Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quickie

Colorado River in the Fall somewhere near the Zion Curtain.

We're heading to the desert this weekend, a quickie trip to the Grand Valley of Colorado on the Western Slope, Grand Junction and Fruita. Dirtbagging it, dogs, bikes, soaking in the sun, looking for stuff to drop off of, some technical lines to ride. It's been a long winter, coming back from Arizona we received mounds of snow, I'm over it, melt dammit, I want some dry dirt beneath me. You should see the mud bog of a road that takes you to our house, it's crazy deep with ruts and slippery mud. So we're grabbing what we can and we're running away for a day or two. A quickie!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Quest

It's snowing today, we're home from our Arizona trip and it's dumping in Colorado. Suffice to say I'm over it, the winter that is, wishing I was still in Arizona or somewhere desert like, still on the road, still on holiday, still being a dirtbag. There are a lot of pictures in this post, so it may take awhile to get through it. We had a great time, the Art Festival went well for the most part, however I'm yearning to have a week to 10 days off that doesn't involve work of any kind, it's been a long time since we just had a holiday. I may take next year off from shows, we'll see, so we can take a proper holiday.

4 Corners area as we head out to Arizona. Lovely in the snow but this meant Phil's World was closed to bikes unlike last year. The western half of Colorado has a lot of snow this year, much more than the front range.

After driving out of a snow storm in Flagstaff, AZ we headed down to Black Canyon which is about 40 miles from Scottsdale area. This area is really beautiful and has a remote, back country feel to it. The desert was bright green from all the rain they have gotten this winter.

Bright green desert, no flowers yet, but nice tacky skinny singletrack. This was the first dry, singletrack I've ridden since January. It was divine. We heard coyotes while we were out here too.

It looked like it might rain on us but it never did.

Lotsa water in the desert. This particular section of the Black Canyon Trail loops down to the Verde River which we've waded across in the past. Usually it is up to your lower shin maybe, very easy. This time we had to go back the way we had come. The river was raging and very high. Here Craig is crossing a wash with a little water running through it.

Scottsdale! There was an installation going on by a Texas artist who uses old plastic bags and creates these fun works of public art. Such a cool idea and it really stands out against the white washed buildings around the Performing Arts Center. She uses chicken wire and paperclips to install these used bags.

Green! The plants are ready to bust in Scottsdale, we were just a little too early with the cooler weather they have had. But once they go it's gonna be fantastic.

The morning before load-in of the show we had a few hours to play at South Mountain in Phoenix, perfect temps in the 60's and dry. Thanks to some suggestions by some nice locals we came up with a fun loop, up Morman to National to Corona Del Loma and down to Desert Classic. Craig is waiting for me to take my picture before we descend Corona which was a fantastic, burly DH. Loved it and I still know how to ride my bike!

After the show was over we boogied up to Sedona armed with a local map and some more suggestions from kind locals. Doing your research pays off because we did two of the best rides over the next two days. Sedona is adding a lot of new trails to their network, trails that are for now off the radar except to locals and fortunate and grateful out of towners like Craig and I. ( I must say again how much I appreciate the sharing of information, we're such a small tribe and truly what goes around comes around, mtb karma so to speak.) We got way back into the bush and didn't really see too many other folks out there, perfect!

I'm the little dot to the right of the big boulder. This was from the first day of riding. The guys at Bike and Bean were really kind and helpful, they really hooked us up by connecting some of the dots for us.

There are really no bad views in Sedona. The trail riding there is tough. Lots of short, powerful climbs, some really technical. Riding here will make you strong.

And with all the climbs there are some honest, burly descents that require skill and focus. The above shot was a steep roll, not technical but fun!

video

A short vid I'm throwing in, not edited at all. This was a chunky, steeper than it looks section of trail from the first day, didn't know Craig was shooting vid of me or that he was standing in the trail, watch out!

Day two, on the trail.

Psyched to be out riding our bikes in the desert!

Entrance to Cowpies..our quest was under way. We are in search of a new and some say hardest trail in Sedona. Intrigued and ready to check it out.

On our way. This trail required a homemade map and some beta from locals and even with that it required good route finding skills. Quite the adventure, Love It!

Narrow, technical trail with funky sloped drop off to the left of about 75 feet.

Breather at the saddle.

The saddle looking North.

This is taken from the saddle as well. The trail continues straight and to the left, sharp left down onto a bench. Then the real fun began and unlike anything I've ridden before. A narrow, 3 mile section of trail below a rim cap with sketchy exposure and technical moves. You absolutely had to focus on the trail in front of you no looking off or being lazy or the results could be quite serious. I've never ridden anything so continuously airy like this before, it messed with you a bit, at times the rock of the wall to your left would push out and above you and you would have to skirt around it and duck and lean at the same time all the while hundreds of feet of air would be to your right. Once you exited this section there was more slickrock and route finding and then more fast, technical descending. A very inspiring trail and incredibly creative, it required a lot from you and in turn the rewards were euphoric. It has truly captured my imagination and I can't wait to go back and do it again. There was nothing easy about it yet it was incredibly satisfying.
We left Sedona that afternoon and headed to Cortez, Colorado. Colorado is still closed out to riding right now. Too wet, muddy or snowy. I wasn't ready to come home but I'm really happy to have gotten out and experienced such great trails and weather.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back in the Day...

I was out riding yesterday and thought about these pictures, I knew we had them stashed somewhere, so when I got home I searched and found them. Probably the first pictures ever taken of us while mountain biking. Sweet!

Craig on his fully rigid , can't remember the make of this bike, no helmet, too cool for school. These two pictures were taken at Walker Ranch, CO close to 20 years ago, we were young and having fun, the having fun part at least hasn't changed. Look at the pipes on this guy, we were FT climbers then, mountain biking was a fun diversion at the time.

Here I am on my Diamond Back, first mountain bike that I owned, this was right after the invention of the wheel, Ha! At least I'm wearing a helmet, no chamois, no clipless, lots of long hair. Apparently I made funny faces then as well, so that hasn't changed. It was all so new then.

Ravens at Mulley Point, UT. Craig took this picture, one of my favorite of all time and one of my favorite places in this world. It's a scan so the image quality is low, but you get the idea.

And finally a lovely quote in regard to spring that I can completely relate too..enjoy!

"Do not be surprised that the return of the light lifts your spirits. Do not be surprised that warmth on your back calms you and makes you glad. Feel your spirits lift as the sun rises higher in the sky: this is part of you, this snaky gladness, part of who you have been for a million years. Find the warm places; do not expect them to come to you. When you find them, stay there and be still. Be still and watchful. In this quiet, taste the air. Lick up the taste of it. Listen. Listen with the full length of your body against the ground."
{From Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature by Kathleen Dean Moore}


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Soooonnnnnn.

Yea! Arizona here we come. Art and riding dry dirt, sweet!