December 2, 2017

AES: Pleasantville '17

While we're nearing the end of the calendar year, we're smack dab in the heart of the Arizona Endurance Series schedule. We've added a few new events too. I couldn't make the first running of the Cove Classic back in September, but I was eager to roll out the Lake Pleasant route, Pleasantville, to the masses. It's a route I scouted about two years ago. With the help of Joe, we had a start/finish area and a short connection over to the route. The other new event will be Ripsey, coming in March '18.

The group convened at the Outlet Mall in Anthem and it was nice to see 33 riders come out for the inaugural run. Jeff spewed the usual spiel of reminders and we were off...on time!!

A short bit on pavement led us to dirt where things really got going or...
...they don't. Nothing like having 33 riders pushing through sand for a half mile at the start!! Haha.

It's one way to slow down the fast guys, at least for a few minutes.
In Joe's defense, when they scouted this entrance a few months ago, it was rideable!! Since then I don't think we've had so much as a drop of rain. It's been incredibly dry here for over three months. Things didn't quite ease up yet as the Black Canyon Trail below Emery Henderson trailhead has a notoriously bad wash crossing choked with river rock.
Early on we were getting our monies worth of hike-a-bike.

The only real downfall to the early HAB was my sand filled shoes.
The route flattened out and the riders began to spread out. Over the first hour the pace was brisk and before I knew it I was entering the trails on the west side of Lake Pleasant.
The Maricopa Trail winds over to Waddell Dam.

I almost took a spill off this bridge as I wasn't paying attention while riding under a canopy of trees.
I caught up to Jeff & Nancy at one of the watering holes. We all topped off for the remainder of the route. They took off a few minutes before me as I tried to keep pace.

Lake Pleasant, sitting at 68% full and rising.

The floating bridge was damaged over a year ago. The result? A short bushwhack to get around a small cove.
This was the final time I was within close range of Jeff or Nancy. I saw them for most of the dirt road sections coming up, but never could close the gap.

Castle Hot Springs Rd provided some easy miles.

Circling around the north side of the lake, still under mostly cloudy skies.
I dropped down a rocky approach into the flat bottom of lake level. Igor came flying by me and was gone!! Not sure how I stayed ahead of him for over 34 miles...

This bay was under water when I scouted the route. What a difference 14% of lake level makes.

It felt like autumn if only for a brief moment.

Cow Creek Rd makes its way towards the mesa straight ahead.

While scenic, this area marked the more rugged side of the route.

A wee bit of hike-a-bike.

This northern basin make a great place for a snack break.

A few riders came & went while I watched the reeds sway in the breeze.

This is the Agua Fria River. Last time it was over knee deep, not today.

Hardly a drop of rain in the past three months. Dry. Dry. Dry.

Climbing away from Table Mesa Rd I was in a bit of a funk. Slow going, yearning for the top.

I crested the summit and found new life in my legs as the sun came out.

The stately Saguaro's dominate this stretch of trail. Magnificent.

I was surprised to catch up with Chris & Greg near the bottom of the Boy Scout Loop.

The three of us rode together for a few miles until I pushed ahead for good.
One last sand trap crossing and then the home stretch back to the outlet mall. There were still a bunch of riders hanging out, as it should be. It was a great day to be out on the trails. Great to see a bunch of familiar faces and meet some new friends. Thanks to everyone who came out to make this a huge success. See you back here next year!!



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