Desert Riding 2017

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by evdog, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    The way the weather has been lately we've been heading to the desert a lot. Maybe a dedicated thread is in order!

    I'll start...


    My first ride for the New Year was PCE, Jan 2. I took my friend Ben out there for his first time. Normally we get a big group out for New years, but I'd been sick over the holidays and hadn't planned on it, til this came up last last minute. Ended up being just two of us.

    It was a little chilly at first but dirt conditions were all time

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    I was surprised there was only one other vehicle up top. We saw no one else til the sand wash where there were 3 hikers

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    Would have been nice to have a view of snow capped San Jacinto's but we will have more chances for that this winter

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    For the first time in 5 yrs or so there was water flowing at both Indian Potrero crossings. Great to see!

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    The sun came out riding up the wash. The wash was dry but packed pretty well

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    We started late so we finished late, getting some nice lighting on Hahn and Wildhorse

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    Hahn is a bit beat up and someone has sanitized the couple rocky corners :(

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    Ben was kinda blown away by the enormity of the landscape we were riding through

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    I am every time, as well

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    We finished just before sunset and hit up the taco shop for food. Home before 8 made for a pretty good start to the new year!
     
  2. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Weekend before last a few of us headed out to Anza Borrego to do a ride. Some wanted to ride Carrizo Gorge while others wanted a bigger ride. The solution was to combine em into one! Mileage looked sufficiently big but the elevation gain was comical, only 1,200ft over 45mi. 3600ft down though. The wildcard would be sand, but considering the sand wash in Palm Canyon is 1100ft up in under 4mi I was pretty sure we could handle the climbing on this ride.

    A bit of clowning around to start

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    Right away on the tracks is a series of train cars that people somehow moved and caused to derail. They used to be a ways up on a siding. Of course people are all over it, including us

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    Continuing on

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    Markings are all painted over but these cars are from Montreal, long way from home

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    Then more tunnels...

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    Lights are helpful in many and needed in a couple of longer ones

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    Not long after that we get to Goat Trestle, world's largest wooden train trestle. Place was packed! Tons of hikers, some other bikers, a few backpackers, and a bunch of motos.

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    Motos all went around this tunnel. A hiker told us there was a big cave in, but said we may be able to get over it.

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    Bit of a hike, but we made it. The far side:

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    Trucking along we see more carnage

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    And as we continue the views down the canyon really open up.

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    Fun fact: there is riding on the opposite side of the canyon, high up that looks down over the railroad trestles. View from McCain valley - you can make out Goat Trestle on the right side.

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    By the time we got to our turnoff point it was noon and we still had 30miles to go. The shuttle was massive so we had gotten a late start...

    We peeled away from the railway and into a wash / jeep road. It alternated from packed to sandy but generally headed slightly downhill

    Open view of the desert

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    We made short work of connecting to road S2, which we then rode along for a couple miles before dropping into Canyon sin nombre

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    This one was an easy pedal as it continued to trend slightly down

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    Our only navigational challenge was connecting Canyon sin nombre to Seco del diablo because a ton of different tracks and washes intersected there. Seco del diablo would be our "big" climb on the day, around 6-700ft over 8 miles.

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    It was well packed and fast, we were able to carry 8-12mph

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    Eventually we topped out and had a short pedal to Diablo dropoff that dumps us into Fish Canyon

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    Views were excellent as was the light, it was getting into the golden hour by this point

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    Still 10mi to go, but Fish is also slightly downhill so we kept up a good pace

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    Approaching the narrows at Split Mountain

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    Cool geology all around us

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    Great day on the bike! Carrizo is an experience, and I was stoked to connect it to Anza Borrego and get to explore a couple new to me canyons. There is still a ton out there to check out. If the rain continues I'm sure I will be back out there soon.
     
  3. Fanatic

    Fanatic Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Corona
    Name:
    Aaron Brooks
    Current Bike:
    Rocky Mountain Altitude 70RSL
    Great RR. Keep posting.
     
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  4. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Highball Al SS
    Great RR's.....

    Palm Canyon never lets you down.....one of the top 5 rides in So. Cal. Which reminds me....it is that time of year again. :rolleyes: hmmmmm.

    I've been wanting to check out Carrizo Gorge for quite some time....maybe this will be the year I finally get it done.
     
  5. Faust29

    Faust29 MTB Addict

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve Macko
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon SS and Highball
    That gorge looks awesome, and It's been on the list since @mike posted about it awhile back. I'd be very interested in the longer route. :thumbsup:
     
  6. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Carrizo is awesome. The only downside to the long route is the 1:45 drive from start to end. But if you come down and camp, and ride both days it would not be bad. That was a lot of driving for a day ride.
     
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  7. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    This weekend I went out to Phoenix for a quick trip. I couldn't get Friday off but ducked out early enough to arrive at a decent time. A friend of a friend accepted the challenge a couple years ago to create a 100mi ride in his backyard. This was year 3 of that event and I somehow got an invite. The one who posed the challenge is an old and angry singlespeeder so they called it the Curmudgeon 100, 100miles around the McDowells and Brown's Ranch in Scottsdale.

    This would be by far my biggest all dirt ride ever and I was interested to see how I'd do. I've ridden this area a few times and knew the trails are generally fast, so was doing math in my head... to finish in daylight I'd need to maintain 8-10mph depending on stop time. Which was actually within the realm of possibility. Next question, would my knees and my butt hold up to 100mi? That was far less certain. But I'd have lights if I needed more time, and there are plenty of bailouts if I'd had enough.


    530am start. Fortunately those coming from afar were offered accommodations

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    Stopping to pay the $2 entrance fee. $.02/mile is a bargain!

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    And they're off! Most of the field of 15 or so would not be seen again

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    First rest break around mile 30 below Tom's Thumb.

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    Top of the hardest climb, this one required a bit of HAB

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    Lots of high speed desert cruising

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    Not sure if it got humid or my lens was dirty. Either way, a cool spot near the mid point of the route

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    Reward for finishing 50 miles by noon

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    If only this could work in Socal. Being the badasses that we are, we entered the unmapped area

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    There are some rather large, cool cactus in the back 40 of Brown's Ranch

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    I came across a couple deer that were nice enough to pose for a shot

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    Soon after, I was overtaken by some dark clouds that had been hanging out on the far side of the valley all morning. Forecast had shown chance of rain in the afternoon and it hit right on schedule. And when I say hit, it was biblical and I was soaked almost instantly. Then as quickly as it arrived, the storm and lightning moved off. With 35mi left in the route and water everywhere I initially thought my ride was over. Being on the backside of beyond, I would have to carry on the route a ways even to bail and as I did the skies cleared up, the trails drained and I quickly decided finishing on trail would be a lot more satisfying and less miserable than a long pavement ride back on wet, busy roads.


    Sun came out, rainbows appeared and all was good in the world

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    Complete double rainbow

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    The only smell I like more than napalm in the morning is rain in the desert

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    Rain was on and off the rest of the way but trails were great, they just rode a little slower than before. I didn't even need glasses.

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    I got back to the cooler, mile 90, right at last light. One more beer to power me home.

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    It was mostly downhill back to Jeff's house. Dark to dark, I finished in 14 hours, a little slower than I thought I could do because of the rain delay but I was stoked to finish at all. Others finished up to 4 hours earlier, and most were done 2 hours before me.

    This was not my longest ride ever, we did 113mi in Death Valley but that was 70mi of pavement. But this was much more satisfying being almost 100% sweet singletrack. Maybe next year I will be angry enough to do it on a singlespeed. If I finished that, I would be guaranteed a faster time!

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  8. herzalot

    herzalot MTB Addict

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2015 Intense Tracer 275c DVO
    Well done sir - and great RR! :thumbsup:
     
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  9. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist MTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Three great rides this season!!!
     
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  10. tfitz

    tfitz Member

    Name:
    tom fitz
    Thanks for the stoke. I am planning to ride skyline regional park Thursday then make the rounds gotta get some trail 100 in it's kinda my local trail when there.
     
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  11. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb MTB Addict

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    That looks like my kinda 100 miler! How do you get in on that? Let me know if its possible Evdog! I could bring a Bomb Squad with me!
     
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  12. Old Skool

    Old Skool Active Member

    Location:
    Hacienda Hgts. (Turnbull Cyn. is My Backyard!)
    Name:
    Rick
    Current Bike:
    Pivot Mach 5.7 C (w/ 650b's)
    That looks like a blast, I may want to take that ride w/ you Tom, just need to ramp up my saddle time a bit :(
     
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  13. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    I may not be able to get you guys an invite, they were trying to keep the group small after a similar ride got shut down. But you can ride the route any day of the year if you want to, its all public.
     
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  14. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Another ride from last weekend...

    With weather forecasts looking bad for most places last weekend we opted for Palm Springs. Forecast looked good but up top looked questionable, so I threw out the idea of doing a loop from the bottom. A few people took the bait...

    Preparing to ride from Vons in PS

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    We climbed up the dirt road up through the Goat Trails and then diverted onto some of the singletrack

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    Riding turned to pushing in places especially the switchbacks near the top of Wildhorse. Some of us (not me) rode most of it.

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    Attaining the ridgeline things got a lot easier

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    Views were pretty meh

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    Climbing up to the Wildhorse Saddle with the Murray Peak Trail in the distance

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    Murray Peak was our first destination, the top of which is a few tough switchbacks away on the right

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    Lunch time at the top. And looking at, but not looking forward to, Dunn Road

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    We were getting pretty tired of the crappy views by this point

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    Lots of fun switchbacks and cool rock on the way down though

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    Really fun riding and dirt conditions were all time with recent rains

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    From the bottom of Murray Peak we took a shortcut that lead us up to Dunn Rd, which we suffered up for awhile. Original plan was to drop Cindy's, then climb back up Dunn Rd and do Arts Johnson. But we changed plans mid ride and opted to circumnavigate Hahn instead of dropping Cindy's. None of the guys had ridden Cindy's, Art's or Vandeventer/Fern before. Cindy's is far from my favorite trail and it would be a 1.5-2 hr loop to do that one and climb back up, so we decided to take Fern around to bottom of Hahn and then Vandeventer to the sand wash.

    At one of the Vandeventer intersections

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    Dropping into a wash

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    Been awhile since I did Vandeventer, there is a cool narrow section the trail goes through at one point

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    Took a sandwich break at the sand wash. It seemed dry but was well packed, I stayed on it the whole way up

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    On to Art's Johnson. Everyone liked this one for an ending

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    I agree it's fun but I still think Wildhorse/Goats has the best value/payoff

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    Good times... we had a beer at Vons and then some mexican down the road.
     
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  15. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb MTB Addict

    Location:
    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Name:
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    Good call on the route change that would have been really tough. Great pics , any route stats? You got all the goods. The climb up the East side of Murray peak is a butt pucker!
     
    mike likes this.
  16. Ebruner

    Ebruner Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Erik Bruner
    Current Bike:
    Hightower, 29r Hardtail
    I've never done any palm canyon riding but I'd like to next weekend. It seems like the good introductory route would be climbing art smith, hahn and fern as an out and back. Can anyone confirm?
     
    Tom the Bomb likes this.
  17. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    I think the ride was 23mi and +/-4800ft. And yeah, the climb back up Dunn out of Cindy's would have sucked. No regrets missing that one in favor of more singletrack.

    Ebruner, not sure I'd call going up Art Smith a good introductory route. I have climbed it a couple times. It is probably easier than the climb up Wildhorse overall, but the first mile or so would be mostly hike a bike. Then it becomes more rideable. Going back down it will seem like a lot more work than you would expect. It is not an easy trail in either direction. Honestly the best introductory Palm Canyon route is to just do the traditional Palm Canyon epic as a shuttle. Post up here and you may get some takers, or sign up for a seat on Crazy Bear shuttle. The route you mention is an option, but exiting via Wildhorse or Arts Johnson would make for a much easier ending if you don't mind some easy pavement miles to close the loop.
     
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  18. Ebruner

    Ebruner Well-Known Member

    Name:
    Erik Bruner
    Current Bike:
    Hightower, 29r Hardtail
    Thanks for the tip. I just booked a spot on teh shuttle on 2/11 for my buddy and I. My birthday is 3 days before so I'm going to consider it a bday present to myself. Is wildhorse better to end with or Art's Johnson? And is art's johnson the same thing as art smith or is it another trail? TIA.
     
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  19. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Art Smith and Arts Johnson are different trails. AJ splits off AS about 50 feet from the top of AS at Mike's Desert Oasis. AJ is visible but not wide or well established like AS. Should be obvious if you're paying attention.

    For your first time doing the ride I always take people on the standard route which is Wildhorse to Goat Trails ending, doing that full route IMO is the best return for your effort. The route is Palm Canyon - sand wash - up and over Hahn Buena Vista - Cathedral Canyon - Dunn Rd for 150m - Fern - Wildhorse - Goat Trails.

    Maybe someone can post a strava route of that or something that can be downloaded. I'm not on strava.

    As for which is better, both are good, just different. To ride AJ you avoid some climbing and get a quicker exit on a fun trail. But you also miss out on a lot of fun singletrack that you get on the standard route, and you lose some final elevation in a sand wash and pavement rather than on singletrack. You can do AJ next time, because you will be back for more...
     
  20. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    A couple weeks ago I went out to AZ for some riding. Weather was looking sucky in San Diego and dubious in AZ but at least Friday looked like a sure thing. I figured I'd be able to ride somewhere the other days and it would be more than I'd get in at home.

    I checked in with a friend of mine John and he had Friday open, so we threw out some ideas. I've only done 2 rides on BCT and that was years ago, so I've been wanting to get out and ride it again. He was interested, but which sections? All of them! John was game so we made plans to meet 6am at the Emery Henderson TH. It was an hour+ drive to the northern terminus.

    Interestingly, there is no trailhead kiosk or even a sign there aside from a carsonite post marking the route. We unloaded, and were off shortly after sunrise. The trail starts with about 3 miles of doubletrack before the singletrack begins.

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    This segment does not see much traffic at all. The trail for the first while was pretty faint, but in good shape and flowed well.

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    Photo by Schillingsworth

    Like the AZT there were plenty of gates to go through. This one was the cadillac of them all

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    Although we were getting on towards 9am the cloud cover left it looking more like dawn

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    Lots of big open country up there. I recently read there are plans to connect BCT over to Prescott or Cottonwood, another 40 miles away

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    Cruising along we get into some rockier sections. Overall it is more gentle descending than climbing, though it feels as if you're always climbing

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    Perfect flowing singletrack

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    Soon enough we get to the Antelope Creek section which is much more heavily ridden, and one of the better segments of the trail

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    Photo by Schillingsworth

    We took a break here where we ran into the first (and only??) riders we'd see that day

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    Perfect place to stop as the views are great and the trail really gets fun right away

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    Many miles of fun riding ensued

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    I love trails like this that stay up high for long distances

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    Hiking not allowed?

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    We did see one hiker. No yetis to speak of though.

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    Sun came out again later as we were getting closer to Rock Springs

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    Photo by Schillingsworth

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    Agua Fria river crossings definitely required shoe removal unless we wanted wet feet

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    John got this awesome shot of me climbing out of the crossing. I've already been called out for not making the turn. I did, just on try #2 :D

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    Photo by Schillingsworth

    At this point we were still over 30 miles from the end and had around 3 hours of daylight. No problem, we thought...

    Except the riding gets tougher and thus slower. I seem to have selective memory about sections like this. There was definitely some HAB involved through here...

    DSC00021_zpsnlihhnne.jpg

    And some water crossings to deal with.

    "Think shallow thoughts!"

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    It did get shallower out of sight to the right.

    John on Chanel No.4

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    Climbing somewhere above Black Canyon City. Apparently there was some thought to bailing out on the rest of the ride but I must have been oblivious, so we continued on to the next water crossing and climb.

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    Approaching the top of the Skyline climb south of BCC

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    Pic by Schillingsworth

    Love these crossings, except when there is a dead cow hung up on it. None today thankfully...

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    We made it almost to the start of the Little Pan loop before it was time to turn lights on. John had never seen this crossing more than a few feet wide and it looked shallow, so he started riding across. It got deeper and deeper and ended almost waist deep after he eventually picked the bike up and waded across. I angled across where it was shallower.

    IMG_5373_zpspsaebzxz.jpg

    We kept plodding along in the dark. The trail seemed a lot more rocky and rubbly than I remembered. End of Little Pan is as far south as I had ridden. It got a bit better past there but definitely not fast riding.

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    My main light went out about 6 miles from the end, fortunately I had my camping headlamp as a backup. I hadn't expected to ride this much in the dark so had just one battery for my magicshine.

    Marks the end of Boy Scout loop! Not far to go now...

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    It was a fast few final miles to the trailhead, and then another couple north to where we had to park because the trailhead gate don't open at 6am!

    We finished with 75 mi on the day and around 5,500ft gain. We didn't technically ride the whole trail - there is another 6 miles south of Emery Henderson but it is flat/sandy/vague for 4 miles and then 2 of dirt road. No thanks.

    Still having to retrieve shuttle we enjoyed a beer while packing up and then stopped at McD's for a salt and grease fix! It was pretty late by the time we were on the way down, but with rain starting to threaten we dared not hang out up north there, that dirt that turns to death mud when wet.

    Great day on the bike while San Diego got rained on!
     
  21. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    Pssst hey @Mikie we really need to carve out some time and go riding with @evdog ...
     
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  22. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer MTB Addict

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Salsa/Trek/Kona

    I see that you got your Schillingsworth out of that ride. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

    BCT is such incredible XC riding. It's probably my favorite overall out there.
     
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  23. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    @Voodoo Tom Anytime!
     
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  24. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Here's a bonus TR for the BCT weekend:

    Saturday was a bit of a crap shoot weather wise. Forecast was looking iffy in Phx area but looked clear in the afternoon in both the Yuma and Palm Springs/Joshua Tree areas.

    After a couple hour nap at the rest stop I headed down to the rec area at Buckeye where I could sleep under a ramada and not worry about any rain.

    I slept in til 10, the campers in their RVs probably thought I was crazy but it kept me dry when rains came through early morning

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    I decided to ride in Yuma due to a shorter drive - they have a fun trail system near town (see trailforks). But by the time I got there the forecast had changed from morning showers to afternoon rain. And rain it did. Forecast rain kept getting extended til there was no time left to ride. So I wrote the day off, and decided to try and camp near Salton Sea. I pulled into a couple campsite but they were all full, and extremely muddy. I almost didn't make it out of them due to slippery mud.

    Headed up to my go-to site above Palm springs instead.

    It had plenty room but was only marginally better mud wise. Not sure how some of the people camped at the back end got out.

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    I did a fun local loop in PS I hadn't ever checked out before

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    It was a solid climb up

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    Flowers were out

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    Great views near the top

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    Just a bit more climbing

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    Til more views

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    Trails were perfect with a bit of rain

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    And some fun stuff lower down I hadn't known existed

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    Slept in, got in a solid ride, and got home before sunset while San diego was drying itself off from another round of storms plus the BCT ride made for an awesome weekend.
     
  25. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Another AZ weekend....

    Every winter I tell myself I need to do more trips to AZ. But every winter, I never seem to get out as many times as I want. This winter was going well so far, made it out a couple times already to do the Curmudgeon 100 and BCT rides. I still wanted to get in an AZT Picketpost ride before things get too hot. I'm a bit Sedona'd out but have never done the Arizona Endurance Series Sedona big friggin loop or Prescott Monstercross rides, so those along with a Lemmon drop shuttle that got posted last week were on my list for a road trip.

    Forecast had been showing good temps for Fri & Sun and hot Saturday. But as it worked out the forecast tamed and I figured the SBFL would be a good option for Friday with hopefully lesser weekday hiker traffic.

    Slight hitch discovered when loading the bike. Replacement of this particular spoke required removal of cassette, rotor, tire, rim tape, and due to difficulty re-mounting tire, delayed me a couple hours starting my ride.

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    Finally got up to Sedona and started riding around 1030. O'dark finish here I come!

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    I had a good run up and down Hiline. Cleaned the climb, and only hiked one section down I didn't want to chance early in a big ride. Lots of hikers on Hiline, but none past the high point fortunately.

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    Uneventful ride for a while. I'd go for long stretches seeing no one then run into a bunch of hikers and bikes at once. Lost my flip flops crossing oak creek when I stumbled at the deepest point and they floated out of reach.

    This isn't oak creek, but it was nice to see Dry creek not dry! I unnecessarily took my shoes off for this crossing, it looked muddy but had a solid gravel base.

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    When trails up creek beds turn into creeks

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    View from Aerie. Saw no one on this trail!

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    Mezcal, awesome as always. Had it all to myself!

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    Further on Chuckwagon, perennially muddy water hole

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    More Chuckwagon

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    Teacup really is my cup of tea, some nice solid tech riding though it proved tough at this stage of the day

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    I was getting a bit concerned about how late I'd finish but there were more fast pavement miles than expected which put me onto the Hogs before last light.

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    I thought, no problem, should be done in an hour. That was wishful thinking as always. The AES site warned to follow the GPS track carefully since the route didn't always take the obvious trail. So I watched it... go up a couple washes where I was sure the trail didn't go, only to figure out finally the track is just off. Lost a few minutes for that a couple times, and combined with a general loss of coordination for tech riding due to fatigue, a slowed pace kept me going til around 9pm. Not a bad time for such a long ride and Sedona miles, but I'd been hoping to finish earlier. Very glad I did the ride, it was a lot of high quality miles on a great route that I was happy to finally get to ride.
     
    levity, BeckTrex, littlewave and 6 others like this.
  26. Faust29

    Faust29 MTB Addict

    Location:
    Rancho Santa Margarita
    Name:
    Steve Macko
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon SS and Highball
    His ride reports put most of us to shame!
     
  27. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley
    No doubt...
     
    SnakeCharmer, Tom the Bomb and evdog like this.
  28. jaime

    jaime MTB Addict

    Location:
    Corona, ca
    Name:
    jaime
    Current Bike:
    '15 Giant reign advanced 1
    @evdog thank you sir for sharing your ride adventures with some of us simple peasants :notworthy:
     
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  29. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Thanks guys, you're welcome to ride with me anytime!
     
    Tom the Bomb and SnakeCharmer like this.
  30. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Picketpost was the main ride I wanted to do this weekend. Schillingsworth thought he could ride Sunday but then remembered he had a work shift scheduled that day. On Friday our friend Shannon connected me with another rider Arturo who wanted to ride PP on Saturday, so that became the plan.

    Only problem was, my ride in Sedona went late and we were planning to meet in Kelvin 730. Well, I guess long days and sleep deprivation are part of bikepacker training right? So I had a few hours nap at the rest stop on 17 and then finished the 3 hour drive to Picketpost TH. This gave me some time to get the bike prepped, eat breakfast, get ready to ride and then drive down to Kelvin.

    Interestingly when we got down there we were told by ADOT not to park at the usual lot just across the bridge. They were starting construction on a new bridge that very day and needed it clear for machinery.


    After years of riding in AZ I've yet to see a Gila monster in the wild. Encountered one on this ride though it wasn't exactly the species I had been hoping to see! (MTBR's Gilamonster)

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    Was great to ride with Phil though, haven't seen him since the Queen's ransom bikepack a couple years ago

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    Arturo climbing below Picketpost mountain

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    It was around here Phil decided to call it a day. He'd had a crash on the rocks and with little riding this year wasn't enjoying the climb. Thanks for joining us for a little at least Phil, hope to ride again soon!

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    A lot of the hill sides were stunning, covered in solid yellow

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    First overlook

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    One of my favorite sections

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    Some nice new gates have been installed, very classy looking!

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    Entering Martinez Cyn

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    Great views. The yellow hillsides don't show up well in pics, but they are covered

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    Saw a couple equestrians coming so we pulled over at a flat-ish spot. They were real friendly, doing a thru-ride from Oracle to PP

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    Great views open up approaching the saddle

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    I was hoping to get some great action shots through here but I had a minor mechanical as my handlebars decided to rotate forward on me once, and again after I tightened them. Arturo got way ahead at the most scenic part of the ride, so I only got bike shots

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    Passing the saddle we saw the first of a few backpackers we'd encounter

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    And then got into the scenic descent

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    I always complain I never get a bluebird day for Picketpost. Well, got one finally today!

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    Dropping down

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    Crossing to the west side of the canyon

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    More great color

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    Ocotillo in bloom. Everything was in bloom

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    This is SlowBro, first of many thru or section hikers we'd encounter before Kelvin. I thought the umbrella was pretty ingenious. Wonder if I could pull one off for Oracle to PP during the 300 if it is real hot

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    Looking back at Dale's butte

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    We stopped to filter water at the Gila. Slow going due to all the silt

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    We only had a couple hours light to finish the 18 miles. After slagging Schilling that we would finish in the light since he couldn't make it, guess who was going to finish in the dark??

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    Saguaro stand

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    Things were so green down by the river!

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    Getting into the golden hour. Just before this I scared up a huge pack of javelinas right on the trail. Didn't realize those things could run so fast or jump so high!

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    Fading light. Still one climb and descent to go

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    We turned lights on at the final climb. That climb seemed crappier than normal. The machine work done recently left it with a loose surface that made climbing more difficult on anything more than a moderate slope. Hopefully that loose surface will either pack down or wash away in rains.

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    We finished just before 8pm, another great day on the trail. Phil dropped Arturos rig back at Kelvin so I didn't have to return to PP.

    Thanks for the beers Phil! And for the ride Arturo! Picketpost was good times as always, though it was punishing after doing SBFL the day before. But I'll blame all the photos for the late finish... :)
     
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