2009 White Elephant Parade (WEP)

No one was airlifted off of South Mountain so the 2009 WEP was a success!
2009 White Elephant Parade at EveryTrail


White Elephant Parade - Projected Route

I posted a projected route for the 2009 White Elephant Parade. I didn't have data for two segments:
1) National Trail from Buena Vista to Telegraph Pass: Stay on National. The GPS data follows the road.
2) Bottom of Javalina: Take Beverly Canyon all the way back to Desert Classic. The GPS data follows the East Loop.

Other than that, the GPS data should be pretty accurate. GPS route is ~32 miles. I think it will be just a couple miles longer because of Beverly Canyon. Let's call it 35 miles. Still, that is 5 miles less than I thought it would be.

See you tomorrow morning! It's gonna be cold...40 degrees @ 8am.


Short trip up and down National Trail from Pima, SOMO

Didn't have a lot of time to ride but wanted to put in one more ride before the White Elephant Parade. Kevin and I rode up National to the saddle just before Buena Vista and back. Saw a downhiller clear a big step...UPWARDS. Didn't think you could do that kind of stuff on a downhill bike. Jeesh. I cleared that step on the descent for the first time (scared the heck out of me). First ride on the GEAX Saguaros - not bad.


Silent Sundary Road Ride, TV Towers Out-And-Back, SOMO

This was a South Mountain Silent Sunday ride (no cars allowed in the park!). Ryan and I rode to the TV towers and back. This was my first ride with Ryan - he and seem pretty well matched on road bikes. Hope we can ride together again. Another great ride!


Desert Classic + National + DCX, SOMO

Kevin and I rode West on Desert Classic to Telegraph Pass. Met up with Matt. Kevin turned around and rode home. Matt and I hiked up TP. West on National Trail. Hooked up with the Desert Classic Extension. Headed east. Dropped Matt at his house. Took Desert Classic home. Got home just before dark. This is the first time I cleared everything on the descent from the ridge on National (west side of the trail). Outstanding ride!


Huckaby and Jim Thompson, Sedona

Squeezed in a Sedona mtb ride during Tessa's tour de AZ trip. Parked at Tohawkaloogie, crossed the bridge, rode up the base of Schnebly Hill Rd. Jumped on Huckaby. Crossed the Oak Creeek (brr!) and climbed up under the bridge to Jim Thompson. Back into Sedona on Jordon Rd back to start.


Desert Classic Extension >> San Juan >> National Loop, SOMO

Jonathan S was our tour guide on my first Desert Classic Extension ride. We started near Pima Canyon and took Desert Classic to Telegraph Pass. Took the road for a ways and then hopped on the Desert Classic Extension. It wraps around the west end of South Mountain and hooks up with the west end of National Trail. Took National to the San Juan road. Road up to Buena Vista and then down National and Mormon and Pima Wash to home. Awesome ride! Thanks Jonathan.


Fury and Dawn To Dusk, McDowell Regional Park

The 24 Hours of Fury went well. I completed 13 laps. Finished 7th again. No mechanicals. No injury. Cramped up again - I think I just need to take longer breaks and go slower on the first couple laps (which is much harder than you might think).

I was in good spirits the whole race but the 3am lap was mentally challenging. Had to get off the bike for a while and nap. Felt much, much better after a ~3 hour nap. Got back on the bike and hammered out lap after lap until I ran out of time.

My left big toe is still numb from the race - might be permanently numb. I think my days of 24 hour solo races are over. Next year, I'm thinking 12 hour solo.

My friends, Kevin and Ryan, who raced in the 12 hour duo category finished 11 laps. They were flying! Great job guys!

I haven't ridden since the race. I had planned to avoid riding the week after the race but then I got sick. Had a bad sinus infection, then a cold, then pink-eye. Now everything has cleared up except a persistent cough...I feel fine, I just cough frequently.

Worst thing about being sick: I missed the Flight of the Pigs this year. :( Major bummer.

The Dawn to Dusk race is tomorrow (Dec 5th). I plan to participate. We'll see how it goes.


Strategy: 2009 24 Hours of Fury - Solo

The 2008 24 Hours of Fury was my first solo 24 hour race and I really didn't know how I'd hold up. I'd be satisfied if I didn't just give up and go home somewhere around 2am. I surprised myself and completed 12 laps or ~120 miles. That was good enough for a 7th place finish in the male solo geared category.

At first, the misery and exhaustion made me think, "Ok, I completed a 24 hour solo race. Don't need to do that ever again. Been there, done that." After a couple months, I looked at the results again and realized if I'd completed 1 more lap, I would have finished 4th. Given that I slept from midnight to 4am during the race, I thought, "I could do that. 13 laps is do-able. 4th place is possible."

So, when registration opened for the 2009 12/24 Hours of Fury, I immediately registered for the solo category. I've trained harder for it this year and now I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

I sat down today and came up with a strategy for the race. First, I should say, that if I get 12 laps again this year, I'll be very happy. That is still a big accomplishment for me. However, I'd like to figure out what I could potentially do in this race if I play it smart and have a little luck.

2008 was the first year for this race. I think there'll be more people participating this year and the level of competition will be higher. That means, 13 laps will not cut it for 4th place. So, what can I shoot for? My average lap time last year was around 120 minutes. Here's a table with time of day and lap times:

I had some unnecessarily fast laps in the beginning. I'll keep it to a ~70 min/lap pace.

Then from 5pm to 6:30am (pretty much all night) I was moving SLOW. I remember cramping up a bit on the fourth lap and then feeling bad after that until after I took a nap and did my first morning lap. Also, I didn't pay attention to my battery charge and ran out of light on the last lap before midnight. I was moving very slow on that lap.

Recently, I've noticed when I ride between 5pm and 8pm, if I haven't eaten dinner, I can bonk (psychologically) very easily - I think low blood sugar makes me feel extremely demotivated to ride. [I don't have that problem in the morning with breakfast.] To avoid a low blood sugar bonk, I need to stop and eat a substantial dinner. Probably a good idea to do the same for breakfast.

I think going slower (staying out of the anaerobic zone) on the early laps along with correct and consistent use of electrolyte capsules and drink mixes should help me avoid leg cramps. [Last year, I didn't know about electrolyte capsules.]

I'll go a bit fast on the first couple laps because the legs will be fresh and the adrenaline will be flowing - so assume a 70 minute lap for the first 3 laps. Then assume 90 minute laps from 5pm to 6am - all night long. All other laps, assume 80 minutes - don't under-estimate solar power. Add 20 minutes for laps where I need to eat.

The table to the right shows the results using those assumptions. 17 laps would be AWESOME! I don't really expect to achieve that number of laps but I'm going to pretend that I can until my body tells me, "NO!" or "STOP!"

How many laps will it take for a 4th place finish this year? Last years' winner completed 21 laps! I expect 2nd and 3rd place will finish 20+ laps this year. Using top 10 spreads from last year and from previous years' 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo results, it seems like 4th place will come in pretty close to 3rd. Usually, there's a race for 1st and 2nd place and then a race for 3rd and 4th.

It is extremely unlikely that I'll place 4th; however, there is a good chance that 16+ laps will land me in the top 10 again. With a bigger, more competitive field this year, I'd be very, very happy with that. [Heck, I'll be overjoyed with 16+ laps even if I place last.]

Bring on on the Fury!


White Elephant Parade, SOMO

Information available on facebook.
This is a Flight of the Pigs inspired ride for the Christmas/New Year holiday. Join us December 26th for a challenging ride followed by lunch at my house.

We will cover some less used and difficult trails on South Mountain. Due to its difficulty, beginners should not participate. Participants should be able to ride from the ramadas at Pima Canyon to the Buena Vista parking lot in less than an hour. If you can't do that, please don't attempt this ride.

This is a totally unsupported ride. You must bring everything you need and ride at your own risk. Suggested items: lots of water and food, spare tubes, pump, first aid kit, cell phone, etc. You are expected to carry everything you need - even in an emergency.

MUST READ: National and Geronimo are fairly technical trails. If you aren't familiar with those trails and/or you aren't comfortable with technical riding, I strongly recommend that you pre-ride National Trail from the Pima Ramadas to Telegraph Pass (stay on the trail the whole way). Otherwise, please stay home. We want to ride bikes, not helicopters and we want lunch afterward, not a cat-scan at the trauma center.

We'll meet at Western Star Park at 8am. Route: Get on Desert Classic at Olney. DC to Pima Canyon. Head up the National Trail access road. Up Mormon/National to the Buena Vista parking lot. National Trail coast-to-coast (almost). Take the Desert Classic Extension (west side of South Mountain) and then a bit of road back to Telegraph Pass. Hike-a-bike up Telegraph Pass. Road to Holbert to National to Buena Vista. Down Geronimo to the Scout Camp. Road/canals back to the bottom of Beverly Canyon. Beverly Canyon to Desert Classic. East on Desert Classic to Olney to your vehicle at Western Star Park.

Approximately 40 miles. We should be done by 3:30pm. No guarantee.

Everyone must RSVP on facebook or by email at least a week ahead of time so I know how much food to provide.


SRAM XX Prices

JensonUSA is selling the new SRAM XX components. Thought you'd like
to see the prices:
$328 for an 11-36 cassette (9 hours of machine time...)
$276 for a pair of shifters
$430 for a crankset (26/39)
$1034 total

For reference XTR parts cost:
$239 for rear cassette
$249 for pair of shifters
$500 for crankset (44/32/22)
$988 total

The price is not THAT much different...especially given that the XX
parts are _really_ different (and probably better) than what you have
on your bike now whereas the XTR stuff is just lighter.

Stuff on my bike (that I'm quite happy with):
$225 XT crankset
$90 SRAM X.9 shifters
$70 SRAM PG990 cassette
$385 total


ROAD TV Towers and Back, SOMO

~6am >> home >> hooked up with Pete >> 44th St >> Piedmont >> The Point >> west Baseline >> west on canal >> south on 24th St >> west on Euclid >> south on 20th >> west on Dobbins >> south on 7th >> west on Mineral / Summerside / Mineral >> south on Central >> into SOMO Park >> park road out to TV towers >> turn around and rewind

2:34 hr:min, 35.32 miles, 2949 ft ascent

Dusted off the cyclocross and met up with Pete around 6am Sat morning. Headed up to the TV towers and back. We took it easy most of the way up. We started pumping a little harder around Telegraph Pass. Pete got ahead there and stayed ahead.

I've done the ride up to Buena Vista and back 3 or 4 times but never to the TV towers.
Buena Vista usually takes ~2 hrs. This ride took just under 2.5 hrs.


HIKE Trail 23, National, Old Man, SOMO

~5am >> hopped on Desert Classic at San Gabriel >> west on DC >> up Trail 23 >> up Fat Man's Pass >> up National >> down Old Man >> east on DC >> San Gabriel

2:26 hr:min, 8.1 miles, 1857 ft ascent

Click for more information
I've been wanting to check out Old Man Trail ever since I heard that some maniacs ride down it from National. Decided it would be wise to hike it first. So I decided to hike it on one of those mornings where I didn't really feel like riding.

From the San Gabriel entrance to Desert Classic, I headed to the trailhead at trailmarker 23 on Desert Classic - the trailhead for Trail 23. Hiked up Trail 23. Took a left (west) at the top. After a couple hundred feet, the trail starts heading north into Hidden Valley and Fat Man's Pass. This is a really neat area. Huge slabs of granite jumbled on top of each other. Many cavities where desert animals must shelter during the summer heat. A few larger spaces that a person could shelter in. There is an area where the rock is scrubbed clean by flash floods and sand. The desert varnish is gone and you can see clean white granite. Very smooth and purdy. Neat area.

Anyway, kept heading west to National Trail. Up National towards Buena Vista.

Old Man Trail runs down the south face of South Mountain - sorta paralleling Corona de Loma - between 1/2 mile to a mile east of Corona de Loma.

Old Man T's into National less-than 1/2 mile east of Buena Vista. It starts from the high saddle just east of Buena Vista. The trail heads uphill from National. It goes up and over a peak. [BTW - There's an outstanding view from that peak.] From the peak, the trail drops quickly to the valley floor.

At the bottom, Old Man Trail T's into Secret Trail near the rock step. Just east of the rock step on Secret: Look for a pile of rusted fencing off of the side of Secret Trail near the rock step. That's the trailhead for Old Man.

For me, Old Man Trail is totally unrideable. It is SUPER steep (almost hard to even walk down), super technical, and super loose. Very bad combinations for most XC riders. I wouldn't even want to have to carry my bike down it because it so steep and loose in some places.

However, it is a great hiking trail. I'd rather hike up than down - when you're hiking down it would be easy to lose your footing and slide for a ways - that shouldn't be a problem hiking up it.

Click for more information


MTB Desert Classic, National, Javalina Clockwise Loop, SOMO

~5am >> hopped on Desert Classic at San Gabriel >> west on Desert Classic >> hike-a-bike up Telegraph Pass >> road to Buena Vista >> down National >> Mormon Loop >> Javelina >> clockwise on East Loop >> Desert Classic >> exit at Olney >> home

2:46 hr:min, 19.5 mi, 2645 ft ascent

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Rode with Kevin. Temp was around 75 degrees when we started - very much appreciated. When we hiked up Telegraph Pass, the sun hadn't made it up over the mountain yet - hiking in shade is always nice.

Couldn't get Dig for Fire by The Pixies out of my friggin' head.

Just another solid (if uneventful) ride.


MTB Desert Classic out and back, SOMO

~5am >> hopped on Desert Classic at San Gabriel >> west on DC >> Secret >> Corona de Loma Saddle >> west on DC >> ridgeline approach to Helipad >> Helipad >> goat trail to Desert Classic >> west on DC >> concrete pad at Telegraph Pass >> turn around >> east on DC >> goat trail to Helipad >> ridgeline to Swamp Monster >> back to DC >> east on DC >> Corona de Loma saddle >> Secret >> east on DC >> San Gabriel

18.3 mi, ~2:40 hr:min, 2123 ft ascent

Kevin and I were joined by Mike of MTBikeAZ.com. Very cool to have a celebrity riding with us. ;) He's a friendly guy and a great climber - he made it almost all the way up the goat trail to the Helipad. Very impressive. Hope we can ride together again - I think I could learn a thing or two or ten from him.

Mike said Swamp Monster is also known as Dagobah.

The GPS track info here is Kevin's. I forgot to turn on tracking on my GPS again...gosh!


MTB Desert Classic Meet & Greet, SOMO

Good turn out for the Desert Classic Meet and Greet that I organized via the Mountain Bike Phoenix Facebook group. Way more people than I expected. We had Charlie, Dan, Paul, Connie and Ben, Ken and Christi, Ray, Justin, Ralph and his wife, and Eric. We even ran into Rob, an old analog friend of mine, on the trail.

We dropped quite few early on. I understand that someone fell on the first hill. I hope everyone is ok.

We met at Pima Canyon. Headed west on Desert Classic. Branched right at Secret Trail. Right onto Corona de Loma saddle. Back down to Desert Classic. Left (east) on Desert Classic back to Pima Canyon.

It was nice to see/meet ya'll. Hope everyone had fun or, at least, enjoyed the rest of their day. I'll schedule another ride for Trail 100 soon. Have a good weekend!


MTB Desert Classic Loops, SOMO

~5am >> hopped on Desert Classic at San Gabriel >> west on DC >> concrete pad at Telegraph >> east on DC >> right onto goat trail climb to Helipad >> ridgeline descent >> east on DC >> left to Corona de Loma saddle >> Warpaint loop >> Secret >> east on DC >> San Gabriel >> home

2:12 hr:min, 18.13 mi, 2212 ft ascent

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Rode with Kevin. Very good uneventful ride. Relatively cool and partly cloudy - good weather. Was surprised to see that it was 90 degrees when we finished.

Legs felt just a little tired from Mon & Wed rides.

My rear hub finally stopped creaking. On Wed it made one loud ringing "PIINNG" noise. Now it makes a ch...ch...ch...ch sound when you spin the cranks backward. Not noticeable while riding but I expect it to fail at any moment.


MTB East SOMO Climbfest, SOMO

~5am >> hop on Desert Classic at San Gabriel >> east on DC >> up and over Beverly Canyon saddle >> cross Pima Canyon Rd (jeep trail) >> continue on BC >> up Javelina >> up Mormon Loop >> up National >> rest at Buena Vista >> down National >> down Mormon Loop >> jeep trail >> turn right at BC >> up and over BC saddle to DC >> exit DC at 43rd St >> home

2:20 hr:min, 13.5 mi, 2225 ft ascent (is that all?)

Rode with Kevin. Good weather - relatively cool.

Didn't feel awake enough for the climb up the south side of the Beverly Canyon saddle. What a brutal way to wake up. Wheew. Up and over the saddle. Down Beverly Canyon to the bottom of Javelina.

Didn't feel great climbing up Javelina but I only dabbed once and that was within 50 ft of the top. Turned right onto Mormon Loop.

No dabs on the Wall on Mormon Loop and was even able to turn the corner at the saddle and continue up to the steps that I can't ride over even after resting. Again, I didn't _feel_ great but I'm really happy that I could climb all that without dabbing.

Continued up Mormon Loop to National. Up National to Buena Vista. Climbed over some steps that I usually have problems with. Tried to climb up some of the water-fall (not much success).

Rested at Buena Vista. Over the steps no prob. Continued down National. Stopped at intersection of Mormon Loop and National to wait for Kevin...and waited...and turned around to check on him. Finally see him and he's stretching his shoulder and brushing off dirt. He fell (on an easy part, of course) and scraped his knee and elbow and banged his shoulder on a rock - nice bruise, I bet. Bloody knee. He seemed more annoyed than hurt.

Rest of the ride was uneventful: down Mormon Loop to jeep trail to Beverly Canyon saddle to home.

It is a little hard to believe that National is now just a normal morning ride for us. That's progress.


MTB Geronimo and Mormom, SOMO

~5:20am >> hopped on Desert Classic at Olney >> DC to Pima >> jeep trail >> up Mormon Loop >> National >> Buena Vista parking lot >> down Geronimo to Boy Scout camp >> east to 20th St >> north on 20th to Euclid >> east on Euclid to Mormon Trail parking area (24th St) >> up Mormon Trail to Mormon Loop >> down Mormon Loop >> jeep trail >> Beverly Canyon saddle to Desert Classic >> Olney

2:14 hr:min, 12.64 mi, 2236 ft ascent

I've been wanting to check out Geronimo ever since I read the trail description on mtbikeaz.com.

Sounded like a good trail but maybe more downhill than I could handle. Only one way to find out...

Memorial Day morning was the time to do it. If necessary, I had the spare time to deal with a lot of hike-a-biking. Got up early and headed up National to the Buena Vista parking lot.

Geronimo starts at the north side of the Buena Vista parking lot. The first quarter mile or so of Geronimo is relatively smooth, fast downhill...so far, so good. It quickly becomes more steep and loose. There are many semi-natural rock ramps that the downhillers must love. In all cases, alternative routes are available for us pansy-ass XC riders - so no worries. Near the bottom the rocks get bigger and the trail is not as loose - like the bottom of the east-end of National (same strata...?). Even most of that is rideable but there are a few switchbacks that make are hard not to dab on and I just couldn't bring myself to try that stuff without being securely clipped in (especially since I was riding alone).

So, Geronimo is totally rideable and a blast almost the whole way down. I understand why downhillers love it but it isn't purely a downhiller's trail. Totally worth doing again.

Short ride on the road heading east to the Mormon Trail parking area at 24th St and Euclid. Mormon was a tough steep climb but short (~1 mile). The first part of it is mostly rideable. The middle part is a lot of HAB with some short rideable sections. The top smooths out right before it T's into Mormon Loop. Didn't seem as bad as the HAB up Telegraph Pass but I was glad to reach the top.

I'll happily ride this route again but it won't become a regular for me.

BTW - The new Continental Mountain King 2.4 29er tire worked well. Grippy on the climbs and solid on the descents. I may have finally found a good all-around 29er tire.


GEAR Maxxis Ignitor 29er tire

I put a new Maxxis Ignitor on my rear wheel just before the Whiskey Off-road race. I had heard good things about these tires and a couple of my buddies had used them with success for a while. After just 250 miles of riding the threads are showing and knobbies are falling off. Granted I weigh 200 lbs and I ride National frequently - but come on...250 miles? I guess it is back to the Continental Mountain Kings -- the Mountain Kings go bald quickly but at least they don't disintegrate.

These are photos of my Maxxis Ignitor:


MTB Tour de Desert Classic, SOMO

~5am >> San Gabriel >> west Desert Classic (DC) >> turn around at concrete pad at bottom of Telegraph Pass >> east DC >> goat trail to Helipad >> ridgeline descent to east DC >> Corona saddle >> Warpaint loop >> Secret >> east DC >> San Gabriel

18.6 miles, 1:58 hr:min, 1726 ft ascent

Cloudy. Wet. ~70 degrees. Perfect. Great ride. Rained last night and a few drops fell this morning. When Desert Classic is damp the sandy sections (of which there are many) turn into this super-grippy hardpack - you can really carve up the turns - what a blast! While climbing, the rear tire slipped a lot on the wet rocky outcroppings - but I'll trade a few slips for hardpack any day.

Forgot to turn on tracking on my GPS, so no track for this ride...grrr...


MTB Desert Classic / National Loop, SOMO

~5am start. Hop on Desert Classic at San Gabriel. West to Secret Trail. Corona de Loma saddle. Back to DC. Right (west) on DC. Ridgeline to Helipad. Goat trail to DC. Left (west) to Telegraph. HAB up Telegraph. Road to Buena Vista. Down National to Mormon Loop. Mormon Loop to jeep trail. Right at Beverly Canyon. Up and over Beverly saddle to DC. Home.

2:18 hr:min, 16.86 miles, 2478 ft ascent

Rode with Kevin. A bit humid but overall just a beautiful overcast morning. Felt really strong - the Seflagdona ride was good training. REALLY bombed down National. Made it over the stairs at Buena Vista and over a bunch of stuff that I normally wuss out on. Kevin and I both made it halfway down the waterfall (furthest yet for both of us). Just felt great.


MTB Seflagdona, Coconino NF

This is a day-long mountain bike ride. Start from the bottom of Schnebly Hill in Sedona. Up Schnebly. Dirt roads to Flagstaff. Turn around and head back to Sedona. Total distance is ~88 miles.

My friend, Kevin, and I headed up to Sedona on Friday evening. On Fri and Sat nights we stayed in Sedona with a long time friend of Kevin's family. I appreciate his hospitality and his amazing skill and attention to detail in the work he's done to his house.

On Saturday morning, Kevin and I met Matt and Jerrod at the parking lot at the base of Schnebly Hill. We hit the road a little before 7:30. The ride starts with a long climb up Schnebly Hill Road. It is by far the biggest climb of the day. While you're climbing it, don't focus on how long and steep it is, instead, think about how much fun you'll have bombing down it later.

Took dirt roads all the way to Flagstaff. No real problems other than a little uncertainty on my part about where to turn - but we made it through flawlessly.

We reached Flagstaff around 1pm. In Flagstaff, we stopped at Crystal Creek Sandwich Co for lunch. Decent sandwiches and cold water, ahhh. I thoroughly enjoyed lunch. Crystal Creek also had a big cooler of cold water where we refilled our water bottles for the ride back to Sedona.

As planned, Matt and Jerrod stayed in Flagstaff Saturday night. They did the return trip on Sunday. Kevin and I turned around and headed back to Sedona.

Kevin and I set out on the second leg (Flagstaff >> Sedona) around 2pm. We were a bit tired but we kept a good pace and kept breaks to a minimum because we were concerned about running out of daylight. Of course, it is much easier heading down Schnebly rather than up but the rest of Flagstaff >> Sedona is only marginally easier than Sedona >> Flagstaff.

We reached the top of Schnebly around 6:15. Very good timing because the sun was low in the sky and everything was kinda glowing. The ride down Schnebly was a total friggin' blast. I was loving my bike down that hill.

Reached the bottom of Schnebly around 7pm. Made some phone calls, loaded up the bikes, and headed out.

On Sunday, Matt and Jerrod got up early and took 89A from Flagstaff to Sedona. Took them ~2 hours. That sounds like a fun route - just be careful in traffic on the many steep, tight, and narrow curves.

87.75 miles, 8775 calories, 6,487 ft ascent (that can't be right - Matt what did your altimeter say?), 11.5 hrs, 8 hrs moving time

Detailed Route Description: Park at the base of Schnebly Hill Road (Red Rock Pass required). Head up Schnebly Hill Road. After reaching the top, continue on Schnebly. After some rolling hills, Schnebly passes under I-17. On the east side of I-17 the road is named FR226.

Take the second left after passing under I-17. Follow this road to its end. You'll see a small non-functioning water reservoir (?) with red sheet metal lying about.

Maybe 100 ft before the road ends, another road branches to the right and heads uphill. Take that road (it isn't marked on the maps and there are no signs). This road heads uphill and is rough in spots with loose rocks/boulders - part of the road is a dry creek bed. It is rough but it is easy to follow.

Close to the top of the hill you'll T into another road. Take a right. Soon after turning, you'll see a small water reservoir/pond on your right (it might be dry). Bear left (mostly straight) at the reservoir. The road descends for a mile or two and you'll see see a larger water reservoir/pond on your left. Bear right (mostly straight) past it and continue to follow the road downhill. The road T's into a smooth, wide dirt road called Mormon Lake Road.

Take a right onto Mormon Lake Road. After about a mile, you'll come to an intersection. Take a left onto FR133. This road is rougher than Mormon Lake Rd.

We followed 133 for about 2 miles (probably less). It T's into what I think is Old Mund's Highway. On the map, it is marked as a railroad but in reality it is a smooth, much traveled dirt road. [I've driven my mini-van on it with no worries.]

Take a left. Stay on this road for many, many miles - I don't know...maybe 12 or 16 miles...A LONG WAY. It is relatively straight with gradual ascents and descents. It eventually T's into Mountainaire Rd.

Mountainaire is paved and highway-like. Be careful. Take a right onto Mountainaire Rd. Climb a short hill. Take the first left onto Old Mund's Highway.

Old Mund's Highway is variously known as Fairgrounds Rd and FR237A. It is paved for a few miles and then turns into a dirt road. Follow it through a tunnel that runs under I-17. Stay on it until it T's into 89A.

Take a right onto 89A. BE CAREFUL. This is a busy road and you have to ride your bike on an uphill curve with no shoulder (you might feel claustrophobic between the traffic and a guardrail). But you aren't on it for long (1/2 to 3/4 mile).

There is a busy intersection at the top of the hill after the slightly scary curve. This is an entrance/exit ramp between I-17 and 89A so it can be busy. BE CAREFUL. Take a left at this intersection and head into the fairgrounds (Fort Tuthill). Follow the signs for 'Trailhead' through the fairgrounds (just follow the natural flow of traffic without making any turns until you see the trail).

Take a right onto Flagstaff's wonderful urban trail system. This trail is straight and mostly flat for 4 or 5 miles. Stay on it until you see Walmart. You made it to Flagstaff!

Take a break for lunch. Refill water bottles. Head back to Sedona!

Note: If you're doing this ride for the first time, I suggest you ride Flagstaff >> Sedona in a day before you try to do the round-trip in a day. What I've done in the past is ride from Sedona to Flagstaff, overnight in Flagstaff, back to Sedona the next day.

Note: Carry a lot of water - more than you think you need. There are no places to refill on water along the way. I carried 200 oz. each way. I drank ~150 oz each way (128 oz = 1 gallon). Watch your electrolytes; bring endurolytes and/or cytomax and/or goo shots - and take them even if you don't feel like it.

Note: The roads are pretty rough from the turn off of FR226 until you hit Mormon Lake Road. To drive them, you'd need a 4x4 with some serious clearance...or an ATV.


MTB Tour of Desert Classic, SOMO

home >> DC >> Pima >> DC >> Secret >> Corona >> DC >> ridgeline to Helipad >> goat trail to DC >> bottom of Telegraph >> DC >> home

Started around 5:45am from my house. Hit Desert Classic from San Gabriel entrance. East to Pima Canyon. 180 degree turn and back on DC. Right onto Secret Trail. Right on Corona de Loma saddle trail. Back down to DC. Left onto ridgeline approach to Helipad. Down goat trail from Helipad (cleared the gnarly stuff at the top!). Back to DC. Left on DC to the concrete pad at the bottom of Telegraph Pass. 180 degree turn back on DC to home.

Saw Matt and Jerod heading the other direction in two spots: on approach to Corona de Loma saddle and right before jumping off DC for home.

18.9 miles, 1:57 hr:min, 1714 ft ascent


MTB up Javelina, SOMO

home >> DC >> Pima >> East Loop >> up Javelina >> down Mormon >> jeep trail >> Beverly Canyon saddle >> DC >> home

Started from my house a couple minutes past 6am. Hopped on Desert Classic headed towards Pima Canyon. East Loop out of Pima Canyon to the bottom of Javelina. Up Javalina to Mormon Trail intersect. Mormon back to the jeep trail. Jeep trail to the Beverly Canyon saddle that hooks up with Desert Classic. Desert Classic home.

Ran into Kevin near the beginning of Javelina.

7.17 miles, 52 min, 802 ft ascent


HIKE Lost Dutchman to Peralta, Superstitions

Ken L. and I parked a car at the Peralta trailhead around 6:15am on Saturday. Drove to Lost Dutchman state park. We started hiking around 7am. Took the Siphon Draw trail up to the Flat Iron. Up and over the peak and along the ridgeline. Absolutely beautiful views of the Superstitions along the ridgeline (totally worth the effort).

Ken kinda bonked on the climb up to the Flat Iron. This is very unusual for him - he's a very strong hiker. He didn't feel well for the rest of the hike. I gave him my goo shots, some sport beans, and my cytomax. His knees were hurting too (my joints hurt when I get dehydrated and keep going). He probably started out a bit dry or low or electrolytes.

After a long, beautiful hike along the ridgeline, Weaver's Needle took on the familiar Peralta perspective and we started the descent towards the Peralta trailhead. Got off our route a bit (not sure how) but I don't think we hiked any further because of it.

It got very hot as we descended. We both ran out of water at least a few miles before the end. Ken shared some of his water with me. Finally, hit the valley floor (no more descent) but the temp was over 100 degrees and we had another mile or so to hike. Passed some hikers that were in worse shape than us (ranger and EMTs were on the scene). At the trailhead a nice fireman/EMT gave us a couple cold sports drinks (very much appreciated).

Around 1:40pm we reached my car (it was up the road a bit at a different trailhead). Jumped in and high-tailed it outta there. Stopped at the first place where we could buy cold water and gatorade. Wheew! That was the best water ever. Drove back to Lost Dutchman. Dropped Ken off at his car and headed home.

Chugged down half a gallon of fluids on the drive home. Plus a couple small glasses of juice and water after getting home. Weighed myself: 196! I'm usually ~201. Even though I drank over 100 oz of water during the hike, I lost at least a gallon of water!

Glad we did this hike but shoulda done it a month or two earlier. Chalk this one up for experience.

~11.5 miles, ~6.5 hours, ~2600 ft elevation gain, 100+ degree heat


MTB Pemberton moonlight ride, McDowells

Copied from Kevin on Facebook:

Harry and I did the McDowell Mountain moonlight ride last night - quite fun, but a little loose and sandy. There were probably 50 riders, but it spread out pretty well (almost like riding the Old Pueblo actually - a little bit of passing going on, but mostly just good, solid riding). I definitely recommend it.

There was one segment of Pemberton where the dirt was just soft enough to absorb almost all sound. It was really cool mashing pedals in the dark and have almost complete silence. Oh yeah - the moon was huge and fantastic.



MTB Sunrise Trail, McDowells

Kevin and I rode Sunrise Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve on Sunday morning (http://mtbikeaz.com/trail-index/phoenix/sunrise-trail-mcdowell-sonoran-preserve). We parked at the Lost Dog Wash trailhead. The trail climbs steadily from the trailhead to the highest point. It steadily gets steeper and steeper. It is not at all technical. We skipped the the spur trail to the peak (did not appear rideable). After the peak the trail is steeper and the incline varies wildly. After reaching the Sunrise Trailhead on the east side we refueled and headed back up the mountain. It was hard work climbing back up some of those steep descents but all of it is rideable and it is only 2-or-so miles so it didn't take long. It was fun descending back into Lost Dog Wash from the peak - but not as much fun as we thought it would be - there were lots of hikers and baby heads in the way. All-in-all a good trail. I'd ride it again but I'm not eager to do it anytime soon.


HIKE Camelback, Scottsdale

Early morning hike. Training for next weekend's hike in the Superstition Mountains (Flat Iron to Peralta).

Up Cholla >> down Echo >> up Echo >> down Cholla

1:47 hr:min


MTB Whiskey 50, Prescott

Quite a few of us headed up to Prescott on Thursday for the Whiskey Off-road Mtb Race: Kevin, Jo, Ian, Conner, Ryan and his parents, Nick and his motorcycle. Lani and Rylan joined us on Friday evening.

I hadn't spent much time in Prescott before riding in the Whiskey. It is a neat place. Seems like there are a ton of great trails to ride around Prescott. Definitely heading back up there ASAP.

Friends did the Whiskey 25 and I did the Whiskey 50. Both courses have a lot of steep climbing. If you're thinking about doing the 50 next year, don't be afraid of the climb out of Skull Valley. The road to/from Skull Valley is smooth dirt so just shift to a low gear, turn your brain off and grind it out. Pretty neat when you're in Skull Valley and you look at the ridgeline way up in the air and you realize that you're headed up and over that ridgeline to get back into Prescott.

Time: 5:39:16. Finished 102 out of 141. Next year, I need to start closer to the front of the pack. Wasted a lot of time waiting for the knuckle-heads in front of me who couldn't clear relatively easy obstacles to get out of the way. Also, I decided to hold back a bit on the first part of the course because Kevin told me that the Skull Valley trail was gnarly technical. I didn't know better and decided to take it easy on the first half of the race. With friends like these...

~45 miles, 5:40 hr:min, ~7000 ft ascent



MTB Whiskey 25 Proof course pre-ride, Prescott

I pre-rode the 25 Proof race course on Thursday (race was on Sat). Awesome. Saw a horny toad on the road and large wild boar on the trail (at least 80 lb).

25 miles, ~4 hours, ~3800 ft ascent