Monthly ArchiveNovember 2007



Downhill Biking &Mountain Biking 26 Nov 2007 09:46 pm

Trust me it’ll be fun….

Ah—how many times have you led friends astray off on some wild, stupid, idea of a ride where your friendship is definitely strained until you get back to civilization. The symptoms are; You feel like a total asshole and you have a hard time looking your friend in the eye because you know that you’ve chosen a poor route, kinda like when the dog tosses the garbage & can’t look you in the eye when you get home. Symptom two is; You find yourself saying things that you know aren’t true like; I think it levels out pretty soon, or I think we’re getting pretty darn close, or after this next little bit it gets a lot better. Symptom three; is that you mentally start tallying all your combined foodstuffs & resources. And symptom four; You find yourself yo-yo ing back and forth down the trail checking to make sure your friend(s) is still ok but not necessarily wanting to get within range of their stink-eye and mutterings.

Thus I present to you Mt Shasta’s “Entertainer” snow ride;

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Top of Entertainer

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Mud,Dust,& Snow

Mountain Biking 14 Nov 2007 10:26 pm

Arizona Gold; part 3 South Mountain Park Phoenix

The good folks of Phoenix are lucky to have South Mountain Park in their area. Of course in my opinion thats about the only thing the Phoenixites have going for them. I’m not big on strip-malls & urban sprawl though. Plus I like green things too. Also from where I was staying in north Phoenix it’s about an hour drive to get across town to South Mountain Park (which I’m going to abbreviate from here on out as SMP) and for only about a half hour more drive time you can get yourself up to Sedona & get yourself spliced by an alien.

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About SMP. I wasn’t expecting such a test of my manhood so close to urban sprawl. I started out from the East end on an access road and quickly got to the National trail which I decided to climb up only to find out later that most people (smarter people) ride up the Mormon Loop as it cuts out most of the steep climbing trials type maneuvers. Going up the National trail is like riding up an unevenly spaced stair case where each of the steps comes up to your knees. For recovery in between these natural rock stairs you get to “spin” your legs out up a nice middle ring grade in a sand wash with nothing but tall cacti to shade you. It really was fun though. And challenging.

I didn’t get a chance to check out some of the more technical DH trails that exist in SMP but judging from the guidebook I was using I’m sure they were quite technical as the rating for National trail was one skull and the rating for the DH trails was three skulls. I know what you’re thinking,…Pansy. I felt Pansy too. Coming back down National trail from the radio towers was a blast and I think it would make an awesome Super D course. Actually I think some savvy promoter could throw a pretty damn good late-winter National Event at SMP even though the general area is known better for the now defunct Cactus Cup race.

Typical SMP fare

Mountain Biking 12 Nov 2007 12:21 am

Arizona Gold; part 2 Flagstaff

I pride myself on dealing quite well with altitude. I also pride myself in not using the granny ring on a regular basis I mean she’s pretty much just there as eye candy. Climbing somewhere in the Flagstaff mountains I hovered just outside my body (along with a circling fly) and watched as my ego and the granny ring struck an uneasy bargain. It went something like this;

Ego: “Hey there grandma gear you still down there? I seeee you. Ahem sorry I haven’t visited in while. You doing well? health? Still got all yer teeth? You know I don’t really ask much of you except to occasionally catch uncle chain when he falls off aunt middle ring or fancy pants big ring (that show off hasn’t worked a real day in his life). I mean we all know aunt middle rings does all the real work in this family. But I really need a favor from you…See that peak up yonder? I really want to get there and I’m gonna need your help to do it”.

Grandma gear: “Now why would you want to do some fool thing like that”? I can tell you whats up there, no trees & not much air either. Have you lost all your sense boy–or just all your fitness? You never visit me anymore and now you come by asking for miracles”.

Ego: “Look granny ring I don’t like this anymore than you do. Maybe I did slack off a bit after Downieville this year but here we are and we’re going to the top of that mountain. Now I didn’t actually have to ask your permission I only did it to be polite and out of respect for our history together. So I’m gonna give you to the count of three…one..two..Click

I also had a conversation with my 18 pound pet camelback that I was conviced had gained some weight recently–but then completely forgave him the next day in Phoenix riding South Mountain Park.

Flagstaff Collage

Flagstaff was probably my favorite all around riding experience in Arizona–Probably because it hit that sweet spot in my psyche that says hey this is what mountain biking is supposed to be. Painful grueling climb with epic views and the sweet sweet aspen pine mixed twisty singletrack flowy descent on back to civilization. Flagstaff is the one place on this trip where I really would have liked to have a guide show me the locals secret trails, and no matter how high I climbed there was always the San Fransisco Mtns looming overhead as a tangible reminder that I’d only scratched the surface.

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Mountain Biking 11 Nov 2007 10:37 pm

Arizona Gold; part 1 Sedona

Oh boy. I’m a bad bad bad blogger. The cardinal sin is simply to ignore your Blog. Well I’ve been busy, and before you start ranting about how that’s no excuse and that I should have my Blog revoked (you’re right by the way) I do have a list of excuses;

I suck..I’m lazy…Uhh my Wife got us Netflicks….I started a new job…I bought a house in Syracuse..I’ve been traveling to Sedona, Phoenix, Flagstaff and doing a ton of riding in those areas. Been plotting an Ashland Pump-track. Hmm oh yeah building a fence in my backyard.

But this is a biking Blog so lets talk about all the cool riding in Arizona. You know when you go somewhere you’ve never been before and you’re relying on some guide book to show you where to ride; you just know you’re not getting to check out all the really cool local knowledge stuff that’s out there.

I mean – I know the kind of trails we serve up the the tourists here in Ashland so I was pretty damn impressed by the legal vanilla trail map stuff I rode in Arizona. There was one trail I rode in Sedona that the guy behind the Bike & Bean counter quickly sketched into my guide book in between furtive glances back to the shop area to make sure his manager wasn’t creeping up on him.

It was a little piece of goat track, nasty exposures overlooking slickrock far below, shaded by Pinon pines Heaven that wasn’t on the map. The riding in Sedona is beautiful. Every time the trail snakes & twists in a new direction, which is quite often, you’re rewarded with yet another picture perfect postcard view of red & orange banded cliffs with mesas on top. The pinons don’t get much taller than 15-20ft so there really isn’t much shade.

Other than that it’s orange dirt & rocks rocks rocks until it turns to Moab-like patches of slickrock. You have to be careful in this type of environment. The relative lack of underbrush, sight-lines interrupted only by landmark rock formations in the distance, and swathes of slick rock would seem to encourage the adventuresome rider into picking his or her own routes through the high desert landscape. This is bad.

The exact moment you think you’ve found a better route than the established one, you will get a flat from one or more of at least a thousand super-bad pokey things that have been within a ten foot radius of you the entire time. They all mean business too! This cats got claws. Every bike shop in Sedona has a whole retail section of the store devoted to Slime, tubes, patch kits and various other products designed to keep air in your tires. I however didn’t get one flat in Sedona—Haa! My WTB Weir LT 2.55′s silenced the cats claws

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