July 8, 2017

Flagstaff: Rogers Lake & a DNF

I needed to keep pedaling at elevation for the upcoming Colorado Trail Race. Flagstaff was the obvious choice and the forecast was looking well enough for a huge 100 miler I've been trying to knock out for a while. There was also a relatively new connector trail leading out to Rogers Lake (Dry) that sounded fun.

I arrived at Ft. Tuthill mid-afternoon with skies looking iffy way off in the distance. Rain jacket in hand, off I went. From where I parked, the Soldiers trail was rippin' fast. Before I knew it I was at the Flag Loop trail junction.
Looks like hero dirt to me.
Another mile or so later I came to the unmarked turnoff for Rogers Lake. The first few miles were worn in well. As I went, the small bumps increased, but the trail was still fun. It just needs more traffic.There's one sustained climb on the way out over the shoulder of Woody Mtn. It's a well graded climb with a couple of rock features and neat routing through a lava field.
Up I go.
The trail is fairly smooth considering the surroundings.

The connector trail tees into the Gold Digger loop. I rode it CCW direction. Either way, you'll finish with a climb back to this location. A fun chunky downhill got me close to lake level, but not before heading up to a scenic overlook.
Humphrey's Peak.
Dry Rogers Lake.
The 2 Spot trail rides a levee of sorts and loops back to Gold Digger.
On my way back I saw another new trail cut, it dumped out on Woody Mtn rd. by the Arboretum entrance.

The raindrops began to lightly fall as I returned to the Soldiers trail. It stayed light the final miles back to the car, but I had to wonder why the Soldiers trail was routed right through the equestrian obstacle course?? It was difficult to follow, so I finished up via paved road.

Rogers Lake flyover

By the time I ate dinner and found my campsite for the night, it was dark. I nodded off sometime around 10p, a bit later than I had hoped.

The alarm went off seemingly a few moments after falling asleep. It was 4a. Snooze. I finally got moving before 4:30a, packed up my site and made my way over to Safeway by 5a. I had hoped to start riding close to 5a, but that wasn't happening. I don't know why, but I futzed around long enough getting my crap together that I didn't get pedaling until 6:15a!!

Right out of the gate, I was tired. I think I slept too well, go figure. I knew I'd eventually come around, but the early miles were a slog.

A local rider blazed by me on the lower portion of the Elden Lookout rd, then a few more caught me at the top. I still wasn't 'feeling' it and stopped for a snack at the overlook.
Beautiful morning to be out.
Looking east from near the top of Elden.

As I pushed off onto Sunset trail I noticed my blazin' fast pace of 4.0 mph. That's gotta pick up!! At least the next few miles were slanted downhill.
Hobbit Forest section of Sunset.
I was excited to ride Little Bear trail once again. It had been closed for a while due to washed out sections. It's mostly downhill to the Arizona Trail and contours really well.
Keep your eyes peeled for deadfall hazards!!
Incredible view of the San Francisco Peaks and Waterline rd.
Fire damage is evident, but it's slowly coming back.
Other portions were unscathed.
Winding down the scarred landscape.

I felt great when I linked up to the AZT, but that was short lived as I began to climb once again. I began to seriously doubt my plans for the day. I also knew the route was front loaded with climbing and the back half would ride fast. I really only needed to get around Humphrey's and I'd be in the clear. I took another short break before getting up to the Sunset trailhead.

More calories down, I hopped back on the AZT for a really fun few miles to where it links up with the AZT route coming in from Flagstaff. The AZT splits just south of Flagstaff, one way gives trail users resupply options in town, while the other is singletrack around the east & north side of Mt. Elden. That section is also known as the equestrian bypass.

There's a really fun downhill off the AZT that I had to add to my ride. I actually prefer the 'Easter Island' or whatever you want to call it, downhill better than the more popular Schultz Creek. The downside to doing this? I had to climb back up to the AZT. It's not a hard climb at all, but when you're still attempting to find motivation, it's tough. I took another break at the AZT. My ride average had at least spiked to a whopping 5.7 mph! Speed racer, I know.

I convinced myself to at least go around the mountain, then re-evaluate.
The ride over to Snowbowl road put my mind right and my legs were finally starting to wake up. I crossed the road and began the five mile climb on dirt. I barely made it a half mile up the trail and I ran out of water. Really? I had some other drinks, but I just opted to throw in the towel. Screw it, time to find a new route back to Safeway and try this ride when I'm into it from the start.
Rip it!!
I dropped down one of the moto trails and took a nice forest road over to the Ft. Valley trails. From there I could easily tie into Schultz Creek trail and back the way I started the morning after a short spin up the lower Elden Lookout rd.
A little rise, than a long downhill to Ft. Valley.
My first time riding in from this trailhead.
More fun trails to explore.

By now the skies began to rumble and the rain began to fall intermittently the next few miles. I think I could have stayed ahead of the afternoon storms by the way they were tracking, but I was prepared to get wet either way.

I finished up with a 40 mile ride and felt, meh. It was supposed to be so much more. In the end, it was still good to be out in the pines for half the day. Next time I'll get it done.

Route flyover


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