Monday, May 17, 2010

Casner

After a quick greasy spoon breakfast at 5am, we set off from Flagstaff to do the Casner Dirty Century Ride. Originally toted as a race for Flagstaffers, I halfheartedly decided to make this a ride. Curiosity prevailed as the date approached for this now rote ride, the new "group" factor could add some new flavor to the ride.

After meeting at Safeway, we drifted through Flagstaff to some forest roads and later, the main attraction: the telephone line to Casner Mountain. It borders wilderness on both sides; ergo as you can imagine the views are unique to northern Arizona.



The steep, rocky doubletrack squeezes through the Sycamore Wilderness (show on the left side of this picture) and the Red Rock Wilderness (right side).



~25 miles into the ride, the first sings of red rock appeared






As usual, pictures never really do justice for how steep the ride is. All 13 riders chugged along, some staying a bit longer to take some pictures.



We even fought off a few mechanicals...a broken spoke, seat post, and a flat tire.









The gang: Phil, Hobie, Jim, James, Max, Jeff, Nancy, Scott, Dave and Captain Irish




The only section that I had now ridden on this route was a brief 5-mile section between Casner and Dry Creek ST.




At first, the trail seemed to perfect for a group ride.



As Jeff called it, the ride quickly became a "death march" in some sections.







Even the singletrack was too sandy too ride. Here is a section that crossed Dry Creek.



Alas, singletrack in the form of Two Fences TH.

After a quick stint at Burger King (chicken sandwich, fries and Lemonade for me), we headed up to conquer Schnebly. Last year, I skipped the singletrack in favor of the road. I chose the harder, rockier singletrack this year.



The singletrack put me right behind the singlespeeders (Phil, Nancy, and Jeff). They were cranking up the mountain. Nancy was a climbing fool, I can't believe how fast she was motoring up that mountain.



A quick fill up in Woody's at Munds before taking Frog Trail to Iron Springs to Old Munds.



After Old Munds, we took the dirt option into Flagstaff, Fort Tuthill. This picture sums up the day. The chatting, smiles, and picturesque moments....these form a group ride that is truly a delight.

A few friends and I formed AES to promote endurance cycling, "races" being the objective....I never thought a group ride would be the vehicle that was possibly the most effective. Case in point...Phil, pictured above with his smile and thumbs up, wrote the following today:

You totally opened my eyes. Races are fun but, rides like that are awesome to be able to stop and take pictures and to chat a bit as you are rolling along. I had a great time riding with you, Jeff, Nancy, and Hobie. I am afraid you have ruined me, I can't stop thinking about the next big ride.


The first and last sentence life-changing; Phil is hooked on endurance riding now, having just finished one of his longest single-day rides. To the naysayers of group rides, this group ride was a near seamless ride. Check here for more pictures and positive comments.



3 comments:

Dave Harris said...

Looks awesome Chad - interesting route. Digging the blog upgrade too.

maadJurguer said...

Thanks for the invite Chad....most excellent ride through some great terrain....I'm still struggling to wrap my mind around that ridgetop ride sandwiched between the two wilderness areas! Looking forward to more long rides this summer.

Randy said...

Chad,

I think you are on to something here. I really wasn't certain if this was a race or a ride. Racing is not my cup of tea, but a ride... I'd drive the 500+ miles like Hobie (he's less than 15 miles from where I live) to do a long ride like this.

The phone coverage, the bail out options, and perhaps a way to do a drop for support, would be the only things I could think of to consider adding as options for those not as strong of riders as this group. Even the 1/2 Enchilada version is till an endurance epic ride for most of us newbies trying out in this sport.

Keep up the good work, I will do my damndest to make this in the future.

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