Sunday, March 18, 2012


As usual for mid-March is AZ, is the Annual Spring Fling where groups of mtbr's get together and ride some of the states best trails in what is usually the best weather around.  This year was no different except for Sunday when a front moved into the state and made things pretty damp.  I was able to get out both Friday and Saturday this year to put in a couple good back-to-back days of around 6 hours of riding each.  My friend from Canada Darren and I rode in Sedona on Friday where we did a variant of the AES Race loop starting and ending at the Bike&Bean.  43 miles in total, we rode some great single track that had plenty of techy spots that demanded balance and skill.  Both Darren and I obviously had lapses in both with he falling twice and me once.  No major carnage except a few scrapes thankfully.
On Saturday, we headed out for a long drive to Kelvin where the plan was an OnB of around 6 hours.  DougG joined us for this ride.  We headed across the bridge at Kelvin then proceeded to climb the mining road that will eventually be turned back into singletrack. That road climbs a fair bit then descends back down near the river level on some sketchy, steep singletrack bench cut into the hill.  All through the descent I kept thinking about how we'd have to climb back up this thing at the very end of the ride..uggh.  We rode on, making our way over to White Canyon and through some sections that were much improved since the last time we rode it back in December.   Finally at Red Mtn mine road, we proceeded north until we hit the 3 hour point and turned around.  2:45 or so later, we were back at the car, tired, thirsty and ready for chocolate milk and beer. 

A not-so-happy rattler...probably hungry from hibernation
A much friendlier snake

Doug and Darren - Darren is obviously looking for his sandwich

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sedona Big Friggin Loop

This morning, roughly 75 people showed up at the Bike and Bean in Sedona to race the SBFL course...48ish miles of Sedona single track encircling the town of Sedona.  As we started, there were lots of bumper to bumper bike traffic as we made our way to Highline.  My chain decided to derail for the 2nd time in 2 years....luckily this time, I didn't go careening into a bush.  The bad part is several people passed me while I reset the chain then I spent the next hour reeling those people back in one by one.  After descending the back side of Highline, I was riding with a couple guys that swore they new the course...meanwhile my GPS was squawking at me, "off course" instead of following those yahoos, I did an about face and found the trail.  Just amazes me that guys show up w/o GPS's to these rides...anyway...On I went and ended up catching up to a couple guys, Lenny and Ryan(?) who I rode with for a while.  Lenny (on a A9C SS) took a nasty spill right in front of me.  We yoyo'd for a while as we made our way to the northern extents of the course when after taking a swig of my homemade gel, my lungs decided to inhale some...I spent the next 30 minutes riding way slower than I should have due to coughing  and even blew my cookies as the coughing got so bad.  I was seriously thinking of DNFing if I couldn't get my lungs clear and thankfully, it subsided after about an hour.
Finally I hit the roll through downtown Sedona dodging cars and tourists.  Making my way over to Chicken point, I knew there was a still some climbing left that caused me to dig deep.  Finally, hitting the high point, I knew the tough stuff was over and I proceeded to keep the speed up the roll back towards Bell Rock.  Down Bell Rock Pathway and back to the B&B... finished at total time around 6:49.  Based on the sign in sheet, that puts me in around 19th place however, I've gotta wonder how many of the 18 people ahead of mean actually rode the actual course...oh well...
A couple lessons learned for me...
1.  Sedona single track is far more technically challenging than I'm used to...the good news is that I rolled a lot of it merely because I was following others and by the time I got to the obstacle (that I'd usually walk), it was too late.
2.  32x20 is probably not the best gear for that course...with a 21 or even 22 (Lenny had a 22t), you can stay on your bike and make it up a lot of those little steep ups...
3.  Wide bars w/ bar ends are downright dangerous in Sedona...Between trees and rocks at handlebar level, you've got to be super careful.  I caught a bar end that threw me in the rudest way off course.  Had there been a drop-off, I might not be typing this.

All in all, great course, and a big thanks to Chad B. for setting these races up!