Expedition Winner
Nick Keating

24 hours before takeoff. The kinetic limbo period where uncontrollable excitement and fear of the unknown form a fervent partnership. The important bits are packed, and a carefully selected playlist makes its way onto my iPhone.

Good buddy/trip architect Joe and I hit the road at 4AM for Boston Logan International. In securing the cheapest flights, the reality of an early flight had taken a back seat.

Departure times be damned, we’re going to Colorado.Upon landing in Denver, we picked up our rental rig and blasted west for the Colorado/Utah border. Just a few hours and mountain passes stood between us and a week-long adventure through the high desert of Mesa County.

We arrived into town mid afternoon, checked into the La Quinta and had our bikes prepped and ready by the boys at Over The Edge Sports in time for a sunset pedal. We were greeted by the painted hills of 18 Road.With the weekends rain prior to our arrival, trails were rock solid and fast. The momentary magic of spring in the high desert blanketed the entire valley with rich greens and pops of red, yellow and purple as the local flowers went into full bloom.

An endlessly changing horizon, each day a new and different sun.Without a doubt one of the kingpins to Fruita’s immense trail network, Horsethief Bench snakes its way across a plateau of Sagebrush and Cliffrose. The swooping singletrack is bordered on one side by the Colorado River and on the other by the smooth contoured cliffs of prehistoric sandstone.

Our final day brought us back to 18 Road with shuttle runs and endless laps down PBR - Fruita’s famous flow trail. Post-ride hangs with the locals concluded a riding scene that until that week, we had only seen through the words & images of our favorite publications. The paradox of adventure left us equally content and hungry for more.

Sunburnt, sore and grinning ear-to-ear - the magic of Colorado undeniable. It was time to pack it for home.

Miles of trail yet to explore - the bait for a future visit.

By Nick Keating