Jan 8, 2011
I did a major beatdown ride and the goal was to stick to the perimeter of South Mountain. I had a major problem in that I just didn't see a logical route from the central norther edge of the park to the northeastern corner of the park, where I started.
Here's the criteria I approached the ride:
6. Learn some new trails.
5. Big miles.
4. Get some good climbing in.
3. Avoid the gnar, cuz I was on my XC bike.
2. Stick to trails on the perimeter of the park.
1. Make it fun.
I met up with a dood from MTBR at 9:00, and he wanted to get some Desert Classic miles in and so starting at Pima Canyon was the natural spot to start my adventure-epic.
The dood I was with decided to turn around at the watertank on Desert Classic, so I pedaled on, and on I did.
I actually took 'secret trail' and tied back into Desert Classic. From there I did the hike-a-bike up Telegraph Pass and then more hike-a-bike up National. Actually, I pedaled up more of this section of National than I have ever before. Suhweet. Then I ripped down 620. I had only been down this trail once before on my big bike, I and wasn't all that impressed, but I kinda dug it this time. My goal of cleaning all the swithchbacks on 620 came to an end on the last tricky one; the one with a quick left turn followed immediately by a sharp right turn with a step. Drat. Anycow, I had an audience, but I still should have been a 'get'.
Now it was time to pick my way over to Bees Knees trail for another kinda hard climb. It was only about 600 vf, but it still sorta hurts. This trail gets a bad wrap as being a waste of effort and trail, but I really had a good time ripping down this trail. I've done both directions, and can easily say heading west on Bee Knees is the way to go. Dare I say the flow on Bees Knees trail is some of the best South Mountain has to offer. Twisty and swooping is the way I like it.
At the bottom, I skipped the Gila trail connector to National and opted for the short jeep road (with a hump over a small hill), easy but nothing to remarkable. I jumped on National but stopped at San Juan Rd. for a peanut butter jelly sammich, then it was on to the end of National.
At the end of San Juan Rd. I jumped on a trail that wasn't named, but directed towards 35th Ave. I had been on it before and this was my route back along the northern edge of the park boundary. My only concern about this trail was that the only I had been on it, we exited on 35th Ave, but I wanted to continue. This was a none issue, because as the trail Y'd, I took the high road and that turned into a jeep road. I had a low pass to get over, and this spit me out into a residential neighborhood on 28th Ave. I pedaled about a half mile of streets and ended up on Elliot. At the end of Elliot (near 25th Ave) I bypassed a couple barriers and ended up on single track again. This half mile single track took me to 19th Ave (South Mountain Access Area).
There I jumped on the first trail I saw that would head east over the ridge, and that happened to be Ma-Ha-Tauk trail, this was a little bit more of a climb than I wanted. It was terrible, and once I got up on top I the other lower option that would've spit me out at 'The Big Ramada'. I zoomed down the ridge back into familiar territory, as the Central Ave (inside the park) was visible.
I took a left on Max Delta for a quick jog to the road. Once I got to the road I headed up the the 'Little Ramada' where the Kiwanis trailhead was located. The thought had crossed my mind that could've done the hike-a-bike up Holbert, but I figured that at this point I was gonna be in survival mode, and knowing the road wasn't far away was comforting.
I know I'm capable of riding more of Kiwanis than I did, but I was starting to fatigue, and taking a stupid hard fall at the point was unnecessary.
I got up to the road, and now it was time for an easy spin on up to Beuna Vista, and at that point I knew I had enough in the take to take the longer wide way down, by going down National to Mormon Loop to Javelina to East Loop. Thus expanding the radius of my route.
National rawked as it always does, and everything else went as planned. I thought I was outta water when I was coming up the road, but somehow I managed a few more precious ounce on Javelina. And on total I had one apple, one PBJ sammich, and one liter of gatorade, and 100 ounces of water. Not bad for 8 hours out on the trail.
I climbed off of East Loop right at 5:00, and felt pretty dang good.
Sure doing this 33 miles with about 5,300 vf of climbing could've been done faster, but I wasn't sure how this loop was gonna work out, so I moved slowely in order keep something in the tank. The hike-a-bike also really speed the clock up too.
I didn't shoot any video, and I only took two pics, but here is a Google Earth Tour of my approximate route:
Here's an interactive Google Earth Tour of my route: