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Friday Morning on Trail 305 October 26, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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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

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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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!

Busy Weekend Ahead! October 9, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Events, orienteering, trails.
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This weekend, one of my adventure racing teammates and I are going to race in the Extreme Heat Night Race in Phoenix on Saturday night, and then on Sunday my wife Tracie and I are going to take part in the Orienteering Meet that the Phoenix O Club is putting on at Coon Bluff!

I will return with full reports of both activities.

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.


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

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!

Broken Bike, I Don’t Like! September 7, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Friday afternoon the LBS called to say my bike was ready.  They had to replace all the bearings at all the pivots in the rear of the bike.  It is an FSR xcPRO with the horst link suspension, so it cost $150 in parts alone!

Saturday morning Kent and I took some local Boy Scouts and two adults out to do a few hours of trail maintanance.  This is a win-win, the scouts get service hours toward their next rank and the trails get some much needed upkeep.

After four hours of trail work, the Scouts headed back into Prescott.  Thanks Troop 1 Boy Scouts!

Kent and I had a sack lunch, then changed clothes and took our bikes off the rack…….it had been over two weeks since I had been on mine!  We usually ride in either the morning or the late afternoon, but this time the sun was straight over head, and HOT!  We put in 22 miles on a combination of dirt road, forest road, single track and double track.  During a long sustained climb, I noticed that my chain was jumping back and forth between gears on the cassette.  This really made it hard to keep a rhythm going, and I got pretty frustrated with it, especially since I just got my bike back!!

Sunday morning our Adventure Racing team mate, Jonea was going to ride road bikes with Kent and Bob, so I decided to tag along.  I am not much of a fan of road riding though.

We only did about 26 miles, but it involved some pretty good climbing, and after Saturdays mountain bike ride, I was a little sore.  On the way back in on our ride we went past my LBS and I noticed it was open, so I hurried home and got my FSR and took it over to them.

After an explanation of the trouble I had been having with it, they messed with it and came to the conclusion that the pivots on my derailleur are almost worn out, meaning that it wobbles back and forth making it hard to keep it on any one cog.  I have no idea if this it right or not, because working on bikes is something that I know almost nothing about.  Anyway, I told them to adjust it as best they could and I would try it again as soon as I was able to get away for another ride.  After spending as much with them as I did on Friday, I am not real keen on ponying up the cash for a new derailleur.

I am so tired of having bike woes!  And right now my legs are tire from all the riding the last two days.

Soggy Granite August 31, 2008

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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.

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.

Saturday in the Park………. June 1, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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Had a great ride on Saturday evening out at Granite Basin. We headed out just after 5:30, and decided to just take an easy-does-it spin. I am shocked that we were out there on some of the best trails in Prescott, and saw exactly ZERO other people on the trails! What are people doing? It was the cool part of the day with a beautiful blue sky that melted into oranges, pinks and purples right before our eyes. Their loss!

Michael had just picked his bike up from the lbs after having new tires, chain, brake pads and a tune up. He said he could really feel the difference, and I could hear the difference……his bike was sneaky-quiet!


  • distance: 11.78 miles
  • riding time: 1hr 24min
  • avg. speed 7.4mph