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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hawes Night Ride

Hawes is one of my favorite trail systems in the valley, probably due to it tight trail design, gripping, steady climbs, the rolly long downhills, and its night riding. Hawes is more dark than other places since it sits on the outside of the city, bordering the Salt River, but it also sits in a bowl type shape where the ground light from the city can't reach its inner depths, and the sky is just a bit crisper. You certainly feel like the torchbearer night riding in Hawes, because there are nothing but sounds around you, and only your light can show you what's there.

Group got together from Walgreens and hit the standard outer loop, with the excellent Mine drop about halfway through. Mine is special at night, as even during the day it can pose a challenge. All made it out unscathed this night, although not all switchbacks were conquered, by me at least. I think I missed one. The one with the big rock. Gotta go right next time.

Early evening light that will sood fade. The lights are already on. We've crested Cardiac Hill. Secret awaits. Ridgeline awaits. Its gonna be a good ride.
 I stopped at the after the saddle after coming down, well.....Saddle Trail, and took some pics of those behind me. I lit the area with my lights and watched my friends rip the descent. Got some strangers that snuck in too.

C. making that switchback at mach speeds.

Has been dubbed light light rock by Sammoch.

Lighting the way. These lights really do a great job. Hours of really strong light. On known trails, I can keep daytime speeds no problem. Very impressive.

Javelina teleporting through rock and dirt.

Stranger! I just caught this fella coming down after us.

Freeskier is deep into mountain biking. Contemplating his next big move. "Ride three times tomorrow, and save the world."

I was lucky enough to have the old lady Marin in shape, since the two 29ers were down. Voodoo with a hub, and the MC with something. I forget. Maybe I was just to lazy to take it out. But 2002 really kept its own, even after about decade of use. Compared to the 29er, I felt like a dart on the downhills, rather than an out of control Ice Road Trucker. Not that I don't like that, but the nimbleness was palpable. I felt like a cricket, jumping and bouncing everywhere. The 29er has really given me a power and steamroll mentality. Its nice to crack the mold every now and then.

Night legs, get us home. But not after a little Ridgeline descent and some sonoran dessert on TRW.
Little 3D view of the good stuff. Secret is center far and Mine is to the left. Ridgeline is bottom left. That Hawes is good.

The whole ride from Walgreens with TRW and the road back up Thomas.

12.3 miles and about 1800ft of vert. Seems a little high, but fair enough.

PMP Night Ride Action

With summer in the desert comes night rides and because of this, I actually have a reason to look forward to the heat, since night riding brings old trails back to life, puts you in contact with some strange night life, as well as just being plain fun. Flying down a familiar trail in you own personal bubble of light is exhilirating and freeing at the same time. The heat might stop us, but the night never will!

I rode in on the Dreamy Draw side after a 2 mile paved ride-in to meet some friends, then we were off. We opted for a side trail entrance to T100 then 220 down around to the bottom of T100, which we took up to 1a, then back down 8 and back to the cars. From there I rode back out of the park, getting my 2 mile pavement cool-down. Almost 16 miles for myself, and 1900ft of "El", as they say. Climbing T100 twice helped a bit. Not bad for a Tuesday evening. Night snaps are hard to get, but with the tripod, I seem to get better ones, but the action shots still elude me. I'll need a slighly better camera than the Kodak point-n-shoot if I want some nice night action shots.

Taking stock after walking through Cheesegrater. The desert outside our lights is dark. Its almost like riding in the void, and you have to keep the lights in front of you, painting the terrain as they shine. Hang on! Its creation before your eyes! I'm grateful I discovered night riding. Sure gets me through the summer. 

Sitting atop VOAZ with some of Paradise Valley glowing in the distance. A tire is barely visible.
Grand overview of the ride. The climb from DD up T100, 1a then VOAZ was the highlight. About 575ft and pretty close to 1.7 miles. Got the blood going. (Map by Topofusion)
You can follow the climb here. PMP really has lots of great mountain bike opportunities and for being in the middle of the city, it is amazingly fantastic. I've yet to go down VOAZ, but I sure like it as a climb. Lots of challenge there.  (Map by Topofusion)
Total 1900 climbing and 15.6 with 4 miles of road.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pima Riding is Dynamite

Finally, after many, many years of thinking of it, contemplating it, passing it on the way to Bartlett lake, I made it out to Pima and Dynamite for a ride. I've always heard it was good, but nothing serious. I could see the expanse of land that spread out through where the trails would be. It seemed flat, almost uneventful, but it was not the case. The trail undulates, constantly sloshing you about like on a water bed - it ripples. But there is rythym. There are miles. And there are smiles. P&D looks like a great place to put on some fast miles, which is just what Freeskier did a few weeks after we went there.

We took off from the northern end of Alma School off of Dynamite and went at it. We had no real plan, other than maybe try and follow the course that  recent race took, that was supposed to be pretty good. But we los the line, even with GPS and winged it, which turned out perfectly fine.

Is this a sign of what to come?

P&D doesn't have much vertical to brag about, but it does still have some views.

I didn't see any trail that go far up the only elevation out there. We would at best only ride around the base of the few "mountains" out there. That provided us with enough potential energy to roll fast through the low-lying trails.

The abundance of big rock out there was surprising, and fun to ride through.

After we headed north from our start towards the end of the ride, we found a nice little playground.

Big rocks, almost like Easter Island Heads, the Moai.

Freeskier taking it easy, rollin' without the camelback for a few, taking in the various lines.

The sonoran desert has plenty of expansive blue skies to hand out. Just get out and head toward the horizon.

Gilamonster providing the subject in this prickly situation.

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Our route through the State Trust Land (have your permit!). Looks flat, but if you could see all the rolles, your arms would be sore. I'll be back.

Almost got a good 20 miles in, but he morning was getting long. Roughtly 1800ft of climbing for the day. Healthy enough. Not every day has to be a Prescott Monstercross!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pass Mountain

It had been a while since I've been to Pass Mountain. Last time I was there I was on 26" wheels and not as hardly strong as I presently was. I remember the climb, long and hot. Stopping  a few times as I pushed up a steep section, sucking water. The saddle was a welcome break, and those first few miles seemed like many more. But not this time. I've been riding. Riding long. Riding strong. The climb to the saddle was a nice steady burn. The heat was coming on, but not getting under my skin. I was regulated, even without my sun sleeves. I was feeling good about the ease and steadiness with which I could make the climb, the time since last done providing ample contrast for my development. I felt good.

Then I ran my leg into a trail-side cholla and remembered the desert can always get ya, one way or another.

Pass Mountian is only 8 miles around, but the effort and trail variation give it the presence of something a little bit longer, which is a nice gift. We even added Cat's Peak, since our bellies wanted more miles.

Nice switchback seciton where riders can get stackecd up. Make for nice snaps.

Coming up to the saddle, C. a recent valley transplant, was still getting used to desert riding condition. P. was making his way around familiar territory.

Looking to the east over Bullfrog Canyon. I hear there is riding through there.

Parts of the trail heading around the northern end of the mountain are buttery smooth, with nice flow even. This doesn't keep up, as Pass Mt. changes often.

It rolls you, then throws chunks at you.
P. twisting around the fun stuff.

Another huff up to the second saddle, where it gets a bit loose.

The sign at the entrance says trail not recommended for bikes. I think its perfect for bikes.

Looking north, with Pass Mt. on the right. If you're ever lost out this way, you'll at least make your way back to Phoenix.

Pedals for your legs. Pedals for your beers. Pedals get me to where I'm going. Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!
Our route, looking to the southwest. We took it clockwise.

The ride down from the second saddle. Fast and loose. Keep your head up! I blew out a brake pad here. Had to desend with rear only.

A fair share over eight miles, and about 1500ft of vert. and 2.5 hours with all the chin wagging. Been thinking of a double loop or CCW. And one day I'll certainly hook Pass Mt. up with Hawes and Wild Horse, making a wonderful day loop.