AZT

Discussion in 'Bikepacking' started by mike, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Arizona Trail

    800+ mi of 65% ST from Mexico to Utah, including a 20-mi bike portage through the Grand Canyon. Sub-alpine to desert; completed in 2011, it's one of the big bikepack trilogy (GDMBR, CT, AZT).


    Having done the other 2/3 more than once, it's time to put this monster in the can! (Ride reports by @evdog don't diminish the motivation...). So I'm looking at a late-season N-S run on it in October.

    It looks like ~25 days of travel for my modest abilities. Should be a good year for water. Planning to ride solo, but my sick CO brother Colin is intrigued by the Canyon portage and is trying to join around that. I'm not opposed to company, but riding for weeks is simply best done solo or on one bike. A couple of days with company is cool and breaks it up nicely.

    Checking out the guide book, the route looks fantastically varied. On a nostalgic note, AZT intersects with other routes I've ridden around the state. I'll likely be bivying in one spot I did at age 14, then again at age 20. That will be a trip for sure, 40-plus years later. Some people never grow up...

    My Czar would work, but I'm unsure at the moment what bike I'll be riding. I might build a hardtail because they work so well at so many things. The next few months will tell.

    Thanks for bearing with the vapor spray here...it's just me trying to get psyched. An epic on the calendar keeps the reaper at bay. Ride on.






     
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  2. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Will be great to experience vicariously! The GC part sounds amazing! No singlespeed for this one?
     
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  3. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
    @mike You suck:laugh:

    That sounds so awesome. I was just talking to a buddy about this in the last week or 2. It all sounds great save for the 20 mile portage around GC.

    Now I only need to figure out how to convince my wife that I'm gonna go do a 4 week bike ride. :oops:
     
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  4. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Hah, somebody has to do it, David, so I'll volunteer :cool: I lasted but a couple hundred miles with my bike is two-speed mode before I began to realize how long the route would take me with the gearing I had...and that was before I hit the paved detour! For something multi-day/week, I think one has to go all in on SS and push some huge gears or it's a bust. [Edit: It was the flats that killed me, spinning out at low speed.] So I never really did run SS, but just experimented with a single rear cog.


    @mtnbikej, you could cherry pick some sweetness off the tree...I hear Picketpost segment is the rider's choice. But truthfully, I don't see you not crushing the whole thing with a smile. There's always the tandem strategy for getting trail time :sneaky:. I'm working on a buddy who wants to hike with us through the Cyn; advising family integration in some way so it's "fair" for all. Mules if necessary!! Biting off any chunk of the trail would be sublime...keep it in the mill!
     
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  5. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS
    @mike

    You gotta link to the guidebook?
     
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  6. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    I went in for the paper book: http://www.aztrail.org/guidebook.php (There are other guidebooks as I understand, maybe less current?)

    The data book for MTB wilderness ridearounds is a free download from the site. I haven't checked it out yet. The book is pretty exhaustive and the maps detailed (though pretty small in size, a pet peeve). It describes the route S-N, FWIW. There are multiple sources for .gpx downloads as you'd expect.

    This will be the year for water sources, even late season. Any amount of the trail would be worth driving for. Sheesh, hit Black Canyon Trail on your way out, or any of the worthy areas based on conditions . 27.5+ will be perfect for that desert chunk ;) and of course it doesn't matter to you :thumbsup: ROAD TRIP :geek:

    This thread needs some instigation by @evdog, he's done a bunch of it.
     
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  7. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    South/North.. Not a bad way to keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes..
     
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  8. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Oh yeah. Anytime after Oct 15th and I might be able to join in on some of the fun.
    Keep posting...
     
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  9. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
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  10. schillingsworth

    schillingsworth Member

    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Name:
    John Schilling
    Current Bike:
    Motobecane Ti 29er
    Dang Evan, you're all over the interwebs!!

    If anyone has any specific questions re: AZT feel free to contact me or just post here. Best of luck on the journey!!
     
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  11. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Thanks for the positive sentiment and help, @schillingsworth!

    I'm offhandedly curious about the thoroughness of the signage going N-S. On the CT, you could follow the trail portions even with no nav aids. I expect less thorough signage on the AZT. I'll have all the tools in any case. Thanks for any comments on that :thumbsup:
     
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  12. schillingsworth

    schillingsworth Member

    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Name:
    John Schilling
    Current Bike:
    Motobecane Ti 29er
    @mike The ATA has been working hard over the past few years to make sure the trail signage is up to date. I think it's marked really well, but there's always an instance where a carsonite post or trail blaze has gone missing. Some of the harder sections to follow you won't be riding anyway. I'd say the hardest part is when the AZT is on a fast forest road and you aren't paying attention and blow by a singletrack turnoff!! I'd highly recommend the AZT app as well. You can never have too many backups for navigation.
     
  13. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Fabulous beta; it's greatly appreciated. No substitute for local knowledge! It's a boon to have your input here on one of the premiere western-US trails. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    As evdog suggested, I will pony up for the ATA as well.

    Good riding! :)
     
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  14. schillingsworth

    schillingsworth Member

    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Name:
    John Schilling
    Current Bike:
    Motobecane Ti 29er
    @mike Here's my post re: Grand Canyon portage if you haven't seen it: AZTR750 Prep
    Also, keep in mind the North Rim closes for the winter on Oct. 15th +/- a day or so. That would obviously affect re-supply after Jacob Lake. North Rim Country store closes then as well.
     
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  15. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Ha, guess I'm a forum junkie @schillingsworth !

    This is really the only active Socal forum with decent size base of members who actually post. (MTBR Socal doesn't count, that subforum is worthless....)

    Plenty of good ride reports, pics, useful threads get posted here. It could be worth your time to scroll through em, one day we will get you out here to ride with us!
     
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  16. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Bump for south-north! :cool: This got pushed off my radar temporarily; now looking do-able.

    Still looking to solo but happy to partner up for a couple days. Yes, I'm talking to you, @rossage, @schillingsworth, et al... :geek: March/April.
     
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  17. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    Wouldn't mind joining for a few days...like you said, the solitude is what is so attractive
    not so stoked about the GCNP hike a bike...
     
  18. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
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  19. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    littlewave and mtnbikej like this.
  20. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Zeroing in on a tool for this job...

    Frame: M steel Pedälhead, black decals

    GG-PH_var_FrameColor_GuerrillaGreen.jpg

    29 Pike RCT 120mm 100x15
    29 Arch Mk 3/DTS240/2.6 Ikon F/R (Boostinator rear w/ re-dish, offset)
    XT 11-sp, e13 TRS+ 9-46, Next SL/28t DM/DMR Mag V12
    XT brakes/IceTech 160
    Thomson Elite post/leather touring saddle/60mm stem/SixC bar 31.8

    A "beefy" bike for the task : ) but despite a portly 6.6# frame weight, guessing the weenie build weight at 27+lbs. Frame bag by Defiant Pack for that long-ass triangle – I have a bunch of other the other soft bike packs and backpacks to choose from. Shooting for no front roll.

    It's on for late March/early April, 3+ weeks en route. Hopeless dirt addict bros here (u know who you are, freaks) meet me for a few days of trail.


     
  21. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    Careful, @mike, make it too stealth and you could lose it if you forget where you laid it down. 2nd thought, AZT. The bike's green. You might be alright. ;)

    "Now's the time the time is now, sing my song.."
     
  22. littlewave

    littlewave Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    Name:
    Brett
    Current Bike:
    Ibis Ripley LS
    Nice!

    Hmmmm it would take a herculean effort to scrounge up bags and gear (not to mention a haul pass), but I am taking a look at a Trek Stache to hopefully add to the stable...gears are turning, albeit slowly.
     
  23. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Salsa/Trek/Kona
    I could never see myself riding AZT on a hardtail. It's a rough trail. Gravel, rocks, ruts, tech sections (and some smooth sections, too). The roughness of this trail eats away at you as the miles pack on. IMO, a short travel XC/light trail FS bike is ideal. There are pack kits for FS bikes, too.
     
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  24. HBkites

    HBkites Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Huntington Beach
    Name:
    Sharone
    Current Bike:
    Why Cycles S7
    27.5+ tires help to take the edge of the rough stuff.
     
  25. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS

    29x2.6 Ikons will take the bite out of riding a HT.
     
  26. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    I generally prefer FS to hardtail for trail riding. But hardtail was no problem on the AZT300 or my north rim bikepack. There is plenty of dirt road / paved road / doubletrack / hike a bike between those two segments. I'd much rather have hardtail for all that.
     
  27. UPSed

    UPSed iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Simi Valley
    Name:
    Edward Bottorff
    Current Bike:
    Niner Jet 9 RDO Plus
    When is that coming out?
     
  28. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    SnakeMike, good thoughts, points taken...sure, short travel FS is viable and in some cases preferred. I used such a setup on the CO Trail and enjoyed it, although I did have to scrounge a shock pump halfway through. As rarely as it happens, it is possible for a shock to fail, pivot issue etc.

    I watched my buddy killing it on the CT with a loaded SS HT and 2.3/2.4 which got me thinking. Like any vehicle, loaded up it rides smoother. As the bros say, the tires will do a lot. I wouldn’t be averse to a set of 275 wheels to run 3”, but I honestly think it won’t be an issue with any durable higher-volume 29er tire. Like Ev says, I see lots variety and op for recovery.

    Steel will help complaince to some degree. The flat TT on the Pedälhead too is designed with vertical compliance in mind. I used a Syntace HiFlex post on an El Mariachi on the Divide, might run it on the PH. Carbon bar, big grips, leather saddle all help mitigate fatigue.
     
  29. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    I see them on the Maxxis site, but not FS. Same with Scwalbe. We'll see what happens in the next several weeks.

    I would not be opposed to Ardent Race 2.35; big for its size and unreasonably durable IME. F/R would make a fast bike. I could borrow the weezl's 27.5 front wheel and run a 2.8/3.
     
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  30. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Salsa/Trek/Kona
    True, but it also creates a larger contact area for slices/punctures/owees/boo-boos.
     
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