May 13, 2017

There's Gold in the Goldfield Mtns.

A message came in from Brett asking if I had been to the north part of the Goldfield Mtns. I hadn't. All my riding so far had been to the south. I had heard reports of vague trail, HAB, steep fall-line trail, but magnificent views. I could tell from my rides in the south that the latter was true, how hard could it be?

We set up a time and met for an exploration ride of sorts. Dave joined myself and the brothers Nowacki, Brett & Scott.

We rolled out on one of the few trails I know, or thought I did. I always ride it in the other direction and promptly led us to a short bit of bushwhacking to get back on track!! I was just trying to get the ride in the correct mentality!!

The Superstitions would be our backdrop for most of the ride.
Nice rolling jeep road to get into the hills.
We were barely over a mile into the ride on a fairly tame jeep road when Brett got a flat on his plus sized tire. No worries, fresh sealant was already in it and a tire plug inserted quickly. Pssssss. Leaking from the base of the stem. Tightened up...pssssss. Hmmm, seems to be leaking at the spoke nipple? Time to break the bead on the tire. Sure enough the rim tape had shifted and seen better days. Again, no worries, throw in a tube. Brett forgot his in the car. Gah. Here, have mine, it's barely a month old, has Slime in it and is still in the wrapper. Perfect.....Fail. Tube had a large hole on the seam, likely manufacturing defect. What's next, stretch a 26" tube in there!! Installed, pump, pump, pump away. More hissing is heard, pump some more, maybe it's trapped air. Nope. Tube fail #2. Now down to our last tube among us, Dave's 27.5. By now, Brett's arms were tired from all the hand pump action and he was covered in sealant. The plus sized tire was reinstalled for the third or fourth time, but this time it worked!! I lent out my higher volume pump to help ease the pain. So, how many mountain bikers does it take to change a flat? 4. and one tire plug, 3 tubes and 45 minutes!! Let's ride.
This may be the final tube install.
We soon found our first bit of singletrack on Mine trail. This one rode really well.
Brett & Dave on Mine trail.
We dumped out onto a jeep road and had to consult the Trailforks app to see where the next 'trail' was supposed to be. All we could see was a rocky wash, that was it. This trail, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, is marked red on the map. That typically means lots of walking. Barely 15 feet into the wash a beautiful piece of singletrack peeled off to the left. Sweet.
Plenty of rideable sections.
Scott steering clear of the biggest annoyance out there, the tall dead grass. Those barbs get everywhere!! I had to pick them out of my shoes & socks at least 3 times. May need shoe covers to ride out there.

The trail became more rocky as it narrowed to this cool spot.
Scott had received a call from his wife, which he thought was odd, so he wandered off to find a cell signal. Not two minutes later we heard a very distinct whooshing sound as a large hawk took flight above us. I think we were right below its nest. This entire area had the feel of big cat country, I was scanning the hillsides the entire ride!!

Scott was gone a while, maybe 20 minutes. Brett found him and learned it was a butt dial call!! Oh well, better to be safe.

We had already been out for around 2 hours and covered a whopping 5 miles or so. I had to be finished by 11:30 for some silly wedding. :) The other half of Team Loco was getting hitched and I was 'encouraged' to not go on a #loco ride, too late. Our plans of an 18-22 mile day weren't going to happen either, I just had to figure out when & where I was going to call it off.

Super steep HAB. At least the trail wasn't overgrown.
Sometimes you need a little luck on your side.
We exited Frankie onto more jeep roads. We were now looking for another piece of singletrack called 'A Horse With No Name'. I'm sensing a music theme out here. To our surprise, this trail was about as plain-as-day as could be.
Wow! This trail looks great!! But it leads up around the hill on the left.
A few minutes of HAB, then Dave rides for a bit, followed by more HAB to reach this vantage point.

A few more minutes of HAB later we crested a saddle. To our amazement a huge area of lichen covered slickrock was surrounding us. The climbing continued.
Brett's lichen this climb. (See what I did there?)
Bike break at the top.

A surprising piece of flat trail.
Boom!! Weaver's Needle & the Superstitions dominate.
It was starting to get a bit warm as we descended off the backside. We crossed a wash and I could tell these next 4 miles or so would be very slow going. I decided I better turn around here and find a quick route back to the car. It was 10:30. Scott was feeling the heat and had already started back up the slickrock.
Dave riding the white line.
Such a diverse area.
The earlier HAB was easily ridden down and I made quick work getting back to the jeep road. I knew I could take it to the right and rejoin a familiar trail, Foothills, to get back to the car.
Foothills singletrack.
Near the end I had to navigate a few trail grenades. Sure hope this wasn't intentional.
I made it back to the car right at 11:30a. Good call on the turnaround point.

All four of us are eager to come back and explore more terrain. It is a spectacular area to ride, adventure riding at its best. Expect to HAB and the riding to generally be slow, but so far its been worth it.

Afterwards, behind the shadows of Oracle Ridge, these two started a life together!!
Congrats Shannon & Beto!! Photo: Damion Alexander


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