Jan 26, 2008

Quadruple Bypass - McDowell Mountain Preserve – Scottsdale & Fountain Hills

I did this ride last year and it was pure pain, but this year the misery never really set in. The gist of this ride was to climb up and over three major passes (Windgate, Bell, and Sunrise with a repeat of Windgate for the fourth pass on the return to complete the loop), through the McDowell Mountain Preserve. This loop was 33.5 miles with about 6,200 vf of climbing. Definitely a negative calorie day. I think we started off with about 17 of us, and 10 completed the Quadruple Bypass. Mechanicals and crashes were minimal.

The weather was perfect the whole day especially considering that the weather report the next day expect big time rains. I rode in a long sleeve jersey and shorts. Not to chilly and not to hot.

We started rolling at 8:45 am from the Bashas Grocery store parking lot Bell and Windgate, and made the long hard climb up to Windgate Pass. I took the climb pretty easy, and making sure not to waste my legs on the first major climb. With the heavy rains at the beginning of December, the trails were pretty rocky, so the momentum was a little tough. From Windgate, we bombed down the backside of what we climbed up and from there the trail loops around and begins a pretty major climb up to Bell Pass. At Bell, I choked down a gu and cliff bar, before heading back down the Scottsdale side of the pass. This hill is so stinking steep, but it was an absolute hoot. From there, we took rode the Paradise trail, which was pretty flat to the Ringtail trail for the ascent up the third pass, Sunrise. We took a little break at Sunrise, where I had another gu and slice of pizza. I’m amazed how the trail composition changes so dramatically. On the ascent, the trail was rocky, but on the descent side, it was granite cinder. The route down was a blast; fast with lotsa whoop-dee-do’s.

At the bottom of Sunrise we refilled out camelbacks and I made a second batch of gu energy drink. From there we meandered through the neighborhood, until we got to the dreaded jeep road to Golden Eagle. This rode kicked my butt last year. It has about 700 vf of climbing, and you are not allowed to zone out, cuz you still need to pick a good line to climb the steep hills on it. About 4 miles of this is enough for me.

From there we jumped on the Dixie Mine trail and then Cow Whip trail, and then the final ascent back up to Windgate for fourth pass, to complete the quadruple bypass.

Being quite fatigued, I took it pretty easy on this descent. It was really loose, but it was a so kewl coming down. We finished the ride at about 4:00, so the total ride was seven to seven and half hours.

This is my second winter in Phoenix, and I am amazed at how everything has greened up this year. The grass is growing in the hills.

Check out Chollaball's site, he's got a great write up and nifty map and stats.

Jan 22, 2008

Snowbowl - Flagstaff, AZ

My original plan heading up was to just skin around the resort and ski the corduroy, but once I got up there I was beckoned to see if I could find another route up to the ridge.

I had a couple of way points set in my gps, and one of ‘em was the Bomber crash site. To get there I went in the general direction of the Humphreys trail. Once I got to the trees I could tell the snow was in pretty crappy shape and I couldn’t find my way thru the glades to the Dutchman slope (I think I was just south of the slope). There were a couple of descending tracks, but nothing heading up. I thought I was on the right path cuz the trees had been tapped. But my bread crumb trail disappeared, so once I got to the 10,500 foot level I ripped off my skins and headed back down. Besides I didn’t really have anything to eat other than a measly Cliff Bar.

From there I dropped off my shovel and stuff off at the car and skinned back up to the top of Agassiz chair. I was kinda hurting once I got up there. My boots were killing me, I was outta gas, and my head was rocking from the altitude. But all in all the groomers were kinda fun, and it was a good fitness day.

The little bit of vid I took was pretty bad.

Jan 19, 2008

Mormon Trail - South Mountain

My neighbor just added a new shock and fork to his bike, so we decided to do a little shake down ride on South Mountain. We entered the park at the Pima Canyon lot around 10:15, and it was so packed we couldn't get a parking spot. At that point we decided to head down to the 46th street entrance. We rode up Javalina, and then tied into Mormon Loop. On the way up we discussed the idea of coming down Mormon Trail instead of National. I've been riding South Mountain a year and half, and I haven't been down it yet. Mind you, Mormon Trail and Mormon Loop are not the same thing.

We continued on up National to the Waterfall, where we dragged our bikes up for a little thrill on the Waterfall. I've been working on coming down the shoot and I've got it pretty much down, and my buddy decided today would be a good time to give it a shot. Once all the Boy Scouts had cleared outta the way we road the bronco down. Standing on top of The Waterfall is really intimidating, but it's a thrill to ride.

We made our way back down National to the Mormon Trail intersection. I knew this trial was gonna be gnarly, but it was an extreme blast. Loads of drops and boulders and tight turns. About half way down, I see my neighbors rear tire unexpectedly leave fly up and over. After hearing his reply that he's okay, I find myself flying in slow motion over my handle bars. With my feet still plugged into my pedals I land hard on a boulder. It was a pretty exposed fall, but all I ended up with was a banged up right palm, and a bashed right shifter. I think both will survive.

I didn't witness, my buddy's second OTB accident, but I fully understand how it happened. It happened because this trail has tons drops and sneaky boulders.

With our arms fully fatigued from bashing down the trail we made our way down to the 24th street parking lot. From there we followed the road and canal back to the 46th street parking lot, where we started our adventure.

I love this trail.

Here's a short vid of the Waterfall