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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.

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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!

Duathlon Course Map January 13, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Events.
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I just finished mapping the course for the GORD in March.

The Pink route is the initial Trail Running leg of 1.5 miles.

The Blue is the next part of the course, the Mountain Biking leg 8.1 miles.

The Yellow is final Trail Running leg of 2.2 miles.

The course map for the Go! Off Road Duathlon

The course map for the Go! Off Road Duathlon

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.

Racing With the Best January 4, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Events, extreme sports, team challenge.
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My friend and adventure racing teammate, Jounea Mounsey, is going to be racing with Robyn Benincasa at The Coastal Challenge.  They are racing as part of the Project Athena Team.

Checkpoint Zero has a blurb on it HERE.

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.

Duathlon Gets Another Sponsor December 26, 2008

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The Go Off Road Duathlon (GORD) has picked up another sponsor for the race that is to be held March 14th, 2009 in Prescott, AZ.

Thanks to BuzzMug.com for stepping up as another one of our growing list of sponsors.Buzz Mug

Visit BuzzMug.com for everything coffee and more!

Derailed by my Derailleur December 19, 2008

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

Another Sponsorship December 4, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events.
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We just picked up the sponsorship of Clif Bar for the GORD in March!

clifbarh

The Polar Express December 4, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Just Stuff.
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Tonight my wife and I had the pleasure of taking our two granddaughters on the Polar Express train ride out of Williams, Arizona.

It is really something to see a whole train (well we only really saw one train car, but there were 16 or so) filled with wide eyed children taking a train to the North Pole Village. Then we had Mr. C. himself board the train at the North Pole and ride it back to the station while visiting with every child and giving them a silver sleigh bell.

On the way up to the North Pole, we passed through a Time Warp tunnel that allowed us to make it all the way up there in about a half an hour.  We were all served hot chocolate and cookies too.

It was something that I am sure that Tracie and I as well as our little angels will always remember.  Tonight was one of the real gifts that comes with being a Grandparent.

Mapping The Pines November 29, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unexpected Dinner Guests November 20, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Another Broken Spoke November 19, 2008

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

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

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

Single Track Solitude November 17, 2008

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

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

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

Steve works his way through some big boulders.

Steve works his way through some big boulders.

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

It's me, shooting the gap

It's me, shooting the gap

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

Me descending some single track.

Me descending some single track.

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

Working on the Chain Gang November 16, 2008

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

Part of the trail near Fireplace Springs

Part of the trail near Fireplace Springs

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

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

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

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

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

Grinding it out at Granite Basin November 12, 2008

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

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

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

Weekend near Williams November 12, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dinner Anyone? November 5, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Granite and Poor Pivots November 2, 2008

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

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

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

stats:

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

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.

We Made it Back Alive October 20, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Events.
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This is just a quick post to say that Team GO-AR successfully completed the Sand Storm III Adventure Race held just outside of Tucson last weekend.  Tired and sore, but alive!

A full race report is in the works. The full race report is HERE

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!

Orienteering Meet at Coon Bluff October 13, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Events, orienteering.
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Yesterday Tracie and I went to the Coon Bluff Score-O that the Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club hosted.

I have only ever been to one O-meet, and Tracie had never done it before.  We got there and saw our friends Rick and Kim were there too, so were Jonea (my AR teammate) and her son Brock.  Tracie and I got our map and headed out with thoughts of trying to get to some of the 50 pointers as quickly as possible while picking up some others on the way.  We got the first 10 pointer in about 2 minutes, then headed up a steep gully toward another control on the top of a ridge overlooking the Salt River.  We hadn’t done anything to warm up, so the sudden load of intense cardio was tough as we trudged up the steep gully.  One we got the next point, we realized that it had already been 20 minutes (we were only allowed to be out on the course for 2 hours), so we modified our plan and decided to stay a little closer to the start/finish.

We headed up the ridge and over into a little saddle.  We went down one side of the ridge about 100 yards to aquire another point, then back and off the other side down to a deep trench where there was another control.  Tracie wanted to learn to navigate, so we spent time at each control looking at the map, orienting the map, and getting a bearing toward the next control point.  Tracie was doing well at reading the map, but having a hard time determining the bearings.  I told her to not worry about it, that I have to remind myself how to do it almost every time I am out.

We headed down a wash then around some big boulders and over into another re-entrant to the next control.  5 down with one hour to go.  We headed up to a marked trail then followed that all the way up to the highest point on Coon Bluff where we found our next point.  On the way down the other side, we crossed paths with Ron the race director who was running it solo (no, he didn’t know where the points were, as someone else set the course).

We picked up our 7th point in another re-entrant partway down the hill.  Then we crossed over into a wider flatter valley and found another control.  We now had only 40 minutes left, so we looked at how we could maximize our effort and still make it back in time.  We skirted around the side of a hill and located our 9th control in a narrow gully.  Then further yet around the same hill to get another.   We had only 22 minutes left now……oh the pressure!

From there we went up and over the next ridge to point 11. We hiked down a narrow wash that was filled with big boulders to get our last control point, we now had only 8 minutes to make it back without incurring any penalties.  We made it down to the wash that paralleled the road and followed it down until we could cross the fence and get onto the roadway. We jogged across the parking area and made it back to the timing station with 37 seconds to spare!

We ended up with 300 total points out of 750 possible, but felt good about the experience.  We had a nice hike together, and Tracie got to see what navigation and orienteering is all about.  It was a great way to spend a day with the one I love.

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!

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

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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

Hiking with Haley at Pioneer Park October 8, 2008

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Today was a real treat.  Because school is on fall break, I had the opportunity to take my oldest granddaughter for a hike.  We went out to the Pioneer Park/Brownlow Trail to hike the 2 running legs of the upcoming Go! Off Road Duathlon (GORD).  The first leg is 1.5 miles that includes some of the wide smooth trail, and some less traveled single track.  I wondered how it would go when about half a mile into it Haley was asking how much longer it would be!  My response to that was that we were doing great and would soon turn back toward the truck.  This seemed to satisfy her, and we finished the first loop without much trouble.

We took a potty break (that’s Grampy talk), and had a CLIF bar while we were at the truck.  Then we headed out to do the 2.2 mile loop.  This loop also uses single track and the wider smoother trails that are out there.  When Haley kept wanting to stop and “rest” (we were going at a very easy pace even for her), I had to break out the story of the tortoise and the hare.  After that, it was smooth sailing!  She just wanted me to keep telling her stories while we hiked.  This worked fine, as she had her mind on the story and not how far we had gone or how far we had yet to go.  When we completed the second loop, she was surprised that is was already over.

All in all, it was a great way to spend the morning.  I am extremely proud of my little hiker girl, as we covered the 3.7 miles in about 90 minutes of hiking.  She is a trooper, and I hope to get her out again soon, if not hiking, then on her bike!

Scott’s Torturous Ride October 6, 2008

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Today I picked up Scott at the White Spar trail head, where he left his truck so we could do an end to end ride.

We met Hal at the place where we park on Iron Springs to ride in “the pines”.  The three of us headed up into “the pines” and climbed up and through the tunnel then up onto the old railroad grade.  This part of the grade is now considered part of the planned Circle Prescott Trail.  That was our plan for this afternoon, to ride about a third of the CPT.

We left the grade as trail 332 headed south and over a hill then down into Fireplace Springs.  It’s called Fireplace Springs, because a large stone fireplace is all that is left of what once was a homestead along a small creek.  From there, we continued on 332 to the south.  The 332 is now a single track on what was once an old road, but the boulders that the Forest Service put in to narrow it as well as all the weeds that grew throughout our wet summer have successfully masked the road.  The 332 ends when it reaches Thumb Butte Rd.

From there we rode the 392 up a long canyon and then further up the switchbacks on the north face of a hillside where we could look out across all that we had traversed so far to see the afternoon sun reflecting off cars headed up Iron Springs road.  This is Scott on that section of trail.

At the junction where the 392 hits the 326,  Hal had to cut his ride short and head back toward his house, but we took this photo before he left.

Scott and I pressed on.  We took the 322 down some fun single track to the 51.  The 51 is a forest road, so it was relatively smooth compared to a lot of what we had been on so far, so we made pretty good time on it even though it was mostly uphill riding.  At the bottom of one of the short downhill sections it crossed a rocky wash, and as I went over the rocks, my front wheel kicked up a foot sized rock that went into my rear spokes and broke one of them out.  Bummer.  I twisted the broken spoke around another spoke, and vowed to take it easy on the back wheel the rest of the ride.  Before long, we came to the back of Camp Perlstein where the 393 takes off of the 51.  Scott and I plugged along up the switchbacks, and stopped for a CLIF bar and some water for a few minutes.  I took these photos on the 393.

We passed a couple of women walking their fluffy white dog at the top, and they couldn’t believe that we had started over on Iron Springs Rd.  We finished the descent to Copper Basin Rd. then took ( I should say hike-a-biked) the 48 up to the 9401L. This is me where when we could get back on and ride again.

We rode the old forest road that is now closed to motorized vehicles around the south side of Wolverton Mt. to the junction where we would head down the 9415 single track toward the “white spar” some people call quartz mountain.  Little do they know that this is where White Spar Rd. got its name.  This section of the CPT is pretty awful (so much for taking it easy on my rear wheel).  Lots of loose, scrabbly rock and pretty steep and narrow.  Scott did a great job coming down this section of the trail, as it is what I would call pretty technical riding.

After we went around the Spar, we only had the 9707V descent before we made it back to Scott’s truck.  We were like horses running for the barn as we bombed the 500′ drop in only a little over a mile on the rough and rocky forest road!

Just as we made it to the truck, I heard Scott say “oh, no!”  He had left the keys to his truck in my truck almost 16 miles behind us!  Dan-dan-dadah, Tracie to the rescue!  I called my wife, and she very kindly drove up to where my truck was and retrieved Scott’s keys, then drove all the way across town to deliver them.  What a gal!

What a ride!

stats:

  • distance: 15.6 miles
  • total riding time: 2hrs. 12 min.
  • avg. speed 7.0 mph
  • elevation gain 2368 feet

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

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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

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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

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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!

Gilmore AR was a Sweet Success! September 23, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, orienteering.
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I just finished putting on the 7th Annual Gilmore Adventure Race this last weekend, and boy oh boy was it awesome! The weather was great and the scenery was stupendous!

We had over 185 racers compete in two different length courses.

The short course was 3 miles of trekking, followed by 10 miles of mountain biking (some teams turned this into 12 or 13), and there were 2 mystery events thrown into the mix too.  Then after that they were given a map with 13 orienteering points marked on it and told to find as many as they could before their 2:00pm cut off.  So total distance for short coursers was between 13 and 18 miles!

The long course was 4.5 miles of trekking, followed by 22 miles of mountain biking (1mile of which was a tough hike-a-bike down a narrow rocky canyon), and they also had the 2 mystery events.  Then they were given a the nav map with 13 orienteering points marked on it and told to find as many as they could before their 3:00pm cut off.  So total distance for short coursers was between 27 and 32 miles!

At the beginning of this post I said “I” just finished putting on the race……well, I was the race director, but there is NO WAY that the event could have gone off without the unbelievable efforts of our awesome volunteers!  They are really the ones that put on the race, I just put it and them together.  Thank you guys!

The vibe at this year’s race was really great.  Many racers brought their families and friends to cheer them on, so we had lots of people and lots of fun.  I didn’t expect so many people however, and we ran out of food and snacks.

Here are just a few photos that will be available to view on the GAR web site as soon as I get around to putting them up there!

Rocks Lurk Below September 15, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, orienteering.
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Kent and I were joined by our buddy Pat yesterday as we vetted the freestyle navigation portion of the GAR.  It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon. The sky was a bright blue doom from horizon to horizon and the temperature was about 75°F.

The grass and weeds that have grown so well this year due to all our monsoon rains are now turning from green to yellow-brown.  What looks like a nice smooth hillside as you approach it is really a rock strewn, ankle-twisting nightmare masked by the grass.  Not only are there rocks lurking below the “surface”, but there are also shin high catclaw bushes that grab at your legs, ankles and shoes with every step.

Now that I am done whining about the hiking conditions, I can tell you that despite a few scratches and pokes, we had a great time on our walkabout.  We spent the better part of the afternoon on hilltops, in canyons and amongst the trees, spotting several deer and other creatures as we hiked.

It will be interesting to see if any teams can actually clear the freestyle nav. portion of this course.  It will require someone that is good with a topo map and compass. It is pretty spread out, and in some tough terrain.  We will know on Saturday!

The GAR is Almost Here! September 14, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Racing, Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Less than a week now to the Gilmore Adventure Race near Prescott, Arizona.  Kent and Bob and I did a mountain bike ride on the short course yesterday, and everything is looking good.

Teams are coming from all over the state and southern California to be a part in the what has become the largest (in attendance) and longest running (in years) adventure race in Arizona.

They will begin to arrive on Friday about mid-day, by Saturday at sunrise, we will have almost 200 people revved up and ready to go.

This year’s event will send teams of 2 or 3 persons out into the mountains where they will mountain bike, trek, hike, complete mystery events and finish up with a freestyle navigation leg that is very similar to an orienteering meet.

The weather gurus (yeah right!) are predicting perfect weather for the day.

I can’t wait!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mud and Catclaw August 28, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

Broken Bike Blues August 23, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

2 WEEKS!

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

I miss my bike already!

Afternoon In Arizona August 22, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walk with the Dog August 19, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Making Sure the Course Works August 14, 2008

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

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

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

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

Speaking of Broken………. August 10, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paradise in our own backyard

Paradise in our own backyard

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

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

Me riding on 349

Me riding on 349

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

Michael in the middle

Michael in the middle

Nate hates riding....can you tell?

Nate hates riding....can you tell?

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

Back at the vehicles

Back at the vehicles

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

Finally! Back on the Bike! August 6, 2008

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

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

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

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

stats:

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