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