October 15, 2017

Sedona / Flagstaff: Vik's Crew

Ahh, social media, it's both a blessing and a curse. For the most part I really enjoy it as I tend to primarily use Facebook, Instagram and this blog almost exclusively for mountain biking. I've met a ton of great people from all over the place, some in far away lands. That's really cool. Many of whom I consider good friends. Then there is this second tier group, people I'd consider good friends, crack a beer with, if/when we ever met in person. I refer to these folks as digital friends.

Recently, I had the good fortune to turn another digital friend into a real life friend. Vik is from the Great White North of Canada, BC's North Shore and we've been posting, commenting, sharing ride stories online for over 4 years. He was making a road trip south to AZ with his riding crew. Timing worked out and I was able to ride with them for a couple of short days in Sedona and Flagstaff.

They had found a great 'in town' camping spot in Sedona, one I had never heard of: Camp Avalon. It was tucked in the trees above Oak Creek off the Red Rock Loop Rd. We met at Over the Edge bike shop and headed out on a CCW loop through West Sedona.

We immediately dropped down Girdner trail, not one of my favorites, but it actually wasn't too bad on this day. We made our way over to Aerie, which I had never ridden in this direction and was quite surprised how well it rode.
Mini-panorama of Aerie's signature feature.

Vik & Aaron rounding the bend.

Sharon was easy to spot from miles away.

Aaron blasting a wall ride so fast I almost missed the shot!!

Deanna had some interesting stories of growing up in rural Saskatchewan. 
Three others peeled off early and we met up at Famous Pizza for the mandatory post ride grub.


At camp that night I found out that Peter not only used to race BMX, but also rode BMX Flatland back in the early to mid-90's. We had a lot in common from those days and was cool to hear his perspective while riding in Newfoundland. He had great bike handling skills on the red rocks of Sedona thanks to those BMX days.

The next day we met up with Dave, one of Vik's local friends, who organized some shuttle rides for the group in Flagstaff. I wasn't sure how long I could hang around that day as I needed to get home before dark.

We managed to arrange our shuttles for the classic ride down the AZT from the ski resort. It's a short 6 mile spin or so, but super fun and great for out of town riders. Dave had an interesting encounter with a hiker in the parking lot while we readied ourselves for departure. It was incredibly packed with people wanting to take in the fall colors, we knew the first half mile or so would have plenty of hikers on the trail. However, this lady walks up to Dave and begins randomly lecturing him about proper trail etiquette. He was sitting on his truck bed putting his shoes on when she laced into him. He took it in stride and we informed this lady that we were well aware of the current conditions. I just don't understand the gall of some people.

Anyway, we got going and chatted with all the other non-judgmental hikers out there. A half mile later, we had the trail and the downhill to ourselves.
Aspen Corner break. Aaron, Peter, Dave & Vik.

Bobbi had some AZ ties, having gone to school at NAU.
Our ride took a bit longer than anticipated after Dave's tire punctured on two occasions barely a quarter mile apart! Gah!!

I rode ahead to find a photo spot. Here's everyone carving around a tree...exciting!!
Dave leads the charge.

Vik hot on his heels.

Peter not catching air.

Sorry, no wall ride here, Aaron.

Sharon & Deanna coming through the shadows.

Sharon's hunter friendly kit.

Deanna's turn.

Bobbi coming in hot!!

Bill rounding out the pack.

Bill couldn't get over how long the downhill was.
We were somewhere on the lower portion of the ride when I stalled out squeezing between a tree & boulder. I think my front tire knobs gripped the rock and I couldn't quite keep my momentum & bike going down the trail. The next thing I knew I was tumbling over the bike and down off the trail. I think I did two complete barrel rolls before stopping. Luckily only a little bit of road rash, but mostly just dirt all over my clothes. First time I had ever wrecked on that downhill.
Bill, not following my lead off the trail.
We finished up the ride at Snowbowl Rd. It was now early afternoon, but I knew traffic was going to be messy on the way home. As much as I wanted to do the next ride, I had to get going.

Digital friends no longer, it was a great time meeting/riding with a bunch of like-minded people and perhaps one day soon I'll see them again on their turf. I hear the riding in BC is all right. 

1 comment:

  1. Dang! I feel famous now. :)

    So great to meet you John and hang out a bit. Now I have to get back down to AZ and check out some of the AZT with my bike and camping gear.