Friday, January 30, 2009

Gasline to Sweetwater

Jim, Chris, Max, and I rode the 24-mile out-n-back to Sweetwater via the Gasline Road. Great ride. We also saw Scott and Paula out at Sweetwater; what a gorgeous day to be mountain biking. This might become a weekly Friday ride.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Prescott Monstercross

More info to come soon. Check back here soon. The route has been semi-finalized, just need to get a GPX track of it. The stats are 50 miles with about 6,000 feet of climbing. The date is April 18, 2009. This was originally a race down by Dave C. in October 2007, now it has changed a bit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

APC Results

Scott took 1st again this year. When he wants to race and ride fast, he sure does. Here are the results for everyone that attempted the challenge.

This was one of the best overall turnouts since we had so many new endurance riders and the first woman finisher, great job Paula!

Monday, January 19, 2009

South Shore Lake Hodges

Kendall and I went out Sunday to explore the south shore of Lake Hodges. It was clear the entire day, perfect for a nice ride around the southern end of Lake Hodges. Both sides of the lake would leave any cyclist content, but specifically beginner and intermediate riders. There were only a few rocky/steep sections that Kendall had to walk.

One of the rocky sections that leads to the end of the rideable sections. We did not venture too far beyond a bushwacking section of the trail that dropped toward the lake. Here is a section near the end of the trail.

Great riding, on both sides of the shore. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend around Lake Hodges, a must do for anyone in the area, especially those in the immediate area.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

North Shore Lake Hodges

I drove out to Rancho Santa Fe, CA (near San Diego) this weekend to see Kendall. I normally would prefer to fly, but the 3-day weekend offered a perfect excuse to bring the bike. I used some local knowledge to find that there was some descent singletrack about 7 miles from the house where I was staying. The only thing left to do was to check out aerial shots from Topofusion of how to get to the singletrack.

If you skip down to the aerial shot of the ride, you will see tons of times that I had to retrace my route due to a dead end. That spark of hope of oh, where does that small road or singletrack go? is why I spend so much time looking at aerial shots before a new ride (that and riding to the trail is so last year).

Enter our first picture on top of what I called Top o' the Morning Hill (as it is close to a road that was called that in the subdivision near the hill). The goal is the mountain beyond the dam, called Bernardo Mtn (1150 feet above sea level).

The route was a lot of flat singletrack with the occasional roller, exactly what I expected from reading the reports of the trail description. This first section of the trail lacked significant climbs and rocks. This route might not be the best area to explore if you are in San Diego, nonetheless, it does offer some exciting, local singletrack options.

At the intersection to Mt Bernardo, I asked some fellow riders about the trail to the summit.
I asked, "How is the trail to the summit?"
Which they responded to by saying, "Well, if you like rocky and very steep trail, you are going to love this one."
And there began my love for the North Side of Hodges. This little uphill battle lasts only 3 miles, but you are going to love the 1000 feet of climbing. If nothing else, you will begin to sweat and the views from the top are worth every pedal stroke. The summit has a few nice cairns.

The view down to the ocean, where the trail used to go before the fire of 2007. Click on photo to see the ocean.
And of course, you can register your name in the summit book to prove that in fact you did ride to the top of Mt Bernardo. My entry is below.

After the summit, I perused around the lake a little more, enjoyng some great views.

The stats from the route:
4594 feet of climbing
25 miles
1 flat
50 pictures taken

The profile of the climbing, the color is speed.

North side of Hodges Aerial View from Topofusion

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Anyone else in for the back-to-back endurance race/ride weekend?

Looks like Nathan signed up for the Full Monty.

SSAZ January 24
APC January 25

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bloodsucker Wash

Jason and I were both looking for an epic ride and what better way than hit up the beloved Arizona Trail north of Oracle. Few have ridden this section of the trail, which is a shame. We had another brave soul, Jay, show up for the ride also. The course, Antelope Peak Challenge with the proposed bailout up Bloodsucker Wash (which is about 25 miles into the route).

And the classic Arizona Trail sign, each time I do venture out to Antelope Peak, this is one of the best moments.
If you click on the picture below, you can see Antelope Peak in the far background under the sign.

The cairns are still in pretty good shape from last year, some sections seem to be more eroded. Those without a GPS need to have a keen eye for seeing cairns. Here is Jay showing off his ability to nail a super steep switchback (picture taken after switchback)

A few more shots of the singletrack on the Arizona Trail

Jay and the gasline road, the path of Antelope Peak (shown in background)

The gasline eventually leads to Bloodsucker Wash, where we headed west until the next gasline road over. I had never ridden this section of the gasline. My conclusion: it is like every other gasline road, very steep and rocky. I guess that is one of the flaws with just looking at aerial photos, here in the comfort of my house, I say to myself, that looks fun, let's ride that.

A flat tire break near the gasline/Bloodsucker intersection

My legs were a little tired today, so I was ready for some road when we finally got to Willow Springs. We had some major flat problems (mostly due to a sidewall gash) that put us a little behind schedule. The adventure was limited to discovering the bailout at Bloodsucker (although I would recommend that anyone trying to bailout from the AZT to Willow Springs just take Bloodsucker all the way until Willow instead of taking the gasline) and heading back on Willow Springs Road to the car.

Great day on the bike, about 6 hours of good fun with Jason and Jay. Next up, a possible jaunt to Anza Borrego next weekend.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Border Express

Lee conjured up an idea about a route that would go from Sierra Vista to Sasabe, some 300 miles in length. Epic, oh yes. Even the name fits the route....Border Express. Lee even expressed some ideas about eventually crossing the border and looping back on the other side of the fence. Today, we were only going to ride a fraction of the entire route.

Today's route from Tubac-Sasabe

The picture does not really do justice, but it gives you an idea about where we rode. We left Lee's house at about 8am this morning and began to ascend the Tumacacori Mountains. The morning was a little chilly, but the high was going to be in the 60s today.

Lee and Jason with the Santa Ritas in the background

Another good shot of the Santa Ritas with Lee

The weather was perfect (in the low 60s) and the route was very scenic, the perfect combination for a great day on the bike.

Lee and Jason pictured in the double track. Can you see them?

One of the few sections of pavement we had to ride near Arivaca

We stopped at Gadsen Coffee and Cafe in the town of Arivaca. It is a small, quaint town near the border, not really on the radar for anyone save a few older couples riding through to the Buenas Aires National Wildlife Refuge. We rested and ate for about 40 mintues. Great food and coffee. We headed off to Sasabe, counting the SBI virtual fences and border patrol agents on our march to the border (3 SBI and 4 agents).

We arrived to Sasabe a bit earlier than expected and headed to the local Sasabe Store for some food and drinks.

Nothing much in downtown Sasabe, just a few houses and the store shown below.

And headed to the border to peer over into Mexico

Final numbers from Lee's GPS
54.7 miles
5543 climbing
7:18 total
5:47 moving
1:31 stopped

I look forward to Lee finalizing the entire version of the route. It should be an epic ride with some amazing scenery, especially done in the Spring.

Friday, January 09, 2009

57 degrees

Put in about 3.5 hours of urban riding today, about half of which was at night. As soon as I got back to my house at 7pm, only a few degrees had dropped making it a nice 57 degrees. I love Arizona in the winter.

Tomorrow's big, all-day adventure will start in the town of Tubac with Lee Blackwell. More on that tomorrow after the big ride.

This is the latest hype for bike racks in Arizona, the license plate needs to be seen even if there is a bike rack in the back of the car. $142 fine if the bike rack obstructs the view of the license plate. I saw it on the news and was a little shocked.

Monday, January 05, 2009


The final version for the APC. Please feel free to post it on your blog.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Flagstaff Cousin Reunion

I had a great weekend with the cousins in Flagstaff. Running in the snow, sledding, relaxing in the jacuzzi, and cooking some unbelievable Mexican food were some of the highlights. Here is some of the shots that were taken after a few hours of sledding.


Oracle Exploration Map

Anyone that is looking for a great mountain bike loop, check out the map below from my APC exploration from last week. The route (Willow to Oracle) above has 4750 feet of climbing in 33 miles (not including the loop back to Willow Springs Road. If you want more climbing, you can turn up Oracle Ridge to ride to the Arizona Trail 300 route (in orange on the map).

Imagine a 100+ mountain bike ride that would start at the Willow Springs Arc, use the route pictured in the map above, connect it to the orange part of the AZ trail, before dropping back into Oracle for a refueling before returning to the Arizona Trail and out to Antelope Peak on the current route. The route would be around 105-110 miles, plenty of single track with multiple bailouts.

Here is the topo map from Topofusion

GPX file available here on the AES Google Group

I had a few requests for the Tortolita Loop file that Scott Morris and I did a few weeks back, I also put that on the same page. You can access it here.

APC recon

The goal of last week's ride was to test some overnight gear and find a connecting route between Willow Springs Road and the town of Oracle. Rumor of a connecting route via Biosphere II was been floated around between Lee, Scott and I since last year's Antelope Peak Challenge. The route I found lent itself very well to the APC, only that it did cross over some private property about 1/2 mile outside of Oracle. I decided not to continue past the private property sign.

Feeling defeated, I started to head up toward Mt Lemmon (south from the private property) on some combination of cow single track and forest roads. I came across a very large sand and gravel pit (which can be seen next to the Biosphere 2 on aerial shots, I just never knew it existed). With the pit came more cow singletrack and large man-made lakes.

Climbing up from the mine, I started to climb (see profile below) on some very, very steep forest roads (frankly, they are some of the steepest I have ever descended/ascended).

The route up these steep sections eventually had me thinking about introducing a harder version of the APC, perhaps a 125-miler that would have more than 18,000 feet of climbing and would combine this route with the Arizona Trail (best part would be a small section that we would climb up on Oracle Ridge!). More exploration is needed in this area, but it is definitely possible).

The route eventually had some good views of our intended destination, Antelope Peak, and also connected with the lower sections of Oracle Ridge and later the town of Oracle.

Antelope Peak in the background

The passage had been found, although after a hard and long 6,000 feet of climbing. The route back to Willow Springs from Oracle introduced another unknown route next to the highway, the old road.

I got back to the car at Willow Springs a little early, so I opted for some late exploration on some more cow singletrack next to the Willow Springs Road. I found some good sections of single track around the tank ponds that would be fun to explore, but nothing suitable for more APC stuff.

Some final sunset pictures from the days ride

Check out some of those steep climbs in the profile


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