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Ha, that sounds miserable.

I have ran into some similar mud situations and I will definitely make sure the trail is dry before heading out. A few years ago me and my buddy (birthday boy) were heading down to AZ to ride. Called a local bike shop on NYE or the 30th and they said everything was perfect. Woke up NYD and headed down, only to find it had snowed like 3ft in Tucson and everywhere else.


2 questions I thought of last night:

How is cell service along the trail?

Is the trail pretty well maintained and easy to follow? It doesn't look like many trails are around it so I am assuming it is just a straight shot and easy to follow. But we know what assuming does.
 

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We did Mayer to Rock Springs a couple weekends ago. Had no problem following the trail other than one minor deal a couple miles in (Trailforks confirmed for us). Phone connection was solid the whole way for us.

Edit to add:

The initial miles of the trail were cruiser and fun. Once you transition into the rockier part of the trail (around Bumble Bee?), the work level goes up, almost by surprise. Always very rideable, but a lot more work and draining energy. Lots of little hairpin turns with rocks that you have to negotiate. The weekend we did it, I had a 100oz bladder and ran out of water around the Black Canyon Creek crossing. It was 95 that day and it was not fun.
 

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So, just caught up on this thread... All the help and trail beta and no followup on how the ride went, and if the advice here was solid or not. WTH?
 

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Ha, that sounds miserable.

2 questions I thought of last night:

How is cell service along the trail?

Is the trail pretty well maintained and easy to follow? It doesn't look like many trails are around it so I am assuming it is just a straight shot and easy to follow. But we know what assuming does.
Don’t worry about rain. It will only help the trail.

Cell service can be spotty.

While most of the trail is well marked there a few points where it is very helpful to have a GPS. Such as the river crossing in the little pan loop area. And I have missed the trail north of rock springs where it merges with the dirt road and then breaks off again

You are in a remote location with spotty cell service - be prepared. But we’ll worth it.
 

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Was just reading that I can resupply in Black Canyon City.

Can I bring less water and refill there, or is it a time waste since I am racing sunlight?

If I can refill easily then I can go a camelbak waist pack vs. a full on MULE pack.
 

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Was just reading that I can resupply in Black Canyon City.

Can I bring less water and refill there, or is it a time waste since I am racing sunlight?

If I can refill easily then I can go a camelbak waist pack vs. a full on MULE pack.
If you are worried about racing daylight, I would suggest hiding/caching some water at the bumblebee TH. Easy to access during your shuttle to the north end. Having a water filter would increase your opportunities for acquiring water as well... I'm not sure how you capacity changes based on your two systems, but honestly, my own personal approach is to not go light on water especially on epic rides. You just never know when you might end up needing more than you think.
 

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So I would either be carrying roughly 100oz of water with the hip pack set up or 150oz with the backpack set up.

If I stash water though, what do I do with the empties? Pick the up on the way back somehow?

Is the bumblebee TH easy to get to, as in can my wife drop some water there on her way down? I am starting North and heading south and wife is just dropping me off and picking me up.
 

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So I would either be carrying roughly 100oz of water with the hip pack set up or 150oz with the backpack set up.

If I stash water though, what do I do with the empties? Pick the up on the way back somehow?

Is the bumblebee TH easy to get to, as in can my wife drop some water there on her way down? I am starting North and heading south and wife is just dropping me off and picking me up.
Bumble Bee trailhead is right off the freeway, so yes, it is easy to get to. I have seen parking there fill up on weekends due to folks parking massive trailers for jeeps and side by sides. There is more parking around there in turnouts and camp spots. BLM land, you can park anywhere out of the way really. I would just be sure to park in a visible spot so your car does not get shot by stray fire, that is the main activity over there it seems



A photo I took at the second river crossing last Wednesday, the one right before you hit the fork to go to the BCC trailhead traveling south. I guess most people would consider this the first, this is the first river crossing south of the 69 trailhead, there is another north of the copper mtn loop. There was abundant water to filter. There is a lot of cattle waste there, but the water itself looked crystal clear. If you can get out there soon (though for all I know, the water from Weds is gone now) or a few days after a rain you should be able to fill up water at the river crossings.

BCT is not cruiser miles in the slightest. Much of the trail is narrow, loose, and surrounded by spiky plants, so it takes some focus. The trail is hard to follow at most of the river and creek crossings. You will need to keep your GPS charged and will refer to it pretty often. There are significant amounts of hike a bike as well. On my ride I had to hike out of most of the river crossings and a half mile or so section that had been destroyed by hooves and rock slides.
 

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So I would either be carrying roughly 100oz of water with the hip pack set up or 150oz with the backpack set up.

If I stash water though, what do I do with the empties? Pick the up on the way back somehow?

Is the bumblebee TH easy to get to, as in can my wife drop some water there on her way down? I am starting North and heading south and wife is just dropping me off and picking me up.

Yes, BB (Glorianna) TH is a short drive (1/2 mile) off the I-17 bumblebee exit. Google maps is your friend. You would want to cache in containers that collapse down small so you can pack them away. The flimsy 20oz bottles are really easy to make small. Gallon jug works fine too if you have a knife or something to break it down. OR step on it. I don't know lol. Not too complicated. I ride with a big pack so capacity isn't an issue for me. You might even get lucky and there MIGHT be a trash can at the TH. I don't think there is, but you might luck out.
 

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So here is my TR:

Got in to AZ late Saturday night and was planning on starting near Prescott for the 77 mile IMBA EPIC.

However it really needs to be noted that a high clearance vehicle is a good idea for this. My van was hitting its rear axle a few times within the first mile, so we turned around.

Went to the Big Bug parking lot and started there the next morning. So only did 65 miles

Temps were good I think between 50-80 over the day. Only two crossings had water.

I took 150oz of water and used all of it.

The ride went slower than expected since I underestimated the trail and overestimated my fitness. Was pretty much 8hrs on the nose to get to the Carefree HWY.

While the trail isn't overly technical it was just those damn tight switchbacks though gullies with techie exits that did most of dabbing.

I would rate the technical aspect of the trail at maybe a 5-6. There is the section behind Black Canyon City I think that is just large head size boulders that I also walked.

Don't be complacent like I was after the first 15 miles only took 1.5hrs. After that everything slows down. All the downs are earned.

Trail was pretty fun and cool to ride something new and get out there.

Gun shots the entire ride from 7:30am until the end is a little unsettling and gets old after a while.

The last section of Emery to Carefree is pretty horrible and I would probably not do it again, unless you want the miles.

Thanks for all the beta
 

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The last section of Emery to Carefree is pretty horrible and I would probably not do it again, unless you want the miles.
I don't think that section of Biscuit is actually part of the BCT route? I believe the Emery TH is technically the southernmost point.

Edit: Looks like MTB Project shows that section as being part of BCT route, but Trailforks ends at Emery TH. Weird.
 

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So here is my TR:

While the trail isn't overly technical it was just those damn tight switchbacks though gullies with techie exits that did most of dabbing.
Exactly! Very draining on energy after a while.

Don't be complacent like I was after the first 15 miles only took 1.5hrs. After that everything slows down. All the downs are earned.
This first part was the part I referred to as "cruiser". I went back and looked at my GPS data and we were running between 10 and 15 mph for this part of the ride. It's a nice intro and warmup, but when the rocky stuff starts, it's game on.
 

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Few questions for the Locals

Great ride report @yourrealdad. I'm heading to Phoenix in a few weeks (12/11 - 12/18) and want to do two days of BCT riding and have some questions for the local crew. I'm a strong intermediate and can handle 15-25 miles per day and probably max 3k' feet of climbing. I've done Palm Canyon Epic a couple times and love me some backcountry desert riding.

1. If you could do 1 day as a shuttle, where would you start and end? I'm thinking Big Bug to Bumblebee, about 22 miles from what I can tell

2. If you could do 1 day as an out and back/loop, what would you do? I'm thinking Copper Mtn. or Little Pan. Any other suggestions for a loop or out and back or prefer one of these?

3. For camping, where would you camp? I'm thinking off of CK road near Bumble Bee, which would also be the end of my day 1 Shuttle where I'd leave my car

Thanks all, stay stoked,
Jeff
 

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Great ride report @yourrealdad. I'm heading to Phoenix in a few weeks (12/11 - 12/18) and want to do two days of BCT riding and have some questions for the local crew. I'm a strong intermediate and can handle 15-25 miles per day and probably max 3k' feet of climbing. I've done Palm Canyon Epic a couple times and love me some backcountry desert riding.

1. If you could do 1 day as a shuttle, where would you start and end? I'm thinking Big Bug to Bumblebee, about 22 miles from what I can tell

2. If you could do 1 day as an out and back/loop, what would you do? I'm thinking Copper Mtn. or Little Pan. Any other suggestions for a loop or out and back or prefer one of these?

3. For camping, where would you camp? I'm thinking off of CK road near Bumble Bee, which would also be the end of my day 1 Shuttle where I'd leave my car

Thanks all, stay stoked,
Jeff
Question 1 = yes, that is probably what I would do
Question 2 = Little Pan for sure
Question 3 = That's where I would look. Just be aware that it is a pretty high traffic area for the off road crowd during the day. Should be quiet enough at night though if you are just crashing out there.
 

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Oh, to add on to what rafekett mentioned, I ran my Garmin 520 the whole time with the GPX file running. It literally died right after I completed the ride, so it lasted 8 hrs running the map. So full charge is definitely required and if you are running a GPX file and going longer than 8 hrs you will probably need to charge it somehow.
 
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