February 28, 2015

In Search of New Dirt

We often get spoiled by our riding weather during the 'cooler' months here in the desert. So, when a storm is predicted for the weekend many of us try to jam in a ride before things get nasty. If I don't have to ride in the rain, I'm not.

We figured it would be a safe bet to head out early & get off the trails by 11a. There was some recent chatter about new trails being developed on the northern fringe of the Brown's Ranch trail system. Jeff, Nancy & Arturo were all game for a little exploration, not to mention it was Arturo's first time on any of the BR trails. Shame on you. Plus, my wrist was still bothering me and I knew the Brown's Ranch trails were tame by Phoenix standards. It would be a good test for it.

Our main goal was to first find the new stuff, but take a fun route getting there. Maverick & Cholla Mtn trails were the obvious choice. A short connector on a defunct Pima/Dynamite system trail led us to the new swath of dirt.

We figured we'd just ride the new stuff westbound and return. What we found were a few new trails crisscrossing the desert.
While new trails are nice, we're still hopeful that some technical features will find their way into Brown's Ranch.
We found the work equipment along with the neon flagging for the new routing. The new dirt was fun, but it was also more of the same for Brown's Ranch. I hope the northern fringes incorporate more of the natural rock features into the trail design. It'll never be another National trail, but at least spice it up a bit!! I often compare the new trail construction to ski resorts. It's like opening a huge ski resort with tons of downhill runs, but they are all rated 'green'. Just like skiers, mountain bikers enjoy a good technical challenge, a steep switchbacked climb and gnarly descent - even if it means getting off your bike once in a while. Thrown in some blue, black & double black trails!! Please!!
Let me drive this thing, I see some rocks over there!!
We made some loops, doubled back on some sections and looped around towards the parking lot on the Granite Mtn. & Balanced Rock trails.
Great friends and beating the weather.
As we approached the trailhead the weather was still holding off, so we jumped at the opportunity to add one more loop. Jeff probably wished we didn't, as his front tire slid out on him barely a mile later opening a nice trail donation on his knee. He rode back to the car while the three of us finished off the loop about 15 minutes later.

Don't get me wrong, I love Brown's Ranch, it's fast, flowy and very scenic Sonoran desert riding. A nice change to some of the other local punishing rides we have in the Valley of the Sun. There are plenty of dirt sidewalk miles close to the trailhead now, so it's time to up the skill level for the trails farther away, we want it. Build it!!

I was also pleased with how my wrist fared, onto the next test.

Here's our route from the day, new stuff is in the upper left.

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