Jodi Deller takes her rust-orange colored Santa Cruz Tallboy mountain bike off her bike rack and sets it on the ground. Seven other people pull into the Sale Barn Trail parking lot, making last-minute bike adjustments and buckling their helmets.
Deller is the organizer of a weekly, Thursday night ladies mountain bike ride, and this is their first time back on the trails after the city of Durango and federal land agencies closed open spaces last week.
“It’s community, it’s getting ladies together of like minds, it’s just getting out and enjoying why I moved here,” she said.
Deller, who has been organizing the informal ride for about 17 years, says the trail closures were disappointing, but the right thing to do.
“We don’t want a fire in town, so I get the restrictions,” she said.
Thursday night was Amy West’s first ride with the group in about a year. She was born and raised in Durango and came back from San Luis Obispo, California, to get married next week.
West’s wedding will be at Vallecito, and she says she’s relieved the venue won’t be impacted by the fire.
“I was thinking of getting married at Purgatory, and I’m really glad this year I had chosen elsewhere,” she said.
As a part of the wedding festivities, West is organizing a group ride for her guests. The ride will be at the Phil’s World trails near Cortez, just in case there are unexpected trail closures again, she said.
In the moments before the group of women, and one man, took off up the trail, Connie Gordon sat in the shade of her car stretching.
Gordon said she has been mountain biking since the Specialized Stumpjumper, the first mass-produced mountain bike, was released in the 1980s. However, she has been joining the ladies’ ride for only a few months.
Gordon enjoys the social aspect of mountain biking as well as the adventure of finding new trails.
She said she was not too fazed by the fire and resulting trail closures because fire is a part of nature and it’s more important that people’s houses don’t burn.
At 5:36 p.m., the group set off for the trails, excited they have reopened.
“I mean, it’s kind of like this false sense of security though, you know. It’s like you know that thing is up there still burning – a fire, burning our forest – but we can still have some fun in town,” Deller said.