Oct 30, 2010

National Coast to Coast to Coast - South Mountain.

Met up with TurtleGerl, Chongoman, Justin, and Troy (L. joined us for the roll up Mormon Loop) for a little Coast to Coast to Coast action on National.

We Split form Pima Canyon on out 25.5 mile tour de gnar a little before 7:00, and we finished up around 1:30. We skipped the last couple of flat/lowland miles of National - we took the road back up to Buena Vista.

Sure the pace was slow, but it was social riding and I was moving as fast as I could with my heavy bike.

With the bad also comes the good when pedaling such a heavy bike on National. The West of of the park isn't traveled as frequently, so the trail condition wouldn't be considered being 'buff'. The loose and rotten rock still was no match for my Giant Reign X.

Here's dorky little vid of the day:

Oct 17, 2010

Two Thumbs UP - Tom's Thumb x's 2 - McDowell Mountains (October, 16, 2010)

Yesterday I set out for a little solo ride up in the McDowell's promptly at 7:00 am from the Gateway Access Area trailhead.

My plan wasn't absolutely clear, because it depended on how ambitious I felt once I got up to Tom's Thumb.

With my heavy bike, it took me two hours to finally get to the pass at Tom's Thumb, but I felt good as I conserved my legs on the climb up. Since I wasn't absolutely destroyed, I decided to run down the North McDowell Access trail to see if I could find a connector to Pemberton Trail. If I was able to find Pemberton, I could make my way back into the lower east side trails I was already familiar with.

I bugged a couple of hikers who had climbed up the North McDowell trail to see if they new of a connector, but said it wasn't possible. I knew there had to be a way, but I just had to get a look of the terrain below and talk to the right person.

The ride down the North McDowell trail, was actually pretty fun. The recent heavy rains only inflicted minimal damage. The crushed granite cinder on the trail was slipper but fun. I was glad I had big phat tires and big rotors.

Once down at the bottom of hill, in the North McDowell Access Area, I could clearly see where I need to be (on Pemberton), but I just need to figure out the route to get there.

I bugged one more hiker in the lower lot, and he said that I am on the jeep road I need to be, and if I keep heading east down the road I find cow gate and a trail head. About 1.25 miles and slight change in directly I found the connector, and it was very intuitive.

The connector trail is Rock Knob trail and from the gate to Pemberton was less than 3/4 of a mile. It spat me out at the fun section of Pemberton. From here, I headed due south for less than 2.75 miles to Coachwhip Trail.

Once I was on Coachwhip I had to make a decision on what route to take back over the McDowell Mtn ridge to the Scottsdale side??? I still had some legs left and when I transitioned from Pemberton to Coachwhip, so I decided to do the totally unnecessary and painful hike-a-bike back up the East End Trail back up to Tom's Thumb. It was about 10:30 (about 3.5 hours into my little epic ride).

It took me another half hour to get to East End Trail after I pedaled Coachwhip to Windmill Trail.

The climb up East End Trail was miserable. It took me a solid hour of push my 37 lbs bike the 1.3 miles back up the steep-steep hill. The 7" fork put my handlebars at eye level, so I struggle to leverage the monster of bike up the hill.

East End Trail got hammered pretty hard by the rains, and it come away looking very good. A number of deep trenches down the middle of the trail would make riding down it not very fun. The steep and sharp swithbacks are ordinarily fun, but I don't think it would be all that entertaining with the new trenches.

Once on top I rested for while in the shade of the two leaning boulders. At 12:00 I hoped back on my bike and ripped down the Tom Thumb trail, and that was a hoot.

I got back to my car at 12:45, and was thoroughly fatigued.

I didn't GPS the route, but I'd estimate it at 22.5 miles and about 4,000 vf of climbing.

Here is a Google Earth interactive map tour I put together of my route:

Here is my blatant rip off of Maadjurguer Tom Thumb photo composition.

Sitting on the Pemberton Trail looking west at the Mcdowell Mtns.

Here are a couple trail marker signs:

And here is a big phat diamondback rattlesnake that gave me a few ticks with her tail as I rolled by.

Oct 11, 2010

Canyon Lake Paddle

My annual Columbus Day paddle was cut a little short due to an appointment I had to get back into town for.

I also had kind of an early start as I pulled out of my driveway at 5:00 am and was at the Palo Verde boat ramp at 6:00. 15 minutes later and after I parked my car up in the upper lot (trailerless cars have recently been ticketed in the Palo Verde lot for parking in the trailer area) I was paddling on a serene lake.

I took my time shooting video and dinking around with new camera mounts, so my mileage wasn't all that high. I did manage to get up to Crucifix Canyon before the turnaround clock gave me signal it was time to head back. This little inlet has got to be one of my all time favorite spots I've ever been to.

With a slight wind at my back I paddled from Crucifix Canyon back to the car in 45 minutes, and I was off the water by 11:15.

Here is a little video I shot (drat! I just noticed I have 2011 as the yeaar):

Desert Classic Gnarcissism

I spent some time putting a little video of my riding around South Mountain. Please excuse the vanity shots, as I tried to make it as interesting as possible.

Oct 2, 2010

Gopro HD 360 View

Here is a little vid of a little 360 view I did with the Gopro HD cam:

And here is a little panoramic sunset time lapse. The clouds are chased out of the desert.