Monday, November 30, 2009

11 months

...of riding in this shoe (left side). If you are looking for a hike-a-bike shoe, consider this one. I ordered the new pair a few weeks ago. The old shoe is still being used on short rides, but the ratchet is now super glued on.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ripsey Canyon

Scott and I have been talking about the Antelope Peak Challenge course. I was thinking about taking the course. Scott, in all his wisdom, suggested we go north on the Boulders Segment of the Arizona Trail. This section, with the addition of the Ripsey Segment is brillant singletrack.

Scott passed me the GPX track for the Ripsey Segment of the AZ Trail as he left for UT. On Black Friday, Ty and I headed out from Freeman road to ride the 50-mile loop.

As usual, singletrack prevailed during the route

A simple reason to support the Arizona Trail Association...their belief in rideable singletrack

Photo Courtesy of Ty

Photos Courtesy of Ty

One of the best climbs anywhere. A few switchbacks were super tough, but on the whole, it is a very, very well built trail. Check out those switchbacks on the side of the mountain.

Here is the view from the top, courtesy of Ty. This is the first endurance ride on the geared bike in over a year. This bike is going to be a singlespeed by this weekend.

Stunning views, great singletrack...this route is going to be a classic.

The only thing this trail is lacking is some riders. We saw 2 cars in the 8 hour ride (on the Kelvin-Florence Highway). No tracks, riders or hikers.

After the riding the ridge for a mile, we descended down to Florence-Kelvin Highway and headed back around to finish the Ripsey Segment loop, before finishing the out-n-back on the Boulders Segment Trail.

The new 116-mile option for the Antelope Peak Challenge is going to start around 3am (need to confirm with Scott). More info to come.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


..Recovery Ride at 50-Year Trail!

A comment from yesterday: We need some rain, this place is getting too sandy.

I also saw an old friend on his AM rig...guess who this is?

Antelope Peak Challenge pre-ride tomorrow (at least half of the 116-mile option in Ripsey).

Tucson Mountain Park Loop

Scott and I had plans to do some a good epic today, the new route for the Antelope Peak Challenge. The route and info are not up on the site yet, but the new 116-mile long course option is not going to disappoint. Anyway, that fell through after some car trouble on Scott's end.

We opted for a milder, closer to Tucson loop... The Tucson Mountain Park Loop from each of our respective houses (see below for route and profile).

I met Scott at CDO and continued on toward Starr Pass and Robles (shown here)

up and over Golden Gate

and then to Sweet Trails and [I]over[/I] Brown Mountain

[I]Pictures Courtesy of Scott[/I]

After Brown Mountain, I began to bonk. My legs felt like Jello. Excited to see the Coke machine at Saguaro National Park visitor center, I was only let down by the fact that the $1 sucker machine was broken. Epic failure. After about 15 attempts, I finally got it to work.

2 Pepsis later (the iced tea button was actually Pepsi), the epic failure averted for now.

One of the few dirt road sections in all the loop is in Saguaro National Park, providing some good scenery

Before riding back on the gasline (Scott had to return to Sweetwater to ride since we met at CDO Trailhead and then home to get the car).

[B]Post-loop food:[/B] Nico's Breakfast Burrito

The loop info:
[B]64.5 miles
6861 feet of climbing
about 75% singletrack/dirt road[/B]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

McDowell Monstercross V.2

Results are available here. Props to Craig from Moab for the route idea.

Route is as follows:
Basha’s to Gateway Loop
Gateway Loop to Paradise
Paradise Trail to Quartz.
Quartz to Lost Dog.
Lost Dog to Ringtail.
Ringtail to Sunrise.
Up and over Sunrise.
Connect to Dixie Mine.
Dixie Mine to Windmill/Coachwhip
Windmill/Coachwhip to Pemberton
Pemberton (ccw) to Comp Track connecting via a gated utility road
Long Loop and Sport Loop
Back to Pemberton via utility road
Pemberton (ccw) to Bluff
Bluff to Granite
Granite to Pemberton
Pemberton (cw) to Tonto
Tonto to Pemberton
Pemberton (ccw) to Windmill/Coachwhip
Over Windgate Pass and down Windgate.
Gateway Loop

GPX file is available here

I can already see a few changed in next year's route.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Red Ridge Epic

Picture from Topofusion and Scott's Blog

I managed to sucker Scott into a big ride yesterday.... The Red Ridge Epic II. The name seems a little lacking, but what it lacks in creativity it has in technical descending. The plan: go up Mt Lemmon Highway, use as much singletrack as humanly possible on the way up (Prison Camp, Cafe, 1918 and Sunset Trails) before dropping down the backside to Red Ridge up and over Charleau Gap, the 50 Year Trail Network and finally Catalina State Park.

I left my house to meet Scott on the Rillito Bike Path. Tons of people were out running and biking. It seems as though Tucsonans have a habit of waking up early to exercise.

After the crowded bike path, we took some lessons from El Tour and went across the Canyon Ranch wash, before heading up Catalina Highway. On the way up to Prison Camp, we saw Campy and Dave M, who were planning on doing Molino and over to Bellota. We had three road cyclists come up and ask us "What trails are you guys doing?" It was a pretty normal question, until each of them descended after asking us. Pretty weird, eh?

We split up at the Molino Basin, Campy and Dave heading east on the AZT up Molino (shown here)

and Scott and I headed up Prison Camp.

After Prison Camp, we had a decision to make. Continue up Bug Springs or take a rather large section of highway up to Cafe/1918/Sunset Trail. We opted for some road thinking that we may be short on time if we went up Bug Springs.

Then to more singletrack....Cafe and 1918. Some pretty sections for sure. Plenty of maple leaves to distract our attention from the goal at hand.

Mountain biking at its best....this was my favorite part of the trip on the front side of Lemmon

Here is a picture from Scott of the area, one of my favorites from the ride

We headed over to Sunset before reaching the General Store at Summerhaven. The new "Don Miguel Burrito" is this little beauty.....

Like this route, it lacks in name. Big Texas?! These 4.0 ounce treats are expertly- baked behemoth pastries that are packaged in a clear plastic wrapper emblazoned with the words Big Texas in purple print across the top of the package. Even better, it is only $1 and has 400 calories! After 20 seconds in the microwave, it tasted just as fresh as the ones from the Cookie Cabin across the street! I highly recommend it.

I used to cringe at the thought of eating "gas station" food. On long rides, you have to eat your occasional Don Miguel or Big Texas. Now, I savor and embrace it. Big miles mean Big Texas has to become a reality at times.

Calories in the stomach and bag, we headed to Red Ridge

Red Ridge in all its glory. Words are useless here. Just look at the pictures to really see what this first section is like

Same area of the above picture, only from Scott's camera

The trail seemed endless. Shouts of joy after nailing a switchback (attack!) echoed the canyon. A coatimundi ran across the trail. More rock drops. Piles of rock moved underneath your wheel is you sped down. Thoughts of I-hope-my-sidewall-does-not-tear as I go over this rock. Followed by more shouts.

Ahhhhhh, it was good to be on the bike....Notice the change in the vegetation. The rocks gardens got progressively bigger as we descended.

When you hit the wash, there is some route finding involved, although they are plenty of cairns to guide the way. A GPS would help although it would be pretty hard to get lost in the canyon.

Scott began to yell as he was cleaning some rocky technical sections, followed by a huge sandy pit. As he was yelling, "Yipppppppppppeeeeeee, woooo hoo!" continuously at the top of his lungs, I noticed some hunters in the tree. Classic moment. They asked us about the ride, which was only met with such statements as

"You climbed from your house?"
Where did you camp?"
"Do you have enough water?"

Although Scott had scared any chance of them getting a deer, they seemed pretty nice and inquisitive. A few minutes later we came to the CDO intersection.

And later the climb up to Charleau Gap

before descending into 50-year trail network

Once again, I was surprised to see how much fun descending (technical at times) there was in this loop. Scott and I traded off leading the fast descent into 50-year Trail.

Plenty of slickrock to really put a smile on your race.

The next two shots give you a perspective on how high on Lemmon we were before descending Red Ridge.

We exited the last section of singletrack to Catalina State Park as the sun began to set.

~11,000 feet of climbing
86 miles
13ish overall hours

The Red Ridge Epic: Catalina Highway-Prison Camp-Catalina Highway-Cafe-1918-Sunset-Summerhave-Red Ridge-Charleau Gap-Cherry Tank Area-50 Year-Catalina State Park

Scott uttered a phrase at the end of the ride that had me thinking about our epic rides: "That did not seem very hard, I feel great." Today, Scott calculated from the GPS tracks that we had done the route one hour faster than last year despite the addition of singletrack on front side of Lemmon this year (Prison, Cafe, 1918).

Read last year's version, the first Red Ridge Epic ride here.


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