April 30, Winter Again

Flew home from Arizona to be greeted by cold crappy weather.  Well, if it is going to be cold, it might as well snow.   It did.  It snowed a lot.  Met up with Don Hecker at Alpental at 8:00.   Followed a nice skin track all the way to the top of Alpental.   Luckily the one skier, who broke trail, descended the Edelweisss side.  International was totally untracked.  Nice.

Don eats some powder for breakfast.

April 26, Last Day, Dead Horse Ranch State Park - Cottonwood, AZ

Friday, today is our last day in Sedona.  We catch an 11am flight tomorrow, back to Seattle.  The air is real dry here.  We're not sure how people can live in such dry air, with sunshine every single day.  Good thing there is all types of weather, for all types of people.  We really do like our mixed weather in the Northwest.  Don't get us wrong.  Temps in the 70's and low 80's have been awesome.  Shorts and t-shirts for 2 weeks.  Riding 10 days.  Let's hope we keep our fitness.  And, I think we get to arrive home to rainy weather, especially up a the Pass.

Francine makes the climb on Raptor Trail

I think Utah also has a Dead Horse State Park, near Moab?  Again, where to ride?  Francine talked Kevin into driving down to Cottonwood, about 20 miles west, located lower, at 3120 feet.  He wasn’t too enthusiastic, as he didn’t want to ride road in the treeless, ugly, hot desert.  Last week, we visited the Tuzigoot Monument in Cottonwood, and the country surrounding wasn’t very pretty.  We wanted a short day, and our map showed a 7.5 mile loop.  The Verde Valley Birding Festival was taking place at the State Park, so we parked in town. 
Rode Jail Trail to the pavement, crossed the river and took a side trail into the park.  Climbed Lower Raptor Hill, which was basically a double track road.  We were sure hoping the entire ride wouldn’t be road.  After climbing 3 miles on the road, we hit an intersection with Thumper Trail.  Went right, and almost instantly, chose an unmarked trail on the left.  This nice single track looped up and around back to Thumper Trail.  Singletrack instantly upped the fun factor.  We found out the name of the unmarked trail was Upper Raptor.  We then went left on Thumper Trail which was nice singletrack for 2.3 miles.  Went right on Lime Kiln Trail for 2.1 miles.  Lime Kiln was a road that has turned to singletrack.  If we went left, we could have ridden 15 miles to Sedona on Lime Kiln trail.  Lime Kiln Trail eventually brought us back to the park.
Did we say there was no shade at all today, and we started around the crack of noon?  Temps were in the low 80’s.  When we made it back into the park, found some shade and had our lunch.  Once re-fueled, we had a nice 1 mile pedal back to the car.  Great way to end our awesome 2 week trip to Sedona.  We arrived on April 14th,  rode 10 days and only took 2 days off.  We had two, great, 2 bedroom condo units at Sedona Summit, thanks to Pat and Larry.  We are sure getting old and soft, and seem to prefer condos to camping on our bike trips.  Guess we will have to choose riding destinations near towns?  12 miles.

Still climbing.  Hot.  Thankfully,
 the downhill was actually pretty fun.

April 25, Dry Creek Area, finally hit Last Frontier - Sedona

Where to ride today?  Seems like we have ridden all the trails in Francine's ability level.  Kevin still wanted to ride Hangover, but Francine was having none of that.  Today, Kevin wanted to ride from the condo, so we headed out the back door to Plumber’s Crack to Private Color Cove Road to Dry Creek Road to Lizardhead Trail.  Rode this to Chuckwagon, but went left this time to descend to Girdner trail.  Went right to hit Snake, AZ Cypress, Dawa and Cockscomb.  Today is the third day we rode Western Civilization, a fun and awesome trail.  Since Western Civilization isn’t an “official system trail”, it is narrower singletrack.  Stopped at an old deserted camp/ruin for lunch.
It was cloudy and breezy, so when we reached the Last frontier intersection, we decided we needed to try the trail.  5 miles later, after a big descent and climb up Drano, we were at the abandonded cultural center, near the condo.  The trailwork and armoring of the Last Frontier trail into these hillsides and red rock is just amazing.  The Last Frontier trail, another user-built, non-system trail, is just barely wide enough in places for Francine to ride without getting too freaked out.  Other than some narrowness, the trail was more cross country oriented, than technical, which Francine enjoyed.  16 miles.

April 24, Arizona Trail, Sunset Trail - Flagstaff

Bill and Renee left early on Tuesday morning, so we took that needed rest day off as tourists.  Had a lazy morning, went shopping in Uptown Sedona, and had lunch at Oak Creek Brewing in Tlaquepaque.  We must be getting old, because we briefly thought that taking a Pink Jeep tour looked nice.  Of course we didn’t want to over pay, because, don’t you get a free trip for going to a 90 minute time share presentation?    Somehow we didn’t have time for that during our 2 week stay.  Nor did we have time for the Grand Canyon.

Smooth trails in the woods, Flagstaff Az.

Wednesday, we made the trek to Flagstaff to ride the trails we rode two years ago.  Flagstaff, at 7,000 feet, is only 28 miles from Sedona, but the nice drive up Oak Creek Canyon is windy, so takes over an hour.  The posted speed limit is 40 MPH, if you are lucky to go that speed.  We started at the Fort Valley trails again.  Trails were a little dustier than last year, as the snow either melted quicker this year, or was non-existent .  Rode Fort Valley, Schultz, Chimney, Lower Moto, Super Moto, Arizona Trail, Secret, #3 Climb to the top.  Had a sweet descent on Sunset, back up Secret to descend on Arizona trail to Schultz Creek.  Signage was awesome this year, and we climbed on the newly signed Arizona Trail, which on my map looks like it used to be called SuperFly.  Was sure nice to have flowy singletrack for a change.  19.3 miles.

April 22, Special Ed again - Sedona

Francine on Special Ed.

 OK - had to take Bill & Renee on this route.  Special Ed is a narrow, user-built, trail, that starts across the street from our condo, at the high school.  Rode “S Trail” to Special Ed to Ramshead to Red Rock Crossing.  Got our feet wet crossing Oak Creek to Baldwin Trail to loop around the rock.  Crossed back over Oak Creek, our lowest point of the day, to climb Ramshead to Old Post to Herkenheim to the top of the hill.

Bill did an amazing track stand, hovering over a cactus, preventing a fall that would have sent him to the hospital.  Bill held his position until Francine ran back to grab the handlebars, so he could dismount.  His back tire was elevated on a rock, about 8-10 inches high, surrounded by cacti.  We put the tweezers to good use, plucking pricklies out of Bill’s shorts and leg.  He got off real lucky.  After Special Ed, we were on more system trails, which were a little wider and easier to ride.  The loop around Baldwin trail was real pretty thru the red rocks.  12 miles.

April 21, Teacup to Soldier's Pass area - Sedona

Renee on Thunder Mt. trail

We spent some time placing cars after we found out we needed parking passes.  These trails right above town are quite technical, but gorgeous, as we are riding on the red rocks behind town.  Bill had been nursing his front tire.  It had a hole that he patched.  It finally gave way today.  Luckily, we were stopped when the tire lost all it’s air instantly. 



We had a generally downhill, up & down, day, as we parked one car at the bottom of town.  We started at the Thunder Mountain trailhead - rode counter clockwise on Chimney Rock Lower and Upper, Thunder Mountain trail, Teacup, Soldier’s Pass Singletrack, Grand, Adobe Jack, Coyote, back on Grand to Crusty.  We were ready for a short day after yesterday.  Trail was very up and down, and despite the short mileage, still a workout.  7.5 miles.

April 20, Chuckwagon & Mescal - Sedona

Bill and Francine on Chuckwagon trail
 Whew – long ride.  Drove and parked a car on Dry Creek Road to shave off a few miles.  Rode Lizard Trail to Chuckwagon to Mescal to Aerie to Cockscomb to Western Civilization to Girdner, finishing at the condo. 
Chuckwagon trail has been adopted into the official trail system, so route-finding was real easy, and the trail is like a freeway now.  The hikers sure love it now, as there is a huge Trailhead/parking area at the start.  Unfortunately we got yelled at by a group of hikers.  Kevin was slowly riding up on a group of four.  When they heard his brakes, they turned and started ranting at us.  Unfortunately, a trail built by mountain bikers is overrun  by hikers for the first two miles. 

Mescal trail
 After Chuckwagon makes a u-turn and heads back west on what used to be named Gunslinger,  we hit the main road.  We were glad to find the Mescal trail, one we failed to find two years ago.  They now have a new connector trail.  Again this entire area is well signed, now.  This trail definitely was better than the jeep road climb and descent we did two years ago, that went around the back side of Mescal mountain.   Mescal  trail wrapped around the front of Mescal rock, another red rock formation.  The second half of Aerie trail was real nice as well.  Once on Western Civilization, we skipped Last Frontier, as we were ready to finish, and rode up Girdner to our condo.  18 miles.



April 19, Chicken Point - Sedona

Renee with Francine following

Thursday was a day off after three days of riding.  We took a day off because Bill and Renee were set to arrive around dinner time.  We wanted a day of rest after 3 days of riding.  We didn't have Wi-Fi at our condo, so we were unable to update our blog until we got home.

Today, Friday, we all drove back to the Oak Creek area to do the ride to Chicken Point.  Parked at the Bike and Bean, climbed Slim Shady to HT to Little Horse and climbed to Chicken Point. 

Renee and Bill at Chicken Point

Bill and Renee finally upgraded their 20 year old hard-tail Klein bikes, to cushy, full suspension 29'er bikes.  They were climbing and rolling over everything.  This was their first time to Sedona, and looked like they were having a great time.
Pink Jeep tours also stop at Chicken Point.  They are always in awe that we rode our bikes up to that point.  They come up on a jeep road from the back side.  Back tracked on Little Horse to Lama Trail to Templeton to Hermit to Coconino to Slim Shady.  Great loop. 12.3 miles.


This is way steeper, bumpier and rocker than it looks.  Only Kevin had the guts to try in our foursome

April 17, Slim Shady to Highline, Baldwin, Templeton, and Slim Shady - Sedona

13.5 mile day.  Drove down to the town of Oak Creek, where we stayed 4 nights, 2 years ago.  Parked at the Bike and Bean, and headed up Slim Shady.  Signage is awesome in this network of trails.  We had no problem finding Highline trail this year.  The mileage we put in at Roslyn and Cle Elum paid off.  Made the climb to the top of Highline quite easy.  Did some hike-a-biking down the back side to the Baldwin trail.  Went right and descended to Templeton Trail.  Descended Easy Breezy to HT trail.  Accidently took that to the Bell Rock Pathway (boring road), so double-backed to Slim Shady.  Climbed up and over, and had a fun descent back to the car.  We were pretty whooped at the end of the ride.  It is amazing how a technical 13 mile ride can kick your butt.

Francine climbs Highline trail

Narrow, user-built trail with incredible armoring on the edges

Francine - backside of Highline Trail

Kevin actually rides part of the Highline downhill

April 16, Special Ed down and Ridge up - Sedona

Great riding from the condo again.  We crossed Hwy 89 and went to the high school.  Hit a little single track around the west end of the high school.  Went left at the Schurman trail and descended a little.  Went right on Special Ed.  Rolled up and generally down on a narrow, user built, singletrack to Witch Doctor trail, which circumvents Pyramid Mountain.  Went left and descended.  We rode clockwise around Pyramid Mountain to a fun offshoot that hit the Schurman paved road.    Hit the paved road to Red Rock State park.  Checked out Red Rock crossing, the path across the river.  Was passable, but we were at the 8 mile mark, our low point of the day, and decided to head home.  After a snack at the park, we headed up on Ridge trail.  At the top of the hill, had a nice descent to Carroll Canyon trail to the top of the ridge, at the Old Post trailhead.  Hit the neighborhood and rode out to Hwy 89.  Climbed 1 mile on pavement to the top of the hill, to the condos.  13.5 mile day.

Francine on Special Ed

Love the narrow singletrack on the red rocks


April 15, Girdner Trail Lollipop - Sedona

Thanks to Pat & Larry for our two week stay at Sedona Summit in a 2 bedroom condo. We came here two years ago and had a great time. We got a late start riding today, as we had to head to the bike shop to have them look at Fran’s headset. We also needed to get recommendation on where to ride in the wind. 25-35 mile wind, with higher gusts. Dave, at The Fat Tire Bike shop recommended the Dry Creek area, Chuckwagon, Mescal and Aerie. We planned on hitting those trails on Saturday, with Bill and Renee, from Denver, who will be arriving on Thursday night. So, we decided to head back to the condo and explore some trails that leave from the unit.

10?? Miles today. Bike computer wasn’t really working until the 2.6 mile mark, and then the miles started adding up. Rode down Plumber’s Crack, took too many rights, and ended up on the paved road. So, we double backed up the pavement back to the condos, and started over and descended on Girdner trail. Rode this to Rupp trail where we turned left, climbed up and over a couple hills to Cockscomb trail. We went left on a sweet, curving, climbing trail. Went left again at Western Civilization trail. Missed the right hand turn to Last Frontier, which ended up being fine, as we connected back on the Girdner trail. Went right and climbed back up to the condo. Fun ride, little under 3 hours.

Kevin heads down Girdner Trail

Francine along wash on Girdner Trail

Francine cruises on Western Civilization trail

April 8,9 - Roslyn

Headed east, again, to check out the trails above Roslyn and Cle Elum.  All the south facing trails appear to be good to go.  The only place we ran into significant snow was on the ridge road at the top.   

Francine tries out a new trail.

Kevin in front of Mt. Stuart

April 6, Sage Hills - Escape from the rain

With it raining hard at home, we decided to make for one of the few dry spots in the state.  A careful watch of the doppler radar looked positive.  However, we were definitely flirting with the edge of a major precipitation event.  We stared hard at the roadway wake-up bumps filled with rainwater as we descended towards Wenatchee.  Finally, a couple miles before Wenatchee, they went dry.  The Sage Hill trail area above town, had just reopened on April 1, after a winter closure.   With green grass growing and the balsam root flowers blooming, the trails were in the best shape we had ever seen.  We enjoyed a steady climb up the main trail system, then went even higher.  We finally connected into the top of the lightning trail and enjoyed the long downhill back to the car.  Great day.