Mar 30, 2009

Mountain Bike Film Festival in Marin Video Submission

Mountain bike superstar and advocate, Michael Yares, was looking for some short videos of some of the trails here in Arizona for the Mountain Bike Film Festival in Marin. So I thought I'd gather a few of my favorites.

I humbly admit, I know next to nothing about video compilation stuff, but I can certainly see my progression since last year.

I embeded the Quicktime High Res and will take a couple of minutes to play - links to these vids in quick playing flash format are below.

Here are my top 5 :

Goat Camp - White Tank Mountains - Phoenix, AZ:

Fat Man's Pass - South Mountain Park - Phoenix, AZ:

Double Bypass - McDowell Mountain Preserve - Scottsdale/Fountain Hills, AZ

Black Canyon Trail - Black Canyon City, AZ

Geronimo - South Mountain Park - Phoenix, AZ

For Quick Playing Flash Format:
Goat Camp

Fat Man's Pass

Double Bypass

Black Canyon Trail

Geronimo - South Mountain

Mar 29, 2009

Goat Camp (White Tanks Park) - Phoenix, AZ

Whelpers, I had done the out and back cross country ride on Goat Camp, but today was the first time riding the gnar on the downhill. This trail is no joke.

We (Carmen, Lynette, Scott N., Elissa N., Brett N., Scott A., DurtGurl, Chongoman, Aaron, Jen, Dale, and myself) met up at the bottom up the trailhead at 9:00, and youd couldn't have ordered a more perfect day. We pedaled the road up to Mesquite Canyon trail and took that trail up. I was pretty familiar with this portion of the trail, but I was blown away by the new stuff on the upper portion of Mesquite. It was buff single track that crept its way throw some really neato boulder fields. I'm not sure how what the mileage of this approach was, but I imagine it was something like 8 miles. And it took us about 2.5 hours before we reached the top.

Now I've been hearing horror stories of the downhill section for a few years, now and my game plan was to play it cautions. About a hundred yards from the top, I encountered some serious gnar, and it had me questioning what I had gotten myself into. Big drops, tight turns, and loose rocks had me a little on edge. Chongoman made it look easy, and Scotty A. was road it aggressively, but ended up with frustrating combination of dab and other-the-handle-bar experience. This is when I understood that caution in this section is to be taken seriously.

After a quick stop to repair a flat on Dale's bike, we caught up to everybody doing some sessioning on the 'spiral staircase'. I did catch Brett and DurtGurls triumphs on the vid. And I made a blind attempt on it, and cleaned it until the last nasty step at the botton.

Oddly enough we saw a blacktail rattler at the 'Rattlesnake' rock garden. Some excellent riding was thrown down here, as Chongoman, Carmen, Lynette, Scotty A., and Brett made it look easy.

Then it was onto the 'Jackhammer'. I chose life on this one, and walked this nastiness. Once again some impressive riding was displayed.

I gotta say I actually hopped off my bike in quite a few section, but I can soundly say that this trail is hard, but doable.

Here's a vid of the day:

Mar 21, 2009

Arizona Spring Fling - Sedona, AZ

This morning, Chongoman and I hit the road at 6:30 for Sedona for a MTBR Spring Fling ride. Bob lead Wendy, Jim, Dan, Rick, Greg and I on nifty loop around the Sedona hot spots.

Our general route was Baldwin, Templeton, H.T. Trail, Mystic, Broken Arrow, and LLama. It was an awesome day on the trail as temperatures were mild, and the sun was out.

I had a couple of small mishaps that kinda disrupted my flow. 1) I dropped my camera, and a thick coating of dust clogged up the lens cover. 2)I had nifty over-the-handlebar fall, actually it was more of a bale. 3) My buckle on my shoe lost a crucial bolt, but I found it so all is good.

I took the free riding pretty easy, but Chongoman and Dan really stepped it up.

A high-res Quicktime Version can be found here: AZSF Sedona 3/21/09

Mar 15, 2009

Bulldog Canyon - Mesa, AZ

Today was the shakedown ride for Chollaball's new bike, the Kona Hei Hei 29r. We all (Chollaball, Chongoman, NoelG, Juan, Durtgurl, and Gary from Ohio) met up at the Bulldog Canyon trailhead off of Bush Highway about 9:00. Before we hit the trail we had a few little glitches to deal, like a missing front wheel, broken spoke, and I broke my temporary crown when I was chewing on a old Cliff Block. Other than a flat five minutes into the ride, there were no other mechanicals.

The trail is actually a jeep road that makes up part of the Great Western Trail, and it goes south from the Salt River off of the Bush Highway to a radio tower overlooking Apache Junction. Although it wasn't single track, it was way fun and way challenging. It has a little of everything, challenging climbs, sections with high speed descents, rocky sections, all surrounded by beautiful views. I gotta say the climbs were a challenge, because while putting a strong focus on the rocks immediately in front of my tire I was left with little time to glance up trail. When I did look up, I was treated with another hundred yards of rock garden to pick my way through; leaving me in the straits of anaerobic breathing. The descents were similar, except the trail came at me really fast, and I had better pick the right line down the rock garden. While rolling down the baby heads and volley ball sized rocks, turning is not allowed. I don't make the rules here, its just a limitation of the bike. The pollen in the air didn't help my contacts either, as I struggled to blink at the only the most opportune time.

I had my eyes peeled for a gila monster, but we saw none. I did catch a rattlesnake slinking towards me during a vid shot.

Thanks Chollaball, for the tour of Bulldog Canyon.

Here's a vid of the day:

A high res Quicktime version can be found here: Bulldog Canyon

Mar 8, 2009

Skiing Lockett Meadow - Flagstaff, AZ

My buddy, Jrock, came down from the bay area for some backcountry skiing in Lockett Meadow - Inner Basin. We met up in Flagstaff, and drove up the Forest Service road to gate about 3 miles short of Lockett Meadow campground. We split from the car at about 9:00 and walked up the road, and I was happy to see a consistent strip of snow on the road for the last mile on the approach to Lockett Meadow. From here, Jrock put his skins on his splitboard and I continued up in my shoes to the Inner Basin trailhead. Around 9,500 vf, I started punching through the snow as it began to thaw, so I strapped my skis on and kicked up the path. This is a really long approach, and usually isn't recommended by the locals, but it was way easier than I thought it was gonna be. It was a pretty gentle climb up with really no steeps to ascend. We pretty much took our time and at around 2:30 we topped out at about 11,000' vf just below the Headwall of Agassiz. We bagged no peaks or ridges today, and the skiing wasn't super duper treacherous, but it was actually pretty fun stuff. Our decent started with 500 vf dropped down a luge type gully with super fun swoopy curves. We cruised through the pines at mach speeds, and back to the snow covered prairie the we came up. We then blasted threw the aspen and before we knew it, we were back to Lockett Meadow. I continued with my skis on down the road until the snow ran out. Then I was left with two mile walk back down the road back to the car. Jrock and I finished this little trip at about 4:30 very satisfied, but I couldn't wait to take my boots off.

BTW, my boots, skis and skins are weighing at 22-23 lbs total. Dry!

Here's a vid of the day:

And here's a Google Earth Tour of Lockett Meadow:

A high res Quicktime version can be found here: Lockett Meadow