Sedona in 10 days or less

Well, once again I've returned from a long biking trip. This one's worth documenting for sure. Not because any of you need to know what I did, so much as Pete, Julio, and me will need to remember what I did the year previous. Let's be honest now, Pete's memory is fading fast and he can use any help he can get. Also, I'm not sure but I think I saw Elvis a few times out of the corner of my eye. Wily dude for sure

So, always, these TR's gotta start with the planning of the trip...posterity (sp) and all that. Many moons back, say Julyish 2004 (but I really don't know, nor does it matter), I heard the bit and pieces of Dave and Shaine talking about another Sedona trip for Thanksgiving. They didn't really mention it to me, but I knew they were planning something. No invite my way for sure...Fuck 'em, I had my own issues I was much more concerned about. Infections galore and a partially torn ACL. Really nothing else was further from my mind that a another big trip.

Fast forward a month of so. I'm on the bike more, ACL or not, I was riding much more and confident with the situation. On a random bike ride, Shaine mentions the Tday trip to me, with the overriding implications that A. he already told me about it, B. I was invited. C. I already said yes. *Shrug*...for those of you that don't know Shaine....well that's just how he is. For instance his friend Black Ken, he keeps on swearing I've met. After telling Shaine for the millionith time I haven't, I've given up. Hanging around Shaine lets me know I'm not the only one with fading brain waves.

Shaine's a gourmet chef...seriously. He's one of the dipshibbest that watches FoodTV for hours (literally). Nothing's just his thing. So Shaine takes his food cooking seriously. He started stressing about Tday about 364 days ahead of time, and this one was especially stressful for the poor bastard since he wouldn't have his full kitchen available to him.

Now, let's set the scene for how this trip will play out. The plan was to drive to St. George, ride there three days, mosey on down to Sedona via Grand Canyon and bike there for four days. A lot of car time, but even more ride time. Weather should be good. We'd have a condo lined up in Sedona for five nights with kitchen. It was to be a sweet trip.

We started planning this whole shindig with 8 people in mind, so condo was rented for 8. Planned attendees, Shaine,Julie, Dave, Jenn, Eric, Drew, Trish, and me. Drew and Trish bagged it early, Jenn not too far after. Why is unimportant, but it did leave us with an underbooked condo, which meant more money for the rest of us. We initially tried to line Laura go..then Shaine casually invites Maggie one week before the trip to fill a spot. Poor girl tried her heart out to get the time off but couldn't. One week notice just wasn't enough. So set in stone it was...a crew of five we had.
A storm was brewing over the Rockies, and we got the hell out of dodge as early as we could on Friday, 11/19/2004, say 6:30ish. Only 30 minutes late, not so bad. Green River hotel by midnight, up early on the 20th, in St. George by 11:30am, ready to ride.
We met up with Kevin (tiggerider) and Bryce (local mech and BLM trail builder), along with a another couple in a Wendy's parking lot to ride.

The Ride: Broken Mesa, shuttle style, with Bryce as guide. He designed and built most of the trail and Kevin worked on it as well. Very cool to ride with people with an intimate knowledge of the trail. Started off with a road climb, to a ST climb. The trail was pretty rocky on top of the mesa, ala Fruita's Moore Fun or Front Range's Sourdough. A storm was threatening, and we had a ton of mechs. Shaine put his chain in his spokes, and that took almost an hour to fix, and I managed to double pinch flat coming into a rocky section way too fast. That's a first for me, especially considering I was running 45/50 PSI in both tires. Trail has a very cool, very very fast downhill across a rolling field, and then transitioned into an old chossy wagon trail. A quick ride into town, closed the shuttle, and bid Kevin and Bryce adieu.

The Start ala Shaine:

Eric cleaning:

Some of the Mechanicals:

Julie out running the storm:

A view the opposite way, Zion in the distance:

The final descent:

We awoke in hotel room, 5 bikes, 5people, 2 beds, to rain drizzling outside. Our plan had been to ride Gooseberry Mesa down in Hurricane an hour to the SE. We decided to bag that idea, with the colds temps and heavy at times rain. Zion NP was close, so what the hell. We did two hikes there, one to the emerald pools, and a big one to the top of the rim on Angel's landing. What a gorgeous place. We started our hike in the rain and moved up to snow at the top.

Some views of Zion:

And there's always one screw up on the trip:

Day#3 Last day in St. George.
We(me) REALLY wanted to ride Gooseberry before we left, so I convinced the crew that we wouldn't do any trail damage as it was all rock, and the worst we'd do is hurt ourselves. Convinced, we droveout to Goosesberry, but the final ascent to the mesa proved treacherous and we never made the mesa. We did however manage to near sink my Explorer in mud on the road trying to get there. Fortunately we had reformed redneck Dave at the helm (I'm californian and can't drive in any adverse conditions whatsoever), and he managed to slip and slide it back on to dryish mud after about 100-200yds of praying he wouldn't lose speed or roll it. We of course all stood on the side of the road and watched...damn I wish I had my camera out for that.

On the way back to St. George dejected, we passed through hurricane and saw some random trailhead. We had to ride, so it was worth a check out at least. Open to bikes, soil tacky, but not muddy. Tires left just a touch an imprint. A slow drizzle is raining down, the map shows the possibility of a 20mile loop. We ride. It starts off as super sweet single track, mostly smooth. Conditions were less than ideal rain/temp wise but we we're riding...and riding on good stuff no less. Happy and content we pedaled on..coming across a bedrock wash, a n overlook onto the virgin river canyon, and a view of Gooseberry Mesa. Trail conditions worsened to a clayish type soil as we reached the 5mile mark, and the weather was turning more dismal...or perhaps the cold was just finally setting in. It took us quite awhile to cover the first five, so we decided today was an out and back and returned to the car. Man it's good to get a ride in, when you've all but given up hope.

The standard duckling shot:

Dave out there:

The Wash:

Bike Friendly Cattle Crossing:

Day #4, tuesday Time to leave St. George for Sedona
A couple of the guys on the trip had never been to The Grand Canyon and hadn't been since my early teens, so we made the quick juant out  there on the way. Saw some big canyons, saw some weirds rocks, saw more snow. Good travel day. Stopped at the grocery store in Sedona, $180 bill. Gonna be a good Tday too.

The weird:

The Grand:

Day#5 Time to ride
Initially we were concerned that the same storm that hammered us in St. George would again be our nemesis in Sedona, but luck was on our side. Partly cloudly, highs in the upper 50's. First ride of the Sedona portion, a figure eight, up Broken Arrow to Chicken Point, down Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, under the Freeway on Templeton, all the way over to Buddha beach, up over the Baldwin Trail to a road into town. Up 179 back to Bike N' Bean in Oak Creek, mostly unamed single track back to the car with a little residental thrown in. The trails were too wet in spots, good traction on the sand, not enough on the rocks. One of the mechs at the Bean mentioned that riding was "too easy now, and would get better as it dried out", then mentioned something about sand being good. Didn't really get that nor did I really want to have him clarify. On the bike for around 5 hours. Last time I did this ride, I bonked so hard I couldn't ride for two days afterwards (nor could I control my body's temp going back and forth from cold shivers to pouring sweat in mere minutes). I was quite happy to finish this ride with enegry to spare. Bonking sux.

Eric on broken arrow:

Dave on LittleHorse:

Shainer catches a little air below Chicken Point:

Julie finds the line:

Shane gives a little lean:

Day#6 Turkey Day
You simply have to ride before stuffing yourself full of turkey and other random assortments of food. Leastways I feel it's the only way I can build up some proper room for it. Our condo(house really) was in "uptown" Sedona at the corner of Smith and Apple, so we rode from our place to the "secret trails"...that's what the guide book called ' the hell out of me. We started at the Jordan trail head and worked our way over to the Soldiers trail which we took up to a Wilderness Boundary. Much screwing around on slickrock and on the trails. Good times had by all. Wondered back to the Soldiers trail head, then retraced our steps back to the condo. Not much needs to be said, but we feast, damn did we feast. 8 side dishes I think, 5 pies, ice cream. I had trouble moving the rest of the day.

Shaine getting dirty:

Some trail:

More trail:

A little turkey:

A little beer:

Day#7 Damn if I Know
We did this trail last time, and loved it. This time around was much more painful. From the house up Munds Wagon trail to the Cow Pies trail to the saddle, down damifIno, wander for over an hour trying to cross the creek, down 89A towards town, I broke of some ST that crossed under the big bridge before town. Met up with the crew on top of it. Wander on random ST until we hit the Jim Thompson trail, back to the Jordan trail head. Wow, another near epic day. Crashes, wet/steep slick rocks. Some major route finding at the bottom of damifino. We were spent after this for sure.

Single track up:

Picture 1                                                                                                            Picture2

Some steeper stuff:

Dave's quote last year, "Scary fall to you death type $hit"...even worse this year:

Damn were we tired:

Day#8 Saturday, One last ride
We needed to sneak one last ride in. And from our house we rode once again. Up Jordan. Such sweet single track that was so close to our place. Over to TeaCup, lots of techy on this one to fill our appetites. Down and up to Sugarloaf loop, up a techy climb to the top of Sugar Loaf mtn. Cool view from the top and awesome descent off it that we had all the camera takers lighting up. Down to the the Thunder Mtn. trail(too many unclimbable gullies), which we looped right in front of Chimney rock back to Sugarloaf loop. Up some random ST(it's everywhere out there), where we basked on the rocks and soaked up the sun which just popped it's head out. The crew called it a day and headed back via our original tiretracks back to the house. With the sun out, I couldn't resist slugging back to the top of Sugarloaf Mtn. to try one more time for a good 360degree pano. It just didn't quite work....back on the trail, Dave and Eric were waiting for me at the beginning of TeaCup, and back we all rode to the house. Finished the evening off properly with dinner at Javelina's. Set the alarms at 5:00am to attempt to beat the impending storm we just heard about.

Teacup with a view:

Shaine using all six inches:

A view from the top of Sugarloaf:

Day#9 The painful drive home.
I was up at 4:45am to the sounds of rain pounding on the room, finished packing my truck, and on the road at about 5:30. We took 179 to I-17 to avoid Oak Creek canyon. Good call, even I-17 sucked as we climbed towards Flagstaff. Snow packed roads, right hand turn in Flag onto I-40, more snow which we soon left, and didn't hit again until around Trinidad in Colorado. Pretty much snow the rest of the way home. 4 hours added onto our drive time because of the snow. Saw three flipped cars and maybe 20 different wrecks, which we managed to stay out of. Our trip was just right.

That's all folks: