Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ratller Showdown

Another unusual cloudy day with a breeeze had me headed for Gold Canyon. I love these trails, they're real fun, plenty of speed and flow and the right amount of climbing to make for a easy fun ride. I am working out the area still and wanted to add in a few more that I have not yet ridden. It was a speedy ride into the park at a different trail head, headed along the Old Horse Trail like a speed demon. Then to Vortex and Diamondback and Jodi's and then Coyote. Coyote I have not ridden yet, it was worth the work to get to the far end of the park, nothing too different but good none the less. The Outer Limits again nothing crazy but fun. Then I made my way to a trail called Snowbird. Started off quite sandy and borderline took me off the bike. Very technical climb and loose but the only real climb in the place. Gave me quite a nice view as I reached the top of the butte. Going down was a lot more fun than hiking to the top, over way too quick but glad I was knocking out some trails I had yet explored.
    The that took me to the K trail, a fun fun trail, this being my second time on it I am still getting use to it. I joined in mid way and came around a corner and wham, snake. It took just a second to see that rattle and know this was a rattle snake and I needed to be careful. I was about 10 ft from the snake and he remained calm until I stood watching him for too long and he rose up and put himself into strike mode. I have never seen a snake do this and it was intimidating for a grown man like myself. I walked around him admiring the creature and respecting our distance to no meet it's potent venom. It was strange he never rattled at me despite clearly having on being a Western Diamondback Rattler. I was pretty alert after that encounter, so every blind corner basically had a snake. Near to the car another corner exposed yet another rattler, this one bigger and more pissed and instantly ready to attack holding it's ground. This one more aggressive than the other it was just a few pics and I was happily on my way. The rest of the day the snake encounters were on my mind, that strike position and how aggressive they were. I can't say I am looking forward to seeing more but I think it's too likely that I will.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Back to the Desert

    While loving the time spent up in Utah for the week, it was time to head home on Thursday. It was good to be back in our new home and anxious to head out on a ride as usual. I headed close as I could so I went to Usery to sample Saguaro and mix it into the others around. It was a nice day and we had clouds! not something I see much of living in the Phoenix area. I kicked it off on Hawes and then found a pleasant ride along Saguaro, a nice narrow stretch crossing the area and then a sharp climb up to the ridge and a fun twisty run around and then down. Pretty brutal on my one gear but I climbed what I needed and rode down gracefully as one with can. No turtle this time in the trail, but plenty of loose stuff to try to nick you off the bike.
      Took and other trail named upper ridge, nothing fancy just a comfortable climb to get me to Secret trail, a favorite of mine. Ran out of time shortly but got all of secret and then dashed for the car. Plenty more to explore for sure, so many trails around the area just not enough time to explore. I really hope to hit Mcdowell and Browns sometime soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Timponogos Dead Leg

      Fired up to get out on a  quick spin before weather rolled in. I agreed to only ride for an hour which I was perfectly fine with. Trying to keep drive time down I headed for Provo. Unsure of where I wanted to start I ended up at the police firing range. With help from trail forks I headed for a trail named shooting gallery that was very good, very pretty narrow single track that swooped and switchbacked as the hillside is a tough climb. Every ride in this area really lets you know these trails are climbers. Great views and a slow grind each corner was inviting with views and awesome. As I climbed higher it met with Ireland. Took a wrong turn  but eventually ended up where I wanted to be heading for Lament.
    Hit a little snow  on the way, but so thankful we are this far into spring and thanks to a crappy winter I guess. A fun romp down Lament and a breeze down Dry Canyon. This was a fun run and finished it heading downhill on Shoreline trail. What a perfect 1 hour loop, really happy I put this one together. Still more to explore out there on this route thats not mapped thats for sure.


Corner Canyon

Well we ended up back in Utah two weeks after leaving, a little sooner than expected but I love Utah and will never mind coming to visit, especially to ride my bike or ski. This time I took some time on Saturday afternoon and headed for Corner Canyon to ride some trails as they dry out. I was anxious to get out and ride and had Jacobs Ladder in mind. A friend of mine was going to join me later on in the ride so I pedaled up to find what was open. The pipeline road they built has messed things up a bit but it seemed like most were coming form Carolina Hills so I decided to take Rattler up since Canyon Hollow could be wet. As I got to the bridge and headed for Canyon Hollow my thoughts were confirmed with snow and mud so it was going to be a Ghost Falls climb. Legs a bit worked I headed up a dry road to the summit. Saw a mess on people coming up Brocks and Anns so I headed for Rush. I watched a few riders drop in and that had my curiosity.
      I dropped in and was feeling slow but good, soon I was throwing the redline around enjoying it quite well. The trail crossed the dirt road in construction, which confirmed my assumption, it was closed. I had to hop down a pretty big obstacle and find my way in another spot but man that was a fun run.
     I met up with my friend Jason and we pedaled back up the way I came previously and went up to Jacobs Ladder for a solid climb. All that work paid off on the long ride down, part of Jacobs has some new additions, I guess I always took what I knew, but I missed my favorite switchbacks too much to take the new route. Solid time on the bike, felt so great!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Pass Mountain Spectacular

        So on my trail maps a nice little loop of black trail shows up and it looks like and easy no brainer loop that connects to some other trails I know. It was a 8 mile loop and decided to give it a shot in the dark. I rolled into the trailhead after a fumble in my directions. The outskirts of Phoenix are funky, plenty of interesting characters for sure. I began my climb to find another abnormal amount of elderly trail hikers, good for them! The ride started off rough and smoothed out as my rigid did very little to help soften the blow. The trail smoothed out as I rounded the southern part and was now climbing on the west side of the mountain. The flowers were blooming and pollen was clogging my nose and I chugged on a smooth broad trail. So far the ride was pretty mellow, far below a black trail rating, I noticed trail forks is pretty friendly with it's black trail ratings in Arizona so far. As I got to the Northern end it began to steepen. The trail narrowed significantly and the trail began to really take shape. The views and trail just kept getting better and better, it was a magnificent trail, I think how skinny and fun it was accounted for all of it's awesome. There was plenty of trail that stayed pretty friendly until I passed a lookout and found I had much more to go. It got real nasty for a stretch.
          Then it got real nice again and I could see the pass through the mountain. A chunk of rock lay in my direction and I could see down to the valley below I was in for a treat. Things got real steep and really technical, I wish I brought my full suspension so bad it was perfect for it but I was still loving pointing the trek superfly and making my way down. I walked a few tough spots, not in the mood to go down these days. I cannot wait to get back here, I said that day and still sticking to it as the best trail I have ever rode. What a gem, and apparently not a well known trail since nothing online talked about it!        

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Beast Unleashed!

So about a few months ago I sold everything I could and with a little help from our tax return I ordered the ever famous YT Capra. I have been long over due for a suspended bike and while I absolutely love rigid there are just some limits a bike like that has. I am so thankful for YT's direct sales operation, it allows someone like me to shave 1-2k off the cost with this business model and allowing me to have a comparable bike to one costing much more. I have had it in a box for the last month and with the move it was too complicated to unveil it and ride it before the move to Arizona. I remained pretty calm about it until I realized I had to unbox it for the drive since the vehicle was too full. I was drooling as I got it out and set it up. It felt crazy good and I was in complete shock that this bike was truly mine!!!!!!! It survived the trip beautifully on the bike rack as I nervously spent 11 hours watching it in my side mirrors and since losing my bike on the highway this summer I am forever horrified putting anything on the bike rack.
     Soooo I headed out for South Mountain after figuring out the suspension which I left untouched for it's first ride. I picked South Mountain since there is plenty of places to use it's 160mm of travel. I Began my pedal feeling pretty light, I was actually amazed at how well it pedaled for all that travel. A certain thing most reviewers bragged about. I saw a little one foot drop ahead and popped off it and as all the suspension soaked it up like a hot knife on butter. Ohhh I was in for a treat and as I climbed up and over one technical feature after the next my suspicion was confirmed, this was a trail climbing beast. All but pedal strikes stood in my way, one issue this bike certainly has, but pedal strikes over that low great handling bottom bracket I can deal with. It was a long climb up Mormon and National but I got the full taste of how my climbing future was going to be with this Mountain Goat and it was good.
      Going down was a breeze, it needled all obstacles and any drop or rock thrown at me it soaked up marvelously. I had an oh crap moment that would have murdered me on my rigid but on this it was like no big deal. My first ride on a dropper post, I cans see what all the fuss is about, the thing is a mountain bikers best friend, just please don't fail me on a ride!
    The Sram Guide R brakeset were flawless. Actually out performed any shimano AI have tried and did it so quietly with no feedback to my fingers or ears. I am sold on these Guide brakes and will try to get them on any of my bikes in the future, sorry Shimano.
    This bike is so good, only my first ride of many but this thing should take me a long way down the road, I will put most my abuse on my Trek Superfly but this tool will be nice when I need it!

Cactus Weaving

        Drove myself out to Gold Canyon, was so anxious to get back to these fun trails. This time to hit a few trails I didn't get to last time, still not a clear route in mind but a few ideas I took a fun speedy run up Cougar and then onto Lost Goldmine. What a nice combo, riding Goldmine in the opposite direction was quite nice. I was in a hurry as these days I am limited on time but happy to be out. I rode Lost Goldmine for awhile until I hit cactus squeeze and on wards to ride a fun one named Jodi's Dream. This time I had time to finish the full loop, turns out the first half was actually the better but I had to see for myself. I found myself running low on time and ha to make my way back. The K trail was my best option, that trail was sick! The right amount of flow and tech made for a fun ride. I can't wait to get back and ride it point to point and include the tech loop, what a fun fun fun trail! After that it was a spedy run to the car as fast as I could, that was until my rear tire locked up and skidded me to a stop. Assuming the chain was wrapped around something terrible I was shocked to find a brake pad jammed between caliper and rotor. I guess I forgot to cinch that cotter pin and out went the pads. That was a 20$ ouch but I was only 100 ft from the car so lucky me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Back to Usery Mountains

I had an hour to pedal and off I went while the family took their nap. I had more trails to explore at Usery so off I went on a cooler afternoon. Still loaded up on sunscreen and ambition I took the Dawes trail to Magic Mountain and then to that oh so awesome Secret trail. It was after that loop that I looked to explore a trail named Saguaro. This trail absolutely awesome, twisting, climbing, and all the good things in a trail. It then began a heavy climb to the ridge where Twisted Sister went off to the right and a climb continued to the left. I was short on time so twisted sister will have to wait. The climb took on for a little longer and then offered up views of the valley below and an odd sight of marshes and lush growth along the Salt River. The trail was a crazy fun descent. I stumbled upon a turtle int he middle of the trail that had me go over the bars and fortunately no cactus around! I had never expected to find a turtle up here, pretty cool sight as I snapped a few pics and on my way. Connected Granite to Ridge trail and I was at the car after another fantastic ride!