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Mapping The Pines November 29, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Steve and I were joined by Keith today as we headed into The Pines for some mountain biking.

I had my GPSr on and set in track mode so that I could add to my growing library of trails that I am mapping in The Pines.

On our way up from The Fireplace, Steve spotted a herd of mule deer.  We watched them cross the hill next to the trail, and I was amazed because there were over 20 deer together in one herd.  I haven’t seen a herd of deer like that around Prescott in a very, very long time.  We rode up and stopped at the top of the hill, and watched them again, as they decided that we were not a big threat and sauntered away toward the creek.  What a lousy day to not have my camera with me!

A little further on, Steve was quite a ways ahead of me, and I was in turn, a ways ahead of Keith.  Steve stopped, and by the time I caught up to him, Keith was nowhere to be seen.  Steve went back down the trail to look for him, but had no luck….he must have headed back to his car.  Bummer.

Later, Hal called and said he was going to ride in and join us.  Steve and I headed up a trail I call The Outback to meet him.  Once we met up with Hal, the three of us rode a bunch of twisting little single tracks all over in the heart of The Pines.  The trail map that I am building is looking quite good lately.

By the time we were done today, we had done 11.5 miles through the tall ponderosa pine trees just outside of our lovely city of Prescott, Arizona…….what a great place to live.

A Fine Blend of Single Track, Sunshine, and Pine Trees November 22, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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This afternoon Nate, Ken, Steve and I rode a bunch of obscure and little traveled single track in The Pines.  We weaved our way among the tall pines on some really cool sections of single track trails both above and below the old railroad grade.

We rode 10.3 miles, and I would guess that at least 4 miles was on trails that either I had never been on before, or that I haven’t been on in over a year.  The pace was easy and the conversation was all over the place.  The sun was shining and it was a glorious late November afternoon.

As Ken is so fond of saying, “We could have gone to the mall instead.”  It is really amazing what people miss out on when they think that a trip to the mall is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Unexpected Dinner Guests November 20, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Steve, Ray and I met at 4:00 to ride The Pines yesterday.  When we got there, we discovered there were also three other people that had the same plan as we did, so we decided to ride together.

We rode up to the fireplace, then across the Dinner Hill Trail (I managed to clean it again somehow) and across and down the Tunnel Trail to what some people call the Garden of Eden and then down the Roller Coaster Trail.

Erica was the only woman on the ride, and let me tell you, she is a good mountain bike rider.  She was riding a steel framed hardtail, and was right there with all of us through all the technical rocks, steep climbs, and blazing downhills.  She is a freelance writer with a site called ericawriter.com that you should look at.  Also check out her blog.

It is always nice to meet other Prescott mountain bikers, as we seldom see any while out on the trails.

Steve and I had already ridden 4 miles and done about an hour of trail maintanance on 332, so added to the 5.9 miles that we did with the group, that gave us almost 10 miles today and an hour of manual labor to boot!

Another Broken Spoke November 19, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Holy Cow! This is my 3rd broken spoke on my rear wheel in the last 3 months!

I have to ride today, so I will go easy.  Tomorrow, I will take my bike to the LBS for a new spoke.  While I am there I guess I will price a new derailleur too.  Now is not a good time to spend a lot of money, with the holidays approaching, but at least I will check it out.  I have an XT 9 speed derailleur, maybe I should look online too.

Speaking of my LBS, the just painted their building a very obnoxious lime green…..YUCK!

Single Track Solitude November 17, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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The other day Steve forgot his helmet at the end of a ride, so I had to return it.  That meant meeting for another ride!

Today it was just me and Steve, riding along some of the less traveled trails in The Pines.  We saw where the Forest Service had been in with a giant claw and obliterated several old jeep trails and forest roads.  Seems a shame, but I guess they don’t want motorized vehicles in there for many different reasons.

The sun was low and the forest was a beautiful and peaceful place to play.

Steve works his way through some big boulders.

Steve works his way through some big boulders.

We rode one very lonely section of trail, and it was really cool.  This is the trail that some are calling Green Bottle Trail, and others call it Crystal Ball.

It's me, shooting the gap

It's me, shooting the gap

I took my GPSr again, and somehow it quit recording a track again….either the signal was too low, or it somehow shut itself off.  Oh well, maybe the 3rd time will be the charm.

Me descending some single track.

Me descending some single track.

I know I say this a lot, but it is hard to imagine a better way to spend an hour or two than to be out in the woods on my mountain bike enjoying the company of my fellow bikers.

Working on the Chain Gang November 16, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Steve and I and a newcomer named John rode yesterday afternoon in The Pines.  I took my GPSr and tried to track our ride, but was not very successful, because I had the unit haning on my chest strap for the first half of the ride.  I guess my body kept it from picking up signals, because the first half of the ride only showed small pieces of the trail.  After I realized what the problem was and asked Steve to put it in my backpack, the rest of the ride tracked perfectly.   I guess I will be forced to go ride again……darn!

Part of the trail near Fireplace Springs

Part of the trail near Fireplace Springs

John is younger, stronger and obviously a little less sane than Steve and me, because he rode a fully rigid old school Surly bike.  At least it wasn’t a single speed.  He is a strong rider that we were obviously holding back. He climbed Dinner Hill without any problem, I spun out on pine needles, so Steve and I walked up the rest of the way.

At the beginning of the ride, John went over his handlebars, when he stood up to put the mustard to it his chain broke, and all that power sent him up and over.  We stopped and he repaired his chain, and then we rode the rest of  the way without incedent.

John fixes his chain while I stand there like a bump on a log

John fixes his chain while I stand there like a bump on a log

It always feels good to be able to end a day with an exhilirating ride through the trees.

Grinding it out at Granite Basin November 12, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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This afternoon Ken, Michael, Rob, Steve and I went for a short ride that took plenty of effort.  We rode in Granite Basin and made loop of some of the trails as we started and ended at the dam.

There is not a lot to say about it other than we pounded the ups and completely bombed the downs!  I have never ridden 10-jumps as fast as I did today.  Rob was out front, with Steve and I right on his wheel….if either of them had eaten it, I would have had to ride right over them. Rob was giving me a hard time because I was breathing harder after the downhill than I had been at the top of the climbs.  Bombing is work I tell ya!

It was a great way to end the day, and to top it all off, on the way back into town I had another fantastic Prescott, Arizona sunset to look at in my rearview mirror.

Weekend near Williams November 12, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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This last weekend, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days at a cabin near Williams, AZ with some buddies.  We rode mountain bikes by day and played poker by night…..rough gig.

On Friday afternoon, Pat and I went for a ride that took us out and back in sort of a giant figure eight pattern on some forest roads in the area.  We saw lots of Kaibab Squirrels and enjoyed our 14 mile ride immensley.

On Saturday, some of the guys went fishing, others played golf, and Kent, Scott and I took another mountain bike ride.  The sunlight through the tall ponderosa pine trees was like a picture postcard.  We rode easy and enjoyed looking around at all the scenery.  This ride was 12.5 miles.

On Sunday, when everyone was getting the cabin put back into ship-shape, Pat agreed to pick Kent and I up at Perkinsville on the Verde River.  It was much colder and very windy, so we dressed accordingly (sort of) and headed out on our bikes.  The ride on forest roads across to Coconio 73 was supposed to be the hardest part, as it went up and down and up and down for about 12 miles.  Coconino 73, with the 19 mile downhill on a nearly always deserted and paved road was supposed to be the easy part, and the last 9 miles was back on dirt with the ups and downs again.

Well, we made short work of the first leg, getting to the paved road in just an hour of riding.  When we turned south onto the paved “easy” leg, we were riding square into a 20 mph cold headwind.  What was supposed to be a 15 mile coasting session ended up being something far different.  We actually had to work hard, pedaling non stop just to maintain speed.  When we tried to coast, we slowed down going down about a 3% grade…..crazy.

We turned off the pavement and back onto dirt roads and finally after exactly 3 hours of riding, found ourselves at the Verde River, 40.5 miles of riding now behind us.  Pat came and picked us up and dropped us back at my house in Prescott.

What a great weekend.  Playing poker with the guys, steaks on the campfire, and 66 miles of mountain biking.

Dinner Anyone? November 5, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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This afternoon Steve, Ken, Hal, Micheal and I went for a ride in “The Pines.”

Steve led the ride because he wanted to show us a section of single track that the rest of us hadn’t been on before.  The temperature was cool, bordering on cold when we met at Iron Springs and Granite Basin Rd.

pre-ride
Hal, Ken, Me, Michael and Steve

We started out on the very rocky single track that heads up towards Fireplace Springs.  The creek crossings were dry and filled with very soft sand that for some reason I was having a particularly tough time with.  Ken thought it was because I had a big lunch that was weighing me down, of course he probably weighs about a buck thirty soaking wet….. We made it to the fireplace, then headed up and over the hill and back into The Pines.

Michael arrives at Fireplace Springs.
Michael arrives at Fireplace Springs.
Hal starts the climb out of Fireplace Springs
Hal starts the climb out of Fireplace Springs
Michael follows me up the trail
Michael follows me up the trail

We hit the single track that Steve was talking about, and he said that there was a steep section on it that if any of us could climb it, that Hal would have to buy us dinner……well, he was talking about food, so for me the challenge was on!

The guys ahead on the trail
The guys ahead on the trail

Steve was stopped near the top of the hill cheering Ken on when I got to it.  I shifted into granny and slid up on my seat and started cranking.  About halfway up it got really steep and the pine needles made it so my rear tire was just barely hanging on.  As I passed Steve I asked him if this was “dinner hill” to which he replied in the afirmative.  I somehow eeked it out and when I stopped found out the both Ken and Hal had cleaned it as well.  This is how trails get named…..from now on, this will be Dinner Hill Trail.

Ken, Michael, Steve and Hal at the top of "dinner hill"
Ken, Michael, Steve and Hal at the top of

We followed the trail for a few more minutes and then it dropped us out on the old railroad grade that the Forest Service has included in the Circle Prescott Trail and called Trail 332.  We followed the grade up to the trail that Hal calls Roller Coaster Trail for obvious reasons, it has great swooping downs and then fairly easy ups as the trail as a whole descends through The Pines.  About halfway down, Steve was out front followed closely by Ken then me when we came to section where there is a curve and a chord across that curve that has some pretty trick rocks in it.  Steve rode the curve and Ken and I took the chord.  Ken busted out right in front of Steve and I moved in behind Steve.  Ken was set up to take the left at the next fork when Steve hollered out to go right……what happened next would best be described by Steve because he was right behind Ken.  I saw some of it, but was screened out by bushes.  Evidently Ken did some acrobatic manouver up on only his front wheel or something……STEVE, please comment on this post with the full graphic description of Ken’s performance.

Now Steve was in the front again, then Ken, me, Hal and Michael.  Here is where it got crazy……the light was failing so the trail had no contrast to it, yet we were BOMBING down it like madmen.  Steve kept ringing his bell to alert anyone that might have been on the trail ahead (luckily for all of us there was no one).  I can tell you that 20mph on a mountain bike on winding single track in low light conditions feels like about 50mph!

When we stopped at the bottom, everyone was laughing and saying “that was awesome!.”  Yes, yes it was.

After the ride Steve, Michael, Hal, Ken and me.
After the ride Steve, Michael, Hal, Ken and me.

Good Granite and Poor Pivots November 2, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Sunday afternoon Paul and I rode in Granite Basin.  It was a perfect day for mountain biking, temperatures were in the 60’s, the sky was partly cloudy, and there was a light breeze.

We made 3 loops using almost all the trails that are actually in the basin.  On the trails we saw a few other mountain bikers, on girl on horseback, and a few hikers.

My rear derailleur is having a problem.  When I am really putting it to the pedals on an uphill, the chain jumps back and forth between second and third gear.  The LBS says it is because the pivots are worn out and there is too much play in them.  This really sucks, because that means that I will have to buy a new one.

stats:

  • total distance: 9.65 miles
  • total riding time:1hr 11min.
  • avg. speed: 8.0mph