The Tabeguache Trail is a four-wheel drive Jeep road that covers 142 miles from Montrose to Grand Junction. At its northern terminus is a system of singletrack trails that are called the Lunch Loops. These trails are designed for ultimate mountain biking pleasure. They are rocky and rough, have plenty of exposure, and are very addictive.
I try to spend as much time as I can at the Lunch Loops. Even as I crank by on my road bike to climb over the Monument and back, a little piece of me wants to go mountain biking there instead.
The first time I went riding at the Lunch Loops I was a sophomore at Mesa State College (that's what we called it back then). It must have been November. I rode my fully rigid Fuji Sunfire that was two sizes too big. We went up Eagle's Tail and the trail seemed to be unrelenting in its brutal punishment. I was donning shorts and a T-shirt. When the snow started flying, we turned around with our tails between our legs and rode back to the car. I was hooked.
On a more recent ride, I went to the Little Park Trailhead after work. The stormy skies were ominous and foreboding. A few hardy souls were leaving the parking lot on their bicycles as I pulled in the lot. I debated whether or not to ride. My bicycle decided to be ridden, so off on the trail to Lunch Line and Eagle's Wing I went.
The climb up to the eagle's nest was nice. Coming down, the trail was gnarly and loose and sandy. I took a right turn down Eagle's Connector. Pinch flat! No spare tube! Luckily, I did have a patch kit.
Back on the trail, the sky turned gruesome as I began to pedal up Prenup. Across the road and back on Gunny Loop it started to rain sideways. The struggle against the wind and rain continued to the car. As I put my bike on the rack I thought, "What an awesome ride!"
Holy Cross is the holy grail of the Lunch Loops. It is one of the most incredible trails that I have ever rolled my tires across. It is perfectly laid out. As you ride down the stairs by the big wooden cross, that becomes quite apparent. Riding up it in the other direction is still just as much fun. It's like a palindrome of singletrack. This is the part where I give a huge shout-out to COPMOBA. (If you don't know who that is, look them up.)
The Lunch Loops can be moody sometimes. Usually, the trail treats me unbelievably well. Although, when its feeling mean, you will know it. Some would refer to it as tough love. It will make you bleed. It will send you on a no-expenses-paid trip to the ER (sent me there once).
But I always come crawling back again. These are not the easiest or most forgiving trails in the valley, but I'm addicted. So I can't quit.