A couple SS friends of mine decided to come up to and stay with my wife and I in Munds Park. We planned to do a very similar ride to what I did 2 weeks ago…the Epic Flag ride. Started at the bottom of Schultz around 7AM…a nice leisurely spin up Schultz Creek then onto the AZT heading west. It’s generally downhill to where the trail crosses Snowbowl Rd and tons of fun. We decided we’d climb the road up to Aspen corner…good decision as we’d later find out…Up the AZT going north…the ferns had grown a bunch from 2 weeks ago…handlebar height in some sections…took the AZT out past the White Horse Hills and Walker Lake almost to Kelly Tank. The wind was blowing pretty good from the south so we decided to turn around and begin the grind against the wind and back up from about 7700ft to 9000ft. At only an average of 3% grade over 8 miles, it’s not a brutal climb but one that seems just steady enough to keep your heart rate up. The scenery sure helps too…We encountered a family with some small kiddos on SS’s… What a great way to start them out. Responsible parents don’t let their kids have gears.
Back up to the connector trail junction to Aspen corner, we decided to see how far the AZT had been finished…We took it about another 1.5 miles…a very new section of trail that begins to decend some very powdery soil…super cool trail. Then the trail pretty much ends and we followed flags for a while, bushwacking our way through until my friends had a brilliant idea to check the GPS and see where the paved road was wrt our position…Thank God they did…we were only about 400yds away yet it may have been 2 miles of bush-wacking had we followed the flags.
Back on the road, down to where the AZT crosses snow bowl rd… From there, it’s a gradual ascent back to Schultz pass…not that we had to go that far east, but we wanted to enjoy the Schultz Creek decent. However, the price for that decent was an uncomfortably warm 45 minutes of riding…probably the warmest I’ve ever been riding in Flagstaff. The southern flanks of the peaks have some sparsely treed areas that offer little shade.
All in all, it was another great ride…51.3 miles, 5844 ft of ascent (per Garmin connect), 6:36 of ride time.
I don’t think I’ll ever get ALL the dust off my bike.