Recently I did my first Fruita bike ride with the brother-in-law -- about time -- on Rustler's, Mary's Loop and Horsethief.
This is from Rustler's. Horsethief is the bench (i.e. flat area) above the river, to the right of center. You reach it by riding over the ridge on the right:
Looking down from Mary's trail to Horsethief Bench:
Rustler's is a good intro loop with some of each type of terrain you might encounter around there (easy to intermediate). We rode up Mary's mainly to get to Horsethief, then dropped into that classic trail via the crazy series of 2 to 3-foot drops through the cliff band. I walked it.
The views of the Colorado River were stellar.
Horsethief is a mostly intermediate trail with some advanced and expert features sprinkled here and there. I walked my bike up/down maybe 10 short sections, usually rock steps that I just didn't have the speed or skill to clear. As it was, I slid off one rock on my crank, making a nasty scraping sound. Ugh.
The back side (going clockwise) has another tough series of drops on slanted slabs that Jamie said he'd only seen one person ride successfully. Again, walked it.
The remainder was fun riding through mostly banked, sandy washes.
As we were riding back along Mary's, a Bald Eagle cruised to our right, about 10 feet above us and another 10 feet out from the cliffs. Utterly silent, with brilliant white head and tail, it made a couple of laps next to us before cruising farther away. What an animal. What an end to the ride.
Distance was 12.19 miles, time 2:30 (moving 1:37), elevation gain/loss 1,393 feet, avg. speed 4.9 mph, and max speed 20.4 mph.
Nice guide work, Jamie!