December 30, 2016

Tucson Twofer

It was hard to believe, but the final weekend of 2016 had arrived. It also meant unstable weather conditions were on tap. The forecast for the Tucson area was looking much better, so after chatting with Shannon, we settled on a short tour of the new trails over at Starr Pass in Tucson Mountain Park (TMP) followed by lunch and the new AZT reroute in Oracle State Park.

I ended up having to work a few hours Friday morning delaying our start a bit. I met up with the group as soon as I could and we were off. Christina, Neil & Joe rounded out the bunch for the first ride of the day.

I'm slowly learning my way around the TMP trails. They remind me a lot of South Mountain here in Phoenix, perhaps a bit more flow and less big tech moves?? Either way they sure are fun. We looped around to find one of two 'new' trails. The first one, Beer Garden, at least that's what it's called on Strava, twists and turns across the mountainside for over a mile. There's plenty of small rock features to keep things interesting. The trail then practically dumps onto the newest addition: Flint trail. This one offers more of the same twisty singletrack.
We came across Carlos & crew putting the finishing touches on Flint. Thank you for all your hard work!!

We wrapped up our ride and made an obvious break for Seis Kitchen for lunch. Of course Seis wasn't enough for this group. Enter pastries.
Need. More. Calories. Photo by Christina.
Neil had to split and the rest of us made the hour drive over to American Flag Ranch to ride the AZT. Most of the trail through here is really good, just be mindful of some soft sandy corners here & there. A few miles later we reached the new rerouted section.
The thumbs up is given!! Trail approved.
Nice climbing grades replace crappy HAB up a Powerline.
Near the end of the reroute the trail winds through some cool rock features.

The girls were on a bit of a time crunch, so they turned around at the end of the reroute. Joe & I continued to the SR77 underpass. This section is also planned for a reroute, but isn't too bad. A couple of short HAB's later we arrived at the low underpass.

Of course, we didn't follow Shannon's recommended return route, we thought we could 'short cut' it. Uh, no. Our route brought us back down a sandy, but rideable, wash to the SR77 underpass from the west. Oh well, we hopped back on the AZT and rode the 45 minutes back to American Flag finishing up just before darkness fell.

Yet again, the AZT keeps getting better!! Many thanks to the ATA and all they do for the trail. There are some really cool people that work there!!


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