Free Lunch

April 10, 2011
OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: The following “Ride Review” was prepared by Chris Muhr for my fellow “Extreme” riders and is in no way an endorsement of Free Lunch Trail over other trails in the Lunch Loop Trail System.  Nor is it to be used for any purpose expressed or implied other than for entertainment and/or amusement (but isn’t that the reason we ride anyway?).
Now that that’s out of the way, let me describe “Free Lunch Trail” for those who are tempted to challenge themselves on the first BLM sanctioned freeride trail in the nation.
Free Lunch Trail (let’s just call it FLT) starts at the highest point of the main Lunch Loop trail system just southwest of Grand Junction, Colorado.  To reach the start of FLT you can park at the Lunch Loop Trail head and ride the main Tabeguache Trail to Little Park Road where you will find Quick read more or view full article Lunch Line Trail which ultimately leads you to the top of FLT, a distance of two or three miles from the trailhead and an elevation gain which I would estimate at about 18,000 feet (oxygen is optional but nice).  Some people chose, like I did, to ride to FLT while others shuttle to the Lunch Line Trail, but for reasons I will get to later…..I would recommend taking a helicopter.
Assuming you’ve taken my advice, once your helicopter lands at the top of FLT, you will confront a sign which states that you should be prepared for an extreme trail, with large drops, blah, blah, blah.  It helps if you can’t read, because at this point most of the intelligent people turn around and get back in the helicopter.  If you can’t read, the first “obstacle, stunt, testosterone loaded thing” you will see is a qualifier jump and a sign that states if you can’t do this jump, then turn around, load your bike back on the helicopter and take your whiney, sissy pants butt home….or something like that…it’s hard to remember.
Anyway, the qualifier move, which I’ve named “Hop in the Casket” is a relatively (as it turns out) small move and shouldn’t require use of either a power of attorney or your organ donor card.  The next few “challenges” are “rollable” and don’t require a pilot’s license, but I’m still trying to get my sphincter to release enough so that I can eat solid food again.  Following this mellow rolling section, you will confront a move that I’d like to call “Jaws” because it has a drop next to a gaping hole under the lip and the sandstone landing will devour all of your bike’s travel and leave you crying for Mama if you don’t land this one.  I opted for a milder traverse next to “Jaws” which I decided to walk because there wasn’t a good landing zone (LZ) for the helicopter.
After “Jaws” FLT rolls through some beautiful pinyon and juniper forest lulling the rider into a false state of security before dropping steeply into a drainage and up a wall ride on the other side.  This part of the circus er trail, requires the rider to carry enough speed to ascend a rock which I believe to be several stories high, about a quarter inch wide, and surrounded by rocks sharpened by the ancient Anasazi Indians to protect them from the rare desert Yeti.
Further on the victim, uhh rider encounters another drop which rolls off of a couple humps of sandstone before dropping through the clouds to another landing on sandstone….I think this fun filled move is called the “Devil’s Camel”…but somehow I originally spelled it with only four letters.  Once again, I opted to “detour” around the “camel” on the mellow alternate route, finding a few traces of the Shimano tribe that is believed to hunt in this area.
After the Devil’s Dromedary, FLT drops through a “slim” niche in the sandstone ledge that borders the western side of the mesa that overlooks the trailhead area and has nice views of the cliffs along the Colorado National Monument and on into Utah,  Nevada and California.  Once on this traverse, you are well on your way to finishing FLT, with a “little” exposure (I had my handlebar grips surgically removed from my hands later that day) a minor drop or two and finally a nice room in a hollowed out boulder that I believe was referred to as a “smoking lounge” by a couple of frequent riders of FLT.
After “the lounge”, the trail hops back up on the mesa top and over to the Tabeguache Trail, where the rider can relax and ride down the ever so gentle “Widow Maker Hill” and on into the parking lot,  or if positioned correctly…directly into your waiting helicopter for quick spin to St. Mary’s Hospital to assess the riders quality and quantity of health insurance.
And that pretty much sums up the approximately one mile of trail that is lovingly referred to as Free Lunch.  I hope my trail description encourages many of you to explore the limits of your riding ability and health care for yourselves.
Happy Trails,
Chris Read Less
Posted by Chris Muhr
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