Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Well after a long 8 days off the bike I rode again! I said farewell to my mother in law on Monday and then said hello to my parents on Tuesday as they came to visit for Landons Birthday. It was a good stay and I remained off the bike to not cause a fuss until Saturday. Unluckily my wife came down with a horrific migraine and Saturday was now out of the question. This put my weekend into a funk but I patiently waited for Monday when my kiddo went back to school and papa got out! I wish I could have enjoyed it more but to be honest I have felt a little depressed to be back in Phoenix, I don't like it here at all. When tire hit the trail it felt very odd, I was still in a hot desert environment but had to remind myself I was not in southern Utah anymore. I seriously thought I was there for the first 10 seconds of the ride. Bit flustered but happy to have legs turning I did the full loop with some mapping and had myself a decent ride. It's still hot here but clouds and 80s made things better. Longing for Utah I need to just enjoy the bits and pieces I get of it on vacation.
Monday, October 17, 2016
It had a spook factor which pines often do, then I remember I was up high and maybe this place had bears and lions. Turns out I chased down 3 elk out of the forest, definitely never been that close to one, absolute beasts. I was all done with 10 miles in under an hour and was now ready for food. I was torn between car camping or doing the campground thing so I would have a shower and safe place to sleep. Not knowing the area well I went with the campground regretfuly. I laid down the mattress and sleeping bag and headed for a glorious shower. Then some food and then back to my campspot while I tried to fall asleep to various rude people not being considerate. One person in particular roled in at 1am and woke me up after I was asleep for 90 minutes. He then opened and closed his doors all morning and then set up his tent around 3pm, hammering staked with a rock for 20 minutes, setting off his car alarm twice........I ended up having a word with him and then I left since I was going to loose it. I screwed around until 5:30 and headed for the trailhead for Shultz Creek TH. Arriving I lazily geared up and with bright lights set off into a sleepless morning. The Shultz Creek Trail was a delight, a cozy climb as I warmed up heading thru the pines. Once light came I realized I as not on the mountain. As I head up Sunset trail I really knew I was on the mountain. It was a really hard climb and I was not in the best of spirits but chugged up none the less. I was rewarded when I crested a hill to receive the morning sun and great views all around. Then I was rewarded with absolute stunnign trail as I wound down and up Upper Brookbank. What an absolute joy it was to be in the mountains again, I never realized flagstaffs potential. With lots of fast descents and some chunk thrown in this was one of the best trails I have ever ridden. With a smile on my face I was soon down the mountain and headed for the AZT Trail. This was another surprise, absolute prisitine anrrow single track laced with meadows and pines. Very flowy and all a nice smooth Dh pace I would my way for a very very good ride. I hopped onto Moto where things were still unbelievably good all the way to the car. I am absolutely amazed at the trails I rode this morning and can't wait to get back here. That wrapped up the trip as I headed home I couldnt not believe how massively thankful I was that this trip came to life.
Arriving at Rampage was a familiar experience with lots of people and being among mountain bike legends. It's pretty crazy to see these heores just here doing their thing, I wanted to quite a few times have a conversation with some of them but I knew all to well the event was likely enough and they didn't need me bothering them. I think I probably would fan girl over Cam Zink the most, absolute legend and hero. As I found my way to a spot on the dirt and watched riders drop with pain staking long wait in between. The second rider I got to watch since I arrived slightly late due to massive ticket line, was Aggy. I watched his whole run and just as he laid out an dumped 360 onto a massively narrow landing he was unable to locate. He tumbled so damn hard I could not tell what had exactly happened but only I thought he was certainly completely broken. I now remember that sinking feeling as riders crash, it's absolutely terrible. A reminder when I watched Paul Bas tumble to his broken back last year. The medics scrambled around him and carted him off eventually where the threw the horns on the stretcher. The res of the comp was on edge, watching rider after rider drop. As always it's a fantastic place to be and see in person. I left the event early since wind conditions were detoriating as they did last year and I wanted to get my drive to Flagstaff over with. It was an absolute beaut of a ride to Flagstaff. I got into town and decided I would squeeze a ride in before heading for food and bed. I picked a spot close to the area and also simple enough to spend an hour pedaling. After a quick hunt on MTB Project I found a good fast loop. Campbell Mesa was the victim, I was bummed to have light moving to darkness as I geared up and had to run my light the entire ride. This place was fast, and very mellow with twisting trail among the pines.
I rolled up Dalton Flats Rd in the dark to camp at the trailhead for next mornings ride. I was surprised to find a party atmosphere up there with lots of people. I can say that it was comforting having people around since when I am far out in the sticks it's good to know others are around, especially when your sleeping. I saw lots of trucks and campers and it was surely athletes and teams up there for sure. I found a cozy site just a half mile down the rd, enough to have some quiet but close enough to hear my screams of terror shall a man bear pig attack in the night. Lots of cars kept rolling in thru the night, the music blasted, I took a walk down to check it out, feeling socially awkward I didn't engage anyone so I walked back and got comfortably into my sleeping bag for the night. I fell asleep tot he sound of dirt bikes zipping by on night rides. I fell asleep hard, so hard that I only woke twice in the night which was a big deal. I got up at 5:30 and lay in my sleeping bag as I woke slowly. It was chilly out, it could have been much worse in October but it was chilling as I got out of my bag and geared up. I was dreading such early rides this whole trip but they were mandatory to ride the offerings of Guacamole and get the venue to watch redbull rampage. So at 6 I headed steadily into the night, there were others awake but they were not riding, they were heading to work for the day at Rampage. The darkness was fine and would not last long. I rode Margerita out onto salt on the rim where I already ditched my winter thermal. Added in the west link and then back onto Margarita. The trail was a mix of smooth sandy dirt and slickrock so far. I was desperately looking forward to the views as the light came slowly. Views or not this was very enjoyable trail, nice narrow single track all to myself. After a healthy dose of very very good trails I was now on holy guacamole. This trail was absolutely amazing, beautiful ribbon trail laced with greenery and dead burned trees. The views across were vast and beautiful. I had the virgin valley to one side and Zion National Park on the other. The landscape reflected my experience in the park, absolutely incredible. This ride is an absolute gem, the fact that we mountain bikers have it is an absolute blessing. As i looped around it just got better, in and out of many slick rock sections. My hands and arms sore but not my legs from the prior days riding I was still in charge on the superfly. Rounding out the loop I was left with just 2 miles back the way I came, slightly bummed to have to end it but I had perfect timing for a departure for the Rampage Venue.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
I researched this little gem and was excited to get out alongside Gooseberry Mesa. As I stormed up the Mountain I was greeted with a unique ride spot, lush with plenty or rocks and views to boot. I went with the YT Capra again on this ride since it was going to be bumpy, and my YT kills it on everything. The pedal began with a mellow uphill, and a pleasant ride through pine and scrub oak for a good while. It resembled Gooseberry Mesa quite a bit and go figure since it was only 10 miles away. When there was open rock and plenty of it, your eyes would have to hunt down rock cairns scattered all over the place. This was challenging at times but some spots were easier than others. Loving the change in scenery I soon hit the Rim, with huge views to Apple Valley below. The trail skirted on and off the rim. With no big ups or downs it was a cozy ride. I linked up a few trails and threw in lots of slick rock and some fun technical features. Halfway thru the ride I began to really get frustrated with finding cairns, love someone put in the work on them but my brain was getting tired and whipping out my phone to see how far off track I was getting was something to deal with. I had a good 10 miles in and made some wrong turns and my plan fell to pieces as I ended up on an unmarked trail. It meandered along a ton of slick rock and was poorly marked. This ride was slowly heading downhill as my brain and legs were about had and I just chugged on until it finally reached the rd. I missed 3 sections of trail I get to hit another trip out there sometime so something to look forward too and I will also know the trail much better. I enjoyed this very much, I would rate it higher than Gooseberry Mesa easily.
Ok ride 3, the second one of the morning. This time it was easy to navigate my way to the beginning since I already had in the dark the ride before. It was marked red on trailforks app so this one was going to be a workhorse. I was armed with my YT Capra and it did a beast of a job getting up there. I was cranking hard from the begining as it wound it's way up the hillside. Things got near impossible in one spot and then I got back to pedaling. As I got further so did the valley floor. The trail did eventually peak out and I was more than ready for some DH. I snapped a few pics on the cliff and down I went. It was a short but very fun ride down, kind of reminded of Captain Ahab in Moab. I guess I was not done climbing since the trail took me uphill. The scenery was quite awesome, lots of light and dark colors of rock and technical features. I thought this trail had drops and jumps but I guess I got it wrong. Glad to have a much more fun ride than the earlier one. I really enjoyed Zen for the short 7 miles that it is. Got back to the truck and headed for ride 4!
I arrived in St George by 9:30pm and after a bite headed for the Trailhead near the morings ride. It was a huge dirt hill with lots of space to camp and do whatever anyone wants to do. It skirted homes so I figured I would park fairly close to have some sort of comfort for safety. I pulled in and it was dark, there were lots of cars around, I figured most were kids hanging out but everyone was scattered. Not wanting to hit people with my lights I found a spot and parked. I unpacked my stuff and happily got in the sleeping bag and tried to relax. I was eager for the moring to come, I fell asleep only to be awoken again and again by people coming and going in the parking lot. When morning did arrive I geared up and set off to a confusing begining. There are lots of roads and confusion in the dark, I was surprised to stumble upon others who spent the night there with their bikes and were in the same boat as me. I began a climb up a dirt road which then lead down to Stucki, as I climbed I realized this trails was to be ridden in the other direction kind of since it had DH flow, I ignored it since I didn't want to turn around and kept fighting the mess of trail brading. It was really bad, really really bad, motos currently use the area or used to, the trail was mostly ATV trail the entire loop. Once I started descending and the sun shown itself I began to carry speed and enjoy the ride, then it was onto Poppi which was disapointing considering it's popularity. I mean it was ok, but really nothing special. I climbed out of there and back to the car to switch bikes and clothes and onwards to Zen trail.