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South Mountain in Phoenix Arizona

Day Three of the Arizona in Winter 2007 trip

images/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-Sedona-11JAN07-18.jpgThe plan from last night ended up being no good as we awoke to the sound of rain and lots of it.  Riding Damifino was out of the question.  The rain seemed to motivate the Colorado folks to get packed and moving northward and all of the OTE folks except Troy bailed on going to Phoenix.  Over the course of breakfast, "Plan B" was devised.  Since Phoenix is on the way to Tucson we would ride somewhere in Phoenix in the afternoon,  have dinner and continue on our way to Tucson.  Late morning/afternoonish ride starts seemed to be a developing theme with this trip as we did not get to moving southward until around lunchtime.   On the way down to Phoenix we decided that the National and Javalina trails on the infamous South Mountain were in order.    On the way down, I called up my friend, Cris, who had first introduced me to some of the summer time offerings of Arizona over the past summer and invited him out for the ride.   Cris was able to make it so we had a group of five for play time on "SoMo".

images/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-02.jpg Both the traffic and weather really started to suck as we got into the metro Phoenix area.  On the bright side, we spent enough time in bumper-to-bumper traffic that the worst of the rain was over by the time we met up with Cris at the bottom of the Javalina trail.  images/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-01.jpg
     
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Here is a link to a map of South Mountain from a Phoenix Government site.   Cosmic Ray's MTB guide book I mentioned earlier will also get you there and generally pointed in the right direction.  The National Trail between the Buena Vista lookout to the Mormon/Javalina trail is a real blast where "on trail" free-riding  opportunities abound.  If you have never heard of the term, it basically means there are lots of multiple lines where you can go "easy" or take a much harder line or natural stunt. 

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 Bike Magazine recently ranked the National trail as one of America's 10 Best Trails saying "South Mountain is, simply put, home to some of the most brutal and demanding cross-country trails in the country."    While we only rode a couple of the many trails on the mountain I would certainly agree it is quite technical.   I would say it is an advanced riders kind of place, but a strong intermediate level rider who judiciously picked there lines could stay on their wheels for nearly all of the trail.

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images/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-07.jpg The National Trail is home to a couple marquee technical series collectively known as "The Waterfall". There are three major lines down this thing, the traditional somewhat grooved route, the spine drop in and a far left line which looks to have been built up with a bunch of rocks.   After eyeballing all the lines, I made the traditional line on the first attempt and felt quite stoked and content to leave the spine line for another day.  Personally, I think the spine line is the hardest and the far left line is the easiest of the three.  However all three of these lines are difficult and would be in the hairball category for most riders. images/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-08.jpg
 

images/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-09.jpgimages/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-10.jpgimages/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-11.jpgimages/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-06.jpg
Bill and Jerry on The Waterfall

 
     
images/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-17.jpg The rest of National did not disappoint and we sessioned a couple of uphill ledge moves while we were waiting for others to fix flats. (Troy to the left and Bill to the right) The flats really ate into our daylight and we ended up rolling off of Javalina in the last moments before full blown darkness.    It was a fine afternoon of Mountain Biking. images/Trails/AZ07/AZ07-SoMo-12JAN07-13.jpg
     

Just a few mere blocks away from the trailhead was a Mexican restaurant which just happened to serve the best MTB vacation hydration aide, Magaritas. Somewhere during the second round of our Nectar from the Spanish Gods, "Plan C" was devised.    The basic elements of this plan was to skip going to Tucson tonight, get a hotel with a jacuzzi, and get "rehydrated" for tomorrow's ride in Tucson.   

 

  On to Day Four  - The 50 Year Trail in Tucson