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Sixteen Mountain Bikes, and Seventeen Riders March 8, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Today I went and joined a group ride from Thumb Butte.

The ride was the Epilogue of the A Friend in Kneed benefit that started on Wednesday night of last week.  It was to help local bike shop owner Ed (Southwest Sounds and Cyclery) to pay his knee replacement surgery.

How can there be seventeen riders and only (did I say only? That is a huge group!) sixteen bikes?  Billy and Christie rode their “Yellow School Bus” Cannondale Tandem mountain bike……crazy!

We left Thumb butte park and rode up to where White Rock and Longs Canyon meet.  From there most of the group went up to the top by the entrance from Forest Trails, then took the tight switchbacks down to the Longs Canyon Trail.  Billy, Christie, Lee and I took the Longs Canyon trail from the top.  I got to the intersection just ahead of the group on the other trail, and then while we waited to re-group, some of us did a little trail maintanence.  We moved a big downed pine tree off the trail.

We all continued down Longs Canyon and then went up to Pine Lakes and along the railroad bed behind Pine Lakes to Emanuel Pines Rd.  Here we headed up Bobsled Trail to where it meets the railroad grade again. Just an aside here, there were some climbing animals on this ride.  There are two steep hills on bobsled, and they rode ’em like they were nothing!

Billy and Christie and Lee turned back toward Thumb Butte, as did Shawn, leaving thirteen headed north to the end of the grade. Toby was going to head into Granite Basin, but when no one else was up for it, he decided to go on the route that Greg had chosen for us.  We headed west on what Greg called the Training Loop, and just like its’ name, it looped around to the south and I recognized it at what Hal calls Fallen Tree Trail. From there, we rode Tatonka trail in the opposite direction that we usually do.  We regrouped again at the top end of Dinner Hill Trail (aka Green Bottle).  I peeled off and went down Jaw Bone Trail, and then reconnected with the group where it rejoins Dinner Hill Trail.  We conitued along that trail through the boulders then regrouped again where it dumps out onto Trail 332 above the fireplace.

We bombed it down to the fireplace, then headed up the long and painful hill of the 332 toward the White Rock Trail.  When I finally pedaled my sorry arse up to where the rest of the group was patiently waiting for me, my wife text messaged me that she was headed to Willow Lake to ride that trail…..perfect timing for me to bail out and just head down Thumb Butte Rd. and back to my truck.

That was the end of today’s 12 mile ride, and I was really glad to have spent a couple of hours with such a nice group of riders.  It was also a pleasure to finally meet Greg and Christophe from Raven Singletrack.

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Four Old Guys and Their Bikes March 8, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Saturday morning Hal, Kevin, Michael and I met out at the Brownlow Trail to pr-ride the entire Duathlon course.

The trip was dual purpose (how perfect is that for a duathlon?), Michael and his daughter are going to race as a relay team, so it enabled him to get more accustomed to the route, and Hal is going to volunteer for me, so I was able to show him where I need him this Saturday during the event.

Kevin was there just to join us on a nice morning ride.

After riding, we all had time to stop for lunch in town.  Thanks guys!

Arizona Spring Fling 2009 Prescott March 7, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking.
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For those of you that haven’t yet heard about the Arizona Spring Fling, go read up on it, then allocate some of your time to make some of the great rides being led all over the state.

I am planning on attending the Pre-Fling ride in Prescott on Wednesday March 18th, and would love to see some of you there.

Windy Evening on the MTB March 4, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running.
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Tim, Kent and I went on a pre-ride of the GORD mtb leg again tonight, and the wind was howling.

If the you are riding into a 25mph headwind and your computer shows 20mph, are you riding as hard as if you were really going 45mph??  It sure feels like it!

We hammered hard tonight, and got it done it right at 45 minutes.  I really don’t think that many people will do it faster than that on race day.  That doesn’t mean that I think that I am fast or anything, but I know the course and was riding hard. I just can’t imagine anyone doing it in under 40 minutes, so come on you guys…….make me eat my words!

The entries for the event are surprising me a little bit, still zero entries in either male or female 16-18 age group.  Another surprise is that one of the divisions with a lot of entries is female 40-49 age group.  And in one last statistic that makes me scratch my head is that less than 10% of our entries are local to the Prescott Area……hmmmm.

I was glad that Tim came along tonight, as he and his wife have decided to enter in the Relay division in the GORD.

Another Duathlon Pre-Ride March 3, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running, trails.
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Michael, Kent and I rode the mountain biking leg as well as one of the trail running legs of the GORD yesterday after work.

It was pretty mild paced ride, and just a lot of fun to ride and visit with friends.  I hadn’t seen Michael in over a month.  During the ride, Michael said that maybe he and his daughter would team up and do the GORD as a relay team, and just a minute ago, he called to make sure there was still room in the event to enter!

We rode until almost dark, doing about 10 miles.

The Rim View Trail in Page, AZ March 3, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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This weekend Tracie and I went up to Page to my brother-in-law’s to attend his wedding.

On the morning of the wedding, Justin said he wanted to take a short ride to clear his head, so, despite the cold, we headed out just as the sun was coming up.

rimview-trailhead

The whole trail is about a 12 mile loop, but we only rode a little less than half of it, as his wedding was at 10:00am.  The white line is the trail that circles the edge of the mesa that the city of Page sits atop of.

Justin and me at the most northeast part of the trail with Lake Powel in the background

Justin and me at the most northeast part of the trail with Lake Powel in the background

The part of the trail that we rode was fun and fast for the most part, with some drops that you could take or ride around.  There are some places that have a lot of exposure and it is prudent to maintain control of your bike unless you want to plunge off a cliff.

Justin on the Rim View Trail

Justin on the Rim View Trail

That is one huge house up there, sitting on about 10 acres all by itself with 360° views…sweet!

Justin on the trail

Justin on the trail

Well, we did about 6 miles and made it back in time for him to get ready and get to the church on time, and without any trail gashes too!

Next time I go back up, I will definitely take my bike again and ride the whole loop…maybe twice!

Mountain Biking Leg on the GORD February 25, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Events, Mountain Biking.
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Kent and I went to Pioneer Park this evening to ride the 8.1 mile mountain biking leg for the GORD.

We rode pretty hard, but we didn’t really pound it, and ended up doing it in 47:32.  I think that if I rode it hard, I could probably do it in 45:00 flat, but that would be tops for me I am pretty sure.  I am thinking that the fastest time on the bike during the event will be in the area of 4o minutes.  I really don’t see how it could be done much faster than that.

So for all of you out there that are signed up to compete in the GORD, you can count on spending at least 40 minutes on the mountain biking leg.

Du Course is Drying Out Finally February 24, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Day Hiking, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running.
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This afternoon I went to Pioneer Park and hiked the two different trail running legs for the upcoming Go! Off Road Duathlon.

The sun was out and it was a beautiful 73 degrees.  In the next few days, I hope to get to the mountain biking leg as well.  It has more north facing slopes, so it is probably not as dry as the running legs are.  I just hope that equestrians have stayed off of it during the very wet last couple of weeks, as the horses put huge holes into the trail so it feels like washboard to ride.

We Three on Thumper Trail February 23, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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On Sunday afternoon Mike and I drove over to Cottonwood and met up with Rob and his wife Susie at Dead Horse Ranch State Park so we could ride the Thumper Trail.

Susie decided she didn’t want to ride the loop, and instead she was going to ride the many trials that stayed near the park.

So the three of us started up the Raptor Trail toward Evil Hill.  What’s so evil you ask?  Well it is very steep, but it is also filled with loose dirt and baby heads….none of us cleaned it.  Once we were by that, we continued up Raptor on a bunch of short climbs, each followed by a long nearly level section (repeat as necessary).  Three miles up, we came to the intersection with Thumper Trail, and I took the time for a group photo.

Me, Mike and Rob where Raptor and Thumper Trails meet.

Me, Mike and Rob where Raptor and Thumper Trails meet.

None of us had ever been on these trails before, so we only knew what we had read about them, so we started down Thumper Trail a little cautiously, definitely not slowly, but we weren’t bombing it either.  It started out with a bunch of short drops (a foot or two) and then we came upon a gnarly section with several drops in a row.

The first section of gnarly drops.

The first section of gnarly drops.

There is one nice drop at the top that has a smooth landing area that you can’t see in this photo, but here is a shot of Rob going off of it.

Rob takes one of the drops.

Rob takes one of the drops.

I don’t have much in the way of suicidal tendencies, so I walked down this section.

The Thumper Trail drops into a couple of canyons and then climbs back out to the top of a ridge again, then turns to the SW and back towards the park.

Mike tops out on the trail ahead of me.

Mike tops out on the trail ahead of me.

There were drops scattered along this entire trail, and most were ridable even by me.  Soon enough we came to another gnarly section that the self preservationist in me decided would be better to walk.  Rob on the other hand rode it (he is a little crazy).

The second big section of multiple drops.

The second big section of multiple drops.

A few yards after this there was another 3′ drop and then we met Susie riding up the other way.  She said the trail below was pretty rocky.  We road a flat and fast section until we met with the Lime Kiln Trail.  There were a few drops and rocky steeps on that trail too, but we rode them all.  We had heard that there was one last big drop at the bottom, but somehow we missed it when the trail split just before we got back to the park.

At that point we decided to take another lap and figured that if we rode one of the park trails up around the camping loop, we could miss the dreaded Evil Hill.  That done, we called our spouses to let them know that we would be a little longer than planned because we were going to loop it again.

A lady stopped us and said she had lost her cell phone on the trail and could we look for it.  We said we would and headed back up the climbs-and-flats section of Raptor Trail.  When we crossed one of the fences, Rob heard a phone ringing, and presto….there was the lady’s phone!

We made another loop just like the first one, except now we rode it a little faster.  I still didn’t ride those gnarly multiple drop sections though.  We met Susie back at the cars, and a quick check of the odometer showed we had done 15.3 miles in 1hr 42mins. of riding time.

That is one very fun trail, but I sure wouldn’t want to ride it after a long dry spell, as it would be very sandy in spots.  A couple of days after a rain would be ideal I think.

Wandering Through The Pines February 9, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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On Saturday afternoon just before the snow storm came in, Tim and I managed to get out in The Pines for a couple of hours.

It was really a great ride, for those of you who know the names that we use, we rode up the waterline trail to the meadow trail then crossed the railroad bed and followed the green bottle connector then up the jawbone trail.  We took top half of dinner hill to where is connects with an unnamed trail then followed that to another single track that goes southeast to the powerline.  From there, we followed a new (to us) trail east-north-east to a obliterated trail that led up to the flat intersection above the fireplace.  We then followed dinner hill trail (cleaned it!) up to lee’s trail.  Then totonka to fallen tree trail to the tunnel connector to the garden of eden then off to the east on a yet to be named trail that eventually kicked us out on south side of the bottom of bobsled.  You got all that??

Anyway, it was about 7 miles and lots of fun single track. I am so glad we got out when we did, because it has been snowing since!

Our Granite isn’t Slick Rock…..they told me. February 9, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Ok, so maybe our Prescott Dells are not real slick rock like in Moab, but they are the closest thing we have here.  For real slick rock actionin video form, check this blog.

Hard Core Not-Quite-Slick Rock in Prescott February 8, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, extreme sports, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Check out this helmet cam video by Ken Bennett.  It is of the hiking / biking trail that has been constructed at Willow Lake.

Riding the Firebird Prototype in Prescott

This is rowdy stuff, I have been on it on foot, but have not had my bike out there yet.

Friday Evening on White Rock February 7, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Except it is green now!  The white rock at the top of White Rock Trail has been painted green, so now what??? Change the name to Green Rock Trail? Nope. Call it Chamelion Trail? Nope.

Kent and I rode up Thumb Butte Road from just west of the park to the top end of White Rock Trail.  Then we took WRT back down to the park and back to the truck.  It was a quick ride (29min. riding time) but fun!  That was all we really had time for anyway, as it was getting dark.

The top end of WRT is in great shape, and the bottom more rocky end it just….more rocky!

Online Coverage of The Coastal Challenge was WEAK! February 7, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, extreme sports, Mountain Biking, Trail Running.
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I can’t believe it!  A world class event that touted online race tracking and active leader board updates, can’t even keep up with daily race updates.

This really bums me out, because my teammate and friend Jonea was racing with Robyn Benincasa and Project Athena.

There are literally thousands of people that you have disappointed with your lackadaisical and lazy coverage.  I just happen to be a very vocal one.  Because I for one believe that if you say you are going to do something, DO IT!

Today is the day after Day 6 (which was the final day of the race), and they still have only posted updates through Day 4.

I made them an offer that I would update their web site with current active info for them next year if they will fly me down there and pay my room and board.  After this rant, what do you think the likelihood is that that is gonna happen!

Oh well.  My theory is that if we continue to settle for mediocrity, that is just what we will get…..and the bar will continue to go lower and lower and lower.

I feel better now….I think I will go on a mountain bike ride!

Shocked in The Pines February 4, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Or shockless I should say.  Hal and I went for a ride in The Pines this afternoon, and I discovered that my rear shock is either leaky or broken!

I will take it to the LBS tomorrow to see what gives.  I am hoping that they can just put new seals in it for me and I will be good to go.

Despite having my full suspension bike ride like a hardtail today, we had a good ride anyway.  Me a fellow named Lee out on the trails, and he pointed us to a little section of single track that I will dub the Lee’s Way.

Black Canyon Trail January 31, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Eight of us drove down to Black Canyon City today to ride the Black Canyon Trail.  We were joined by my friends from Phoenix, Rick and Bryan.

There were really 10 of us, but Bryan is taking the photo

There were really 10 of us, but Bryan is taking the photo

It was a perfect day, and the desert was beautiful.  We rode an out and back on the trail of a little over 7.4 miles one way.  We had to cross the running Agua Fria twice.  The trail is very narrow in parts and has a lot of up and down with some very tight corners and some pretty crazy exposure.  It worked us (I guess I should speak for myself) pretty hard.  In the almost 15 miles we had a total elevation gain of over 2000′.

In the photo left to right: Me, Tim, Ken, Cliff (his first ride with us), Ray, Hal, Rob, Rick and Shawn.  And because I couldn’t get the camera to balance on this one little log, Bryan is taking the photo.

bct-sign

Me climbing back up from the river.

Me climbing back up from the river.

Tim cruises by

Tim cruises by

Rick rides a narrow section of side-hill trail

Rick rides a narrow section of side-hill trail

Ken above the river

Ken above the river

Cliff ready to bomb the downhill
Ray isn't bothered by the exposure on his left

Ray isn't bothered by the exposure on his left

Cliff ready to bomb the downhill

Hal cranks up a hill

Hal cranks up a hill
Rob thinks I have a gun not a camera!

Rob thinks I have a gun not a camera!

Shawn with the river in the background

Shawn with the river in the background

Bryan is starting down toward the river

Bryan is starting down toward the river

Keep the Hooves out of the Mud! January 30, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Bob called me today to see if I wanted to get in a quick afternoon ride……..gee, let me think……

We rode from his house to Pioneer Park and burned through about 15 miles of trail.  I punished myself on the steep ups, but somehow survived.

There have been horses on the Legacy trail while it was muddy again…dang them!!  They tear the crud out of what is usually pretty nice single track.  It kills me that horses and hikers complain about bikes damaging the trails….clearly, horses are the most destructive force on a trail.  Sorry, just had to vent a bit.

Nice Ride in Granite Basin January 26, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Sunday afternoon was cold and windy, not exactly perfect conditions, but it didn’t stop four of us from spending some time in Granite Basin on our mountain bikes.

Hal, Rob, me and Mick (this was the first time Mick had been on a ride with me) put about 8.5 miles in on the fantastic single track trails in the basin area.

Because of the glue-like mud that is found above the cayuse area, we avoid it by doing an out and back on Ten Jumps Trail from the bottom.  Rob commented on how different that trail is when heading south and up hill on it instead of bombing it to the north.

It was a nice ride once we got our bodies warmed up, and most importantly, everyone made it home without injury!

Beginners, Don’t Be Scayyerd! January 24, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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It’s funny how when I meet people and start talking with them about mountain biking, they usually say something like, “Uh, uh.  That sport is way too hard and too dangerous for me.”

Of course they are wrong.  Fear is a great motivator, sometimes it motivates us to do something, but mostly it paralyzes us and motivates us not to do something.

I ran across this blog today, and I think some of you nay-sayers might find it helpful.

Riding in DG after the rain January 24, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running.
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I’ll tell you, I am awfully glad that we have some areas with Decomposed Granite trails around Prescott, because the other trails turn to mud and muck when it rains.

Today Kent and I went out to Granite Basin Lake to ride some of the DG trails because we have had two nights of rain recently, and almost anywhere else would be too muddy to ride….well, not to muddy to ride, but so muddy that we would muck up our bikes and more importanly, we would have torn up the trails.

We only spent about an hour actually riding today, but it sure was nice.  There was no one else on the trails, the DG surface was tacky, and the temperature was cool…..that spells perfect conditions.

Kent has decided to race in the Duathlon that I am organizing and putting on during the Ides of March.  He is always such a good help as a volunteer, but I am very glad that he is racing instead this time.

You really don’t need to BEWARE the Ides of March, just sign up for the Go! Off Road Duathlon and spend them with us!

Prescott Off Road Duathlon is Coming January 23, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running.
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Registrations are pouring in for the Go! Off Road Duathlon to be held March 14th in Prescott, Arizona.  Entries are limited to 150, so don’t delay! We also are looking for able bodied volunteers who want to get out on the course and make sure racers do what they are supposed to be doing…..that’s right, YOU get to be a Marshall!  (Sorry, no brass stars).

Thanks to Barry at the Runner’s Den in the valley for putting up our poster and for his enthusiasm for our event.

Thanks to Bill at Hensley & Co. for agreeing to make us up some banners and some promotional posters as well.

And another thanks to Matt at Buzzmug.com for his ongoing support.

Other sponsors that we are grateful to:

High Gear Bike Shop

TriSports.com

Hammer Nutrition

Clif Bar

and there are new sponsors signing up all the time.  In fact, you or your company could get in on the action and be one!

Kicking it into High Gear January 18, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running.
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Well with less than 60 days until the event, it seems as though things are getting fast and furious now.

We would like to welcome a new sponsor the the Go! Off Road Duathlon, it is the High Gear Bike Shop in Prescott, Arizona.  Steve and Cindy at High Gear are donating some items for our prize drawing at the conclusion of the race.

High Gear Bike Shop in Prescott, AZ

High Gear Bike Shop in Prescott, AZ

If you are looking for a new mountain bike, they deal in Cannondale, Trek, Haro, and Scott USA in the mountain bike category, as well as BMX bikes and road bikes.

Steve has been in business in Prescott a long time too, I used to buy skateboard wheels from him in the ’70s.

Duathlon entry forms are available at High Gear Bikes at the corner of Sheldon and Mt. Vernon in Prescott.  Of course they are also available at “other bike shops” which at this point will remain nameless.  I would love to name them, but they haven’t agreed to give us prizes yet!

Mountain Biking Alone January 17, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running, trails.
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Usually not such a good idea…..

But this morning I went out to ride all three legs of the Go! Off Road Duathlon that will be held on Brownlow Trails in Pioneer Park.  I rode very carefully because I was alone…no hucks or jumps today.

The first 1.5 mile running leg starts out on smooth fire road type trail then after about .6 it turns off onto a windy but fairly smooth single track that weaves and wanders its way back toward the TA.

After racer transition to the 8.1 mile mountain bike leg, they will spend just about 30 seconds on the fire roads, then turn onto single track for about a half mile, where they meet fire road width trail again.  The wide track is about 2 miles long before another section of narrow single track cuts across a hillside and back to the wide track where a pretty good climb begins.  Once riders reach the top, there is a fast descent with some surprizingly sharp turns, then another and steeper climb.  At the top of this climb, racers will go through a tunnel then follow the wide track around a roller coaster loop for another mile or so.  Near the bottom of a descent, there is a very sharp turn onto a mile of twisted and narrow single track that climbs and descends up and over 2 ridges before it takes riders through another tunnel.  With less than a mile to go, riders will traverse a hillside on a single track then join the wide track and head toward the TA.

After transitioning back to the last 2.2 mile running leg, racers will follow single track up a ridge then join the wide track trail for a while then back onto a fairly straight and fast single track.  When they hit the wide track again, they have less then a mile to go to the finish line!

Next time I ride it, I will take some photos to edit into this post.

Getting Ready for the New Season January 15, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Events, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking.
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Many of you are getting ready for the new mountain biking season.  In fact some of you are going down to race in the first MBAA race of the year at White Tanks this Saturday.

Maybe you are signed up for the off road duathlon and don’t know exactly what to expect or how to prepare.  Well, I was perusing some articles and blogs, and found this one titled, Getting Ready for a Mountain Bike Race.

Even if you are not thinking of any particular event, the best thing you can do is just get out there and ride.  I say out there, because I have been on rides with people who have put hours and hours in on a spin bike or stationary trainer, but can barely stay upright on a bike.  There is nothing like the real thing.

Mountain Biking the Brownlow Trails January 14, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in About this Blog, Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, Trail Running, trails.
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This afternoon Nate, Tim and I went out to Pioneer Park to ride the GORD course but backwards.  It is now all dried out and in really good shape.  If I go out there (and hopefully get more of you out there) a few more times before the event, the bike course should be in tip top shape.

In the post before this one, I uploaded the course map for anyone that wanted or cared to see.  I know it is archaic looking with highlighter and handwriting, so I will work on something that looks a little more professional.

The race is 2 months from today, and entries are trickling in.  Remember, it will cost you an extra $5 if you wait much longer!

Tim said he and his wife might run it as a relay team….cool!

Pre-riding the GORD January 12, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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I went out to Pioneer Park yesterday afternoon to pre-ride the mountain biking leg of the upcoming Go! Off Road Duathlon (GORD).  Ray came along to check out the course.  I don’t think I can get him to race, but he offered to volunteer.  Thanks Ray!

Almost all of the trails were in very good shape.  The one exception was the Legacy Trail, because someone had taken horses on it while it was still soft and damp.  There were big horse hoof holes (like the aliteration?) I guess I could have said huge horse hoof holes, that will turn into knarly little bumpies when they dry out.  Someone had been doing some erosion control on the trail though….Kudos to them!

Seven in Sedona January 11, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Seven of us drove over to Sedona today to do some mountain biking.  Just click on any of these images in the gallery to see them bigger.

The first photo is us at the trail head.  From left to right: Mike, Hal, Rob,Nate, Me, Kent, and Kevin.

We did just over 12 miles in what I would call near ideal conditions.  It was a little cool, but the ground was moist and tacky, and the sun was shining brightly on the gorgeous red rocks!

Thanks to Hal for coordinating this ride, and to Rob for leading it.

There were some pretty technical sections as you can see from the photos, but no one got hurt (too badly) and we all made it home alive.  We are going to try to ride over there more often, especially when it is too cold and muddy here in Prescott.

Biking Becomes Hiking December 29, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking, trails.
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In the cold and snowy parts of the year, mountain biking gives way to hiking for my adventure recreation.

Most of the trails that I ride for 10 months of the year are now covered in snow and ice.  This makes for poor mountain biking conditions (for me at least).

So, in order to get outside and make an attempt to stay in shape, hiking is the order of the day.  Well, that and riding the spin bike at home.

Even in the snow, most every trail around Prescott is still hiking friendly.  Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but let’s not concentrate on them.

Within a 15 minute drive from downtown are miles and miles of great day hike trails.  And now with snow on the ground in the mountains, all the little creeks and drainages are running with crystal clear and icy cold water.  This makes for some great photographs and nice sound effects too.

So bundle up, put on your hiking shoes and get out there!  Its a winter wonderland.

Derailed by my Derailleur December 19, 2008

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The rear derailleur on my mountain bike has been acting up the last few weeks.  I took it to my LBS and they messed with it and finally showed me that the pivots on it are so wobbly that it jumps back and forth on the rear cog whenever I am applying some power ( I say power, but if you have ever seen my legs, you know that is an overstatement) to the pedals.  This has been a real drag, because when I am on a steep, and in a rythm it all of a sudden jumps down and shortly after the sound of mashing gears, I am at a near standstill.

Looking at it from the rear, I can see the amount of side to side play that the cage has due to the worn pivots.  Bummer.

Well I have ordered another Shimano Deore XT M750 long cage derailleur, and can’t wait to get this problem under control.

Pedal ’till you Puke…..sort of December 13, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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-This post was written a couple of weeks ago, I guess I was just so out of it that I forgot to publish it-

I have been battling my first case of the flu in years the last few days, and it has been miserable!  But enough of that, lets get to the mountain biking.

On Monday afternoon, Steve and I arranged to meet up with Hal out on the trails.  Steve and I rode into The Pines up the Fireplace Springs Trail, then turned and went up Gulch Trail.  It had been a while since I have been on this trail, and I can tell you that it has become a rocky mess.  It has always been a tough climb, but now, it is brutal.  This would be a tough hike even without a bike! I really struggled.  We had to get off and push a few times.  We were going to meet with Hal at the top of it, but because it took us longer than we had planned, Hal was waiting about a quarter of the way down for us. He wasn’t just sitting there though, he was performing some much needed trail maintenance while he waited for us to struggle our way up to him.  The three of us finished the climb together to where it meets the White Rock (but now it’s green..?) Trail.

From there we headed west.  The afternoon was perfect, just a breath of wind, not a cloud in the sky, and the sun falling sideways through the pine trees. We cranked all the way out to the rock that gives the trail it’s name.  At that point, Hal needed to head back, so Steve and I pedalled up Thumb Butte Rd. to FR51.  We took the first left and followed it down to Trail 326, then took the 392.  The 392 is part of the Circle Prescott Trail project, and is also the final descent on the famous Whiskey Off Road mountain bike event.  We bombed the 392, and shortly after it turns from single track switchbacks to meandering two-track, there was a big ponderosa down across it.  We were going so fast, that I barely managed to come to a stop in front of it.

Back at Thumb Butte Rd. we took the 332 back into The Pines.  Somewhere in there I got a text message, so I stopped to see what it was….it was my wife saying she was really sick and going to bed.  Uh-oh.  That might explain why I didn’t have much in the way of legs this afternoon. We made it to the Fireplace, and decided we had enough time to head back over the Boulders and down into the Meadow Trail.  When it hit the Waterline Road, we went up to a single track that headed north toward the Bobsled Trail, but on the way up that spotted another single track that was unknown to both of us.  We said, “Why not?” and headed down it.  It swooped and bent through the tall pines and was really a lot of fun, I will definitely try to ride it more often.  We came back out on the Waterline Road and then headed back down and out to the car.  We covered exactly 13 miles and had a great ride.

On the way home, I stopped and bought Tracie some chicken soup and Sprite.  By the time I got home, all the muscles in my body, but especially my hips were aching, and I thought to myself that though today’s ride had been tough, it hadn’t been hard enough to make me hurt all over……….well, an hour later I was driving the porcelain school bus.  The flu absolutely KO-ed both my wife and me for the next two days.  Good thing we had the chicken soup!

Mapping The Pines November 29, 2008

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Friday Morning on Trail 305 October 26, 2008

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On Friday morning, I met my friend Pat at the campground at Lynx Lake so we could go on a mountain bike ride.  We took the 305 south through the campground, and then continued across and up the hill toward the hilltop campground.  The trail here is really nice single track through pines.  Continuing south on 305 we rolled through a bunch of ups and downs, the majority of them being ups as we were climbing up towards Walker.  There are some places on this trail that are pretty technical, and Pat has not had a lot of experience on technical trails, so it took some encouragement to get him to go ahead and ride them….and he did ride most of them.

Pat's climbing.....

....and still smiling!

Nice trails...

It's me!

Though it started out as a pretty cold day (the low was 34), it warmed up faster than I had anticipated, and the long sleeved jersey I was wearing soon proved itself to be more than enough insulation.  When we got to the top of 305 where you can cross Walker Rd. to the Smith Ravine trail, we met up with some hunters who had just loaded a small 3 point mule deer onto their vehicle to transport it to the processing plant.  Pat was wondering why anyone would take such a small buck first thing on opening day…….search me!?

In order to make it back to the campground at the time we needed to, we decided to take Walker Rd. back to the entrance to Hilltop campground, then ride the 305 back to Lynx campground.  All in all we covered about 8 and half miles and had a very enjoyable ride.

Sand Storm Race was Tough! October 22, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, orienteering, trails.
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I raced with Jonea as Team GO-AR in Tucson on Saturday.  Actually it wasn’t in Tucson, it was east of Tucson on Reddington Pass Rd.

We arrived at the race site at about 6:00am and began to get our gear together.  At the 6:15 pre-race meeting the race directors Aaron and Rick told us that those of us doing the long course would be doing things in the following order:  A short “scramble” to two points to pick up our checkpoint card at one, and a ziplock baggie for trash at another, then a mountain biking leg with a bike drop in it, at the bike drop there was going to be an orienteering section, then biking back to the TA, then a final trekking section.

Looking around, I noticed that the terrain was going to be a challenge.  It was rocky with lots of grass that had cat-claw and cactus hiding in it, and it most certainly was not flat!  The directors had suggested that racers have slimed tubes, and now I could see why.

The first two points on the scramble could be retrieved in any order, so at the start teams went two different directions.  We chose to run down the road, and let the uphill be on jeep trail.  Within about 100 yards, teams were already spreading out, and the white and yellow streak ahead of us was the last sign of Dave and Windy on Team Big Fish Creative that we saw all day! Not far behind them were 6 racers all racing as 3 different Adventure Racing Concepts teams.  We picked up our ziplock baggie (this was to help us control our snack and goo wrappers) and headed around a hill toward the next point.  The map we were using was an USGS topo that was old and did not show all the roads that were actually there now, and instead of trusting my sense of direction, when I saw another team coming down a road toward us from the point, I just assumed (yes, I know about that word) that was the right way to go….oops. It actually did take us there eventually, but not until we had gone half a mile farther than we needed to.  The silver lining behind this cloud is that two other teams that have great navigators on them (Rick Eastman on Sierra Adventure Sports, and Ron Birks on Team Tubac) both made the same mistake, so I was in good company in my errant route choice.  We got the checkpoint card and headed back to the TA to transition to mountain biking.

Rather than actually plot the biking points, I just looked at the coordinates and eyeballed the point locations so we could get to pedaling.  We biked a couple of miles up Reddington Pass Rd. to B1, then took a nice piece of single track that was part of the Arizona Trail down a long ridge.  We got B2 then continued down to a jeep trail that started back up the next ridge over.  Jonea had something weird going on with her breathing in that she was panting and out of breath, and 4 teams passed us as we headed for then found B3.  When the jeep trail hit Reddington Pass Rd. we crossed over and back onto more single track that was part of the AZ Trail again.  This trail climbed up, and up some more to B4 where another 2 teams passed us.  Then we started a descent that was filled with water bars and rocks, with a very tight hairpin thrown in for fun.  Right after the hairpin, we came upon a “rec course” team of two girls, and one of them was hurt.  She must have gone over her bars, because she had scraped up the knuckles on one hand, torn loose a fingernail on the other, and had a huge dent right in to top of her brand new helmet!  We stopped and checked on them, asking if she could see ok, and if she could move everything.  Once we were sure that they didn’t require emergency help, we continued down the trail.  Let me tell you, this single track was very challenging because not only was it filled with obsticles, but the grass on both sides of it was knee high.  When the trail ahead of you is straight, no problem….but when there are turns in it, you can’t see the trail ahead because of the tall grass. There was also a section that was thick with puncture vine and cat-claw on the trail, boy am I glad we listened about the slime! We got B5, then B6 was where the trail dropped us out on a ranch road.  As we turned onto the ranch road, we saw Team Tubac stopped and stretching out Brad’s leg cramps.  We asked if they were ok, and then headed toward the bike drop.  On the way there, we saw one of the teams that had passed us heading back toward us.  As we passed, he asked if we was sure that we were going the right direction. When I said “absolutely!”, they turned back around and passed us again….they didn’t know where it was!  Meanwhile, it appeared that Jonea had recovered and was breathing fine again.

At the bike drop, we were given a map and punch card for the orienteering section.  The Tucson Orienteering Club was going to have an O-meet the next day, so Monsoon Adventures had collaberated with them on this section, pretty cool idea!  We found O1 right away, then somehow on the way to O2 we lost the punch card!  While we backtracked to find it, Team Tubac passed us again.  Luckily, I found the card that had blown into some grass by the side of the jeep trail we were following, and we continued on toward O2.  On the way to O3 we caught back up with Tubac, and then dropped down into the wash that the point was in, then followed it up to the point.  We got there about 30 seconds before Tubac!  We headed up the wash again toward O4.  I took us too far up the wash, and we had to go up a different canyon than I had planned to get to the saddle that O4 was on, so we were pretty sure that Tubac was ahead of us again.  As we traversed a hillside on the way to O5 we could see a team ahead of us, but it wasn’t Tubac, it was someone else. Both our camelbaks were out of water, but I was carrying a small bottle in my hand, so we sipped on that the rest of the way.  We got O5 and headed down across a valley toward O6.  Now we could see the other team and ahead of them, we could see the guys of Team Freedom.  We went up over another ridge to get O7, then back to the bike drop.  The volunteers told us that Tubac had not come in yet. They also had lots of water there, so we refilled our camelbaks, and changed shoes again for the ride back to the TA.  We had done the 4 mile orienteering section in a little over an hour and a half.

We knew it was going to be a long climb, so we hooked up a towing system so I could help Jonea go a little faster up the hills.  When we were almost to the top, I could feel the toll that running out of water earlier and the hot mid-day sun was taking on me.  Nauseous and dizzy, I was about to bonk!  We unhooked the tow strap, and walked up the last steep hill slowly while I tried to get some electrolytes and water back into my system.  We rode into the TA, having done 16.6 miles on the bikes, and I sat in the shade beside the truck while I changed shoes again and then plotted the points for the upcoming trekking leg. We ate some bagels, and again topped off our packs with water.

As we headed out toward T1 I could feel the beginning twinges of a cramp in my left quad….bummer.  We got up to T1 when I tried to unzip the pocket of my shorts to get the checkpoint card, it was jammed.  I even broke the pull off of it trying to unzip it!  We need that card!  I had to take out my knife and cut my pocket open so we could punch T1 and continue.  We went down and across a small valley to a saddle where we got T2.  In looking at the map, I figured that the best way to get to T3 was to go across to the top of the canyon that it was in and just go down the drainage to it.  As it turned out, this descision probably cost us about 10 minutes, because the canyon was chocked full of manzanita and oak brush!  We battled through the thick brush and made it to T3 eventually.  We then continued down the canyon and across another wash to the bottom end of a ridge that would take us to T4.  We climbed for what felt like forever up this interminably long ridge, and caught up with another team just as we topped out and found T4.  It turns out that this other team was also a “rec course” team on their trekking leg.  I found myself feeling sorry for anyone who was using this “rec course” as their very first race!  At T4, we rested in the little spot of shade we found before our assault on the 5th trekking point that the race directors had labelled BFM.  They said that stood for Beg For Mercy, but after plotting it on top of a mountain, we knew that it stood for something else entirely!  We made the climb up to BFM by just putting one foot in front of another the whole way up.  I plotted our course on my MapTech topo program this week, and found out that the hill we climbed straight up to BFM was a 56% grade.  My cramping quad was killing me on this ascent.  At the top, we took a minute to high-five and look around at the amazing view of all the territory we had covered since the start of the race.  This was a very beautiful venue for an event.  The last point was on top of a smaller hill between us and the finish line, so we headed back down the other side of the mountain toward T6.  We picked up T6 and made the short trek to the road where we ran (barely) in to cross the finish line 7 hours and 43 minutes after we started.

We finished 3rd in the 2 person Co-ed division to ARC (Jim and Jane) and Big Fish (Dave and Windy), and figured that anytime you can podeum with those 2 teams, you are doing something right!  We were just glad to finish the entire race.

Looking Forward to Sand Storm III October 17, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Tomorrow is the Sand Storm III Adventure Race near Tucson.

Produced by the guys at Monsoon Adventures, it looks like it will be another great race in an awesome venue.  We have learned that it will be held in the Chimney Rock area of Reddington Pass.  I have never been up there, but the topography looks like it should be a challenge.  Google Earth shows what appear to be a whole bunch of great single track trails, so I am definitely looking forward to the mountain biking.

Kent will not be racing with us this weekend, so team GO-AR will just be Jonea and me.  They don’t have a master’s division, so we will have to race against the young guns this weekend.  We are usually pretty strong in the navigation, so we are hoping that there will be tough enough navigation to help level the playing field a little.

Look forward to a race report!

Night Adventure Race October 12, 2008

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On Saturday Jonea (my female teammate) picked me up at the hotel in Scottsdale where Tracie (my wife) and I had a room for Saturday night.  While Tracie was at a work related dinner and meeting, Jonea and I headed up to McDowell Mountain Park for the Extreme Heat Night Race put on by Rick at Sierra Adventure Sports.

The race started just before dark at 6:00pm.  To start, teams had to punch their card at 5 points that were shown on our first map.  It was a mad dash, as all 5 points were easily attainable in less than 5 minutes because they were all around the perimeter of the huge parking area.  Then came our first mystery event.

Teams were allowed 1 frisbee per team, the object was to throw your frisbee into a 4′ fire pit about 40′ away, and each team member had to make it in the pit. This was pure chaos, as all the teams were lined up, throwing and retrieving the discs.  People were running in the way and getting hit as they were trying to pick up an errant throw.  Someone was yelling “on per team!”, intending to let us know the one disc per team rule, but confusing some teams into thinking that they meant one make per team.  It was really rather hilarious.  Jonea made her 3rd throw, and I think I took about 5 throws, and then we got the next map and were out on the bike leg.

We took the longer but faster pavement route partway to CP1, and arrived there just as there was no more light at all in the sky.  It was a gradual uphill the entire way to the CP, and Jonea’s legs were having a hard time getting going.  She was frustrated that she was struggling, but kept pedaling, and eventually her legs muscles decided to get in the game, and we pushed on to CP2.  We were now 8.8 miles of up hill into the ride.  On the way to CP3 we were crossing a whole bunch of little sandy washes, and some of them were pretty soft and deep.  Every time I would hit one, I would yell out to Jonea, “sand!” so she would know it was coming.  After I barely stayed on top of my bike going through one, I heard a yell from behind me, and when I looked back, Jonea’s bike was still upright, but facing perpendicular to the trail.  The sand had almost put her into a huge cactus!  We caught up to one of the teams that passed us earlier at CP3, then started the 2+ mile descent toward CP4.  The other team made better time than we did going down the ridge, but we were still really moving fast for it being pitch black and a single track trail.  We got to CP4 just in time to see some other team’s tail lights heading down a trail that we knew was the longer of the two ways that we could go. This gave us a spark, and we blasted through the campground then headed back toward the TA.  In the last half mile, Jonea’s front tire finally succumbed to the cactus incident, and she flatted.  She was yelling to me that she had a flat, and I was yelling back that I know and just keep riding!  We made it to the TA, and on to the next mystery event at CP5.

In this event, each team was allowed to have five pieces of 2×4 that were about 12″ long. With these they had to move from behind a line and around a cone about 15′ away and back across the line without touching the ground.  I have done something like this before, but it involved bricks on an uneven surface.  This was smooth wood on fairly smooth concrete, so I just stood on two of them like skis and bent over and grabbed the front of one as I slid my foot forward then did the same with the other.  This worked great, and I was done in about 1 minute.  Jonea was employing a different method using the other 3 blocks, but switched to the lift-n-slide after she saw the success that I was having.  We were done in a jiffy and then went to change our shoes for the trekking leg to come.

As soon as we got CP6, we turned off our lights and used the bright moonlight to see the trail.  We ran down a trail that paralleled a wash then at CP7 when the trail crossed it, we took the wash itself further down the canyon.  In the wash we came upon team E-Lyte, where Hollon’s team mate was lying down in the sand while Hollon was stretching out her leg cramps.  We asked if everything was ok, or if they needed anything, and then kept on toward CP8.  In an attempt to operate in “stealth mode”, we only used our lights when we needed to check the map, hoping other teams wouldn’t see us and either know how close we were getting to them (wishful thinking), or follow our lights (more likely to really happen).  The route from CP8 to CP9 was on the competative mountain biking trail in the park, so it was pretty gnarly.  We climbed up and over a ridge and were all the way down the other side punching our card at CP9 when we saw the first lights top out on the ridge behind us…..or….where other teams using stealth mode???  hmmmmm.

I am not a runner.  It hurts my knees, I get cramps in my calves, and I really don’t enjoy it.  BUT, for some reason at this race, I had some weird mojo going on and was able to run about 80% of the 6.1 mile trekking leg.  We had to look around a little for CP10, but once we had it, we were finally headed for the finish line.

We finished the race in 3 hours and 15 minutes, which was good enough for 3rd place overall, and 1st in the co-ed division!  Not bad for two old timers!

This was a super fun event, and racing in the moonlight was amazing.  I look forward to trying another night race.  The volunteers were great as always, and Rick and Kim put on another successful event.  If you haven’t tried it yet, sign up for a beginner friendly adventure race and get addicted!

Note to Self: Darkness Comes Earlier Now October 8, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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We had eight guys show up for our Wednesday evening ride today! That’s the good news………

It got dark, and only one of us had a light on his bike! As it turns out, that is also the good news………..

Ray, Kent, Michael, Nate, Toby, Jack, Tim and I headed out of the White Spar trail head at a little after 5:30 tonight.  We road the 396 to what we call the Caretaker Trail.  Here Michael decided to stay on the 396, and meet us as we came back down it.

So seven of us headed up the Caretaker Trail.  We got to Goldwater lake and then connected back up with the 396 about a half mile west of Senator Hwy.  As we headed down the 396, we realized that the light was already beginning to fail.  Uh-oh!  Just before we topped out above the dam, we spooked a herd of deer ( I saw 5 but there were probably more, as I had to keep my eyes on the trail too).

At the top we met up with Michael who said he was just about to head back down when he heard us coming up the canyon.  Now there were eight of us again. The daylight was almost completely gone now, and we had 3 miles of narrow single track to go!  Toby turned on his headlamp, and we started down.  It was really an odd experience, as it was impossible to see any bumps in the trail.  I felt like I had to ride as if it were all very bumpy, and then be pleasantly surprised by any smooth patches.  We spooked up 2 more deer as we traversed the side of the hill above Lower Goldwater Lake. Luckily all of us but Jack have been on this trail many times, so we made it down to Banning Creek safe and sound.  At the creek, Tim decided to head on down into Hidden Valley Ranch because he lives down in that area, and I am sure it is easier to ride in the dark on wide smooth streets than it is on these trails.

So the seven of us made the final climb on 396 in the moonlight.  On the descent into the campground, Toby’s light went dim, and it was almost for the better, as the moon was bright and it was hard to look up ahead at his light, then back down at the dim trail.  We made it down to our vehicles at 6:45.

It was a fun ride, but we decided to either keep our Wednesday rides shorter, or come equipped with lights to ride in the dark.

stats:

  • distance 8.15 miles
  • total riding time 59 min.
  • avg. speed 8.1 mph

Go! Off Road Duathlon Registration is Open October 2, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking.
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Ok people, It’s official.

The Go! Off Road Duathlon (GORD)will take place in Prescott on March 14th, 2009.

Registration is now open on either Active.com or you can download the registration page and mail in a check.

http://www.Go-AR.com/gord.html

You’d have to be out of your GORD (get it?) to miss this one!

The Magnificent Seven October 1, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Ok, maybe not magnificent, but there were seven of us on a Wednesday evening after work ride.

The ride on the the other hand was magnificent although shorter than most of us would have liked.  Cut short due to impending darkness.

Hal, Ken, Ray (all 3 letter names), and Nate, Kent, Jack, and me, Dave (all 4 letter names) met for a ride in the area that we have dubbed “The Pines”.  I have no idea the relevance, if any, of the short name thing, but I noticed it while typing and had to comment.

We took turns leading, and had no plan other than to let the leader take any turn they wanted too.  I had my GPSr on track mode and here is the map:

The magnificent ride of the not-so magnificent seven.

The magnificent ride of the not-so magnificent seven.

As the days get shorter, it limits the time for riding (unless we want to ride in the dark), so I will be posting some fairly short rides on the weekdays.

Stats:

  • total distance 5.24 miles
  • total riding time 34 min.
  • avg. speed 9.0 mph

Sunday Morning on Mingus September 29, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Early Sunday morning I drove out to my friend Pat’s house and we took a mountain bike ride from there.

He lives on the west side of the base of Mingus Mountain near Prescott.  We started on about a mile of pavement heading out of his housing development, then turned onto dirt two-track that headed directly toward (and UP) the mountain.  When we got into the juniper trees, we headed north along the flank of Mingus for a few miles.  This was typical two-track for this area, alternating between extrememly rocky and nice and smooth.  Finally we headed back to the west to form the 3rd side of an elongated rectangle, then blasted downhill back toward his house.

Pat doesn’t ride a lot, but he did great. 12.5 miles in about an hour and a half.

After we got back, we loaded up his kids and our wives and took a 4wd trip out to the Verde River for a picnic.  On the way out there, we were driving the FR318 (this was once a narrow gauge railroad) and who do I see mountain biking out in the middle of nowhere?  Steve Becker!  Steve had someone else with him, but I couldn’t tell who it was.

That reminds me, if I want to find out what the fastest time is likely to be on the GORD, I should ask Steve to come run it for me.

Saturday Vetting the Duathlon Course September 29, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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I spent Saturday morning deciding on then vetting the course for the GORD (Go! Off Road Duathlon) that we will be putting on in March.

I still don’t have any official word out there (like registration details), but that should come next week.  If all goes as I would like, it looks like the first trail run will be just over 1.5 miles, then a mountain bike ride of 8.4 miles, followed up by another trail run of 2.2 miles.

It will take a little time to get it all worked out, but meanwhile we are in search of a title sponsor and other prize sponsors.

The GORD is slated to be held on March 14th, 2009 in Prescott.

New Prescott Multisport Event September 26, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Announcing an all new event for the Prescott area.

The event is called the Go! Off Road Duathlon (GORD), and it will be
held on Saturday March 14th, 2009. The approval for this event just
came down, so we wanted to give you all a chance to put it on your
calendar.

Brought to you by us at GO! Adventure Recreation LLC. Having produced the Gilmore Adventure Race for the last 7 years, this is our first try at putting on a duathlon, and it will be Prescott’s first off road duathlon.

Although not open for registration yet, details on length and course
route will be posted as soon as we have them nailed down.

You have to be out of your GORD to race in this one!