TR - Cranksgiving in AZ 2018

Discussion in 'Ride Reports' started by evdog, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Another year, another AZ Thanksgiving trip. I've pretty much settled on AZ for this trip since you can always count on good weather somewhere. And there is so much good stuff to ride everywhere.

    Day 1 - Picketpost Pulverizor

    The PPP is an AZ endurance series ride that I tried to do last year but had to DNF due to knee pain. The only other rider last year also bailed at the same point after a bad crash. This year there would be six of us lining up to start including a couple fast guys. I’ll leave the racing to them, I just wanted to finish.

    It was 38* when we started rolling at 5am, though it was very calm so it didn’t seem that cold. Just had a light windbreaker on for the first couple hours.

    IMG_20181117_061310.jpg

    3 or 4 of us were together for the first twenty minutes until we started to get spread out, and then I was on my own the rest of the morning. Had to stop for a few shots

    IMG_20181117_061456.jpg

    There’s nothing like watching the sun come up in the desert during a ride

    IMG_20181117_070357.jpg

    The sunrises in AZ are as awesome as the sunsets

    IMG_20181117_070631.jpg

    IMG_20181117_071118.jpg

    It was around 730am when I hit the high point of the ride above Martinez Canyon

    IMG_20181117_073406.jpg

    While the whole ride has awesome scenery this next section is some of the best in the state

    IMG_20181117_075243.jpg

    Looking down Martinez Cyn

    IMG_20181117_080647.jpg

    As awesome as it is, it is hard to capture on camera given the wide views and shadows. Some footage might help:

    https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496282/

    Amazing colors

    IMG_20181117_081550.jpg

    Pano shot

    PANO_20181117_080443.vr.jpg

    I had something to eat and then started the descent down to the Gila River.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496283/


    IMG_20181117_090037.jpg

    Some more footage from the descent https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496292/

    Didn’t stop for many pics, too much fun so just let the go pro record.

    Apparently this is the first time the river has been low enough to ride across. Last year it was mid-thigh on me.

    IMG_20181117_092346.jpg

    Aside from the other riders I saw at the crossing stopped to eat, this rarely seen train was the first other “trail user” for the day

    IMG_20181117_093150.jpg

    Next up was about 16mi of jeep road cruising, the first 8mi climbing away from the Gila

    IMG_20181117_101724.jpg

    The roads led us back to Kelvin where we’d stop for lunch and then begin the entire Picketpost-Kelvin AZT segment in reverse. Schillingsworth had caught up to me at the A-dot spigot in Kelvin and we’d ride most of the rest together (slowpokes)

    Kelvin Bridge comes into view

    IMG_20181117_131425.jpg

    Approaching an AZT super gate through a mequite tunnel

    IMG_20181117_132115.jpg

    Kelvin bridge framed perfectly

    IMG_20181117_132542.jpg

    AZT is known for having hundreds of fences and gates. The old wire ones are slowly being replaced by these super gates

    IMG_20181117_140457.jpg

    Lots of miles along the Gila. Some more footage for a better idea of what the riding is like:

    https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496314/


    IMG_20181117_142840.jpg

    Cactus forest

    IMG_20181117_152633.jpg

    White Canyon Wilderness provides a nice backdrop

    IMG_20181117_153528.jpg

    We were hoping to get a good ways up the climb out of the Gila before dark but still had to stop and eat and filter water. Ran into a couple backpackers at the river who were really the only other humans we saw on the trail all day.

    Starting the climb away from the river at sunset

    IMG_20181117_170938.jpg

    The peaks you can see in the distance is kind of where we’re going

    IMG_20181117_171937.jpg

    Nice view of Dale’s Butte

    IMG_20181117_180959.jpg

    I got two thumbs up from the Two Thumbs Up cactus

    IMG_20181117_181639.jpg

    We still had a couple hours climbing from that point, and were both slowing down. Just kept pushing, and soon enough were back at the high point above Martinez Canyon. It wasn’t over though, still 12 miles and over a 1000ft climbing on the “descent”. Finished just before 11pm. Time for a beer….. That was 76mi and around 10k feet, for sure one of my hardest ever days on the bike. Felt good all things considered and the knee held up, so I was more than satisfied….

    FWIW the fastest guy finished before 3pm. That's less than 10 hrs. Insane....

    Finishing shot

    IMG_20181117_225648.jpg


    Day 2

    This is what the next day looked like. Slept in a bit, read my book, had a beer (or 3), and then napped most of the afternoon. Perfect cool temps.

    IMG_20181118_120530.jpg

    Finally pulled the plug before sunset and started heading up towards Sedona.

    IMG_20181118_170851.jpg
     
  2. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    '15 Intense Tracer 275c DVOish
    Speechless... :eek:

    Did I mention that I did 17 miles and 2700' today? :oops:
     
    evdog, mike, Cyclotourist and 4 others like this.
  3. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Vassago/Trek
    Spectacular! Thanks for sharing this Evan. :thumbsup:
     
    evdog, mike, Tom the Bomb and 3 others like this.
  4. mountaingirl sara

    mountaingirl sara iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    So Cal
    Name:
    Sara Ford
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz 5010
    That desert looks amazing!!!:inlove:
     
    evdog, mike, Tom the Bomb and 2 others like this.
  5. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    :eek:Oh My! I want some of that!
    This is what the imtbtrails forum is famous for. Epic Ride reports like this. Need to get back to that myself!
     
    evdog, Old&InTheWay, mike and 2 others like this.
  6. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Vassago/Trek
    That section of AZT from PP and below is my favorite. I did ride some pretty awesome sections East of Tucson earlier this year, though.
     
  7. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom Kokkinakis
    Current Bike:
    Mango one, blue one, black one
    I've come to the conclusion that @evdog doesn't do any thing half assed.:thumbsup:
     
  8. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Chameleon
    Two thumbs up!

    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
    evdog, Old&InTheWay, mike and 2 others like this.
  9. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Way to kill it once again, Ev!! Some great shots there. Good job on the ride and thanks for the share. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    PS: Where’s @schillingsworth??
     
    schillingsworth, Mikie, evdog and 2 others like this.
  10. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Still out there riding? :gag: :Roflmao He's a little behind on trip reports....


    Day 3

    I left my plans somewhat open for the week since the ever-changing forecast was showing rain in various places starting on Weds-Thursday. While deliberating during my off day I decided to head up towards Sedona for a couple days before the rains came then head back south mid week. First up on my list was a new-ish loop off Black Canyon Trail near Mayer that looked cool, called Copper Mountain Loop. After the drive up I found a campsite nearby and hit the sack.

    Woke up the next morning after the sun started to warm things up. My campsite was about 50m from the trail and I soon saw a few riders pass by. Then some neighbors moved in.

    IMG_20181119_103021.jpg

    I like sleeping in a bivy when I move camp frequently since its so easy to pack up and put away. I was set up next to my truck and happened to look over as I was getting up and noticed oil pooled in the rim of the passenger side real wheel. That can't be good.

    IMG_20181119_132139.jpg

    I debated going for a ride first and then get it looked at but decided to deal with it first in case it was something hard to fix. I couldn't get hold of anyone at shops in Mayer (apparently there are 3?) so had to start calling places in Prescott Valley. By this point there was a rough noise coming from the rear axle as I drove, so I limped it into PV to the shop I had called. The diagnosis of failed axle seal was pretty easy and I was hopeful they could deal with it the next day. But was told likely it would be early next week as they were busy and it was a short week with the holiday. Umm... When I told them I was on vacation and had to be back at work Monday they said they'd see what they could do. It wasn't that simple since they'd have to remove the rear axle and send to a machine shop to get the seals and bearings out.

    They were going to make some calls and see if that could be arranged and some jobs re-scheduled. So I left the truck there and went for a ride. It was 4.5miles pavement to the nearest trail called Iron King which I could follow over the the Granite Dells in Prescott.

    Iron King is a rail trail so it wasn't exciting but better than nothing and had a few utility cars on display next to the path. Rock formations towered over the trail as I approached the Dells

    IMG_20181119_140036.jpg

    I wouldn't have time to ride the main area so planned to ride the Lakeshore trail on the Watson Lake Dells side. As I rode that direction I came across a whole new area on the east side of Peavine (rail trail). Wasn't on the city map and most of it not on Trailforks.

    IMG_20181119_142408.jpg

    So I knew what I'd be riding. Starting with NW Passage Tr I kept turning left at each intersection to do a loop around the outside of the area.

    It was similar difficulty to the Lakeshore trail. Lots of rock with a few tough moves and a little HAB, but mostly not terribly technical.

    IMG_20181119_143027.jpg

    I came across a brand new trail still under construction that looked like it will be fun.

    IMG_20181119_144950.jpg

    Prescott gets it when it comes to trails... here's a couple vids of the riding for an idea of what it's like

    https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496315/
    https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496317/


    IMG_20181119_150633.jpg

    Some great views of Watson Lake opened up towards the south end of the system

    IMG_20181119_153527.jpg

    Hard not to stop at each one.

    IMG_20181119_154058.jpg

    Water level looked pretty decent

    IMG_20181119_155956.jpg

    I had used up most of my available time and had to start back to the shop before closing time.

    IMG_20181119_161740.jpg

    When I got back the shop said they were able to get an extra guy in and should be able to get my truck done the next day. Sweet! So I got a motel a couple blocks away and then hunted down a place to eat before digging into some beers.
    Including road pedal I got in around 23mi and not much elevation gain. Some fun new-to-me trails salvaged the day nicely.
     
  11. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Day 4


    With the truck in the shop I was stuck with what I could pedal to. They told me to bring it by at 9am. I briefly considered trying to ride the whole Prescott Circle Trail which would have required a much earlier start but temps were close to freezing overnight. Screw that.... I slept in instead. Figured I would ride a back way over towards Trail 305 and see how far around the system I could get before time to head back.

    I didn't want to ride the same stuff again today and the price to avoid it was 9mi of pavement and dirt road to get to the trails. It went pretty fast and soon enough I was on singletrack climbing up 305.

    I had never ridden it so decided on a diversion to ride nearby Salida Gulch Tr. Sounds like it gets a lot of hiker traffic but given it was a weekday it was pretty empty.

    It was a pretty nice trail. Mostly a gentle climb with a few tech sections on the backside of the loop and then a short descent coming back the other side. Just a few hikers. This was near the high point of the loop.

    IMG_20181120_115437.jpg

    Next I continued up 305. I was starting to hurt the higher up I got, and also realized I didn't have as much time as I thought. So instead of heading up Smith Ravine I had some food and then turned it around and headed back down.

    IMG_20181120_131045.jpg

    Here's some video of the descent. 305 is just awesome xc singletrack in the pines.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496319/


    By the time I got back to the trailhead I had 90min to get back to the shop before closing time. It would be mostly downhill so I decided to just take the highway. It had a good wide shoulder. This was was a few miles shorter being more direct, and had a mile or so in PV with bikepath / sidewalk on the north side.

    IMG_20181120_141228.jpg

    I got to the shop about half an hour before closing. They were supposed to call when it was done but I'd heard nothing. Turns out the axle was still over at the machine shop and they were having trouble getting it apart. The mechanic said he'd stay til the truck was done and tried to light a fire under the machine shop's ass to get it done. An hour later they had it. They did offer to finish it which might take a couple hours but might not be able to test it properly, so I said it was ok to keep it overnight and finish in the morning with more time. Back to the motel. Hit up Lonesome Valley Brewing for some food and beers and then back to the motel. Truck was staying at the shop so I had to pedal over. Chilly after dark so I didn't mind not camping.

    IMG_20181120_131045.jpg

    With about 15miles pavement I got in 36mi and +/- 3k ft on the day.

    It wasn't what I would have ridden given the choice but still a good day and did get in some new trail at Salida Gulch. Like the day before, I did ok salvaging the day.
     
  12. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Day 5

    I headed over to the repair shop around 10 and the truck was done and waiting for me. Big thanks to Bobby's Auto Repair for getting it done so I could continue my trip!

    Started driving towards Sedona planning to do some sort of Hiline or Hogs/Hiline or Hiline/Transept loop. But there was a crash on Hwy 179 south of VOC that had the road shut down into Sedona so traffic was getting diverted toward Cottonwood and 89A into West Sedona. Not wanting to drive all the way thru to VOC I parked at the amphitheater and did my ride from there.

    Started off on Scorpion, heading down toward the Red Rock crossing to pick up my loop

    IMG_20181121_144157.jpg

    Oak Creek was running pretty low but was ice cold and the rocks slabs it flows over here were deadly slippery. I should have gone up stream a bit to where there is some gravel. Made it across - very slowly

    IMG_20181121_145939.jpg

    It was mid afternoon and there were lots of hikers out on Baldwin and Templeton especially along the creek. Made my way over toward Hiline. Looking at Bell Rock

    IMG_20181121_160237.jpg

    In summary: No lazy people

    IMG_20181121_160407.jpg

    The climb up went well. I made all the hard parts and then screwed up some easy spots. Seems to be always the way it goes...

    Ran the go pro with camera aimed down a little but not enough to see the wheel on the tech parts. Hiline is getting toothy with lots of rocks getting more and more exposed. Love that climb...

    https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496327/


    IMG_20181121_162023.jpg

    Got to the top and looked over at Transept. It was just adopted as a system trail the week before. There's a couple riders on it. Can you spot them?

    IMG_20181121_162643_1.jpg

    Enjoyed a cold beverage. Transept doesn't connect well to anything and I didn't have time to loop back around so I decided to finish the loop and head down Hiline

    IMG_20181121_162815.jpg

    Awesome views late afternoon

    IMG_20181121_163350.jpg

    There was one hiker ahead I could see from a ways off so I'd get a pretty clear run. Its getting harder with tons of hikers coming up Hiline these days. And why not, its one of the prettiest trails around.

    IMG_20181121_164144.jpg

    Stopped for a minute to enjoy the view before dropping in. I was hoping for a good run, don't think I've ever cleaned it all in one run. Came close here, got all the hard stuff again then had to dab after going too low on one slickrock section.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496349/


    IMG_20181121_165031.jpg

    I wasn't looking to a second crossing after sunset, but found a better spot and made it across easily

    IMG_20181121_171942.jpg

    To get back I took a longer way up Ridge, Sketch, Carrol Cyn, Old Post, Skywalker. Fun ride under an almost full moon

    IMG_20181121_173801.jpg

    Last light. Good times.

    IMG_20181121_180135.jpg

    Had a beer and some mexican and then headed over to find a campsite. I think the ride was around 21mi or so.
     
  13. doublewide

    doublewide iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Mark
    Current Bike:
    Ride Life Ride Giant
    Loving your trip Evan!
     
  14. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Day 6

    I rode Transept years ago after it was built and was curious to see what it looked like after being adopted. I also spotted another trail on Trailforks I'd never seen before and did some scheming whether I could connect them into a viable loop. Looked like I could with some pavement riding.

    I parked at the Ranger station / visitor center south of VOC and pedalled up the highway a couple miles back to town. Get the shitty part out of the way first.... Then picked up Slim Shady

    IMG_20181122_113534.jpg

    Back to Hiline. Did I mention that trail is getting toothy?

    IMG_20181122_120057.jpg

    Not having as good a run, but I was able to clean it from here for a ways until I clipped a rock on the upper side of the trail with my handlebar and almost went over the edge

    IMG_20181122_120139.jpg

    Taking a break to let some hikers past

    IMG_20181122_121127.jpg

    Looking south. I'll be headed over there later

    IMG_20181122_121231.jpg

    Back up top I headed toward Transept. I decided to just film it since its all sidehill and no better views than I'd get on the frontside or at the top. Was annoyed to see a smudge on the lens when I downloaded the files. Whatever, you can watch them or not. Got most of the trail. Too many hikers on the second half of the final descent so I turned it off.

    Part 1 https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496357/
    Part 2 https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496359/
    Part 3 https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496361/

    I liked the trail. Its pretty raw and narrow and technical in spots. About 2/3 of the way across there's one loose cobbled climb that almost everyone will HAB up. Otherwise its all rideable. It felt a lot longer than 3 miles. Next time I'd do it as an out and back and then drop the backside of Hiline. That would make for a pretty awesome ride. TONS of hikers on the descent down to Verde Valley School Rd. Just one pair on the traverse across. Saw no other bikers after Slim shady.

    After Transept I pedaled the road back to VOC and rolled into the Bell Rock TH. What a zoo. Headed out on the Big Park loop heading for the VOC loop. The further I got from the TH the fewer hikers there were and the trail got better. It took a couple mins to find the turnoff onto VOC loop. It was unmarked and just headed up a wash.

    Old school Sedona wash riding

    IMG_20181122_134031.jpg

    It was fun riding aside from some sandy parts in the wash.

    IMG_20181122_134211.jpg

    It got a bit hard to follow on some open slickrock with no cairns or markings or trail signs, but I was able to pick it up again. Climbing up to a view point

    IMG_20181122_135703.jpg

    From this point the trail dropped down into a drainage and became a flaming turd. Narrow, overgrown hike a bike out for a third to half a mile. Might be hike a bike going the other way too. At the top there was a decent viewpoint but it was apparent the rest of the trail wouldn't be great either.

    IMG_20181122_142532.jpg

    That was fine since I'd be exiting the loop once it dropped down toward some houses. The Hot Loop started nearby off Jacks Canyon Rd and I'd seen a connector from the VOC loop on satellite. It wasn't signed, but there is a gate and the trail drops right down to the Hot Loop trailhead. I had some second thoughts with a few rain drops falling and considering how shitty the second part of VOC was, but a couple hikers said the trail was decent and would be "interesting" on a bike. The first part was a climb so I could always turn around if it sucked.

    The climb up was a bit steep and tough in a couple spots but I rode most of it. Then it started downhill and was pretty good. At least, better than expected. It dropped down into a drainage below before a short climb and more descending.

    Here's the drop from the high point into the drainage: https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496356/ Battery died there so no mas...

    IMG_20181122_150507.jpg

    Parts of it looked like an old wagon road and parts were singletrack. It was very cobbly on the descent but got nicer once the trail flattened out lower down.

    IMG_20181122_152032.jpg

    It was a pretty fast ride out

    IMG_20181122_152748.jpg

    Got a bit of surprise as there were some trees and a stream crossing below the visitor center. Definitely a different feel here

    IMG_20181122_153745.jpg

    The Hot Loop (pretty sure its Jack's Canyon or something else officially) is a pretty cool trail. Not really worth it on its own but as part of a point to point it is worth including especially since the Ranger station is a good, easy place to park.

    Ride was around 25mi.
     
  15. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Day 6 Continued.....

    I still wanted to hit up the Copper Mtn Loop but it was past mid afternoon which wasn't going to leave a lot of daylight. Not that that ever stops me. So I headed back down to Mayer and found a spot to park close to the BCT where I could access the loop. I'd heard the cat claw might be bad so I packed my mini loppers and headed out.

    Copper Mtn is a side loop off the BCT and to get to the upper end of it to ride it CCW I'd have to ride about 4.5mi of BCT.


    Came to this fairly new cattle guard after just a few hundred feet

    IMG_20181122_164159.jpg

    Copper Mtn Loop climbs up traverses the hills on the left side of the pic. Was a little bummed I wouldn't see it all in daylight, but the golden hour was pretty rad

    IMG_20181122_164346.jpg

    BCT north of Mayer/Hwy 69 doesn't see much traffic so it is narrow tread, even hard to see in spots, and the cat claw is unmolested so it retains its bite

    IMG_20181122_165202.jpg

    Any time it drew blood as I passed, I stopped and cut it back. Probably stopped 20-25 times along BCT proper. A few spots were really bad.

    IMG_20181122_170451.jpg

    More full moon action. The first few miles of Copper Mtn are pretty new machine built. Still looks like a bit of a bad haircut and too wide, but it will become back-countryfied soon enough.

    IMG_20181122_182552.jpg

    Passed a few nice rock outcrops

    IMG_20181122_190540.jpg

    On the west side of the loop the trail character soon changed and had obviously been built a season or two earlier. The trail bench narrowed and brush was encroaching, which made for slower going. I'd just texted Schillingsworth about a ride the next day mentioning how the catclaw wasn't terrible when I rode around a corner into a big catclaw bush that blocked the whole trail. I cut that one out, but it was getting later than I wanted so only cut back a couple of the very worst offenders after that. Most of the brush wasn't sharp or pokey but every time I thought things were going well I'd get skewered by another catclaw.

    I'd been told the ride flowed better CCW and there is a long relatively steep section I was happy to be descending rather than climbing. Getting back to BCT proper felt like it took forever and I still had almost a mile and a half uphill back to the truck. The grades were pretty mellow and it went faster than the loop. I had a couple hours driving to do so Thanksgiving dinner was at McDonalds off I-17, not that there was much else open by that time. Ride was about 15 miles. I would definitely do this one again preferably in daylight.

    IMG_20181122_201241.jpg
     
  16. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Day 7

    Schillingsworth had all day Friday to ride and we'd been throwing around ideas. We settled on an Arizona Trail point to point from Tiger Mine near Oracle to Kelvin. The 90 miles or so from Oracle to Superior is some of my favorite riding, and since we'd already done Picketpost to Kelvin it would be cool to ride the rest of it too. We agreed to meet at Kelvin TH at 7am. There are two of those and of course I had a brain fart and went to the wrong one on the south side of the river. So we were a bit late getting started. What's new....


    I was getting drowsy driving down the night before and opted to camp at Picketpost TH. Got a nice view of the mountain at first light

    IMG_20181123_062148.jpg

    Lined up at Tiger Mine trailhead

    IMG_20181123_085459.jpg

    And they're off. The small bump to the left of the sign is Antelope Peak, which is roughly the mid point of our ride.

    IMG_20181123_085711.jpg

    This first segment is the Black Hills. Until today over half my time riding here had been in the dark (AZT 300 and Gila 100). Was nice to ride the whole segment in daylight, and with perfect temps.

    IMG_20181123_090117_1.jpg

    Mt Lemmon made for a nice backdrop for a while

    IMG_20181123_090657.jpg

    It was somewhere up on this ridgeline we started noticing a helicoptor buzzing around in and out of different drainages. It eventually moved over toward us and we realized it was herding cattle. Cool to see, but that's gotta be some expensive cattle herding.

    DSC03890.jpg

    There is some really nice singletrack on these sections and it isn't heavily used. Crews have been out the last couple years working on it too, so its mostly in pretty good shape

    IMG_20181123_093259.jpg

    Lots of cactus and catclaw but it is kept trimmed back

    IMG_20181123_094848_1.jpg

    Don't take these corners too fast though!

    IMG_20181123_102232_2.jpg

    ...the high pressure gas line isn't the only thing to be cautious of

    IMG_20181123_102407_2.jpg

    Still climbing

    DSC03891.jpg

    Lots of big views

    DSC03916.jpg

    And even a bit of color

    IMG_20181123_112439.jpg

    IMG_20181123_114721.jpg

    One of the coolest parts about this ride is watching Mt Lemmon fade away into the distance at the same you see Antelope Peak getting bigger and bigger.

    IMG_20181123_121926.jpg

    The Black hills segment has rolling terrain for 5 miles, then a 5 mile climb followed by a 5 mile descent, then is generally uphill for 10 miles to Antelope Peak.

    Schillingsworth checks out a big saguaro as we start that 10 mile push

    IMG_20181123_133801.jpg

    We were a ways behind schedule by this point so the revised goal became Freeman road by 3pm. We got to Antelope Peak by that time, but still had a mile of road and trail to get to the Freeman Rd trailhead.

    Antelope Peak - or at least, a false summit in front of it.

    IMG_20181123_145751.jpg

    This shade structure is an awesome place to sit and take a break. Especially welcome in hot weather, which it wasn't today.

    IMG_20181123_152715_2.jpg
    Pic by Schillingsworth


    Signing in at Freeman Rd trailhead

    IMG_20181123_153711.jpg

    Our pace picked up on the Boulders segment which is flat-ish and relatively fast. Of all the gates on the AZT this one may be the coolest, weighted so you don't have to close it yourself.

    IMG_20181123_161517.jpg

    The namesake boulders of the Boulders Segment

    IMG_20181123_161904.jpg

    I always thought this one looked like a molar pulled from your mouth, but from this angle you can see why it's called Elephant's butt rock.

    IMG_20181123_162020_1.jpg

    More big views. Schillingsworth pointed out all the mountains you have to go over or around as you follow the AZT north.

    IMG_20181123_164326.jpg

    Not too much further along we crossed from singletrack onto a segment of jeep road and encountered our first trail user on the day. We had seen him that morning when he got dropped off at Kelvin trailhead and was walking the other way. Had been wondering when we'd run into him, now we knew. FWIW we'd ridden almost 40 miles plus our hour long drive in the time he had walked almost 15 miles.

    We kept moving along as we were losing light. We hoped to get to the drop-in to Ripsey wash before needing lights. Almost made it....

    IMG_20181123_174821.jpg

    More full moon riding. Ripsey Ridge has awesome views in the daytime but being up there under a near full moon was something I'd always wanted to do as well. Though it would have been better to have watched the sunset from up there too. As we dropped into Ripsey wash we could see a couple headlamps up on the distant ridge. The hiker had told us there were some people camped up there and we were able to see their lights as our reference point all the way across and up to the ridge top. They had been watching our lights the whole time too, thinking at first we were vehicles in the distance.

    IMG_20181123_182136.jpg

    We said our hellos then passed by a short way. Schillingsworth wanted to try out the new night sight app Google released for the Pixel phones. First shot is with no lights.

    IMG_20181123_195935_2.jpg
    Pic by Schillingsworth

    Then one with my headlamp on. They look better in smaller format like a phone but are still bad ass considering it was pitch black out.

    IMG_20181123_195915_2.jpg
    Pic by Schillingsworth

    After messing around with pics for a few minutes we had some final business to take care of which was the final descent down to Kelvin TH. There was no more stopping and we made it down in good time.

    Mileage for the day was around 54. A beer was well deserved by that point. Great ride. I'd like to start earlier next time or do this in Feb/March with more daylight to get up on the ridge for sunset.
     
  17. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Vassago/Trek
    Evan, I may want to hit part of your day 7 ride with my friend when I go down to Tucson to hang with him in February. We are comfy riding 20-25 miles as an out and back or point to point from the Oracle side. What do you suggest?
     
    Mikie, DangerDirtyD and evdog like this.
  18. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    From that ride there are only two choices - the Black Hills segment and the Boulders/Ripsey segments.

    Black Hills - https://www.trailforks.com/trails/azt-black-hills/

    Remote ride of around 26mi and 4,500ft gain. Rides best S to N. There is a 10-12 mile dirt road drive to access it at Freeman Road from Dudleyville. As I described above it's 5 mi of rolling terrain in and out of some drainages, then 5mi of mostly climbing followed by 5 mi of mostly descent into Bloodsucker Wash. Then mostly uphill on 4 mi jeep road and 6 mi singletrack.

    Boulders and Ripsey - https://www.trailforks.com/trails/azt-tortilla-mountains/ and https://www.trailforks.com/trails/azt-north-tortilla-mountains/ (ignore the elevation #s in Trailforks, they are corrupted)

    This one is also around 26mi. The Boulders segment is fast and flows well. Can be hard to follow in a few spots due to numerous cattle trails. There are a few sections of jeep road mixed in. Ripsey is a harder segment but also has better views. You drop down a side canyon into Ripsey Wash. Cross and then ride up a side arm of the wash for a little ways. Then there is a steep climb out of the wash. You will do some hike a bike. It only takes 45min from was to ridge top. Ripsey Ridge is often called the best ridge top ride in Arizona. The trail follows the ridge in a crescent shape before dropping down off the north side on some narrow, exposed switchbacks. Then some fast trail down to Kelvin TH. You can also cross the road for a couple more miles right down to Kelvin Bridge. The climb up and descent off the ridge may go away soon due to mine development so if this sounds like a good ride to you, do it soon. I'd probably recommend this as the better ride.

    There is some great AZT south of Tucson as well but I think you said you've ridden that already. If not, it is worth while.
     
  19. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Snake"
    Current Bike:
    Vassago/Trek
    Thanks :thumbsup:
     
  20. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Day 8

    I didn't drive too far after the shuttle retrieval Friday night - just over toward the 24 Hr course where there is some open land to camp on. I'd made plans to ride with some friends in Tucson the next day, and thankfully not early.


    Sunrise and Mt Lemmon. My friends moved to Vail last year just south of Tucson and have a ton of riding out their back door. I met them at their place and we took off.

    IMG_20181124_071935.jpg

    Neighborhood trails. Their house has open desert right across the street

    IMG_20181124_095738.jpg

    We soon picked up the Arizona Trail and headed north. This cool section was just after a road crossing

    IMG_20181124_100626.jpg

    Open desert heading back north toward Tucson on the Arizona Trail

    IMG_20181124_101752.jpg

    More fast desert singletrack

    IMG_20181124_102035.jpg

    Took a few shots one handed while riding. A couple turned out ok

    IMG_20181124_103031.jpg

    Beto hung from the gate for a moment to stretch out his back. So we all took a turn. I did a total of one (1) pull up. Yay me!

    IMG_20181124_103334.jpg

    I-10 underpass. We ran into Lael Wilcox and Rue here, they're thru hiking the AZT southbound

    IMG_20181124_104124.jpg

    AZT proper through the creekbed

    IMG_20181124_110225.jpg

    Very cool spot with trees and flowing water

    IMG_20181124_110453.jpg

    Eventually we peeled off AZT onto some pavement then jep road and pedaled over to McKenzie Ranch trails where we rode Hohokam Trail back toward town

    IMG_20181124_122641.jpg

    Very fun flowy trail

    IMG_20181124_123405.jpg

    Great use of this container as a bike locker

    IMG_20181124_123829.jpg

    We finished the trail and followed some road home. This was the welcoming committee

    IMG_20181124_135515.jpg

    This ride was just what the doctor ordered, great mix of trail and road for sore legs. Thanks Beto and Shannon for the tour! 28mi
     
    doublewide, mike, Stkx66 and 3 others like this.
  21. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    :oops: I'm missing out...
     
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  22. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Alright, almost done....

    Day 9

    I had a few ideas in mind for the last day but still had not decided on anything by breakfast time. Beto and Shannon had non-riding plans so I was back on my own. They had mentioned a network nearby called Sopori Trails but hadn't been able to check it out yet. I had seen it on Trailforks. Sounded like a local's system that some people wanted kept secret and others wanted on the map. Those usually make for good riding so I decided to check it out.

    It is in the middle of nowhere so I was surprised to see seven or eight vehicles at the trailhead. I unloaded the bike and started pedaling.

    IMG_20181125_101655.jpg

    The trail started off interesting, meandering through some scrub brush and mesquite trees and crossing over some small washes.

    IMG_20181125_103529.jpg

    There was a fair bit of sand in places and I came across a couple guys scraping some of it away with mcleods. They gave me some route suggestions and said I may run into more trail workers in other spots. Its always great to see the trails getting some love...

    Looking back east after climbing up a bit

    IMG_20181125_110652.jpg

    There is a bunch of trail not on Trailforks yet and I started off on one of those trails to find that it had been brushed nicely. Had to honor their work by riding the trail!

    IMG_20181125_113330.jpg

    Quick connect gate

    IMG_20181125_113520.jpg

    In San diego we have a trail network called Tunnels because of the dwarf oak trees which form a low canopy over the trail. This spot reminded me a lot of that.

    IMG_20181125_113819.jpg

    Stick figure

    IMG_20181125_114633.jpg

    The uppermost loop was called the Oasis. Not sure I'd call it that but there were a few trees for shade

    IMG_20181125_115847.jpg

    This is the upper end of the mapped system so there is still lots of room to grow to the west

    IMG_20181125_120732.jpg

    Heading back to the east. Beautiful narrow singletrack. Yum

    IMG_20181125_120545.jpg

    Stopped to check out the view and this bunny hopped out from behind a bush

    IMG_20181125_120831.jpg

    Looking SW

    IMG_20181125_120915.jpg

    I had set up my route so it would be downhill on the way back (very gently downhill) but pretty direct.

    I ran the go pro on the ride out to give a better idea of what the riding was like. Bummed my chain derailed (on smooth flat ground :the_finge ) just as I was about to chase after a bunny

    Part 1 https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496405/
    Part 2 https://www.pinkbike.com/video/496394/

    Fun place to ride for sure. I'll definitely be back at some point to explore further. 12 miles. I was told there is around 25 miles on the ground now.



    I'd spent more time than I had planned to so wouldn't have that much time for another ride. It was also lunchtime. Everyone talks up Seis Kitchen and I wanted to check it out, but didn't want to kill an hour getting food. Figured I'd eat first and see how much time I had left. The stop was definitely worth while and won't be my last there.

    IMG_20181125_140546.jpg

    It was 2:30 by this point so I had to decide if I was going to try and ride again or bail and actually get home at a decent time.

    Of course, I made the correct choice.

    IMG_20181125_155908.jpg

    I'd been wanting to check out a small trail network at Casa Grande right where I-8 tees into I-10. I had lights so not a big deal if I ran out of sunlight.

    The trails were all pretty short and it didn't take long to make it to the far end of the network on the Ridge trail.

    IMG_20181125_170939.jpg

    The ridge trail doesn't follow the very top of the ridge which is what I'd been expecting, but the upside of it not doing so is the grades were pretty reasonable, which was welcome at this point in the trip

    Golden hour views

    IMG_20181125_171029.jpg

    About to turn the rig around and head back to the start

    IMG_20181125_171508.jpg
     
  23. schillingsworth

    schillingsworth Member

    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Name:
    John Schilling
    Current Bike:
    Motobecane Ti 29er
    Glad to be a part of your Cranksgiving celebration!! Our biking vacations look eerily similar. I'm almost caught up with the ride reports. Our shuttle ride is next up....

    In the meantime, here's my take from the AES Picketpost Pulverizer

    waIOdbfhjz0Sg-p9zYfBN143xKPsWkjWGbU-IaoPhbLZk4gEu3dc0ugT6jWBq7m3CQsnC8lebv3OIjcKhI=w1668-h938-no.jpg
    Daybreak over Picketpost Mtn.

    lHNGcuFO0sykF89U0dHw24Yf-xVk8W1sW_P9RDuJBexVEoq0xjagiDebY45P7QXDVxN39PcVWdXqjF9BRs=w1286-h938-no.jpg
    It's amazing how far you can see out here. Mt. Lemmon some 80-ish miles away.

    U4yvNJmPqjdsJYtTzgWxI2P4PUcWJxXP9wjxXKSu7pUT_YTQIDNSNpvOaFChK8b9vQpTicpR_TMt4EQThA=w1668-h938-no.jpg
    @evdog riding through a very low Gila River.

    KUwy8UMIbS1rYLT-nvEjpYvEKl2GOwKeMN8P-5zi0zHNYldLTWzEET0hl8auNWHJPiMGETuv-UsopN7xh8=w1668-h938-no.jpg
    Coke Ovens near South Butte.

    wazC-T53DU94tOpWsCMczLvNmkC1tlAyB-yQNtY-c9VwbA5ciMmCKCl9vp7OBi0W1topM-5dwW9yu-h19c=w1668-h938-no.jpg
    The White Canyon Wilderness makes a nice backdrop.

    fr14ZVZK7bem0y9St5VKMHOJP358y8CuPzXmzgafvjGPmH_lL5QdzxSYauJAnzi4pMhV50z38yyFFm0SLQ=w1668-h938-no.jpg
    Climbing towards Martinez Canyon & Dale's Butte in the waning light.

    RDlC9Uwd3ll8FRGk-4LyEqoATwr7NfucWohhIZh7iB1rAaZClOM2JgmB5KZBcPNHx0IP74SQan6mZrXR3Es=w702-h938-no.jpg
    11:30p. Done. Oof.
     
  24. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    That first pic is awesome. Thanks for the TR and for putting this route together. Stoked I was able to take it on again and finish!
     
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