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Soggy Granite August 31, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, trails.
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I took a drive in my Jeep Cherokee today (my mountain bike is still in the shop) for some motorized adventure recreation.  We have had an above average monsoon this year, and I found that even the forest roads that are mainly DG (decomposed granite) were soggy and mushy.

Making ruts in forest roads is one of my pet peaves, so I opted to go to a place that was mostly DG.  Well, I found that what appeared on the surface to be mainly dry was in fact mushy.  So instead of spending a whole day out jeepin’ it, I called it quits after just a couple of hours for the sake of the roads.

The forests are filled with grasses, which should help the deer population around Prescott too.  This also means that many of the biking and hiking trails, especially the less traveled ones, are becoming overgrown.

Take note, I am not complaining, we need the moisture!

The monsoon should end in the next week or so, then maybe I can get a full day out in the mountains in the Cherokee.

Mud and Catclaw August 28, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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Because my mountain bike is still at the bike hospital, I had to fore go my usual Wednesday evening ride.

Instead, Kent joined me on a day hike.  We started up a drainage that before long became a canyon.  The sides of the canyon got steeper and steeper.  One side appeared to be a layered volcanic rock, and the other side looked sedimentary….very odd.  The trees grew thicker as the canyon narrowed into a serpentine chasm.  We rounded a hairpin bend and there in front of us was a waterfall….sans water.  It was a place where the water course fell about 15 feet in about 10 linear feet.  It must be really beautiful when water is tumbling over the surface.

We exited the canyon as it began to open back up into a valley again.  We then struck out toward a cone shaped mountain about a mile distant.  Because we were headed up the south-facing slope, it was filled with catclaw (or wait-a-minute bushes).  Good thing we were both wearing full length pants instead of shorts!  Catclaw is to human skin like a Bass-o-matic is to fish!

At the top of the mountain, we got to witness an amazing sunset.  Of course I didn’t have my camera with me!  The sky was mostly cloud covered except right at the western horizon.  The sky there was brilliant orange, and the sun rays shone up and across the bottom of the clouds just like we always drew them as children.  I expected to hear a Holy choir singing.

We headed down and across a valley in the direction of our vehicle.  The ground on the flats was muddy.  When we got back to the edge of the drainage, we were on the top of a rock face looking down into the canyon.  We climbed down the rock, and there in front of us were some petroglyphs!  I am always fascinated by the writings and drawings of the ancients of Arizona.

We continued into the canyon, and got back to the car right at last light.  It was only about a three and a half mile hike, but it was through some very pretty country!

Broken Bike Blues August 23, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking.
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Bummer!  I went out to load my trusty Specialized FSR XC Pro and head out for a ride and felt an odd “looseness” when I grabbed the back of the seat.  I thought to myself, “Oh no, not my new BG2 Sport Saddle!”

Nope, not the seat.  The bottom bolt for my rear shock seemed to be loose.  I grabbed a hex wrench and tried to tighten it…..it just kept spinning around and around!

So I did load my bike up, but it wasn’t for a ride, it was to take it to the LBS so they could get me out on the trails again.  The shock bolt was actually sheared, so I left it with them thinking I would pick it up later.

Later is right!  When I went back to the shop, they had some bad news for me.  Not only are they having a hard time getting the broken bolt out, but it seems I also had trashed the bearings in the top pivot to the rear end (I don’t know the technical term for it in a Horst Link Suspension).

They said they had to order a new rear end re-build kit, and they would have my bike for about 2 weeks.

2 WEEKS!

What am I gonna do!?  I guess I will do a lot of day hikes in the next 14 days.  Well, I guess I can take some solace in knowing that there is hardly any better place to do that then right here in Prescott.

I miss my bike already!

Afternoon In Arizona August 22, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, trails.
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Tracie and I put the dog in the pick-up and headed out to do a short hike on a trail we had never been on before.  We waited until the temperature dipped below 90° and then took the 20 minute drive to the trail.

The trail had not been used in a long while it appeared, because in the flats near the beginning, there were wild sunflowers growing eight feet tall right in the middle of the trail.  As we began to climb into the trees, the trail got very rocky and looked like the only thing that had been on it recently was runoff from the recent heavy rains.

When we got up near the top end, we had a stunning view of Granite Mountain and the surrounding area.  The trail got better as we went, I think partly because hikers usually come in to see the view from the end we were going out.  In other words, it is the more travelled half of the loop.

We made it back down to the flats, then hiked along the dirt road towards the truck.  Here’s something gross, there were literately hundreds of huge grasshoppers squished in the roadway…..and to make matters worse, other grasshoppers were cannibalizing them!

We took this hike at a very leisurely pace, and finished the 3 mile loop in a little over an hour and a half.

It is really nice that the days are long enough to get out in the hills at the end of the day for a short day hike.

Walk with the Dog August 19, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking.
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Tracie and I took our dog out on a day hike yesterday afternoon.  Because we were checking points for the upcoming Gilmore Adventure Race, I can’t divulge the location of our hike yet.

It was still pretty warm at 84° with a bright blue sky littered with big fluffy clouds that caused the humidity to be fairly high as well.  The temp and humidity made the sweat factor pretty high.

Oddly enough, we didn’t see anyone on the trails.  We did see a large tarantula though!

We didn’t go all that far, including the out-and-back that I did to one of the points while Tracie relaxed under a tree with the book she is currently reading, the total was only about 3.5 miles.

What a great way to spend an afternoon with the one you love!

Making Sure the Course Works August 14, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Yesterday evening Kent and I decided to ride part of the mountain biking leg on the long course for the upcoming Gilmore Adventure Race.  Despite all the recent rains and the surplus of vegetation that has popped up because of it, for the most part the course was in very ridable shape.

In fact, I worry that maybe some of the hard core adventure racers will think that maybe it is too easy.  We keep the location and course info secret until just days before the event, so am I giving away too much information with this story?   Or maybe I am providing a little misdirection?…..hmmm

Now is the time in the preparation for the race that I have to start looking for volunteers, so if you are within driving distance of Prescott, and you want to lend a hand, just let me know!

This will be the biggest race yet in the 7 year history of the GAR.  We are expecting approx. 75 teams to compete.  It looks like it will be almost half and half when it comes to long or short course, but I can tell you this, both length courses will offer up some challenging terrain and navigation.

Speaking of Broken………. August 10, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Just Stuff, Mountain Biking.
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I just read a post on my riding buddy Steve’s blog.  Steve is not riding for the next few weeks, as he is trying to heal up a broken ankle.  It seems that not only is he a mountain bike rider and man of God, but he is a prolific blogger as well.

I have been thinking a lot about President Bush attending and really being present at the Olympic Games.  It’s is really cool.  I liked what Dianna Taurasi of the women’s Olympic basketball team had to say about him, paraphrasing here, “I don’t care what people say about him, he is a good American and is a down to earth guy.”

In Steve’s blog, he says he thinks that it is cool that President Bush is a mountain biker…..I am with ya there Steve!

Was it a political statement or just an accident that during Michael Phelp’s gold medal ceremony the USA National Anthem was cut off right before the words, “the home of the free?”  It is China you know!

Broken Spoken..I Ain’t Jokin’ August 10, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Saturday evening, Michael and I met Nate out at Granite Basin for a mountain bike ride.

Paradise in our own backyard

Paradise in our own backyard

We parked at the dirt road just below the cattle guard.  I like to ride from here, because you don’t have to start out with a long up hill, but instead, you get a nice downhill to warm up you body.  As we flew down the canyon trail my bike started making a weird noise (which I ignored because I was having too much fun on the swoops and rolls of trail 349).  When we got to the little saddle where we usually play the coasting game, Michael pointed out that I had a broken spoke on my rear wheel.  That explains the sound, my wheel was now WAY out of true.

We were now a long way from the vehicle, so I decided to just continue the ride and try not to taco my wheel.

Me riding on 349

Me riding on 349

At the bottom Michael and Nate went across “the middle” and I went around on the pavement to avoid riding the really rocky section with my bad wheel.  I took photos of them as they came down the other side.

Michael in the middle

Michael in the middle

Nate hates riding....can you tell?

Nate hates riding....can you tell?

We rode back up the 351 then started back down the LZ trail.  I decided I had pushed my luck on my screwed up wheel long enough, so I turned off at the campground trail while Nate and Michael continued another loop.  I waited for them at the pavement, then we rode up part of the 349 and back up to the cars.

Back at the vehicles

Back at the vehicles

Even though my bike is broken and will have to go see the LBS on Monday, it was another great day in mtb paradise…….to quote my buddy Ken, “We could have been at the mall instead!”

Finally! Back on the Bike! August 6, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking.
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Even as it sprinkled rain on me as I loaded my bike in the truck, I was giddy with anticipation.

It feels like forever since I have been out on my bike, and finally, finally, I get the chance again!

I met Ray, Rob, Michael, and Toby at Granite Basin Lake this evening.  It has rained the past few days, so we decided to stay on the DG.  On the way up trail 349, my legs felt both weak, and tight.  They were letting me know that I had neglected them.  After the initial 2 mile climb, my quads started to lighten up and have some fun. We went up, around, down, over and through….we rode all over the place in the short amount of time we had, but what a blast!

Most people only get to do see this kind of beauty and have this much fun on vacation!

stats:

  • distance: 10.95 miles
  • total riding time: 1hr 18min
  • avg. speed 8.4 mph

I Miss Getting Out August 1, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation.
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My time on the bike was very limited in the month of July.  One of my beloved Aunts slipped away into the netherworlds after almost 84 years hear with us.  I am not sad, but happy for her.  She asked me every time I spoke to her in the last few months to pray that she could go join her loving husband in heaven.

She had no children.  My father was her baby brother.  Ergo, I am the kin that she has asked to be the Executor of her will and Trustee of her trust.  This monumental task is what has eaten up the month of July.

I miss getting out.  I miss the peacefulness of the forest.

While tag surfing tonight, I came upon this blog.  Nicely written, in fact, I wish I had written it, because it describes almost to the tee, exactly my position on why I ride.

Maybe Sunday afternoon………………