Monday, March 30, 2009

Casner Mountain Trail

I am looking into a new re-route for the Coconino Dirty Century. Based on some beta from Andy S from Flagstaff, another option would be Casner Mountain Trail just north of Sedona. Does anyone have any information on said trail?

The one GPX file I have from motion based, 2 miles with 17oo feet of climbing. Looks like all doubletrack on the color aerial photos.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Results for SBFL '09


Check out the results here. I managed to take a few pictures during the ride, this one was taken from the Damifino Saddle.

My plan for the race was simple: just ride as if I was riding on the AZT, slow and steady. After Airport Loop, I never saw another racer heading my direction. A solo, 60-mile ride in Sedona on the semi-new rig was the perfect training grounds for my start of the AZT this weekend. I managed to squeeze out the race in an hour quicker than last year (having done the Gallup Dusk to Dawn the night before last year was the main culprit for the slower time).

The bike performed perfectly. Only one flat tire, a small tear on the sidewall that happened going down the switchbacks from Cathedral Rock.

A few questions about the ride this weekend still plague me, the biggest of course is going to be what gearing I will be riding. Another is what Carousel Bags I will be using, the seat post bag is a go for sure, but I am not sure if I will be doing the frame or handlebar bag. I hope to have a few pictures of my final gear choices by the end of the week. Tentative departure date is on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Arizona Trail

AZT map courtesy of Topofusion

By all accounts, my previous attempts to conquer the AZT can be categorized as epic failures. I was launched into the endurance world of riding when I saw the AZT 300 in a Dirt Rag Magazine calendar. I thought to myself 300 miles seemed pretty epic, but hey, I can do that.

And so I did, I had my friend Kacy drop me off at the starting line. Back then, I was unable to really use a GPS and completely new to bikepacking. I had never heard of the word Topofusion or downloaded a GPX track onto a GPS (a friend had to help me download it and I did not have the first half of the track on the GPS unit). I had a small, fleece blanket that I would be using as my sleeping bag. I was about 150 miles into it when I pulled the plug on the top of Mt Lemmon. Cold and disillusioned, I lost sight of my pain purpose: pace yourself, use your head to plan ahead. I choose to climb Lemmon instead of stay down in Tucson. Thoughts of my warm bed echoed in my head, along with the dreaded Oracle Ridge. I bailed that first year.
Last year, I bailed due to a mechanical issue, my saddle broke. I did manage to fix it and continue to ride 130 miles during the first 24 hour. Nevertheless, when I got to Basha's in Tucson, my dreams were lost. Saddle sore, major saddle sore. Not even a huge fleece vest on top of my saddle could get me to ride another mile on that bike. Max Morris, faithful friend and endurance rider, picked me up after I painfully and shamefully rode down from Reddington.

The problem for both of these attempts was my pace; I went out too hard too fast. Looking at this year, my Spring Break starts on April 4, a week before the AZT 300 race begins. Rather than waiting during my Spring Break for the AZT 300, I have decided to start early. This year, the goal is simple: pacing myself to go the distance. I had a friend once comment about my riding, she said "Chad, you always go the same speed when we go riding, never fast, never slow. So boring. The only good thing is that you can go forever at that speed." This is how I ride and I think during the last two AZT 300 races, I have strayed away from this philosophy.

The goal is to finish those first 300 miles (starting at the Mexican border) that I have yet to complete and to continue on North toward the Grand Canyon. I have no expectations on how far I can get, just to have fun. Should the fun be taken out of the ride, you will probably see me pull the plug.

I will be carrying a SPOT Satellite Messenger (see leaderboard below for the link). This will allow those at home to track my progress.

The AZT 300 Forum on Bikepacking.net

The AZT 300 Leaderboard

AZT 300 Race









Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Best interval training?

The gasline has been one of my favorite rides for the past few months since I use it for a connector from my house to Sweetwater. I had never ridden the gasline until Sentinel Peak and Starr Pass, until I managed to squeeze in the 40+ ride in today. Max joined me for the ride until Sweetwater.



Where I turned off to do 3 of the classic loops at Sweetwater (shown here). There was only one car in the parking lot, a perfect day for a nice solo ride. No cyclists or hikers on the trails during the loops, total singletrack bliss.

The I returned to the gasline to complete another connector section to Sentinel Peak and then be able to ride to Starr Pass.



The last shot before I made it to my goal, Sentinel Peak.


The connector is complete. My house-Sweetwater-Sentinel Peak via the Gasline. I did not make it all the way to the peak, but it is posible. I figure my next jaunt will include a fast loop up the backside (yes, that super rocky one and down the front side before returning on the gasline. I estimate somewhere in the neigborhood of 4-5k of climbing for the entire ride!)

There are a few sections that the gasline are not bike friendly; for example, sometimes you have to duck under a gate or jump over a barrier. But all in all, it is a great route with some of the best interval training around.

Monday, March 23, 2009

SBFL v.2

It took me 9 hours to finish on a geared bike; I was the only finisher to complete it on a geared bike. I am curious how faster/slower I will be going on the ss on Saturday. It looks like a good group of starters thus far. Any last minute racers want to join in for the 7-9 hour bike ride?

Camping will be available at Beaver Flats for those that want to save some cash, west on Beaver Flats to the second left.

Black Canyon Trail Revisted

Black Canyon Trail during AZSF 08 Version with Dave Chenault

The 5th and final day of riding for the Arizona Spring Fling went down in several locations across the valley, the farthest north being the Black Canyon Trail system.

Total car count for the (trailhead courtesy of Noel) was 47, approximate number of riders was probably 60-70 people with 7 different groups. Each group had less than 10 riders.

I had just one other person interested in another A ride, Thad. I had advertised only B and C rides, but he insisted on doing some hammering. He and I rolled out for the Full Meal Deal after forming the other groups.

BCT is the newest gem in Arizona, if you have not taken the time to ride it, you need to. The trails are superb.

Where's waldo? It is actually Tommy in the foto, who joined us mid-way through the ride. A 10-time Leadville finisher, he managed to hang with us for most of the ride. Very strong rider in his 60s.


No holdups this year since we had so many volunteers. Just a good ride with tons of fun climbing, perfect for the singlespeed.


And that wraps up the AZSF09.... a tremendous job done by all the volunteers. We had a few international visitors and tons from neighboring states. Check back later in Fall of this year for the 2010 date.

Sedona Epic

I led another A group ride out of Bike n Bean, this was the fastest ride of the entire week. Here is a nice picture of half of the group at Chicken Point. We started off with 10 people before breaking in to two different groups. Don't some of these people just look fast? That is Tom A in the Vassago Jersey, Doug with the guns, and Zach and Co (not pictured).



Our group rode Broken Arrow to Schnebly Hill Road, Munds, Cow Pies to Damifino (show below before the hike-a-bike to the saddle).


The view from the saddle with the new ride. After 6 days of 30-mile+ technical riding on the ss, I am now in "singlespeed shape."

Doug always makes things look so easy


My new favorite trail in Sedona, check out those over hangs.


It is a little tricky in a few sections, ledges avail. If you are not careful, you could take a spill. It reminds of the portal in Moab.


We dropped back down to Munds via some sweet singletrack, over to Mystic, Cathedral, Templeton, HT and finally Bell Rock Pathway.


We got back to the Bean just in time for some pizza and beer. Jim at the Bean is one of the most amazing shop owners I have met. Self-less, generous, and super nice. If you are ever in Sedona, stop by for some coffee and beta.




In case you want more Sedona riding, check out this race this Saturday. It is guaranteed to be one of the most technical endurance races you have ever done, the Sedona Big Friggin Loop.

AZSF South Mountain

The meeting time at Pima Canyon at 8:00am was a little hard to make; when I did finally show up, I was surprised to see how many people were under the ramada. I would estimate about 60 people at the ramada along with Clockwork's 20+ riders doing some downhill shuttling. Great numbers for this year's AZSF.

We split into groups and started heading up the mountain. After a nice B ride in Sweetwater yesterday, I was anxious to do ride some good trails on National. The them of my ride was an occassional hike-a-bike, which looks something like this:


Drew from Santa Cruz had some amazing technical climbing


The man that made it all happen for the Phoenix stuff, Cactus Joe, had another amazing aid station with good stuff.


After dropping off to San Juan from National, we rode up to Holbert via the road, and dropped down off the mountain.


Then we biked up 24th Street to National, 29 miles of good, technical riding with a great group in about 90 degree weather. Thank you again Drew and Matt.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thursday Gasline-Sweetwater

The ride started at 4pm; I was a little late so I met the crew on the gasline road out to sweetwater.



The new ride in full force during the 35+ mile ride.

After the ride we went down for a Thursday version of Bars on Bikes. We played bike polo on the

UA lawn before going down to the Buffet.



Classic moment of the evening: If you play another ABBA song, you are outta her (bartender shouting at to us after Dancing Queen came on).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Starr Pass Night Ride

We had about 20 people show up for last night's Starr Pass Night Ride, followed by a nice stint at Bison Witches.







Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MTBR AZSF09

This week it begins, March 18-22. This year, the event has something for everyone.... downhill shuttles, rides for any skill level, including newbies and epic, technical loops. I plan on leading some pretty darn semi-epic rides along with a C and B ride down here in Tucson. Check out the schedule here at this year's website. The group sizes should be small this year since we have so many leaders. It should be some great training if you want to come out and ride.

On the topic of training, I squeezed in 1.5 hour run (about 9 miles) and a quick 20-mile ride on the new Lynksey.

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Rigid SS


Lynskey Pro 29er
Thomson Elite Seatpost, 31.6 x 367 mm
White Brothers Rock Solid 425 Carbon Rigid Fork
Hayes Brake Stroker Trail
Thomson X4 Mtn Stem 10d x 90mm
Ritchey WCS-Carbon flat bar 26.0'' wide
Shimano XT Crank/BB
Oury Thick Grips
Saguaro Geax 29ers with Stan's
Fizik Gobi XM Saddle
Crossmax 29ers wheelset
Chris King headset
Surly rear cog/front chainring
Shimano Clipless M770
Weight: 20.5 pounds

AZT Touring

Max and I headed out for a tour of the AZT south of Tucson at 6:00am on Saturday. We both rode from our houses out toward Pistol Hill, re-tracing the same route as the AZT 300. We also did a quick Starbucks run on Broadway before leaving civilization for the last time.

The route has a few sections of dirt roads before hitting the AZT near Pistol Hill.


The first section of singletrack with the Rincons in the background.


Where's Waldo?

We saw tons of mtbers out riding this corridor, Beto, Mark and Gabe from SV and Rob and TimM from Tucson.

Rain, really? I brought my rain jacket but Max only had a lightweight jacket. It sprinkled for about 30 minutes before stopping. Then the wind picked up as we rode the short section of highway.
Some great sections of trail north of Box Canyon. The trail has seen some recent work along with markers (red/white) to help guide the route. This is the section that racers of the AZT will be riding at night, such a shame as it is one of the best parts. Here is just a sample of the singletrack goodness.

A new gate, yeah! The bike setup, a very comfortable yet heavy touring trip.

Sunrise to sunset, isn't that how we dream of riding our bike?


Max and I camped at KC for a bit of the night. Brrrrrr.... it was a little chilly out of the sleeping bag.

108 miles one-way during the first 14 hours of the blissful ride. Then repeat to get home.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Riding the Rails

What started out as just a simple, 1-hour urban ride today turned into something semi-epic. After finding some new sections of double track that connected me to frontage road, I quickly realized that I could now connect my urban loop to the Tortolitas. How might this be able to work? you might be asking yourself Well, Union Pacific is widening the train track this year from Casa Grande to Tucson (cross bike anyone?). The resulting ride looks something like this:


Not exactly singletrack, but eventually this will lead to some double track and later singletrack. I left the train track and rode through some cotton fields to get to Tangerine Road/Powerline Road on the State Trust Land just west of Dove Mountain.


Before connecting to the Power Line road off of Tangerine, I managed to find this little gem in the middle of the ride. Perfect timing.


Success at last. I had to squeeze around the Ritz Carlton Golf Course and ride some more road (total road in the entire one-way ride, .2 miles) to get to the Wild Burro trailhead, but alas I made it in time to get some singletrack before the night section of the ride started.

I rode a little bit of Alamo Springs, it was a combination of hike-a-bike and clumsy, night riding. Not a trail that I would recommend for the average mountain biker especially at night.

The route back to the urban loop was nice on the dirt section of Dove Mountain Boulevard (which goes all the way to Tangerine). I managed to jump on some dirt roads to get to Blue Bonnet and then to Oasis and Camino de Oeste, before finally getting back the the urban loop.

I have not posted a picture of myself in quite sometime, 'tis about due for a new update since I have a beard now.



Total ride time: 4 hours. Not too bad for an "urban" loop.
Approximate mileage of paved roads: 3 of the 30+ miles

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