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Gallup Area Mountain Biking - a Joint LAM/Tuff Riders Outing

September 11-14, 2008

Author: Dennis Brandt

Trip Leaders: Dennis Brandt (LAM), Annette Weyrauch (TR)

Participants: Patrick Jennings, Chris Horley, Chuck Peper, Annette Weyrauch, and Dennis Brandt

Slideshow: click here (all slideshow and report photos by Chris Horley)

The Los Alamos Tuff Riders and Los Alamos Mountaineers joined forces for a very successful mountain biking adventure in the Gallup New Mexico area. We camped at the Quaking Aspen camp ground in the Cebola National Forest, just six miles south of Fort Wingate. This is a beautiful campground with well-spaced mature ponderosa pines and modern facilities (but no water). Each camp space includes a concrete picnic table, metal fire pit, toilets, and spacious tent platform. Also, it has very light use so it's pretty quiet. There are also many excellent undeveloped campsites along the various forest service roads in the area.

Playing on awesome Gallup area slickrock.

Chuck, Chris and I drove to the Quaking Aspen campground on Thursday evening, arriving around 9:00 p.m. The next day we rode the Quaking Aspen Classic ride, which is an wonderful mix of woodland trails and some pretty technical bedrock in a canyon bottom. Chris' freewheel had a problem so we drove into Gallup to get it repaired at High Mesa Bikes & Gear, where he experienced excellent and fast service. It was raining hard at this time so we had no choice but to seek out a local tavern, have a couple of draughts and shoot some pool. After the rain, we drove to the west side of Gallup and rode the 1st Mesa trail. This is a high speed desert single track with beautiful scenery and terrific trail conditions.

On Friday evening Annette and Patrick joined us at the campground. The next day we rode the Red Rock trail, which starts out in mixed conifer and aspen forest and ends up on a dome of exquisite exposed orange sandstone. The top of the dome is covered with pinon-juniper forest but the shoulder is fully exposed sandstone. There are some great rollercoaster waves in this formation. Unfortunately I executed a particularly graceless dismount during the return leg of this ride and pulled a hamstring muscle. We still had 5 miles to ride to get back to the cars. Unable to walk, I managed to ride back slowly, when I realized it was either ride or be eaten by coyotes. Fortunately Annette is a physical therapist. She worked on my injured leg when we got back to camp, which helped considerably.

Exploring more gorgeous slickrock.

On Sunday, the riders with the exception of myself rode Plush Trail. They reported that it was a moderate forested ride with a couple of short technical sections.

Over the weekend we rode during the days and had dinner in Gallup. We were all quite pleased by the nice restaurants and taverns we found in the old downtown area. Gallup has certainly become a much nicer destination over the last few years.

All in all, this was a highly successful joint venture by the Tuff Riders and Los Alamos Mountaineers. I highly recommend the area for riding during the cooler months of the year.
 


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