September 3, 2022

Flagstaff's Big Bang!!

 Flagstaff was calling, I must go. The goal was two-fold, well, maybe three: Ride my proposed Pipeline Fire bypass for the upcoming AZT800, check out a couple of new trails that were recently opened as part of the MEDL (Mt. Elden - Dry Lakes project) and ride with friends. I reached out to the Mike's - Symons & Wehri and they were happy to tag along.

Full disclaimer: I've been taking it very easy since early August as I was involved in an auto accident while visiting my brother in Florida. I've been having some nerve discomfort in my right leg, but I've been able to ride. Figured it would be wise to take it slow for a while. So, with my fitness lacking, why not drive up to 7,000' and climb some mountains? Everything will be fine...

I would be driving my new Subaru Crosstrek on its first mini road trip of sorts. I'm really digging this car and love the color.

The new rig out by Canyon Lake on new car day.
Mike S. & I staged at the Schultz Creek Y and rode up the bottom portion of the new Big Bang trail to another new trail, Afterglow. We then went down Schultz Creek, which I hadn't been on in years and finally got to see the re-route that was done on it many seasons ago. Great little loop. We then met up with Mike W. and headed back to Big Bang for the full climbing experience as I wanted to ride down Jedi since this was my proposed AZT800 change.

Fresh trail on a nice climbing grade to start.

Somewhere around here my lack of fitness caught up to me!!

Passing by a slash pile from the thinning project in the area.

A flat-ish spot for recovery was welcomed.

Mike S. showing us how it's done.

We had yet to see any downhill traffic which was a surprise on this Saturday morning.

Gaining elevation the views begin to open up.

Stop. Rest. Take it all in.

Nearing the top this section reminded me of the upper portion along Colorado's Palisade Plunge.
We finished off Big Bang after a few downhill riders went by and yes, this trail is going to be a popular downhill one. Next time I'll check it out in that direction.

We did notice another new trail under construction, so we rode out to find a worker cutting fresh tread on the new Lower Brookbank trail. *As of Sept. 30, it's now open!! For a gander at the larger MEDL project, check out the interactive map and if you feel so inclined, please make a donation to the cause via Flagstaff Biking Org. Thank you!!

We also noted another new trail at the end of Big Bang after we came back from Lower Brookbank. Let's see where it goes!! It ended up skirting the west side of a private land parcel in the Dry Lake area, another section of Brookbank that was rerouted and linked directly to the Little Gnarly Trail. Cool.

Dry Lake area near the beginning of Jedi trail.

Mike W. hitting one of the drops on Jedi.

Great view of the peaks on the way down.
Jedi got really steep and began to question my desire to route bikepackers down it. The more I thought about it, I thought it would be much better to have them ride the new trails down to Schultz Creek. That's why you do scouting rides, kids. It may look good on paper, but the proof is out on the trail.

We were amazed by the complete destruction of this area, the junction of Little Gnarly & Schultz Creek trail. It used to be a nice gathering spot, now wiped clean.

Schultz Creek was still flowing a bit, must've been a sight when it was raging.

Finishing the climb up Afterglow.
We were all super impressed with the new trails, Big Bang is already a hit. Here's a recent article on it in the Arizona Daily Sun. Keep in mind, while most riders will be going down Big Bang, it is a two-way trail with some narrow technical sections. Be alert and enjoy the ride!!


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