The long way to Flagstaff

My work projects in Bahrain finally  got to a point to where I could come home for a few weeks.  Combined our schedules have been kinda nuts lately which included Nichol needing to move a vehicle across the country.   I was able to swing my schedules around to allow for a few days at home before getting back on a plane to the east coast.  There I would join Nichol for the country drive that started in Norfolk VA.

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Day 1 was spent taking care of business in Norfolk before heading off to my folks place in North Carolina.   Along with a great visit, my Dad cooked up some of the best pulled pork BBQ I have ever had.  On the evening of Day 2 we pulled into Asheville NC.  We spent the evening enjoying some of the tasty microbrew scene along the Asheville Ale Trail that included Burial Beer and Wicked Weed Brewing.    Not that we had much of a plan to ride here but any thoughts of that were pretty much washed away with all of the thunderstorms they were having with more planned for the following day.   Day 3 we made our way to Little Rock Arkansas where we enjoyed some more tasty beers at Lost Forty Brewing before hopping into a hotel for the evening.    The next day we made our way Albuquerque NM for tastings from Ponderosa Brewing.  Yes, why yes we were making exceptional time! Don’t worry we left no contrails.

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The following day we made a rather quick jaunt over to Flagstaff.   We had made arrangements for some rentals bikes from Cosmic Cycles.  I must stay they some really good rentals at a very reasonable rate for what we got.  If we would have been super on our game we could have gotten out for late afternoon ride, but we somehow managed to find ourselves enjoying some tasty grub and beer at Flagstaff Brewing Co while we planned out what the ride was going to be the following day.

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The route we were going to do was a sampling of the Arizona National Scenic Trail.   I had ridden this section of trail back in summer of 2010 and figured this would be a great intro to the countryside of Flagstaff for Nichol.  We parked at the trailhead along Forest Service Road 418 and took the forest service roads back south along the bottom of Hart Prairie before catching trail that took us up near Aspens Corner and the junction with the Arizona Trail.

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Working our way up to Aspens Corner

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The connector trail up to Aspens Corner passes by a nice little pond.  This views did not suck

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Once on the AZT we were treated to a mix of single track goodness through stands of Aspens

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Views from Hart Prairie

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Stands of Pines

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A ferns that were sometimes head high.  The last few miles along this route were just “La La La La La” singletrack awesomeness that required very little pedaling and very little breaking as you swooped through pines, aspens, ferns, wildflowers etc…. all the way back to the trailhead.

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We enjoyed some tasty Asheville goodness we brought with us for a post-ride refreshment at the trailhead.

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And what a great place to enjoy a tasty post-ride beer.  This was our view next to the truck.    By the end of the day we would make our way to Las Vegas where we delivered and the truck and other move related goods.   The following day made our way back home.

Rainbow Rim Trail Video

Well it has been many moons since I did a MTB vid. Lots of reasons why but mostly because I was not particularly motivated to do a video. I have shot lots of video but had a tough time wanting to futz with it at a keyboard.  Well after looking at my footage from the North Rim, I felt like putting a video together. So here you go.   I’m hosting this on YouTube at the moment and I’m still working out the kinks on getting the video encoding to look its best through them.    You can select up to 1080 HD if your connection and device will handle it.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

few days ago I got back from a vacation that included a few days in the Las Vegas that included seeing Aerosmith in concert.   Wow, can those guys still kick some ass on stage!  After the Vegas portion of vacation we continued northward and eastward to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.   This was my third time out here and Nichol’s first.   I first came out here on an Arizona in Summer roadtrip in 2006 and then again on a Flagstaff & North Rim trip in 2010.  You don’t come out here for technical riding, you come out here for the incredible scenery and the experience of riding on the only singletrack currently open to mountain bikes along the rim of the Grand Canyon.   The Rainbow Rim trail is in the Kaibab National Forest and is miles and miles away from pavement, cell phone coverage and any of the tourist trappings of the Grand Canyon National Park despite the border of the national park being just a few feet below the rim of the canyon in this area.   The place requires a commitment to visit but it is well worth it.

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We made our way out to the Kaibab Plateau on a Monday and made our way out to the middle of five points that stick out into the canyon, Locust Point.  We had the entire point to ourselves.

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The view into the Tapeats Amphitheater of the Grand Canyon from our campsite.

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(Nichol looking out from Fence Point)

Now between an overuse injury and an illness I had been off the bike for a two solid months.   The injury was (and still is) tendonitis in my elbows.   I had been trying all kinds of things but rest and all I really managed to do was make it worse to the point where it was not only painful to steer the bike, but painful to do all kinds of daily activities.  Just about when I was ready to get back on the bike I came down with some nasty flavor of the crud and that kept me off the bike for another couple of weeks.   I’m going to call it a blessing in disguise for my elbows.  So the following morning when we headed out on the trail the general decline in fitness along with the trail undulating between 7,500 and 7,750 feet was quite a wake-up call for this sea-level slacker.

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The good news for me is that the Rainbow Rim trail is not a trail to be bombed.  If you come out here to work on your Strava time you are an idiot.   This is a stop and smell the flowers kind of place.

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We split the Rainbow Rim trail up into two days.   On the first day we did an out and back from camp to Parissawampitts Point for a total of 18 miles.   I was dragging by time we got back to camp

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A killer little meadow

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I think aspens are one of the pretty trees there are and I really like how they are intermingled along the trail with the large pines.

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MEAT!   Big fat cowboy style T-bones cooked over a campfire about 20 feet from the rim.  Life is good!   There were only a few hours between sunset and moonrise but in that time the stars that could be seen were crazy amazing.

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The following morning we did an out of and back from Locust Point to Timp Point.  The trail in this direction was just as awesome as the previous day.

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Once again, I’m a sucker for aspens.

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Lots of wildflowers out showing off

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When had some of the locals out watching us.

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When we got to Timp Point, I wanted to show Nichol the Thunder River coming out of the side of the canyon.   I thought I was looking in the right direction but was quite befuddled.

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It was not until after the trip when I reviewed my photos from the 2010 that I figured out my mistake.  The photo above is from the 2010 trip.  Notice the slightly different angle of the “slot” of the canyon in the above shot and the one of it from this years trip.     I had forgotten that we hiked down a trail at Timp Point that goes further out onto the point.   It sheds off quite a bit of elevation, but you have to do this to get the right angle to be able to see further down into the canyon that reveals Thunder River.

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Here is a zoomed in shot of Thunder River. Those are not bushes but trees!

There is an 8-mile extension of the Rainbow Rim trail in the works.   It will consist of 3 miles and change of new singletrack and a decommissioned forest service road will be converted to trail.    I rode about 1.5 miles or so of the roughed in new single track beyond Timp Point before heading back to Timp Point.   It will be a sweet extension when complete.   The cruise back to Locust Point was just as awesome as the outgoing leg and the chunk of the extension I did brought the days mileage up to 21 miles of coolness.   We had another lovely evening and we casually broke camp the following morning to start the road trip back to San Diego.    This was such an awesome trip and well worth the effort to get out here.   This will not be my last time out here.

Flagstaff Sampler Pics

Got back from Arizona last week and I have a ton of pictures from this awesome trip to sort through.

Here are a few pictures from the first half of the trip in Flagstaff.  All of our riding was done above 7,000 feet of elevation so there was plenty of huffing and puffing on these rides.

Aspens and log rides…There is a combination. Jeff showing how it is done.

Cowboy TV and board meeting to plan out singletrack domination

Dell checking the air pressure in his tires.

Art23RockPile enjoying the finer things in life.

I’m such a sucker for Apsens. Art crusing through.

Bill O’Neil rolling along.

Steppie telling us again that he would be surprised if there was a 1000 feet of climbing on this ride.   (It was more like 2-3000 feet)

From campsite most of the rides started with a cruise down the Schultz Creek trail. It is like having ice cream for breakfast.

Craig enjoying the thin air.

Art playing on the Washabi trail

The was some sessioning done on some doubles. Jeff

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Art on a nasty section of Private Reserve

Craig also playing on Private Reserve

Dell on Pickle.

Bill O’Neil on Pickle

The full story to follow…

AZ is Calling

Arizona is calling.    The wanderlust itch has been growing for quite a while now so it is time to scratch it.

Some friends and I are heading out to Flagstaff  tomorrow for the start of a week of playing around on the dirt.   We are going to hit some of the classics on Mt Elden but I’m sure some other stuff is going to make it on the menu.

After some rides in Flagstaff, I don’t know where the compass is going to take us.  Could head north towards the Kaibab Plateau on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

To the south things are already pretty warm, but Sedona is not too hot yet.   Then there is always the White Mountain to the east.  Of course there are hundreds of miles of trail in between all of these points that could be checked.     One thing is for certain,   awesome trails, tasty beers, sore legs and lots of smiles are expected over the next week.   Time to go to bed, I have to be up at O-Damn Early!

“Hangover” Video from Sedona

I finally got the video for the Hangover Trail in Sedona completed.   It was pretty interesting to look at the video footage of my spill over the edge.  Man, things I remembered happening so slowly “in the moment” went by in the blink of an eye.   As with all videos, things are steeper than look, but I did not realize just how exposed some of the sections were until reviewing the footage.

Ahh, enough yapping. 

 Right Click Here to download the 128MB WMV format file that runs 9 minutes and 10 seconds.   

While you are waiting for the file to download you can check out some of my other pages and posts on Sedona

Blog Posts   Arizona Summer 2006   Arizona Winter 2007    Arizona Spring 2008

Sedona Day 3

Today started off a little earlier than the day before but not by much.  We had a couple of locals to show us around today and they showed us the goods that started right from our Condo.  We started off the on-the-map trails, but later in the ride we transitioned onto some “Locals Only” stuff that I was asked to keep off the air.   Since talking about the on-the-map stuff we did would give some hints about the “other” stuff I am going to refrain from talking about them as well.    

So you won’t see any explainations of the  pretty selective pictures posted here.   I ended up having to bailing out on the last little bit of trails on the return trip to get packed up and rolling towards home.   I managed to make good time and was back at home at around 10pm. Trail names or not, I have yet to find a trail in Sedona that I did not like.

 

 

 

Sedona Weekend – Day 1

O-DAMN Early came at O-DARK:30 this morning.    Things seem to come together fairly quickly for this weekend getaway.   It was not until earlier in the week did was I able to give the green light to meet some friends from Arizona, Utah, and Colorado in Sedona for some dirt time.

Today’s rides was just going to be a few of us as the rest of the hoodlums would not arrive until the following morning.  I thought I was making really good time and when I pulled up to the trailhead about 10 minutes before the meet time.  Kevin and Greg then informed me that I had forgotten about that pesky little time zone thingy, so I was an hour late.  DOOOH!   Oh Well, we ride!

We spent the remainder of the day playing on some fun and often technical trails that were for the most part between Soldier Pass Road and Dry Creek Road.

I am always amazed at just how pretty this place can be.   It is one of those places were the scenery can be its own hazard.

I should have known by now, but whenever you ride with Kevin,  there is a pretty good chance you are going to get in some technical climbing. 

So while some may do a trail this-a-way Keving is gonna take you that-a-way. 

I love the way the Arizona flora helps keep the singletrack single. Come off line, or dab in the wrong spot and there is a fair chance the trail is going to complain to you.  

Once we reached our turn-around spot which was based more on daylight than mileage we enjoyed the fruits of some of our technical climbing efforts. We flowed, we bobbed, we weaved, and we had a really good time back to the trucks.  We did not use up quite all of the daylight, but we did not leave much.   Besides there was a hot tub and cold beers just down the road with our names on them. Why further delay things? While I did not have major party plans for the night, I felt a hangover was in my near future.

Arizona South Mountain Video

So I finally got around to getting the video together from our couple of days on South Mountain.   This video by far has more climbing scenes in it than any othe video I have done.  While Greg, Jerry and I all had our moments in the sun, Keven seemed to always be putting on a technical skills clinic.  I am always amazed at how well he can finesse stuff, particularly climbs.    This video was also the first time I had some inputs from Will on how to put it together which was a fun bit of Dad, Son time.

 Anywho  RIGHT CLICK HERE to download the 9 minute video that will set your hardrive back 123MB.

-Bill

Spring in AZ08 Pages Up

I finally got around to getting all my pictures and stuff from my fun little jaunt out to Phoenix. We had some might fun playtime on South Mountain and in the White Tank Mountains. Some of this is not totally new, but it is the first time I have gotten it all together.

Day One on South Mountain – Telegraph Pass and Upper National

Day Two on South Mountain – Mormon Loop, National, Geronimo and Mormon.

Day Three – White Tanks Mountain Regional Park – Mesquite, Willow Canyon, Ford, Goat Camp and Glendale ER.

I would like to give a big thanks out to the tons of folks who gave me well-wishes and sent good vibes and thoughts my way after the crash on the Goat Camp trail. It really helped to keep my spirits up through a rather painful healing process. I have tried to get back to everyone but I am certain I have missed a plenty.

Thanks,
Bill