I was up before the sun to start my journey to the northern reaches of the valley with John, to meet some other riding buddies at 7th Ave and Carefree Highway to partake of some new trail that was only months old. It was a complement to the southern portion of the Sonoran Mountain Preserve, which has some really nice and flowy, albeit tech-free, trails. But if that is what you come for, you'll be very happy. The arrangement is mostly low-lying trails around the base of the small mountain ranges, with climbs heading up to the tops and over saddles. Most grades are climbable, some with ~9% average grades. Good for the lungs. The southern portion has about 15 miles you can get in, and the north might pack just a few more than that.
I really liked the trails out there, even without the tech. Sometimes your in a mood to just pound out fast miles with some climbs you don't have to balance china on. Put your head down and power. SMP is great for that. We counted two rocks on the trail that might be obstacles, and even those they tried to dig out. I'll be back for sure. It was a great 17 miles, and by running everything backwards, you could double the mileage, or connect to SMP South. When the temps cool, I see a nice epic Thunderbird, Deems and SMP. An easy, suburban 50+ miles and lots of good climbing. Yes.
|Here's the newly finished pedestrian bridge that goes over the I-17. Quite useful for mountain bikers as you could now ride the SMP north and south, then cut across the freeway to add on Deem Hills and Thunderbird park. Excellent connector.|
|Hot air balloons were taking off as we were getting ready.|
|I've been in one. They are pretty wild, especially up at 7k+ ft. "It's just a wicker basket, man!"|
|Getting ready to go!|
|We got to ride with the balloons for the first few miles. They eventually blew to the west, away from us.|
|We had a stellar monsoon morning yesterday and I was hoping it would be the same today. While it looked iffy at first, some clouds moved in and kept it nice and mild. Always nice to have the sun off of you during a ride.|
|Water held in the air gave us a nice show over SMP South.|
|There's PMP and Camelback way out there. And a UFO!|
|Views from the top were great all around.|
|Dropping down from a 300ft effort. Get some more tires out here to pack down the trail bed, and it'll be real fast. Strava nerds rejoice!|
|With the rains the night before, it was as if the trails were wiped clean. You could count the number of riders on the trail recently.|
|And we kept going down, down, down......|
|Up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down to the car. The two big climbs are really nice. You only have to focus on turning the cranks.|
|3D Topo of SMP North.|