North Rim of Grand Canyon Sampler Pics

Still getting through pictures from the AZ trip, but here are some pics from along the Rainbow Rim Trail on the North Rim of The Grand Canyon.  

The waning minutes of the day from our campsite.  My tent was about 40 miles from cell service, 22 miles from the nearest paved road and about 20 feet from the edge of the canyon.   This is not a good place to camp if you are a sleep walker.  For everyone else, this is soooo freaking awesome.

The Rainbow Rim Trail is 18 miles long and easily ridable in a day as an out-and-back if you are “on the pedals”.   Personally, I think you would be quite the bonehead to do so as this ride deserves to take plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers, take in the views and generally just soak the whole place in.  You can hammer on any trail, but it’s not everyday you get to cruise along the rim of the Grand Canyon.  We were camped at Locust Point and did the trail in two days.  Day one was an out-and-back to Parissawampitts  Point.  It is a tricky name to say and we found unending pleasure from seeing how many ways we could butcher the name.  Day two was Locust Point to Timp Point and back.

The trail undulates mildly for most of the time as you gradually descend out to the points and then climb back away from the points before contouring around to the mid-point drainage.   When you do not have the Grand Canyon vistas, you have some sweet singletrack through the mixed pine and aspen forest.

Jeff cruising along

Once out to the end of the trail at “Popabeertopitts Point”  we spent about 30 minutes hiking/scrambling out to the far-tip of the of point for an even better view of the canyon.   Here we enjoyed a sandwich and a little something extra we had packed in our camelbak bladders.   Ahh still nice and cold.

One thing we all firmly agreed upon was that it did not suck to be us today.

The next morning we set off at just about the crack of dawn for an out-and-back ride in the other direction to Timp Point.  The morning light was pretty incredible.

Once again there were plenty of picture taking going on and generally enjoying  the stops just as much as the GOs.

Jeff on the Go

We also came across at buffalo kill that was presumably made by a mountain lion.  Amazing to think about the power of these big cats to take down a buffalo.  Armed only with cameras we were certainly not the apex predator out here.

Hello Kitty Toothpicks

The views from Timp Point (the terminous of the trail) were once again impressive.  The time of day can totally determine what you can see because of the way the light shifts along the canyon walls.  We noticed a small speck of white in the distance and were able to determine that it was Thunder Springs, an impressive waterfall that comes right out of the side of canyon from an underground river.  I did some Googling on this place and I might just have to dust off my hiking boots for a return trip up here.

The “back” part of the ride went fairly quickly but we did stop to smell some of these.

And check out this guy.

We were back at camp at brunch time and Jeff started busting up camp as he had to leave.    It was great getting to hang out with Jeff (aka MTB Mayor of Kernville).  Later that day Bill and I would get in another ride, but that is another story.

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

Dell

Craig

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

Goat Camp Goodness Goes Bad

Sunday was a climb up into the White Tank Mountains west of Phoenix.  This area was incredibly awesome with the vibrant colors of spring going off.  The trails of the White Tanks are extremely diverse.  We did a loop that included some burly climbing on the Mesquite Canyon trail before things mellowed out to mostly smooth benchcut singletrack interspresed with technical bits.  There were some impressive views along this trail.  From the Mesquite Trail we connected to the Willow Trail and enjoyed some more springtime desert goodness.   From the Willow Trail we connected to the Ford Canyon Trail which had us busting out a switchbacking climb up to the junction of the Goat Camp Trail.

Greg on Buttery Smooth Singletrack

The Goat Camp Trail had been on my to-do list for a long while as people who are much better riders than me have all said it is one of the gnarliest trails they have ever been on.    The trail did not disappoint.  It starts off really scenic and pretty as you work your way over a couple of ridges before coming to the final descent.

This is where things get incredibly technical.  The opening descent is a steep loose monster that is quite shaly with big chunk a plenty.   Our guide and all-around awesome guy for the day, Greg, described it best when he said “If you touch your front brake just a little too much, the earth opens up and swallows your front wheel”.    The middle section gets more firm undertneath you but the trail is just impressively rugged.   It is hard to put a pucker factor on this section.  It is more like a continual state of colon lockdown.

Kevin at the top of the Staircase

There is a really tricky feature known as the Spiral Staircase.   There is a bit of a chunk gate to get into the feature followed by steep left handed roll down into a really tight righthander that exits into either a spine roll or a chunky set of stairsteps.  JD impressively flashed the entire thing after a quite look see of the line options.  I kept having problems at the bottom as I could not get through the bottom right hander smooth enough to get onto the spine roll.

Below the Spiral Staircase is another just mean section known as “Jack Hammer”.    It was somewhere along this section that I blew a move and went off the bike and unfortnately smacked into a sharp-edged rock with my face.   OUCH!!!!! I knew it was bad as soon as it happened as I could feel the left side of my face move in the “wrong” direction and then go numb.   Behind me was Kevin and when he gave the question we all get asked sooner or later “Are You Okay”, I had to respond with “No, I’m hurt bad”.

Here a Carnage Shot (WARNING: It is quite icky …)

Like myself, Kevin has been offically trained on Wilderness First Aid and he did a great job sizing up the situation and getting all the supplies out and starting the work of patching my lower and upper lips back together with some steri-strip wound closures.   I know the poker face and measured repsonses  medics are trained to give in situations like this and I knew Kevin was concerned.  I’m sure some of you are already thinking “Did he film that?”  Yes, I was filming when it happened.  It is mighty hard to see you own face so I used the camcorder with the screen flipped so I could see the damage myself.  It was not pretty at all.   After getting patched up, Kevin and I walked down the rest of the trail.  It was not too far before we JD and Greg where waiting for us.   I could see the concern in thier eyes as well.

Kevin Patching me Up

We had some gear spread amongs a couple of cars, so JD and Greg went on ahead to get everything setup for my exit.   I walked some more until the trail got pretty tame in comparision to the rest the trail.   I made a point of going very gingerly as I did not want to elevate my heart anymore than needed.    On the way back we came across a few hikers who gave some quite truthful responses like “Holy S#$T” and Oh My F#$king God!

Once off the trail, I got my chamois off as I knew I would otherwise have it on for a long and end up with a bad case of monkeybutt.    JD got me to the ER straight away.   This was the first time I had the term “Though and Through” used outside of a CSI show on TV.   Both the upper and lower lips where lacerated in that manner with the lower getting the worst of it.    I walked out of the ER four hours after arriving with 19 stitches (some inside and some out) and a hankering for a smoothie!

Jerry thankfully had taken a catnap while waiting for me and he drove back to Orange County so I would only have to deal with about an hour of driving from the OC down to North County San Diego.  It was way freaking late when I got home.  Even though the Novacaine of long since worn off, a good portion of my face was disturbingly still numb.

After some stitchwork

It has been a few days since the crash.  I had thought about posting earlier about this but was just not feeling up to it.  The good news is that I can tell the nerves are starting to heal and the feeling is starting to come back into most of the area.  The bad news is ……The feeling is coming back into the area!   The inside of the left side of my mouth feels like a have a cold sore the size of a quarter and few of the bits of spare change.

I’m already shopping for a full-face helmet for my technical trail excursions. :-)

-Bill

More SoMo Fun

What a great day we had on South Mountain today.   We started at the Pima Canyon trailhead and climbed the Mormon Loop to National and took that up to the Buena Vista trailhead.  There was plenty of green on the mountain.

Catcus Flower 

 From there we took the Geronimo trail down off the mountain.   What an awesome bit of technical singletrack that sees far less traffic than National.  We then did a quick bit of street riding over to the Mormon and started a very technical and brutal climb back up the mountain.  It was an excellent series of slogging, sessioning, and bike-a-biking.   From there we took National back down to the Pima Canyon.  

Greg

After some quick showers we were off for some Italian food and libations.   Good Stuff !   

-Bill

Opening Day in AZ

So I was up O-dark:30 this morning on my way to hookup with Jerry for a burn out to Phoenix.   By 1PM we had made I-10 rip and were hooking up with Kevin and Greg for a quick fternoon jaunt on South Mountain.   I’m in the middle of enjoying evening barley wine so just a couple of words and pics. 

 SoMo

 Upper National

Greg

 Greg on Upper National

Garage

My kind of Garage

More to Follow….

-Bill