Monday, May 6, 2013

Casner Resurrected

Two years ago was the last “formal” running of the AES Casner Dirty Century.  Then, it was my first time doing the ride which as I recall, was a good 11.5 hour beat down taking us through some of the best views in Northern Arizona.  It was the ride that was somewhat of a turning point for me since it demonstrated how much ground you can really cover in a day on a bike.  It was then my longest ride to date...and well since that point, my infatuation with long rides has simply gotten worse.

It was time to run it again – This time with fellow endurance nut Mark Allen coming off his recent AZT300 finish and superhuman fitness.  Mark made my phone ring Friday asking me if I was into a CDC run.  Who was I to say no to nearly 12 hours of pedaling some super scenic terrain?

Outfitted in our new AES jerseys designed by the one and only Nancy Gray, Mark and I rolled out of Munds Park at about 6:30AM on Sunday.  We rolled north along forest roads then through some singletrack at Fort Tuthill, then connected to Woody Mountain Road.  This would take us southwesterly towards Casner Mountain.  The headwinds were brutal – a cold breeze, straight in our face nearly the whole way.  Finally, we began the traverse down a narrow strip of land that bisects the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness and the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness.  This route offers absolutely stunning views albeit extremely remote and difficult to get to.  The 2 track powerline service road is almost AZT-esque  in parts… steep, rubly, rocky, and loose.

Looking south into the Red Rock Secret Wilderness - Canser Mtn on the right
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
Looking back along the narrow strip of land bisecting the 2 wilderness areas
Me looking out into the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
Finally after about 5 hours from the start, we reached Casner Mountain, where we snapped a few pics of the views, scarfed down a snack, and proceeded down the brake-burning descent off the south face.  From there, we made our way over to Sedona via dirt roads where we began the single track assault.  
Pano shot looking south off Casner Mtn
Descending off Casner looking east to Sedona - we'd have to ride all the way over there
As we say, this is where “shit got real”…almost 70 miles in the legs and now it was time to get our tech on; generate max power to get over obstacles all the while avoiding OTB’s and other associated potential carnage.  This is where fitness gets the real test… go zero to max power and back; wash, rinse, repeat.  Finally popping out on Jordan road, we hit the c-store to resupply with calories and caffeine prior to the ascent up Schnebly.
Team AES (lol) at the C-store modeling the new AES jerseys
Rolling through the tourist infested streets of Sedona, we headed towards Schnebly.  There, my Mountain Dew and Coke charged legs found their rhythm as I played leapfrog with pink jeeps and camera happy tourists.  An hour later, I reached the peak and decided I’d roll all the way to Munds and wait with beer in hand for Mark to finish.  Mark rolled in roughly 20 minutes later and we proceeded to destroy a few beers and a feast of fajitas.

Another successful beat down complete.

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