I rounded up Tim to tag along for the carpool and we were off, a bit late, but we were heading to Sedona for some incredible singletrack! We arrived at the meeting spot just before 7a and the group had already departed, but there were only a couple of cars in the lot? Where was everyone we wondered? As it turns out, only 7 of us ventured out for the BFL. Oh well, lots of people missed out on a fantastic beatdown of a route.
Tim was rocking his rigid singlespeed (SS) 29er, dude is hardcore. The fun began at the Adobe Jack trailhead (TH) and did a quick split on the way to the main loop. Once there we continued clockwise onto the Jim Thompson trail. I wasn't quite ready for the rubbly climbing and was all over the place, hiking more than I normally would on trails like this. Soon we came to a cool vantage point overlooking the Midgley bridge.
|Midgley bridge over Oak Creek.|
|No bikes beyond this point. :(|
|Tim joined me in the wet feet club, felt kinda nice.|
|We were just up there!|
|Stunning views all day long.|
|Huckaby trail meandering along side Oak Creek towards Schnebly Hill Rd.|
|Nice overview of Submarine Rock.|
|The final dip into Chicken Point.|
|Tim was hassling some 4x4'ers because their jeep was too clean.|
|The White Line about half-way up is a test of one's fear of heights. POV version. (Looks easy, huh?)|
|Bell Rock from Chicken Point.|
|We stopped to chat with Wally, a local rider, on Llama trail.|
|The sign doesn't lie, got it Made in the Shade! Photo by Tim.|
|Ahh, the postcard views from Highline Trail.|
|From Highline looking back towards Chicken Point.|
|Chapel on the rocks from Highline.|
|More awesomesauce from Highline Trail.|
|Nearing the drop-off from Highline. Photo by Tim.|
|Look at that trail!! We're going down there!! Photo by Tim.|
|Near the bottom, Tim eyeballed this section.|
|Then blasted it on the rigid SS!!|
|Heart pumping clean rollout, nicely done!!|
|Last water crossing.|
This is where I finally heeded Tim's advice and took care of my rear tire for good. Tim: 'I don't want to say I told you so, but...', yeah, yeah. The Old Post Trail crested out and made us almost forget the rough climbing. We dumped out onto 89A and decided to stop for ice at the teal arched McD's in town. I scarfed down my PB&J and a few other morsels before we made our way over to the super fun downhill on Girdner Tr.
Things were finally looking up, my legs started to feel life again and this downhill was a hoot. The multitude of sandy wash crossings at the bottom tried to deter my enthusiasm but I was having none of it. Well, at least not until the 18th crossing or so!
Somewhere in here I checked my phone, I had a message from Red Rock Chica at 4:45p, she had finished at 4pm and was chilling at home waiting for us to complete the route. Jeez, that girl can ride!! We still had grand illusions of finishing around 6:30 and catching some dinner & drinks on this Cinco de Mayo, but little did we know we wouldn't finish until sometime after 8p!!
I knew we were approaching the fun sections of Cockscomb/Aerie/Mescal Mtn and they did not disappoint. This was some of the most fun riding on the route sans a small GPX file gaffe that had us backtracking a few times. We didn't want to stop & take pics through here, the trail is so much fun!!
|Almost to the super fun pump track section.|
We came to the switchbacked downhill on Teacup trail as the sun was setting, only thinking we had a mile or two to go, in reality we still had about 5 to go. It was now full-on twilight as we made the turn back onto the Adobe Jack trail which led us to the starting trailhead. This time we'd be taking the left fork on the way 'down'. Surprise, surprise, another HAB hill climb!! Drat. Not that I didn't want to go up there, but I didn't want to go up there NOW, racing against darkness. We crested the top of Ant Hill, my eyes now adjusted to the fading light and began a slow methodical downhill slog. We hooked up with the final out-n-back portion of the trail, but with about a mile to go it was just too dark for me to see anything and ride safely. I made the call to get off and walk it out. Tim had a small camp light to help navigate to the end and about 25 minutes later we reached the road. What's another nighttime AES finish, right?
A quarter mile later we were back at the car, pitch black, 8:18pm. 12hrs 51 minutes later, dang. That was a tough 57 miles. A few minutes later, Red Rock & Lars came by to pick up the sign-in ledger and were pleased to see that we survived. A special thanks to these two for taking the reigns on this ride, I'm glad I made the trip north. For all its punishment, Sedona is a special place to put bike tracks down.
I think my next ride in Sedona is going to be more along the lines of a 20 mile, fun flowy trail only type of ride. I'll save this kind of beatdown for next year's BFL. See you then!!