December 8, 2013

Ghost of AES' Past: BCT

I still had 1/2 of my weekend hall pass remaining after the Gila Ramble and Arturo mentioned he wanted to shuttle the Black Canyon Trail (BCT) on Sunday. Caroline was also interested, so she crashed at our place again and I talked Arturo into skipping the shuttle in favor of the now defunct AES BCT route from the past two years. It's much easier logistically and the 21 mile paved/dirt climb to the Antelope Creek segment is a really nice warm-up.

Caroline was only planning on joining us for the first few miles, then peeling off to do a shorter ride before heading home. Arturo and I were going to do the full 50 mile loop, all of which was new to him.
Caroline topping out on the first climb up Maggie Mine Rd.
Arturo nearing the top of the 1st climb, I-17 in the background.
Making our way north past Bumble Bee.
Near the Hidden Treasure Mine trailhead.
Top of Antelope Creek & ready for singletrack!!
Antelope Creek segment.
Arturo cresting the second big climb.
Down we go!
It had been a full year since my last ride on the BCT and I'm sure it's because the Rock Springs trailhead is 82 miles from my front door, otherwise I'd be out here all the time. This trail simply begs to be ridden. The dirt winds downhill for long stretches, follows an interesting contour, has a few techy bits to keep you on your toes and the views are endless.
The trail was in fantastic condition.
Some sections are almost fake, no way this is real.
It's ok to stop and take it all in. Photo by Arturo.
Dip into a canyon, switch sides, ride along a mountainside, repeat. Photo by Arturo.
By now Arturo has forgotten all about the climb to the top.
Cue the Johnny Cash: Down, down, down....
We didn't mind the slight headwind and temps in the low 40's. Photo by Arturo.
Lots of great pics, but it did cost us some time.
Onto the Hidden Treasure Mine segment.
I like the few boulder sections through here. Photo by Arturo.
An occasional rock bridge over a drainage adds a nice challenge.
Nothing but smiles.
Returning to Bumble Bee, the Sunset rest area on I-17 can be seen on the ridge.
Bumble Bee Rd & Gloriana Mine TH.
An oasis below the Bradshaw Mtns. Photo by Arturo.
Looks like Arturo had a close call, I missed it! Photo by Arturo.
Decent flow in Black Canyon Creek, it's typically either dry or a trickle.
Big switchback coming out of the creek. Photo by Arturo.
Cleaned the switchback, no stalls, no wall assistance & no hops!! Photo by Arturo.
One of the many bike-friendly cattle guards.
I opted to push for a few minutes after I tumbled off the trail trying to clean a techy section! Photo by Arturo.
About to lose our race against the sunset, but I think we still won! Photo by Arturo.
Two Boots Jct now only has one boot!! This needs to change.
I adopted Derek's fashion sense crossing the Agua Fria river, thankfully the water wasn't as cold as the Gila or as deep. Photo by Arturo.
At least we were both prepared for some night riding, actually my first night session at the BCT. Only a few miles remained after the Agua Fria crossing including a sweet climb up 8 switchbacks before a gradual descent to the trailhead. I did my best, but SB#3 got me, 7/8 isn't too bad though.

We finished just before 7pm, made a call to the Rock Springs Cafe to see if they were still open....9pm!! Pie for everyone!! I really need to make an effort to ride the BCT more often, it's always a good time. Nice to see Arturo knock out another 50 mile ride too, way to go!!

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Arturo! He's becoming a regular endurance rider! I love that ride. So much goodness in it. Probably the ride I've done the most on the BCT.