TR - AZ for Prez' Day 2020

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by evdog, Feb 26, 2020.

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  1. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Headed out to Phoenix with Jfsh and Basil for Presidents day to do some riding.

    I tried to convince Schillingsworth to ride AZT with us, but ended up joining him on day 1 to ride the Goldfields instead. We did a ride there a couple years ago and I've been wanting to go back. It is not well known for biking as it's mostly horse trails, but the scenery is awesome and there are some great pieces of trail if you're willing to put up with some crap and hike a bike. John had a group ride going that would include some unknown stuff. I told Jeff and Basil, if it sucks, worst case the ride will only be 10 miles. haha.

    We showed up to find a group of 12 or so all ready to go. No messing around when there are goods to be had.


    We made a bee-line for the unknown trail. Some tough climbing and sketchy descending on loose rubble ensued.


    The unknown trail was pretty good, and super chunky. Mostly ridable but quite a few get offs where the bike got hung up on rocks. Definitely better than some trails in the Goldfields and led to some great views after a short steep climb. You can now find it on Trailforks as Sixteen Stone


    Lots of lichen covered granite


    Cool view with a sneak peak of singletrack down below. More to explore later...


    We didn't find the arch on Anniversary Arch loop, but we found a nice spine to ride



    Then a bit of descending


    There were lots of re-groups which worked well for taking lots of photos


    And lots of gawking


    This trail is called Slice o' Heaven


    Schillingsworth in HAB heaven


    Beers were calling our name and it was time to go


    Fun ride. The selection of trails this time were tough but generally ridable. Everyone had a good time. After beers came tacos, we joined some others with the promise of awesome grilled salmon tacos and mango salsa at Boca Taqueria. Did not disappoint.
  2. mtbMike

    mtbMike iMTB Rockstah

    Current Bike:
    Ibis HD5 & Ibis Ripley
    Great shots. Beautiful scenery as usual.
  3. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Jeff had found us a sweet campsite the night before right near Gold Canyon and that was where we headed after tacos. There had been talk of doing a second ride but Goldfields took longer than expected and it was almost 4pm when we got back to camp. After a beer I talked Basil into a sunset lap around Gold Canyon. Jeff decided to rest his legs for the next day. We were close to a jeep road that would take us up over a ridge that lay between camp and the the trail network.

    Golden hour


    Gold Canyon always delivers great views


    We climbed up some xc trails to Lost Goldmine Tr, hitting Seguaro Squeeze on the way


    Then back south on K trail



    Running out of light but we had time for a quick lap on Phantom and Where ya Fromme



    Did a stupid steep HAB up a jeep trail rather than climb Quartz Ridge, in the interest of time


    Great sunset


    Jeff had gathered some firewood that was laying around and had an impressive selection from Kern River Brewing, so we had a pretty good evening.
    mike, pperrelle, Tom the Bomb and 5 others like this.
  4. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    The ride I have been talking up for years is the Arizona Trail from Picketpost to Kelvin. It's one of my top 5 favorite rides but it's been like pulling teeth to get anyone from home to come out and ride it. Jeff and Basil were interested but it took some arm twisting to convince them on doing the full point to point ride. I also wanted to try and ride it the "wrong" way, starting in Kelvin. Most people doing day rides head south from Picketpost trailhead. Climb for ~12 mi then you get a fun 7mi descent down to the Gila River. But you still have 16mi of desert riding to finish that can put the hurt on late in the ride. I've ridden from Kelvin to Picketpost a few times but never on fresh legs - it's always been part of a bikepack or larger ride where I've had a bunch of miles on the day already. Often I've felt better even with the extra miles than a day ride heading south. Heading northbound the climbing is easier along the river, then a 2k climb to Martinez canyon, then a happy ending with 12mi of mostly descending right to PP. Sounds easy, right?

    We got a bit of a late start as there was a marathon that was using Peralta Rd which ran past our camp. It was slow going getting out of there with runners everywhere. Finally rolled out of Kelvin trailhead just after 9.

    I was able to point out some highlights like the AZT last spike and this railroad bridge.


    We soon started seeing poppies along the trail


    There was lots of talk about how much the trail sucked. :smile:


    Lots of green - one of my favorite little sections


    I finally took a minute and crawled in the mine shaft. At first it looks like it may go pretty far back, but its just a shadow playing tricks. It curves right a bit and ends in less than 20ft.


    Almost ready for a lunch break


    I wasn't paying attention and caught us on a steep HAB away from the river rather than taking a slight detour to it. Got us turned around and headed back to our lunch stop. After seeing just a few hikers on the trail the river was a hub of activity. A big family in some side by sides parked on a sand bar, multiple groups of jeeps rolling through, and the only other biker we'd see all day.

    Rad jeeps. Full Size Jeep Association


    Jeff and Basil both got away from me on the climb away from the river.


    I wouldn't see much more than a glimpse of them until the 14mile overlook. Here is Dale's Butte


    I was the only one who got two thumbs up


    My knee was killing me on the climb. Had to stop and down some tylenols. Ending up walking more than normal. But it went pretty quick.


    Almost there


    The others had been waiting a while when I got up top, so they were ready to keep going. Had to stop for a few pics here. Such an awesome spot with killer views both north and south.


    Looking back south. Can confirm there is still snow on Mt Lemmon : )


    Around the corner I was called out to by a thru hiker sitting up above the trail. Couldn't hear what he said at first but could tell he wasn't happy. Turns out he had smacked a cholla with the back of his hand and had a cholla ball badly embedded, but didn't have anything to remove it. I had the means to pull the whole thing out at once but he said it was embedded deep and wanted to try pulling it out thorn by thorn. That was an exercise in pain and frustration as each spike was still attached to the ball so it would poke him and reattach. My multi tool has scissors so I offered to cut the spines. That worked great and now he just had dozens of embedded needles to pluck. This was going to take forever and I was way behind by now, so I told him to keep my tweezers and rolled out. He definitely needed them more than I did at that point! Ouch...

    We're headed all the way to the head of Martinez Canyon here. You can just make out singletrack in a few spots.


    Wasn't long and we were at the top. Just a bit more HAB...


    Caught up to Basil and Jeff at a gate here. Picketpost now in view


    Another favorite spot. This always seemed like a great spot to camp


    Chasing daylight. There is still a deceptive amount of distance left, still not sure if we'd need lights or not


    All done. Neither was as stoked on the ride as I was. Both said they were ready for it to be over 10 miles ago. We were all pretty beat. Dinner at Los Hermanos in Superior was awesome.


    It was lights out for everyone pretty soon after we got to camp. The only excitement was some rustling over by Basil's tent not long before bed time. Someone paid a visit wanting to cuddle


    Verdict on the directional choice. I think it's a wash, really. This one wiped us out. Might not have been so hard but none of us have been doing big rides lately. So my theory obviously needs more investigation!
    mike, rossage, pperrelle and 8 others like this.
  5. Tom the Bomb

    Tom the Bomb iMTB Rockstah

    Alta Loma, Ca.
    Thomas Cosgrove
    Current Bike:
    Niner rip 9
    mike and evdog like this.
  6. evdog

    evdog iMTB Rockstah

    San diego
    Evan S
    Final day, we just wanted a short ride. Jeff had a longer drive than us. Since we were right there and he hadn't ridden Gold Canyon yet we opted to ride there. I'd be able to add some stuff I hadn't done with Basil so it wasn't a repeat.

    Riding from camp again we climbed up to Quartz Ridge and followed it west for a ways


    We generally made our way west and north to hit up part of Gila Monster


    Rolling the Canuck drop. Real trail doesn't seem to continue beyond so we hiked back up and continued on


    We continued north to Hoodoo, figured the guys would like the ending. None of us did great on the climb.


    Here's the descent. It's burlier than it looks on video. And I swear I was riding faster than it looks

    Basil rolling out the last hard part on Hoodoo


    Next up was K trail, with a bit of play time on the drop in again


    Took about 10 tries to get on this rock and lined up to turn into the roll


    Basil rolls in the longest way possible



    It was getting later than we wanted so we skipped Tech trail and Phantom and went for the quick HAB back up to the ridgeline. We were mostly packed up so just had to change clothes and load bikes. Jeff headed out ahead of us. We hadn't discussed lunch but both were hungry. The taco place from Saturday was suggested and it was pretty much on our route home. We were about to pull in and I said to Basil wouldn't it be funny if Jeff was sitting here eating when we get here. He wasn't, but he pulled in just as we were getting out of the truck :smile:


    Great trip!

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