A place to share words and pics. Mostly bikes, but my photog eye does wander.

Bikes let the good times roll. In solitude or with friends. For a half hour or 8 hours. Pedals become the gears that turn the earth as the sun seems to track their motion, day after day. Miles become food, and you're hungry. The bike stops being a vehicle, or toy, or transportation and becomes an extension of will, allowing you to journey beyond the pain of self into the realm of almighty, joyous nature, she that feeds our souls. Pedal yourself into the maw of creation. Pedal yourself silly.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Casner Dirty 60

Another great AES ride found us on a Saturday in Flagstaff, with morning temps in the low 40's. The deal was to ride from Flagstaff to Sedona, some 60 miles away, by way of forest roads, dropping off of the Mogollon Rim in between two wilderness areas, the Red Rock Secret Mountan Wilderness and Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. That was to be the defining event for the ride, as the rest was merely getting there and then getting to Sedona. Of the 60 miles, maybe 10 at most were on singletrack, but the day wasn't about the singletrack today, but the sweet, sweet views and the big drop off the rim.

The whole ride is actualy down to Sedona and then back up to Flag by way of Shnebly Hill Rd and Munds Wagon Trail and some other such dirt I've not ridden. While I think I could have pushed out 100 miles for the ride, since it was mostly dirt road, I didn't attempt it, for whatever reason, it just didn't allure me. But the 60 into Sedona was perfect. We were much faster with the road, compared especially to the 60 miles of the PMC, which took us a long 13.5 hours. This day, we were done in just over 8 hours which left us enough time to eat at Oak Creek Brewery and drive home with daylight to spare. Freeskier and I were lucky enought to find some other back of the pack flower sniffing, picture taking buddies to ride with as well, BrianC and Noelg.

The early morning grind had but a few miles on pavement before we hit dirt. It would be dirt all the way into Sedona. The lead pack broke off quick, and I was alone for a few miles.

BC caught me soon enough and we pedaled on together for a few more miles, enjoying the smell of pine and the crisp temps. The road was pretty well graded, with only minimal washboard, considering we were on it for 30+ miles.

We rode through an old burnt out section as we approached the end of the rim.

Heading out of the pines and approaching the wilderness ridge ride. Quite a big burn out here. We also passed a small area where the tornado or microburst passed through the previous year. All the trees were snapped in half. It was an awesome show of power. Unfortunately, my legs didn't think to stop for a snap.

Ah.....the Mogollon Rim dives down into the Sedona red below. This is the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness.

We started dropping into the ridge ride, which follows a powerline service road. Ahead is the start of the views for Sycamore Canyon Wilderness.

There be Wilderness behind that sign. Didn't see the cabin, but dropped the bikes and walked over to take some snaps of SCW.

AZ sure has some great geology.

I found it funny that at first the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness was actually pretty green.

The ridge ahead opens up to us. Lots of up and down from here.

Big climb ahead. There were a good three of these, with some nice down on the backsides.

The road, for being far from anything, was in pretty good condition considering.

The beautiful Sycamore Canyon Wilderness.

This was our sliver of non-Wilderness land. To the left was RRSMW and to the right was SCW. Good thing people need power or this little ribbon of land would certainly be wilderness too.

All mountain bikers seem to be photographers as well.

RRSMW. There are some red rocks behind the green there, slowly coming into view.

This fella was super busy with his face stuffed with pollen.

Another good climb, and probably the biggest of the day. Crushed it on the 1x9, my big accomplishment for the day.

Had to stop for this mean nature machine to cross the road though.

The road cut-in was really apparent here. Just hanging on!

Up and up. Get on it! Good solid climb here. One more after this.

The reward was a shady grassy area where we took some lunch. about 4 hours in and at just over 30 miles. Good timing so far.

One last climb after lunch, going up Casner Mountain. Half of this was ridden, and the other half wash pushed.

My friend, HaB.

Freeskier likes it though. I mean, if you're not HaBing, then you're just riding your bike.

Center background is the San Francisco Peaks, where we started some 5 hours earlier and about 30 miles away. Love how the bike can teleport you over land. Amazing.

Poor little fella.

Dropping off the front side of Casner Mountain now. Lots of steep road switchbacks to come.

Black mountain in front with some more Sycamore Canyon Wilderness in the background. Here, the views are BIG.

Behold the wonder and glory of Nature!

Heading down the south face of Casner Mt, BC lets the forearms burn.

Straight out of Red Dead Redemption.

Freeskier coming down the mountain. Steep, loose and fast was the menu.

Casner rolls out into the plains below. Freeskier rolls on by.

Coming down that was pretty fun.

"So, Oak Creek Brewery is that way....."

Freeskier picking his background. Nice choice!

The road after the drop was a bunch of this. Uneventful, sandy and a bit wash-boardy, for 20 miles or so.

RRSMW from ground level. I guess there's red there after all.

There were still some flowers in bloom, and the air was ripe with their scent. I had to stop to literally smell the flowers. But I didn't even have to get off my bike, they were so strong.

The ride ended on some Really nice Sedona singletrack, which we finally got to partake of at about mile 55. But no worries since the ridge ride and views was totally worth the dearth of singletrack. Next year, maybe the 100.
What I really liked about this ride, was starting in the tall pines of Flagstaff, with grassland prairies to the side, and lots of shade on the road to low shrub of the high red desert and bare rock faces. I get the same feeling as I prod along north on the BCT and the saguaro disappear and greener, leafier plants take hold as we approach 4000ft. Here, we dropped form about 7300ft in Flag to about 4000ft in Sedona, and the ecosystem changed with it. It is amazing to see that change from a bike, to be so "in" it as you ride along, with your own power pushing you on. Arizona has to be one of the best places for unique rides like this, considering all of its ecological zones. I sure feel lucky to have my chance and health to take as much in as I can, and have some good folks to share it with. I hope this ride never ends.

San Tan Wheelie Jamming Good Times

On April 23rd was the inaugural San Tan Wheelie Jam, which was pretty similar to the Tour de Fat that rolls through Tempe every fall, except with a unique local vibe. Bike parade in the morning, beer after. Food, strange bikes, cool bikes, contests, raffles, bike polo etc, etc, etc. The San Tan Brewery provided the adult beverages and it was good. The Phoenix Phreaks had a custom bike competition, with some really nice rides there - and that was what the whole day was about - bikes. Its sure nice to see a bunch of folks come together on their rides and hang out for an afternoon, watching bike type things go on. It leaves me with hope for humanity.

Finally saw a Sling Shot in person. I've seen pics, but never laid hands on one. He let me take it around the parking lot, and I can't say that it felt much different that any other bike with a real downtube, but I'm sure it'll all come out on the trail. I'd be curious enough to give it a try.

I love me some tall bikes, and for homegrown, this one was pretty nice. I'm working on plans to get one of my own together. They ride surprisingly easy.

Loved the custom seat on this tall bike. Its all hands.
There were lots of clunkers around with some potential in them if the right hands could work on them.

A tandem made for one? Interesting....

Safety first, ninjas.

We had a nice police escort for the morning bike parade, that was supposed to start at 10:30 but didn't get off until 11:30. First year bumps, but the rest went off without a hitch. It gave me time to get my beer bracelet in preparation of returning from said parade.

Got the first beer served for the day. I was proud of myself.

These Driftwood cruisers were pretty stylish. I could only imagine the work that went into them. Really sharp rides.

Nice lines for a wood bike. Makes me think of the bamboo bikes that I keep reading about....

Custom ride from Phoenix Phreaks. This one got my vote for the twisted forks and the hydraulic system that could drop the front end. Pretty nifty shtuff.

This ride, the Orange Crush, was pretty simple, but it really caught my eye. Simplicity with just enough bling. It easy to do too much to a bike.

This was a nice touch as well.

Some bikes I'd never want to ride. Yes, the scissors were operable, as in they actually opened and closed. Bizarre, yet creative.

Not a steelers fan, but I can appreciate the attention to detail. Pretty sharp for a team ride.

Some decals were just plain rad. I like the tractor seat as well.

This ain't your childhood trike.

A family rolled up on this with three kids. Great way to get them all out! Fella paid only $600 for this ride too. Pretty decent deal, for the A+ shape it was in.

There were even some production tall bikes in attendance. Nice step up to get on, hub on the front wheel - I wish I could have tried one. I think I'll still try my hand at welding two junkers together first.

Yes! A Stone bike. Nice decals.

Bike polo. Now a good ol' American pastime.

Got my pedals in on a tall bike - and I like. Easy to ride and being up high sure gave a new sensation to cruising around. Be great for around the neighborhood or other bike festivities.

Not every day you see a 36er.

And of course there was a Wheelie competition to win a State Bicycle Company bike, in which only two fellas were the competition. This lucky guy, Jocobo or some such, won a new bike for about 15 minutes of his time.

And the victory celebration!

Had a great time at the inaugural San Tan Wheelie Jam, and am looking forward to next year. They could have a better T-shirt sale setup going on, and be on time in the morning, but all in all, super good first year. Lots of great bikes. Tastey beer. Cheap soda at the right tent. Decent food (pricey as always) and nice temps. Maybe this year I'll work on my wheelies so I can get myself a nice new bike. I sure didn't have any luck in the raffle!