December 11, 2016

East Valley Goods

The East Valley of Phoenix is loaded with great riding. There's a half dozen trail systems alone between Hawes, Gold Canyon, San Tan Regional Park, South Mountain, Papago Park & Brown's Ranch/McDowell's to the north. I found myself spending a lot of time on these trails lately, mostly in tour mode which was a blast.

Arturo's making a steady comeback on the bike after a super busy year on the homefront. We met up for a Brown's Ranch spin on some familiar terrain for him and a bunch of new stuff too.
We started early with the goal of being done by lunch.
The overcast skies gave the distant mountains an East Coast feel. 
We even spotted a couple of deer next to the trail.

Here, on a Diablo feature, Arturo demonstrates his superior bike handling skills.
Here, on Renegade, Arturo demonstrates his not-so-superior bike handling skills.
Remember kids, everything in the desert is sharp, pointy, poisonous and generally out to get you.
The elusive crested Saguaro.
The ultra rare Michelin Man Saguaro.
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sonoran Desert style.
Nearing the end, I think he's done.

Brown's Ranch is pretty easy riding, but 36 miles on dirt is still 36 miles on dirt. He did great for not riding a whole bunch coming into this one. It was good to share the trails again after a long hiatus. Now, we just have to get Seron back out here!

Brown's Ranch flyover:

The following weekend one of my digital friends, Shannon, was in town for some cold weather relief and a return to the trails. Her Kona bike hookup fell through at the last minute and I thought she'd do just fine on the Ti rig with the seat dropped. I neglected to realize the slight curve in the seatpost downtube and the post bottomed out sooner than I thought. Gah! We had just spent 2 hours getting up to Brown's Ranch from Mesa due to a freeway closure, so this had to work!! Luckily, it was right at the height needed.

This was her first ride after a month and a half off the bike as she's been dealing with neuromuscular issues. Simply moving around was a major issue until recently.

We got going and by the time a couple miles had ticked off I could tell the pace was a bit much for her. Time to back off a bit. She was also coming from sea level and while I don't consider Phoenix high altitude, we were riding 3000' higher than she's used to, it does make a difference.
Good to be back on the trails!!
We settled into a good pace, taking plenty of breaks and before we knew it the miles were stacking up.
Everybody gets a HAB pic!!
I don't know if this rock squeeze on Renegade has a name, but exfoliation rock may fit the bill.

By the time we wrapped things up we knocked out over 18 miles. Way to ease back into riding!!

I was free the next morning and offered to show her around the Gold Canyon trails. We wouldn't do as many miles since it's a bit more demanding. I figured a standard loop in the 10 mile range would suffice.
So serious.
Snack time at the top of K-trail.
Jodi's Dream.
It's really tough to take a bad shot out here when the Superstitions are doing their 'thing'.

Rock slabs of Micro Moab.
We finished out the short tour and grabbed a burrito at Janie's Cafe in Gold Canyon on a trailside recommendation. Wow!! Great New Mexican style fare.

I dropped Shannon off after making plans to join her and a couple of her local friends for a Hawes ride the following day. But first, I had the rest of the day to get some chores done and take the Ti bike out on a spin of my own.

Since it had recently rained, I thought it would be the perfect time to finally ride the Malpais Trail at Santan Regional Park. I took off late in the afternoon from home and did a quick rip through the park. I'm liking this bike more & more with each passing mile. I am really looking forward to getting the riser bars on it though.
Hero dirt coupled with packed sand on Malpais made for a great ride.
My only stop on the ride other than the last 2 pics.
Nightfall over the big city.
Nighttime descent on Dynamite trail.

We met Rob at his place the next morning and pedaled over to Walgreen's where Isaac had been waiting. Terry met us as we hopped on the TRW trail for a quick loop and by quick I mean blazing fast by Rob & Terry. Those dudes can hammer and they weren't even trying!!

It's such a small cycling world as I didn't know any of these guys before the ride, yet knew many of the people they regularly ride with.
Christmas in the desert.
Terry on an alt line by the canal.
Shannon, Isaac & Rob striking a pose on Pride Rock.
Someone is happy to be out of the snow and back on the bike!!
Isaac sending it off the rock drop by the 4-way.
Shannon grinding the 34T up the punchy climbs on Secret trail.

Based on the previous two rides with Shannon, I was super impressed with her riding at Hawes. She was able to keep a solid pace for the ride and made almost all the climbs with the bigger gearing. She too, was very pleased with her effort after being off the bike for so long. Way to go girl!!!

I'll have to get out on more rides with Rob, Isaac & Terry. Not sure if I'll be able to keep up, but I'll give it a shot.

Once again the East Valley trails delivered and it was good to share them with new friends and old.

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