets you flow and also practice your braking and timing and spinning on a few sections. Somebody keeps putting a bunch of trees and brush in that one odd corner that flows better as a fast drop, and somebody else keeps clearing it out. It’s a good line, let’s leave it open.
Eventually you G-out in the small gulley at the bottom of the main descent and curve to the North. Still fast trail here if you want it to be. This area has some of those fast broad and smooth curves that a lot of people like. You can feel fast even of you’re not. Who doesn’t like that?
One more little rock drop and chicane surprises some folks – skid marks off the trail attesting to that. Guess you have to earn your scars somewhere. Eventually you curve around to the West just a bit and hit the new re-route descent section that contours along the north aspect of the hill in bentonite soil. Wet weather or melted snow is not your friend on this hillside – a little water makes is slick and gummy. This is the water-limited section of the trail. It drops you into the bottom of the steep old gulley that used to be so rutted in the climb-out. It’s all rideable now though.
A quick climb brings you to the contouring climb headed North. A couple steep sections here can remind you how to breathe hard if you stay geared too high. But it all flows and soon you top out briefly through a small pass along the ridgeline and descent at mach speed immediately down a rocky then smooth drainage. A 30 second grunt out of that depression brings you to a 5 step hike-a-bike through a rock band to top out yet again. Then smooth and fast, with a couple drop sections to enjoy that full suspension or rattle your teeth a little on your hardtail.
Then, you’re faced with Little Park Rd again, but this time a few hundred feel lower in elevation. Sure, we’re mountain biking, and riding up the road is not anyone’s goal for the day, but it serves as a good workout and finish to the ride. Who put that steep section in there anyway – that is a grunt.
So that is roughly an hour ride, and lets you get back to work not too late and just a little sweaty, but with some endorphins coursing through your body to make the afternoon work time a bit mellower. Works for me! Read Less
Posted by Scott Winans
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Paradox Trail: Glencoe Bench Loop

October 8, 2011
Distance:  19 miles
Elevation gain: 1400 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate
Approximate ride time:  3-4 hours
Drive distance from Grand Junction:  118 miles (via Hwy 141 and Delta-Nucla Rd.)
from Montrose:  28 miles (via Hwy 90 and Hauser Rd.)
          This is one of my favorite rides when I have out of town guests with limited time. This section of the Paradox Trail offers moderate terrain with rugged trail conditions and dramatic views. All of this section defines the south boundary of the Tabeguache Special Management Area, and while the trail stays high above the Tabeguache Canyon, riders get to experience the rugged terrain, fauna and wildlife that exist here. Coming from Grand Junction on Hwy 141, riders will drive through Nucla and head up the Delta-Nucla Rd. (FS 503) for 8 miles and park at the bottom of the Pinto Mesa Rd. which comes in on the left. Coming Quick read more or view full article from either Montrose or Delta, riders can park at the bottom of Hauser Rd. (FS 603) where it intersects with the Delta-Nucla Rd. It is highly recommended that you obtain the BLM Nucla 1:100,000 scale topo map before heading out on any rides in the West End.
          From the Pinto Mesa Rd. follow the Delta-Nucla Rd up for approx. 8 miles until you meet the Hauser Rd. and the signed Paradox Trail coming in from the right on the Hauser Rd.. Follow the Delta-Nucla Rd. for a few hundred yards looking for a jeep road coming in from the left. If you start dropping into the Tabeguache Creek drainage you’ve missed your turnoff. The old jeep trail is not maintained and is rough with plenty of hazards including ruts, rocks and overgrown trail conditions. The Glencoe Bench is relatively narrow so if you should get off trail it is easy to find by crisscrossing. During late spring there may be water on the trail and in some of the open meadow sections. The trail can get lost on the meadows but keep looking ahead for the opening at the other end as the trail heads down the bench. From the trail about four miles down you will get some nice views of the canyon immediately to the north including the North Fork of the Tabeguache and Starvation Point.  You will pass through large stands of ponderosa pine but as you loose elevation the terrain gets drier and rockier. After seven miles you will head around a point on your left as the trail drops steeply and ascends back up to Pinto Mesa on a short hike-a-bike section. On Pinto Mesa, you will climb out to a dirt road, turn left and follow for a half mile until you come to a T intersection. The Paradox Trail heads west (right) but for this loop you will go left and drop off the mesa where you will meet the Delta-Nucla Rd. and your vehicle. (or an 8 mile climb back up to the Hauser Rd.)  As with all rides, please follow IMBA’s Rules of the Trail including leaving gates as you find them. There are many grazing permits in this area.
The West End of Montrose County has many undiscovered riding opportunities and many good places to camp.  The best camp sites are situated at water crossings. Sites on BLM ground include:
Tabeguache Creek and CR Z-26 about 10 miles north of Nucla.
South  Fork Mesa Creek and CR P-12. Access to this site is off Hwy 141 and O-14. Travel up O-14 for four miles and right on P-12 for 1 mile.
Hwy 141 and Dolores River crossing (CR Q-13 approx. 30 miles south of Gateway on 141)
If you have questions regarding trail conditions or other riding opportunities here in the West End, contact me at pdkoski@gmail.com
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Posted by Paul Koski
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