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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:40 pm 
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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.

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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

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

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The sunrises in AZ are as awesome as the sunsets

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

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

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Looking down Martinez

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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

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Pano shot

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

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


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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.

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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

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

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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

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Approaching an AZT super gate through a mequite tunnel

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Kelvin bridge framed perfectly

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

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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/


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Cactus forest

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White Canyon Wilderness provides a nice backdrop

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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

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

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Nice view of Dale’s Butte

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I got two thumbs up from the Two Thumbs Up cactus

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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

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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.

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

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:40 pm 
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Not many racers stop to take great pictures. Thanks!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:13 am 
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Haha. Not sure I'd call myself a racer. Just trying to survive!


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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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/


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

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Hard not to stop at each one.

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Water level looked pretty decent

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

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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.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:44 am 
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:32 pm 
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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

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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

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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

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In summary: No lazy people

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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/


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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?

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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

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Awesome views late afternoon

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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.

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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/


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

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

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Last light. Good times.

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


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:37 pm 
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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

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

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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

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Taking a break to let some hikers past

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Looking south. I'll be headed over there later

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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

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

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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

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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.

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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...

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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.

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It was a pretty fast ride out

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

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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.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:55 pm 
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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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Passed a few nice rock outcrops

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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.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:46 pm 
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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

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Lined up at Tiger Mine trailhead

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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.

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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.

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Mt Lemmon made for a nice backdrop for a while

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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.

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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

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Lots of cactus and catclaw but it is kept trimmed back

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Don't take these corners too fast though!

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

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Still climbing

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Lots of big views

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And even a bit of color

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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Pic by Schillingsworth


Signing in at Freeman Rd trailhead

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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.

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The namesake boulders of the Boulders Segment

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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.

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

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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....

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:21 pm 
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Wow. Thanks for the posts. I see an AZ trip in the near future!

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:01 am 
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Thank you for your damn fine trip reports and photos.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:19 am 
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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.

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

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

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Open desert heading back north toward Tucson on the Arizona Trail

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More fast desert singletrack

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

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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!

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

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AZT proper through the creekbed

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Very cool spot with trees and flowing water

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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

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Very fun flowy trail

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Great use of this container as a bike locker

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

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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


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:13 pm 
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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.

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

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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

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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!

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Quick connect gate

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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.

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Stick figure

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

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

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Heading back to the east. Beautiful narrow singletrack. Yum

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

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Looking SW

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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