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.

1 comment:

  1. Great synapsis of a spectacular day up north. These long rides just keep getting better & better. Love the HAB pics, I'm beginning to appreciate a good 'ol HAB session, rounds out the riding experience.