May 31, 2008

Alta: South Mountain - Phoenix Mountain Biking

A group of MTBR riders meet up at 7:00 for a little ride up and down and up and down Alta this morning. As I've written before (here and here) this is a pretty sketchy trail . We started our ride at the San Juan - Telegraph Pass Rd Gate, which was fine, but I was oblivious to the fact that the gate was open. Meaning we could've started the ride at the end of San Juan Rd. This is nice, cuz you finish the ride with a downhill.

We've put off the heat so far this year, but I think all this coolness came to an end today. It is time to acclimated to riding in the heat.

The ride up was super fast, and it was nice to be on top. Except there was no breeze, and no shade.

The ride across the ridge over to the other pass pretty uber fun.

The ride off the second pass got turned a little sour about 2 minutes into the ride down, as NoelG took nasty fall on a switchback. His hand was really messed up. He kept calm, knowing his hand might be broken. And here's a look at his xrays. We still had a lot of riding down, so this wasn't a good place to have a hand out of commission. I didn't get to see him off, cuz I had my first flat tire in about year to tend to. Some how, I tore a whole at the base of the valve stem.

This wasn't the only flat, as DurtGurl, who was running tubeless went totally flat too. Forcing her to drop a tube in. The only problem was that her replacement tube freakin' a nasty whole in it. And I had used my spare. Her patch didn't take, so Dgangi road back up the trail and hooked her up with a spare.

From here, we made our was back down to the end of San Juan road. We then road National back to the other side of the hill. From here half the group jumped on the Bajada Trail, and the others (myself included) took the road back to the car.

Heal up Noel!

With all the carnage and flat tires, I missed some really choose vid shots, but here is vid of the day:

And for the patient, here's a high res - Alta Trail Ride Quicktime Version (it'll take about 4 or 5 minutes to load up)

May 25, 2008

Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Superior, Arizona

My wife, two doggies and I split from the house at about 10:00 for the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, located about 3 miles before the town of Superior, AZ. The drive from our house, in Phoenix, took about an hour. This was a later start than you can usually get away with in Arizona this close to the end of May, but today was an exception. The skies were clear, but the temp was a somewhere in the low 80s.

I've been wanting to check this place out after my prior few trips up to Globe, AZ for some mountain biking. That, and I knew my wife would really dig the place.

I was really surprised on how big maintained grounds are. Not big time mileage, but I'd say the loop we walked around, including the High Trail, was around 1.5 miles. Filled with manicured beds that transitioned to natural landscape. We kinda lucked out, because being it was late in the year, the blossoms were still out.

Anycow, Here are a few special pics my wife took and a vid I put together.

May 24, 2008

Mormon Trail: South Mountain - Phoenix, AZ

I don't think of Phoenix as having extreme weather, but I say this last week was interesting. It was a record setting 110 degrees on Monday (I think Tuesday too), and then a day later the high was around 55 degrees. We had a pretty good dump of much needed rain yesterday and this morning was kinda wet, gray and cool. Very comfortable conditions.

Chongoman and I met up met up at the Ramadas at the Pima Canyon Parking lot for a little roll up Mormon Loop and bashfest down Mormon Trail.

We originally plan to hit Mormon Trail (proper), but his for was leaking air. Once we got up to the top of Mormon Loop, I suggested we exit stage right down Mormon Trail. I was thinking he could just walk down the big drop sections. But the kidz got mad skillz, he road darn near the whole thing on hardtail 29r while a malfunctioning fork.

I didn't vid much today, and Chongoman snapped a few pics. And he just happened to be snapping a pic when I was going over the handle bars. Drat!

Here's the pic of me eating it!

Anycow here are few pics of Chongoman:

Here are a couple pics of me rolling a techy section:

May 16, 2008

Six Shooter / Ice House Canyons - Pinal Mountain

It’s been a pretty busy spring, so I took sanity check day off, and met up with a few other MTBR riders for some shuttling on Pinal Mt. I did this ride the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t wait to get back up there.

I met up with DrinkRideEat (Jamie), his buddy Ted, and Honemastert (Tim) at 9:00. We drove to the top of the hill, and when we got to Ferndell, it was kinda chilly. A good chilly. Our first run was down Six Shooter, since I knew the path down and we also new some other MTBR riders had done a little maintenance on it. And boy, did they do some work. The kickers were an absolute hoot. We blasted down the hill, but behind me, Tim had pretty bad fall. A few flesh wounds, but the worst at the time was his brake rotor was bent outta shape. Once we all got back together at the comfy couch rock – creek crossing, I pulled out my pliers so Time could bend his rotor back into shape. That's when we notices his rear triangle on his frame had a broke clear through. The break was about an inch above the weld. Bummer dood! Jamie pulled out his first aid tape and Tim did a few wraps to secure it. Luckily we were about 100 yards away from the trail crossing a road Tim could safely take back down to the cars. He got some pretty good riding in, but it totally sucked he was outta commission. Ted, Jaime and I continued down Check Dam Trail and Toll Road. I had blown a couple of turns, but I pretty much remembered the route out.

I owe Tim big time for this one, cuz he shuttled us back up to the top of the hill for run number two. This time, we decided to head down Icehouse Canyon. I hadn’t heard much beta on the trail conditions, other than I heard it was pretty steep and it hadn’t been cleaned in a while. It was steeper, and the leaves and pine needle did obscure the trail so much on the we actually blew right by a switchback. The rest of the forest portion of the trail was awesome, except for the twigs on the trail. I was a little concerned about this cuz I broke a spoke on the first run down Six Shooter. We weren't entirely sure if we were on the proper route down, because the trail turned into a gnarly jeep road. After looking at the map for a few minutes to make sure we didn’t miss a recent turn, we threw our hands up in the air, and continued down the road. From there we ran into CCC picnic area and found the traversing trail that connected us back into Check Dam and Toll Road.

We got back down to the cars about 4:30, and then we scratched our heads on how to get back up to the stranded cars at the top with out scratching Jamie’s truck or damaging our bikes. Since we didn’t have blankets or any other padding, throwing the front wheel over the upright tailgate wasn’t an option. We ended up pulling every bungee cord, strap and rope Jamie had and secured things the best we could.

It was 6:00 by the time I got my car back down into city of Globe, and exhausted and hungry I headed for Sonic for some sustenance. It was a way longer day than I had planned on, and it was getting late, but running late really was a an awesome reward, because I gotta witness the sun going down while passing thru Devils Canyon and Superior. I’m easily amused, but the lighting at that time was some beautiful, especially while driving this magnificent portion of highway. With light like this, I could sit for hours, just looking at the rock formations.

With 8,000 vf of downhill I certainly feel at peace. Tim posted up some pic's, video and ride stats here and here

And here's a link to the High Res version (note: it will take a few minutes to load up): Six Shooter / Icehouse Canyon Quicktime Version

May 12, 2008

Family Trip to the Grand Canyon

Liz, Ellie and I jumped in the car earlier Saturday morning for a little family get together at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We got there about 1:00, and met up with my dad, Aunt Vickie, Aunt Mickie, Uncle Walter, Cousin Cheryl and her husband, Ryan, and their son Jack Ryan. The weather was awesome, low seventies. Nice change up from the heat in Phoenix.

They camped at Trailer Village in the park, and Walter flamed up a huge stack of burgers. TASTIE!

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, Ellie, Liz check out of our hotel and made our way back into the national park to meet up with the crew again. And from there we jumped in our rigs drove up to The Desert View Watchtower. Dad hadn’t been feeling so hot the past few days, so he decided to opt out from the rest of the camping trip and head back to Phoenix with us.

Here's a link to a High Resolution version: Grand Canyon H264 Quicktime

May 7, 2008

Goat Camp XC: White Tank Mountains - Phoenix, AZ)

Another great day out on the trail. Last Sunday (5/4/08) the posted MTBR ride lead us out to White Tank Mountain Regional Park for a long ride up up Willow Canyon, then (I believe) we spent some time riding up Mesquite Canyon, then we tied into Ford Canyon, and then road up to the top of Goat Camp. Our group was evenly split between the out-and-back riders and the Goat Camp downhillers. I elected for the less death deifying out-and-back. I gotta do the Goat Camp ride, but yesterday was not going to be that day.

We split from Waddell at about 7:45 and being the beginning a May, in the desert, it was already warm. We were on the trail about a minute before the comments of how warm it was already started flying.

The first half mile has pretty substantial hike-a-bike section, that on return qualifies a downright gnarly. After that, it is pretty sanitized trail that gains loads of elevation over about 9 miles.

Some of the highlights of this trail are that it has a 45 minute climb at the beginning, then a little bit of downhill that provides a nice relief, then it has nice flat to gentle climb for another 15 minutes, and then its onto another hour and half of climbing. There is nice grotto at the midway point that has a rare to see in the desert pool of water in it. Chongoman was the first of group the head back to the oasis for a look, and he spotted a really big Great Horned Owl perched on the cliff. It split before the rest of us got the grotto. Su Ling and I were about 10 minutes from the turn around point, when we spotted Black-tailed Rattlesnake stretched across the trail. He was about 2 and half feet long. We didn’t wanna harass the rattler, but we did encourage him to move along.

The five cross country riders gathered up at the turn around point, before enjoying the sweeeet, sweeeet single track return. It was a hoot. Fast and swoopy is what this trail is all about. A few technical spots, but all in all pretty tame (other than the bottom).

The heat didn’t end up being to big of a problem, but the bugs were out in full force.

Here's a vid of the day:

May 2, 2008

Two Javelina at Pima Canyon - South Mountain

I had my alarm set to wake me up at 5:00 am and be on the trail at 5:15, but I forgot turn it on. Starring at my alarm clock at 5:20, I say to myself, "Am I supposed to be on the trail right now???". I scrambled outta bed so I could at least gets some goods in before I work. Upon rolling into the parking lot at 5:30 I saw a rather large animal scurrying behind a boulder, and I had a hunch it was a Javelina. I rolled a little closer, and yep it was. I hadn't seen any Javelina since last summer up on the Corona Loma trail at the other end of the park.

Javelina or Collard Peccary
aren't pigs, but the sure do resemble 'em.

I had my digi-cam with me, so I quickly grabbed it from the back of my car. I flipped it on, only to find I had no available memory left. I used it up on filming the sunrise on my previous post. I quickly deleted everything the drive, and started shooting. At this point I noticed it was a pair of Javelia, but I only had small glimpses of 'em.

Don't expect much, but here's a one minute vid: