Arizona Winter Escape '06
UPDATE : October 2011 -
Before we get started here, I have very, very good news for anyone visiting Sedona to ride the fantastcic trails.
Sedona now has a world class bike shop, Over The Edge Sports, Sedona. If you break stuff, they will help you. Need trailinfo? They have you covered.
Even of you don't need any of that stuff, stop by and check out the vibe:
Another January and another trip to AZ to meet some folks from CO for the annual OTE retreat. What a difference a year makes. After massive rain last year we were treated to normal weather which meant sun, sun and more sun.
Eric "borrowed" a swank krautmobile and we headed out around 1am from Norcal, to avoid LA traffic (right...). We hit the SoMO parking lot before noon and shook out our legs with a rip up National to Buena Vista and then back down. The cameras stayed in the car so all I'm left with is this scintillating parking lot shot of the krautmobile disgorging bikes and luggage.
Despite last year's pad in Sedona being uber-swank, Troy outdid himself and found this crazy mansion outside of Sedona as this year's home base. 20+ folks slept,. ate, swam, drank, hot tubbed and drank very comfortably. Here's a shot of some kind of meeting (vacation, and a meeting?) to decide who was riding where, and why, and when.
The first morning in Sedona we did a big group ride up to Munds. Once we hit the Cow Pies Keith tried to break a new demo bike.
While folks cruised around and soaked in the scenery.
Eventually the grouped fractured with some folks heading down and the rest of the group headiing up to find DamnifIknow. We ended up missing the portage up over the saddle but were rewarded with some cool bits of trail nonetheless.
Jason climbing on up our detour.
Jerry riding to and fro through a cool rock jumble.
We had one medical EMERGENCY when Mike showed us why you don't want to stuff into the local foliage when you blow a techy crux move.
We finally hit a dead end, retraced our steps, found the portage and topped out at the saddle.
The sun was dropping fast and we discovered that the ink that was used to mark up our map had turned into a big green smudge.
We scouted back and forth and found the trail running along the contour in the distance and had a great descent , river crossing and portage up to the highway followed by a lightless road burn on the highway back into Sedona.
And that's it for the pictures that are suitable for posting on the web. Folks who attended the costume party (especially "Sake Margarita" Paul) will be happy to know the photos from that evening are securely protected by multiple redundent firewalls. Maybe.
Day two in Sednoa had has doing a mellow ride on Turkey Creek and I manage to slap a video of that ride together.
Day Three in Sedona found us on some typical Sedona trails like Llama, Chicken Point, etc. Again, no pictures but some video.
On our last day in AZ we headed South to Phoenix and rode Goat Camp for the second time. The descent was easier than last year in the rain but was still the most technical descent that I've done in AZ. After the ride we drove home through the night to cold, cold Winter in Norcal.
Arizona, January 2005
What better time to leave soggy Norcal than during some pounding rain? We left, but the rain followed. All day long. Out past Palm Springs even.
As we approached Phoenix we organized a soiree with the Fruita boys. They were over there, we were over here. So we decided to rendevous somewhere on Desert Classic. Kind of like those word problems where one train leaves Cleveland and one train leaves Peoria and you have to figure out where they will meet. Except neither party was leaving from either of those sh|tholes. But I digress.
We rode into the (very colorful) sunset with our camelbaks and jersey pockets choked with beer and eventually met with the boys somewhere out amongst the cacti. We decided to smuggle the beer in our tummies all of the way back to Gregg's house. Good decision!
What was supposed to be just a "loosen the legs up" ride turned out to be really cool after the sun set. The lights of Phoenix reflected off of the low cloud cover and cast a warm glow that was just enough to ride by.
The next morning found us riding National and Corona something and it was great riding, as always. I took one lousy picture of the very, very, green desert.
We inhaled some pizza that was pound for pound heavier than lead and headed up to the house that OTE took over in Sedona.
Jane Russell used to get naked in this house. Every day. Now she's dead though.
It was big.
The views weren't too shabby either.
On Sunday Sedona was wet where it wasn't wetter and there was scattered frozen wetness up high.
We rode some trails right from the house and got wet. Big surprise.
An Eddy rides through it.
Moister than it looks.
Keith on a slippery climb.
On Monday (insert deity figure of choice here) turned on the faucet full blast and we ran away down south to ride White Tanks with Kevin and Gregg.
Hmmm...there still seems to be some moisture in the air.
Gregg climbing into the Sun. Mucho tech climbing.
Still climbing into the cacti.
How can it be a good ride if there is no hike-a-bike?
Then the trail turned into this IMBA baby jogger buff nightmare and the clouds got darker.
And then the trail flipped out and changed into a psychotic rocky sandy cacti-lined techfest of a descent. That was the best section of trail that I have ridden in AZ. Kind of like Milagrosa on a steroid and meth cocktail. And it started really raining. Eventually we made it back down to the bottom after a few flats, some gouges, and lots of laughter.
Phoenix could be seen in the distance.
Tuesday found us back in Sedona where it was sunny. The trails were in great shape, even where they ran along stream beds.
Dry slickrock. What a concept.
Some Irish hooligan riding the aforementioned streambed.
More slippery than it looks.
Testing the waters.
A helmet saved his life!
Not scenic enough.
A self-portrait. So, where am I in this picture?
Approaching the Seven Pools.
Don't do a Raymond.
This didn't pan out how I wanted it to.
Three of seven.
Local lichen colonies were digging the moisture.
Not a bad place to take a food break.
Mind the pointy bits.
Coffee pot rock and a rider. Where's Waldo?
Creek running on the way out.
And then we were done. And we drove back to cold, gloomy, Norcal.
My guess is that General Creek is currently NOT rideable.
Thanks to that Chet guy and OTE folks for the hospitality and a rockin good time.
A Winter Arizona Getaway
The weather at home was sucky, the Fruita crew was headed South for a "shop retreat," and we tagged along to the land of cholla cactus to celebrate the new year.
We blasted through the night down I5 with the help of a large quantity of chocolate, I ate the shittiest waffle of my life at the Awful House aka Waffle House and eventually we met the Fruita Mafia in Phoenix at South Mountain. From our vantage at the start of the ride we thought we might have made a wrong turn and ended up in smoggy L.A.
Instead of the usual route up National we started from Buena Vista and headed West on National. This is a great route. Much less traveled than the East Side, more primitve and a blast to ride.
Many climbing challenges, as Mike so aptly demonstrates here.
Led by our Safety Officer, we climbed and climbed. Fortunately, we were still above that nasty smog
More and more climbing ensued, with a bit hopping thrown in.
Mike sampled some of the local flora ..
...and the group continued to ride up, down and around through the great terrain.
Then we stopped, ate, drank, and slept.
And then got up to climb Geronimo to National to Mormon the next day. No pictures by me that day since I was dragging video equipment along.
Nevertheless, that route is a great climb followed by a fantastic descent. Some of the video that we shot last year while descending Geromino made it into this video.
Then it was off to Sedona for the second part of the trip.
Ah, red rock country. We stayed at these groovy chalet-condos that looked like they would be more at home in the Alps than in that Newage land known as Sedona. The views out the back weren't bad.
Some folks posed at the trailhead while our group (which had swollen to 13) assembled.
We rode out towards Chicken Point and stopped for some refueling after a few technical climbs...
...and then we crossed the highway to Buddha Beach
...and eventually made our way back to the condos for some sleep and then early morning bike repair.
Not a bad spot to work on a bike.
After another day of riding around Sedona, we hit the road for home with only one stop left.
We headed North out of Sedona and stopped off outside of Vegas to ride Bootleg canyon. Since we only had our girly man trail bikes, we rode some of the "XC" trails to break up the long drive home. I have definite plans to head back with my pig bike since the terrain was so cool.
Fun, loose, rocky trails in the midst of a wasteland...
Around the backside of the main mountain, in the middle of our loop, you could see the Vegas Strip in the distance.
Loose, tight switchbacks as the Sun was setting...
...and some EXTREME freeride climbing to finish off the loop.
Steeper than it looks...
Then we drove home.