Sedona: Canyon of Fools Loop

Dave demonstrating a new line for us...

Dave demonstrating a new line for us…

As I write this I am sitting in my office in Victoria with a space heater roaring trying to keep my fingers warm enough to type. Sadly our Sedona adventure is in the books, but the last ride didn’t get posted before we left so here it is.

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track...

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track…

The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect for our last ride. We headed out on the now very familiar Chuckwagon Trail and then onto Mescal Trail where our local guides took us on an unmarked detour down Canyon of Fools.

The crew taking a break...

The crew taking a break…

Canyon of Fools is the dirt equivalent of a small roller coaster down a narrow dry creek bed with wild high banked turns off each side. Speed is your friend if you want to get the most from this trail.

The ladies chatting it up while Dave repairs his bike...

The ladies chatting it up while Dave repairs his bike…

It was sad knowing this would be our last ride with Sedona Dirt Hombre Crew, but that’s life so we just enjoyed the day cranking away in the Arizona desert. Thanks to Jen for keeping the pace slow enough that we could survive and always having a big smile on your face even when you were warning us about the epic cliff side climb around the corner. 😉

Kurt R & Kaitlyn - not my photo...

Kurt R & Kaitlyn – not my photo…

We passed Kurt R of Kurt’s Going Nuts Blog fame on the trails. The encounter was brief so as my tired synapses fired away I yelled after him “I read your blog!”. Sounding like a crazy person? – check!

How to eat a stale concrete Powerbar...

How to eat a stale concrete Powerbar…

Local legend NOD [aka gNarly Old Dude] demonstrated his peoples’ ancient technique for eating Powerbars that have turned to concrete. NOD is coming up on 70yrs old and still rides nearly every day and lays down the hurt on average riders like me. I just hope I’ll still be rolling on a mountain bike in 25yrs!

As NOD would say “It’s the Apache way!”

Dave waiting for us again...

Dave waiting for us again…

Dave [owner of the Sedona Fat Tire Bike Shop] was a great host during our stay in Sedona. He kept our bikes running, loaned Sharon a replacement shock while she waited for RockShox to send her a new one and was a very patient guide on our group rides. Dave is about twice as fast as Sharon and I so he had to wait a lot. Thanks Dave!

The Fat Tire Bike Shop is hands down the best local bike shop in Sedona. I don’t say that because I am friends with Dave. I am friend’s with Dave because he runs the best bike shop in town! I love dealing with people who are on top of their game.

The gang less NOD...

The gang less NOD…

There are lots of great places to ride in the SW US, but Sedona is special to us because of the great people we know there and the new ones we meet every trip. Mountain biking is less about the shredding for us and more about the laughs we have with our friends out on the trails. In that regard Sedona rocks hard! =)

I got nervous when Dave started staring down a cliff I couldn't walk down safely...

I got nervous when Dave started staring down a cliff I couldn’t walk down safely…

Whoa!

Whoa! Where are you going?

It's much much steeper than it looks in this photo...

It’s much much steeper than it looks in this photo…

I should say one final thank you to our trusty Honda CRV that eats up the miles on these long road trips. Hauls our bikes and enough gear to be dangerous without costing a fortune. AWD to handle the gnarly road conditions when they happen and a big enough interior to let us sleep sort of comfortably when we just can’t drive no more. Thanks little buddy! 🙂

Sharon's shredding wagon...

Sharon’s shredding wagon…

Sedona: Highline [aka Hiline] Trail Loop

My trusty Nomad at the start of Highline Trail...

My trusty Nomad at the start of Highline Trail…

I was keen to get a ride in on Highline Trail before we left Sedona. Sharon hasn’t been feeling the love for cliff-edge mountain biking this trip so she decided to go hike Hangover Trail with our friend Jen. That left me free to do some solo riding.

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track...

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track…

Riding by myself allowed me to get into a comfortable rhythm and ride whole sections of trail without stopping which was nice. Of course that meant very few photos were taken.

For anyone following my GPS track I started and ended the ride at the Bike and Bean. I used Slim Shady to get to Highline and then Baldwin, Templeton, Easy Breezy and Kaibab Trails to get back to Slim Shady for the run back to the car.

A trail on the edge...

A trail on the edge…

I’ve posted 3 ride reports of my Highline Trail adventures in the past complete with a bunch of photos so I’ll let those reports do the talking rather than repeat myself.

Slickrock playground on Highline Trail...

Slickrock playground on Highline Trail…

Sedona: Last Frontier Trail Loop…

Dirt Hombres Sedona Chapter Club Ride...

Dirt Hombres Sedona Chapter Club Ride…

We gathered some of the local Dirt Hombres together for a club ride to get some more shredding done in 2013.

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track...

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track…

We hit up Last Frontier Trail in West Sedona which features a lot of chunky riding and some extended cliff-side escapades.

The Hombres!

The Hombres!

I was happy to check out another new trail. One of my goals this trip was to ride a lot of new trails in Sedona rather than just going back to all the old favourites. So far so good – we are 7 – 2 – new trails vs. old ones.

Hombress Jen givin'er...

Hombress Jen givin’er…

Sedona: Ridge – Old Post Trail Loop

Cactus splitting...

Cactus splitting…

Sharon spent an evening pouring over maps and reading guidebooks to figure out our next ride. I was happy that she picked some trails we could ride to from the hotel and that they were all new to us. Heading out into another sunny warm Sedona day in short-sleeves and shorts I was keen to check out some new terrain.

Click on image for larger interactive map and  GPS track...

Click on image for larger interactive map and GPS track…

Cruising down Hwy 89A towards the airport we had a few issues finding the trailhead we were looking for near the recycling depot so we ended up starting at a slightly different spot. At the end of the ride we popped onto the street from the trailhead we were looking for initially and didn’t feel too bad since it was not signed and just looked like some parking for a business.

Chunky...

Chunky…

We started out on Bandit Trail and headed SW to join up with Ridge Trail which headed South while climbing up a ridge on the West side of Airport Messa.

Ridge Trail views...

Ridge Trail views…

We grunted up Ridge Trail which is pretty mellow. There is the odd techy section to deal with, but climbing they are on the easier side.

At the top...

At the top…

Once we started heading downhill on Ridge Trail towards Oak Creek things got more challenging with lots of steep loose rock to shred.

Sharon on the way to enjoy some slickrock...

Sharon on the way to enjoy some slickrock…

We found our way over to the “Secret Slickrock” area – which isn’t so secret these days since it’s on the local trail map! 😉

Sharon scouting a line down...

Sharon scouting a line down…

Some memories of recent rains...

Some memories of recent rains…

Sharon exploring the lower section...

Sharon exploring the lower section…

Dropping down the face...

Dropping down the face…

Enjoying some traction...

Enjoying some traction…

On the move to Oak Creek...

On the move to Oak Creek…

We had hoped to cross Oak Creek and the ride some trails on the South side, but water levels were too high to make fording the creek very appealing so he just headed back to the start on Old Post Trail.

Green! - can you tell we are close to the creek?

Green! – can you tell we are close to the creek?

Old Post Trail was fun riding with intermediate technical sections, but not too many of them so you could get some flow going.

Heading back up...

Heading back up…

Of course all that downhill riding we enjoyed getting to the creek had to be paid back as we headed for the hotel so we settled in for some decent climbs.

Sharon crushing the gnar!

Sharon crushing the gnar!

All in all this was fun ride to add to our quiver. You can connect it to the Airport Messa Trail as well if you wanted to.

Sedona...

Sedona…

Sedona: Mescal – Girdner Trail Loop

Sharon chasing the group...

Sharon chasing the group…

I have been converting a bunch of local Sedona riders into members of the Dirt Hombres Mountain Bike Club. So we headed out on a club ride yesterday led by the fast tech crushing Dave C. The ride was so fast I didn’t get many photos. But it was nice to crank along with a bigger group of riders and see what lines locals take through these trails.

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track....

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track….

We rode a fun loop of:

  • Chuckwagon
  • Mescal
  • Aerie
  • Girdner

There may have been some other trails involved, but my vision was too blurry to read the maps as we whizzed by! 😉

Dirt Hombres in the desert...

Dirt Hombres in the desert…

Thankfully the trails were not super technical – otherwise I think I may not have made it back to the car. 😉 However the amazing views on Mescal in particular made every pedal stroke totally worth it.

Dave trying the expert line...

Dave trying the expert line…

Post-ride festivities were held at Famous Pizza which has really good food and a wide selection of beer. Thanks to all the Hombres that can out. Ride Hard! – Ride Spicy! 🙂

Sedona: Slim Shady – Broken Arrow Loop

Getting warmed up...

Getting warmed up…

It was Christmas Eve Day and we were ready for a longer ride [or so we thought] so we fueled up with a coffee at the Bike and Bean then rolled up Slim Shady Trail with a plan to ride around Broken Arrow Trail and back to the car.

Click on image for larger interactive map and GPS track...

Click on image for larger interactive map and GPS track…

Our ride got off to a good start with the fun techy goodness that is Slim Shady. Sadly a pretty significant crash early on added some unwanted challenge to the day’s ride. Yup there has been some crashing going on during this trip to Sedona. If I was inclined to speak New Age I’d say “Our aura’s vibrations are not in sync with the local vortex fields.” What I actually said was “It’s mountain biking….you do it enough and you are going to crash. No broken bones or ER visits needed and we are all good!” Not to be detered we bandaged up our team’s injuries and kept on rolling.

Sharon rocking and rolling...

Sharon rocking and rolling…

The rest of Slim Shady was fun and uneventful. We connected to the Bellrock Pathway via HT Trail under Hwy 179.

Broken Arrow Trailhead...

Broken Arrow Trailhead…

In the past we have always started at the Broken Arrow Trailhead, but that required a ride back to the car along Mystic Trail and some road riding so this time we decided to get that done off the bat and park our car at the bottom of the loop.

Enjoying the views...

Enjoying the views…

Mystic Trail is flowy and fun. It was nice to enjoy it without being tired at the end of a long ride.

Slickrock sillinesss....

Slickrock sillinesss….

I seem to have a memory blindspot for the hard techy climbing at the start of Broken Arrow because I am always caught off guard when it starts and just gets harder and harder. Needless to say there was some pushing at this point, but the pay off is some epic views of the local area which to a resident of the PNW is magically alien.

Maybe we should get a lift?

Maybe we should get a lift?

Once you get onto the upper part of Broken Arrow it’s much easier riding and you soon start the decsent down to Little Horse. We usually encounter some Pink Jeep tourists at this point and answer the obligatory mountain bike questions for them. 😉

Time to get down to the business of going down!

Time to get down to the business of going down!

Little Horse delivers a lot of flowy/rocky downhill goodness with quite a few nice ramps to get airborne while keeping the speed high. There are a fair number of hikers on this trail so I don’t go quite as crazy as I might if this trail was more remote, but it’s still loads of fun.

Hang on...

Hang on…

After Little Horse we had planned to ride Llama Trail south towards the car, but our sense of the local topography told us that it might be really wet due to the recent rains so we skipped it and jumped onto HT Trail to get us back to the West side of Hwy 179 and onto Eazy Breezy Trail heading south.

Easy Breezy....

Easy Breezy….

Just like its name suggests Easy Breezy is a fun trail that rolls along Hwy 179 with minimal tech and lots of flow through some pretty terrain.

End of Easy Breezy...

End of Easy Breezy…

One last climb up Hermit Trail, Kaibab Trail and a short section of Slim Shady brought us to the amazingly fun and flowy high speed berm fest that spits us out at the Bike and Bean. I’ll never get tired of Slim Shady in either direction, but heading South is a blast!

Bean there drank that coffee...

Bean there drank that coffee…

I was happy to stretch the legs and tackle a longer ride. This loop offers a great mix of tough techy riding with some pretty flowy singletrack to keep things fun and the views are wonderful. Another classic Sedona ride. 🙂

Sedona: Teacup – Adobe Jack Loop

Sharon being careful...

Sharon being careful…

Another sunny warm day in Sedona. The trails are drying out quite well so we are heading into town a bit more. We rode a loop using Teacup Trail to Soldiers Pass Trails [did an out an back] and then Adobe Jack Trail. We connected it all back to the start on the Hwy 89A. This is a fun loop we can ride straight from out hotel which is always nice.

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track...

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track…

Teacup Trail although mild mannered in name is actually a pretty high density tech-fest. Definitely lots of challenge here.

Coffee Pot rock...

Coffee Pot rock…

Soldiers Pass Trail provides more flow and the techy bits are spaced out with some nice fast turns. Sadly the trail ends for bikes at wilderness area sign and so it’s an out and back ride. On the plus side it’s quite fun both ways so that’s not an awful burden to bear. 😉

Enjoying the Arizona sunshine...

Enjoying the Arizona sunshine…

Adobe Jack Trail goes nearly full flow with just a handful of techy sections. Riding hard and hitting the sharp corners is grin inducing. It doesn’t hurt that this trail is mostly downhill.

Bring it on!

Bring it on!

Riding along Hwy 89A is not my favourite part of this loop, but to its credit there is a wide sidewalk and a decent sized bike lane to keep you away from traffic. You also have a number of potential munch and drinking spots to stop at which ain’t bad.

IMG_7524

Desert Minx…

Our team’s crash injuries from the previous day proved to be not too serious. Taking another fairly easy day was a prudent choice, but hopefully we’ll be back at full shred soon.

Red rocks, red mud and red bike...

Red rocks, red mud and red bike…

I’ve decided to stop carrying my Canon point and shoot so I am forced to use the DSLR that’s always hugging my back like a chubby baby. The result is fewer photos and more of a PITA, but hopefully better quality shots. It’s just too easy to grab the P&S in the heat of the moment and then be disappointed with the results post ride.

Adobe Jack...

Adobe Jack…

Sedona: Chuckwagon Trail Loop

Sharon climbing up Chuckwagon Trail...

Sharon climbing up Chuckwagon Trail…

After taking a couple days off due to rain we figured the West Sedona trails would be dry enough to ride Sunday.

Playing on the slickrock...

Playing on the slickrock…

Our plan was to ride a big loop that encompassed quite a few of the trails in the area, but an unfortunate early crash required a shortened day to ensure the team was fit to rock for the rest of the trip.

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track...

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track…

Our route was a loop on Chuckwagon Trail with aid of a small section of Mescal Trail on the west side. Lots of fun flowy riding with a few interesting technical challenges thrown in to keep us on our toes.

Another well signed Sedona trail network...

Another well signed Sedona trail network…

The soil was still fairly wet although it was drying nicely with very little mud present and there is no more rain in the forecast during our trip so conditions should get better each day. Since we are not locals it was important to us to give the trails some time to drain. Last thing we want to do is get greedy and do a bunch of damage to a trail someone else spent many hours building and maintaining.

Loving the sunshine...

Loving the sunshine…

Post ride injury assessment was good. No long-term damage so we should be back at it today. 🙂

Getting a new shock - yeah!

Getting a new shock – yeah!

We also got the good news that Rockshox is going to replace Sharon’s Monarch even though it is out of warranty. I guess the serial number indicates it may not have been intended to end up on a stock Santa Cruz Nomad. Given that it has been a real PITA I’m stoked to hear it will be out of our lives. Thanks Rockshox for standing behind your products will some solid customer service. 🙂

Trying to keep up with Sharon...

Trying to keep up with Sharon…

Sedona: Big Aerie Loop

Sharon playing with the Cacti...

Sharon playing with the Cacti…

We tackled another easy ride yesterday in the West Sedona area. We made a 17km loop featuring Aerie Trail.

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track...

Click for larger interactive map and GPS track…

We linked up the following trails:

  • OK
  • Dawa
  • Cockscomb
  • Aerie
  • Deadman’s Pass
  • pavement back to car on Long Canyon Rd.

You can download a GPS track if you click on the map above. The trails are fairly well signed except at a few spots.

Where are we???

Where are we???

These were all new trails to us so it was fun to explore and we now have a bunch of ideas for making up bigger loops and figure 8 rides in this part of Sedona. The technical challenges were not very hard and spaced fairly far apart with lots of buff desert singletrack between them. This is a great ride for less experienced, but fit mountain bikers who want more flow and less gnar! 😉

Lots of flow...

Lots of flow…

Riding 6″ travel bikes made the trails silly easy, but not every ride has to be epic.

Great views...

Great views…

These trails offer a lot of lovely scenery to make you happy you drove 2500kms from home.

Sharon in the trees...

Sharon in the trees…

The trails in West Sedona seemed significantly less moist than the South Sedona trails we rode the previous day. We had loads of slightly damp hero dirt and a fair bit of more typical dusty conditions.

Dusty...

Dusty…

We saw 1 other mountain biker all day. I love the peace and quiet.

Sharon getting airborne!

Sharon getting airborne!

On the gear side of things we realized Sharon’s Rockshox Monarch shock is once again not working correctly. It’s been rebuilt once this summer which took 2 months and $150. So she is not happy. 😦

Dave at the Fat Tire Bike Shop...

Dave at the Fat Tire Bike Shop…

So we rolled down to our favourite Sedona bike shop – The Fat Tire – to see Dave C our bike mechanic guru. Reminding us why we love this shop so much he stayed open late to look at Sharon’s bike. Then offered a free loaner shock she could use while he chats with Rockshox about fixing her Monarch. Thanks Dave! 🙂

Our new Hombre...

Our new Hombre…

While I was at the Fat Tire I recruited another member of the Dirt Hombres Mountain Bike Club. You don’t have to live in Victoria, BC to be a member. You just have to get behind our motto – “Ride Hard! Ride Spicy!” 😉

Another great day in the books...

Another great day in the books…

Sedona: Slim Shady – Llama Loop

Sharon getting warmed up...

Sharon getting warmed up…

We landed in Sedona and got the bikes unwrapped. Then headed to the Bike and Bean for a coffee and a short loop to get the legs and lungs back on the program after 4 days in the car.

Well signed system trails...

Well signed system trails…

Coming from sea level  Sedona’s 4500 foot elevation is a shock to the body and mind. So I always embark on an easy ride to get acclimated the first day.

Templeton underpass at Hwy 179...

Templeton underpass at Hwy 179…

We parked at the Bike and Bean then rode:

  • Slim Shady Trail [North]
  • Coconino Trail [North]
  • Hermit Trail [North]
  • Tempelton Trail [East under Hwy 179]
  • Little Horse [East]
  • Llama Trail [South]
  • Bellrock Pathway [North]
  • Templeton Trail [West under Hwy 179]
  • Hermit Trail [South]
  • Coconino Trail [South]
  • Kaibab Trail [West]
  • Slim Shady Trail [South back to Bike and Bean]

I left my GPS back in hotel room so no track to share, but these trails are well marked system trails that can be followed without a map.

T-shirt and shorts riding weather...

T-shirt and shorts riding weather…

The weather was a pleasant 16 deg C and sunny. The trails had seen some rain/snow recently so the low spots were wet. Nothing major and the other 85% of the trails were just damp enough to have hero level traction. It’s the first time in a long time I came back from a Sedona bike ride and wasn’t covered in red dust! 😉

Snow!

Snow!

The long range forecast looks like there will be 2-3 days with some precipitation over the next 2.5 weeks. Hopefully just enough to keep the dust down without excessive mud.

Mud!

Mud!

December isn’t the best time to ride Sedona despite conditions still being pretty darn good. That means very few mountain bike tourists in town, empty hotels and generally less happening. I like chilling out so this is all music to my ears.

Sharon cruising Llama Trail...

Sharon cruising Llama Trail…

All in all we had a fun ride, great coffee and got to see some old friends. Nice start to the holidays for sure.

Cranking up Slim Shady...

Cranking up Slim Shady…

Tomorrow we’ll head out to West Sedona for a longer ride in the Boynton Canyon area.