Tuesday, January 10, 2017
South Mountain National Loop
So I have been collecting the idea that I wanted to try and do this on my wifes break if I got the chance. I wanted to ride National point to point which was 15 miles one way. I have ridden about 7 miles of National Trail and it is brutal, I had no idea what was on the other 8 miles but I was aware it could be brutal. With that in mind and a a clear morning I set off with a plan to ride National and make a loop back with other trails for a big ol fatty fun loop. I left the house early enough that I could get a start as daylight hit. South Mountain was somewhat quiet but no shortage of people around as we all came to recreate on the hills. I can't say the beginning of my journey was thrilling, I had to go up National not Mormon trail to make it official. It however was a beautiful tempered morning to be hiking my bike up part of the trail. I was soon riding up the chunk of National Trail making fine time on familiar trail. The YT Capra was making ease of things as long as you focused on keeping it's front wheel pointed straight. I reached the lookout and downwards to the Buena Vista parking lot in at an hour. The next section was the towers to Telegraph Pass. I have ridden this the other direction and it was pretty rubbish. Riding the other direction was still a lot of work and minor hike a bike sections but once I passed the towers it was an absolute blast of fun technical to the Telegraph Pass. Now at Telegraph I was moving onto unfamiliar territory, I know the terrain chart said I had 1,000ft to climb and I could see a lot of it right in front of me. The trail went steep and so did me and my bike and I again somewhat enjoyed hiking my bike at this time. The views got expanse as I neared the top. Once I reached the top I could see the ridge ahead of me and was amazed my the views and geography of the mountain I was playing on. I was even more excited to ride the trail ahead of me and as I did I thoroughly enjoyed it. The trail as very well built and was completely different that the first half of the mountain. The ridge ride was spectacular, views falling off the ridge every which way you looked. There was not much of any descent but little bits of climbing and level riding. The time had then come for the descent, it was punchy but nothing too hard, I did let it loose a bit and had some fun but it was all over too soon as I found myself on the valley floor with just 3 miles to go. The trail from there was mostly flat and pleasant and then a brief mellow climb to the finish! A few goofy pictures and 2.5 hours into the ride I was heading back on the less ridden trails of the west end. I was happy to say my legs and body were feeling just fine. Awards on the Gila Connector which then turned to Gila and I found myself stuck in a valley with no way out but up it. I had two options here and that was Gila or Bursara. I wanted Bursara but it was black and Gila was blue and I thought maybe Gila was more ridable. I was wrong, they were about the same since I could see the trail just 50 yards from me across the wash. It was kind of frustrating but I did eventually crest my way over the top and drop down for a short ride over to Pyramid. The scenery was still fantastic and new. There was a bit of elevation on Pyramid and I can say I was ready for some relief, none would come really but I chugged along until I hit pavement. A mile or two on pavement and I was now at the Ramadas, a place I have been before, just a few miles climbing mild again and then a speedy ride to the car. By now I was ready to be done, I was 4 hours into a ride with no break, I had gas in the tank but just had enough. The next 5 miles were a blur and then there was the car! 33 miles and I was happy to have that completed, really fun ride!