March 18, 2016

A Slice of Rye

I really hadn't planned to pre-ride the entire AZTR750 route, it just kinda happened. I'm always trying to find new ways to link up the AZT into loops and what not. It must have been sometime late last year when I realized I had almost section completed the 750. I guess I figured, why not just do it all so I know what parts are going to hurt more.

I'm now on a 4x9 workweek with a 1/2 day on Fridays and by 1/2 day I'm talking 5-9a. That leaves a big chunk of Friday open for riding. Score.

I had dropped the Voodoo off for some much needed TLC and it was ready to go by late morning Friday. I grabbed some lunch and made the quick drive north to the Deer Creek TH. It was a bit later than I originally hoped, but I still thought I could make the ride up to Payson and back before nightfall. A short spin down AZ188 to Jake's Corner put me smack dab on the route.
The Voodoo attracts all kinds of attention.
History lesson.
Fairly certain this will be a stop on the route.
Of course they are.
There's a dirt road directly across the road from the bar, well graded and slightly uphill. It tops out innocently enough with great views of the surrounding mountains.
Dirt roads with a view = win.
Rye  creek flowing well.
Seven miles later I was back on AZ87 heading into Rye. From what I can tell, there are no services in town. They must get all their food up in Payson. I crossed over the median to a frontage road which quickly turned to dirt and began to climb.
All Bikes CLOSED, not sure I knew it was ever really OPEN??
AZ87 in Rye.
For the most part the dirt climb was decent, only a few HAB sections.
The mighty Mazatzals.
It seemed like the transformation from desert to woodland occurred in 3 miles.
The steeper climbing only lasted a few miles and before I knew it I had topped out onto the AZ87 shoulder. A couple miles of pavement then a right onto a dirt road where I immediately blew by a turn. Huh? I didn't see a road. I backtracked to find a vague 2-track tucked behind some bushes paralleling the roadway by 20 feet or so.
AZ87 south of Payson.
The pavement can be seen through the bushes.
This section was short lived and I was back on a secondary paved road. One more dirt connection led me to the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. It was getting late and I wanted to get back down the hill as quick as possible. I grabbed some cold drinks & a snack and decided to ride the AZ87 shoulder back down to Rye.
Next time I'm here I'll be making a beeline to Alfonso's Mexican Food.
I could have swore the 87 shoulder was extra wide, not the case. So, after having countless vehicles fly by me at high speed I opted to stay alive by taking the same route down to Rye. By now I knew I wasn't going to get to my car by sunset, but hopefully I'd be done with the dirt section by then.
 Going into this ride I had a change of plans for the 750. Not only was I going to skip the post office drop, I was going to do the ride on platform pedals in my hiking shoes. This ride was the first test and it passed with flying colors. I swiped these pedals from my 20" GT Pro Freestyle Tour BMX Flatland bike!! It was the most action these pedals had seen in over 20 years.
Golden Hour taking hold of Tonto Basin.
I made it down the hill and back onto pavement before nightfall. There was a large troop of Boy Scouts hiking along the shoulder, sorta strange for this area, but I learned the following day they had hiked all the way from Superior!! Dang.

Overall, this was a fun ride and I'm glad I did it before the event. Now I know the climbing isn't too terrible and where the tricky turns are.

No comments:

Post a Comment