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.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Trail Sweeping at the AES Black Canyon Trail Ride

And in roll the late half of the year AES events of 2011. I missed the Coconino 250, due to no planning or proper motivation, since it would require more gear than I have now, a trusted setup, and about 5 days off the human hamster wheel, so I'm foregoing it until next year, which should be a banner bikepacking year, as this year has been for single day epics. Today's was the AES ride out at BCT. Start at Rock Springs, head north on Maggie Mine until it crosses the top of Antelope Canyon, about 22 miles out, then take the BCT back down to Rock Springs. A sweet 30 or so miles of trail. Stellar in construction and design, flawlessly executed and a boon to mountain bikers.

We started at 7am, with wetness around, clouds rolling and a chill nipping our tires. This is, of course, the only time I'd see these other riders today. They were motivated, some finishing in 5 hours. We'd take our leisurely 8. It was a beautiful day, and I was in no particular hurry. It was my first real ride since the Lemon Drop, which wrecked me at the worst possible time - temps seemed to drop 20 degrees and it got dark at six - mix that with a tormented knee, writhing in arthritic anguish with every step and stop, and I found it hard for the first time in many months to get out and ride. I managed one ride for an hour at PMP, which was mostly for bike maintenance reasons for this ride, to see how bad the Drop thrashed my bike. No better way to get back at it than with a cool 50 miler.

Lots of good, strong riders in there. This trails begs to be hammered as much as it desires to be savored.

Just a few pavement miles at the start, then its all dirt. These miles are easy enough to take a self portrait.

We were together until the dirt. Must be what they call a neutral start, 'cause I was hanging!
This is agbout the whole group for the day. I think about 25 riders took part.

Freeskier and I then took our spots towards the back and took in the sights. The low clouds hung closely to the Bradshaws.

Big country, Big cloud photography. Perfect scenery for a slow dirt road grind.

Clouds at about 3500ft covered the tops at 4000.

Snow capped peaks in the distance towards Prescott validated the day's chill.

Riding a bike makes you feel like you're flying sometimes. Well, lots of times, but this time it felt like an eagle circling high over the valley.

Who needs a whole universe when you have this? This scene on any other planet is not just as grand?

The start of Antelope Canyon. Dynamite was used. Sweat was poured and a marvelous five miles of singletrack was born. Put that in a manger because it is devine!

Heading back south, many good miles lay ahead. Bumble Bee lays below us.

Freeskier had is bike in for some maintenance, so he was lucky enough to borrow a Vassago SS from a pal. 32x20 and he was crushing it all day. I couldn't keep up. I think he liked it. Big wheels and all. 50 miles is quite the test ride.

The brisk air stayed around all day, and I didn't really take any layers off throughout the day. Had to have FS take this pic so I knew if I looked too silly or not. I understand bike gear can make one look dorky every now and then.  Maybe its time for some real bike shorts rather than swimming trunks (which work really well, btw).

More good karma to you Voodoo who do me so well.

I'm not tired of these shots yet.....

And it goes on for miles.......
Its a great feeling riding 30 miles of singletrack, with some old stagecoach track thrown in, of course. We finished in 8 hours, which is two hours earlier than the last time we ran this route earlier in the year.  We were DFL again, but I like to consider it courteous trail-sweeping. In 50 miles, we got in over 4k of climbing. Another great day to pedal.

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