Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An AZ weekend

Ya gotta love spring break. Our weekend started on Thursday. We packed up the camper and started out for Prescott late morning. We rolled into White Spar campgrounds in the late afternoon, just enough time to get our Prescott Brewing growler filled and dinner going before it got dark. The next morning we made our way to Sedona. We ended up camping in Oak Creek Canyon. After we got settled we headed back to town to find out what I was up to on Saturday. We came to Sedona so I could do the Sedona Big Friggin Loop. It's a small 'show up if you want to race' endurance/route finding event. We stopped and the Bike and Bean to buy the recommended map and get a little info on the race course. I knew route finding would be my biggest challenge so I wanted to get as much info as I could.

Saturday morning started out cold but within minutes of riding I warmed up. I needed to strip, and tighten up my handle bars but didn't want to stop because I knew if I could hang on to the front runners I wouldn't need to worry about rout finding. It became apparent I need to stop when I took a little tumble. I quickly shed some layers, and break out a wrench to tight my bars and I'm on my way. But it's too late the leaders are gone and I'm left to figure out where to go. True to my navigation skills at the first junction I come to I go the wrong way. After a bit of back tracking I'm on the right path.

After a long climb we are instructed to pick up a trail that takes us up to some slick rock and amazing views. I run across another racer that is looking for the trail . Once again after some more climbing and back tracking we find the trail. It would end up that I would ride the rest of the day with Steven from Phoenix. He is a strong technical rider and is familier with the area so it worked out pretty well for me. We weren't tearing up the field but it sure beat me fumbling with a map very time I came to a trail junction.
While descending the slick rock we had some excitement. Steven was leading the way, we were headed North. The 'trail' was slanted down to the left. As he rode under an over hanging branch, one of its limb caught his camelback pulling him off his bike. As he dangled, I jumped off my bike and tried lay it down and prevent it from sliding down the mountain. I secure my bike and shoot down the the slick rock face to retrieve Steven's bike. The whole time yelling to him to hang on. I could hear the limbs cracking an breaking. Luckily the breaking branches set Steven down back on the trail. He ended up fine, just some scrapes, but his camelback was shot. He ended up tying his wind breaker around it to keep it from flopping around.
The rest of the day was much less eventful. I don't think we quite did the SBFL as it was drawn up but I'm pretty sure we did all of it in some fashion. About two hours from the finish we ran into Mary. I'm not quite sure how this happened but it was fun to come across her. The three of us finished the day together. Sharing some stories of the day, checking out the incredible views and just enjoying each others company.
I would recommend this even to anyone who is looking for an awesome day of riding and adventure. If your a first timer, go with a friend or group of friends, you'll have a blast! This is a great way to check out a lot of the riding in the Sedona area. I ended up riding my hardtail. I think my Song might have been a bit faster as the trails can be pretty rocky at times. The next morning we made our way back to the trail that starts and finishes the race. I had to get a shot of the sign post.
Outside of riding on Saturday we had a great weekend. After breakfast and a little goofing around town Sunday morning, we headed back to Prescott in the afternoon. Since Bonnie had the everybody on Saturday I took care of the family on Sunday. Finn and I went to town to get fixens for dinner. When we got back we grabbed the girls and made a happy discovery while on a hike. Just behind the campground is a new network of single track. Very good to know!

Monday morning we headed for home, taking the more scenic, and less traveled rout. About an hour or so into the drive, in a small town by the name of Yarnell one of our students and his mother passed us...what are the chances.
Thanks to Bonnie for taking most of the pictures while she was taking care of Finn and and the girls. My teammate Chris and I have decided that you can't be riding too seriously if you are snapping shots every time you run across something interesting. And let me tell you I would have been doing more photography than riding if I brought a camera on this course.
Ride on!