Monday, August 31, 2009

Prescott...the land of many uses

The land of many uses… is how I describe this area. It is vastly underestimated by many Arizonans as exploring it takes a little adventure and a good map.

I headed up with my school, all 300+ students to do a camp up in Prescott during the weekday. Students were not really surprised to see a bike underneath the bus. During the camp, I rode with the cross country team in the morning and ventured out thereafter to trail 396 in the White Spar area.


Subsequently, the Morris Family came up and accompanied me after our school camp was over for a weekend of riding in the Prescott area. Also joining them was a new, strong bikepacker, Dave Jones (shown here on 105).



After a quick stop at Safeway, we headed up to Mingus Mountain, our basecamp for the weekend.

We headed off to explore some of the trails north of Highway 89A, most notably Coyote Springs and Martin Canyon. We found some much needed water for the Coconino Loop at Coyote Springs, just a little of course. Someone had also written Man watchin you on the lid, so be careful if you drink from this spring.



The next day we went down 108, up 9037, down 110 and up 111 head back up to towers to ride down 105 to Jerome. This little loop had all the makings of a sweet, technical epic.

Some of the trails were a little overgrown


But on the whole, it was a great day of scenic riding


Some of these shots you may see if you decide to ride the Coconino Loop








The next day we rode down to figure out the power line dilemma that we ran into during our Coconino Loop Tour last June.





This is one of my favorite trails on the Coconino Loop, plenty of switchbacks with a touch of technical descending.





Did I mention the view?


And of course the missing link of the entire route was in this sign and its keyword. It’s underlined, do you see it?


One little wave of the hand and the gate opens; you simply have to ride over to the power line road and continue on toward the Verde Valley….Therein lies the final answer to completing the loop.

The race seems to be gathering some interest. I anticipate having from 5-10 racers, perhaps more as the start date nears.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Keep riding

Aaron and I headed over to Sweetwater for a quick 3.5 hour ride. Those locals that are not aware of the Sunset singletrack that connects to the gasline road, it's becoming a commonly used route as I saw 3-4 tracks on Sunset. If you want to ride out to Sweetwater from the north side of Tucson, you need to check it out.



Aaron said he got hit by some rain while coming over from Starr Pass. This storm seemed to be passing around us. Or at least that was my prediction.



It looks pretty small, right? Or so I thought. The storm quickly changed directions and strengthened; the trails quickly turned to streams. Monsoon season, gotta love it. Hot and sunny one moment, rainy and humid the next.

After about 30 minutes of alternating light and heavy rain, the sun began to appear behind the Tucson Mountains with some stunning cloud formations.



The ride home at night was interesting. Note to self: take the gasline road back to Ina instead of crossing the Santa Cruz River at night. A group of guys drinking near the open pit asked me, "Do you live down by the river." Classic setup line. I quickly and wittingly responded, "yeah, in a van." No laugh meant one thing...keep riding!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

1918



A sure sign that it is time to ride in Arizona....rain.

Saturday we did the classic Lemmon ride from our camp on Mt Bigelow: Secret, 1918, Sunset to Aspen. Want to know a sure sign that few people ride these forgotten trails? When people debate their names. The conversation over cinnamon buns and coffee in Summerhaven went something like this...

"According to Scott Morris, that trail is called 1918," recalled one of the riders. Insert awkward moment of silence as we all look over to Scott.

"Errrr, I am Scott Morris" replied the legend himself.

Alas, we hike together again...



to the top of Aspen Draw at 9k.




Sunday was a similar ride on Butterfly Trail with Aaron.



Italic
If you have not visited Lemmon, now is the time. I am guilty of neglecting Lemmon sometimes, but not anymore.

A good shot of Aaron on a steep switchback. Do you notice anything about the trail in front of Aaron?



Isn't it great riding with friends? (Los Evil, Kendall, Scotty, Brian, and Los Trujillo....Let's do it again soon).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Staying classy...

Check out the newest "jersey" that I found at Savers for $1. It's hard to pass up something as classy as a Wednesday Night Hawaiian Ride.



This weekly ride used to be just 3 of us last year; I have a feeling it is going to stay that way. I had one taker, Max, who bailed at the last minute today, knee issues (heal up soon, amigo) The shirt actually worked pretty darn well given the 97 degree heat at 5pm. I have a feeling I am going to be wearing these sweet shirts more often.

No mountain bikers on the trail, just a tortoise



and some great views of the Catalinas



I extend the permanent invite to anyone interested in riding on Wednesday. Lights, Hawaiian shirt, and some good bike stories are highly recommended. Post-ride fish tacos at Rubio's. The following Wednesday I will be in Prescott, but who is in for September 2?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mt Lemmon Century

I have made this ride into an annual late summer ride. I did it last year on July 22 according to my GPX file that I had on Topofusion. The goal of the ride was "to slingshot myself back into fitness" (I had not been on the bike for an "epic ride" for 4 weeks). Let's just say it was hard and I think it may have worked. We will see in the next few days as I start to increase miles on the bike.

This year, I tried to make it more of a social ride rather than a solo deal. Chris Campy, Andy Suter and I (and later Max Moris on his 29er nonetheless) all began the ascent at 5:30. The first ascent was perfect. We got to Summerhaven, ate some cinnamon buns, drank some coffee before descending and going for round 2. The heat prevailed during this 2nd ascent to Summerhaven. Chris seemed to be the only sane person in the group; he bowed out after 50 miles. The heat was pretty unforgiving, forcing us to run out of water before Palisades. Andy led most of the way, watch out for this roadie turned new mountain biker. I guarantee we will be seeing his name in future bikepacking trips/races.


The profile from the base (we started at Le Buzz unlike last year).

108 miles, 13,974 feet of climbing, 8.5 hours of moving time

Here is an interesting profile of the speed (y-axis) vs time:


42.3 mph is my new fastest road bike speed. Anyone have anything faster?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Monsoons

Its good to be back on the bike. I spent the past 3 months riding everywhere but Tucson. It was time for a quick urban ride around the north side of Tucson. The monsoons have not only helped many wildflowers bloomed






but also changed some of the trails. The quick little 2 hour jaunt was nice. I had not been on the bike since mid-July, about a 3-week rest.

I had a burb on my stan's tubeless as I was nearing my house; first one since the AZT. Time to add some more stan's to the the wheels.

It's good to be back in southern Arizona.



Its time to start thinking about the next big ride, the Vapor Trail 125. Some possible riding in Prescott late August planned and maybe a weekend up at Mt Lemmon. I am lacking some high-altitude rides, especially coming back from spending 3 weeks at sea level.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Colorado Trail Race

It's hard to be on the sidelines watching this one. During the voting process, I was secretly hoping that the start time did not conflict with my schedule (like the AZT 300 this year). No such luck, I have to head to school tomorrow to start prepping for next week's first day of school.

Some good friends are racing this year; most notably Lee Blackwell, Scott Morris and Max Morris...all from Tucson. Max just did a call in a few hours ago, it looks like Scott is up close to the leaders. It is easy to imagine riding next to either of these guys, cranking jokes, exchanging stories, trying to clean different lines, seeing who walks on what, etc.

Pretty epic already and it is only the first day. But alas, some of us have to watch from our computers. You can watch the entire race unfold here.

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