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Scott in Tucson
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Day 1 - National

The esteemed Mr. Curiak decided he wasn't ready for winter just yet. I know the feeling. So he headed south for a few days of sonoran desert chunk. First up was South Mountain in Phoenix. It's been years since I've ridden there, and most of my memories of the trail are from the Squealer (Jim W's race / time trial on the National Trail).
















We started up National Trail. Burned some time retrying and scoping the alternate lines, such that I wondered if we'd get out to see much more of the mountain (not that I cared much).






We were having too much fun to notice we'd missed the turn for the Holbert descent. I looked up and noticed we were about to go under the towers. Doh!

So we flipped it and headed back to Holbert.



Holbert looks right down on Peenix, and is full of chunky goodness (my first time on the trail). I look forward to my next 'run' on it.






We rolled over to San Juan, first sliding around on the rubble-meister Max Delta Trail. Alta started off poorly (more rubble), but soon turned to bench cut trail with just rideable switchbacks.






Good stuff.











Alta wasn't quite what we were expecting.











There were some exciting, exposure induced, moments. Neat trail, and one I'm glad to have seen.






Time to go down...











More switchback challenges kept us on our toes.

Far west National was rubble strewn. We hopped on the road to climb back to the good stuff, descending National back to the Pima Canyon lot. We were both sad to realize we were back at the bottom, though it had been a full eight hours on the bike, so we were ready to be done.

Well worth the drive up from Tucson. I'm going to have to make it back before it starts getting hot again.
 

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Very sweet shots, Scott. The new camera was just what the doc ordrered--now your equipment can keep up with your eyes. Finally.

Krein said:
...decided he wasn't ready for winter just yet. I know the feeling.
Name one time in your adult life when you've been 'ready' for winter?! I think you've completely forgotten what it's like! Admit it!!

:D

Although you're dead-on that I needed one last chunk fix before diving headlong into snow mode. Leaving town the view was depressing from a dirt-centric perspective (near Cisco, Utah):


Moab wasn't any better:


In fact, I'd learn that St. George and even Vegas had gotten pounded--with snow--from the same storm that ended our riding season. Driving across Monument Valley was awesome, as always, but didn't give me the warm fuzzies WRT riding:


Flagstaff was in full-on blizzard mode when I drove through at 30mph, and I began to wonder if anywhere in the US still had fun dry-dirt riding.

I needn't have worried. Woke up in Phoenix to 42 degrees and sun. Momentarily worried about whether to install the arm and knee warmers, but ultimately decided they were superfluous. Temps crept into the 60's for much of the short daylight hours, and that was just about perfect.


Keep in mind that if it's sub 90 degrees Scott wears knee warmers...:eek:ut: :skep:

We had a blast playing over and over on the low-speed chunk of National. This would have been a five star day even without the snow I had just escaped. Can't ever seem to get enough of this kind of riding.

Scott descending Holbert.


As usual, what the pics cannot convey is the steepness of the trails, the amount of exposure involved, the sharpness of the rocks, the depth of the holes, and the unbelievable amount of vegetation all designed to remove blood from your vessel.

More Holbert:


We finished with Holbert, then worked our way over to Alta. Appropriately named as it gets you up there, and quick, via lots of nice bench cut trail connected with fun-yet-tough ascending switchbacks:






Rare (at least to me) red barrels. Did I mention the prickly vegetation?


Cruising along the ridgeline there was lots to see--not that we were able to look up:










Did I mention the steepness? Exposure?


This one does not, at first glance, appear to be all that steep.


We were both fairly puckered when descending it, especially at the lip-of-death-switchback. When we wrapped a bit more around the hillside and got a view back I snapped this shot to show a bit better perspective:


Still, pics never quite show how steep things really are...

Neither do vids:

More ridgeline cruising:


We finished up Alta, wrapped back around on lower National to the road, then climbed the road (waning daylight and even waning-er legs made that choice just fine with me) back to Telegraph Pass.


Then back onto National for some fun, fast, flowy, and of course chunky descending back toward our start.


No pics of it, but the Waterfall and especially the spine therein were highlights.

What an awesome trail.

We finished right at sunset and were thrilled to be done.


Dinner at a gyro joint followed by a drive to Tucson completed the evening, but not the trip. There was much, much more fun to be had...

Krein said:
Well worth the drive up from Tucson. I'm going to have to make it back before it starts getting hot again.
Tee hee. You might be among the few that are currently concerned about 'hot'...;)

MC
 

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Enel said:
South Mountain is an incredible place. Right in the middle of a stinking city as well.
I'm not quite sure where it got the name, but it actually seems to be just south of the city...

Just sayin'... :D
 

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Natl. Champ DH Poser/Hack
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nice "lenz" work guys! mikes pics are always like little krismiss presents and watchin him ride is as smooth as santas sleigh in flight. dug the stoke.
 

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That looks like good fun. Nice work guys. Thanks for the great vids and pics.

That's a big day.... and you still need to go back for more. There's just so much to do on SoMo. My last run there was similar: Up National, down Holbert, Up Geronimo, down Viejo. So many options.
 

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Scott in Tucson
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Day 2

mikesee said:
Name one time in your adult life when you've been 'ready' for winter?! I think you've completely forgotten what it's like! Admit it!!
Gladly. That's why I live where there is no such thing as winter. Winter means wearing knee warmers. :D

Day 2 - out to the west side of the Catalina Mountains, just north of Tucson. A "recovery day" of sorts.
















Scoped out a few new lines.











Managed to spook Mike on some classic ones (all found by Louis and crew).











I had the pleasure of riding Mike's 5" Lunchbox bike (he was on the 6" version). I loved the feel of the bike. It's a super manual machine, and the techy climbing was a highlight of the day, despite riding with less than fresh legs. The rear end was bottoming out too easily for me, though, so I wasn't feeling confident on the bigger moves. Convenient excuse? You might say so.

Here are a few short clips from the day. Hard to decide whether to take stills or movie vids out there.








Up...






... down:






I've never ridden that one. Not sure I plan to, either. Mike had to do it, pretty much, by his own internal honor code. You see, his arch rival Fritz had ridden it last year when I took him on a similar tour.

Launching just high enough to catch some waning light:






Not wanting the day to end, we blasted down the lower 50 towards the state park:





 

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San Diego County
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Thanks for sharing Scott. Those first 3 still shots on day 2 look like a sudden death voyage off the boulders :eekster:
 

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Krein said:
Winter means wearing knee warmers.
The fact that you wear 'em year 'round speaks volumes about how far you've slipped down the rabbit hole... :skep:

Have I mentioned anything about the not-so-vegetal vegetation?


At times it felt more than a little like an alien world. Friends in AK have bears and meese and wolves to worry about, but the likelihood of actually having meaningful contact with them is teeny. This time of year in AZ the fauna isn't much of a concern, but the flora, if indeed it can be called that, was constantly reaching out and poking, scratching, or taking wholesale chunks out of us.


The only time that we were ~free from harm was on the rock. And then only when inert. Start moving and things got scary and dangerous pretty quick. In a fun sort of way, of course...




Scoping:


Linking and avoiding:


Retry:


Soft and fuzzy--like a teddy bear:


Funny that on this one it appears that Scott is pushing across a parking lot. Way STIL, combined with the fact that this rock is not sticky. We pushed the limits of our brakes, right up until we'd reached the limits of traction. At that point you're committed to hang on and ride it out--the alternative is far less appealing:


Krein said:
A "recovery day" of sorts.
Recovery for the legs but an extra healthy workout for adrenal glands. *And* my left arm was sore from constantly reaching up to flip the 'lobotomy switch'... Had I known what was in store I'd have been better off just unplugging the CPU and leaving it in the car.

Actually, after looking through my pics from this day, it appears that's exactly what I did. Very few good riding shots. Sorry to have wasted the light and the backdrop, but still thrilled to have gotten to see it and ride it. Amazing area and limitless potential. It occurs to me that having a solid group of riders out there on the same day to scope new lines and pressure each other into doing them would be a great way to expand the already substantial offerings.



Another awesome day--thanks for the guide service and complimentary terror...

MC
 

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DirtDummy said:
Looks like decending into ruin? How was the run-out?
When Scott pointed that one out my first thought was, "You're going where?".

And as I rolled up to it that exact thought kept screaming out at me.

But it rolls out smooth once you commit to the line:

There are 4 other potential lines at that spot, 3 of them gap moves, and all of them levels headier than I was ready for that day. Scott posted a pic (above) of me considering one of them. I think it'll happen next time I get down there. Which, if history is any indicator, could be years away...

MC
 

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Duzitall said:
Those first 3 still shots on day 2 look like a sudden death voyage off the boulders :eekster:
I can vouch that that's roughly how they feel, too... :thumbsup:

.
 

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Natl. Champ DH Poser/Hack
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ive watched that vid a dozen times and ill be damned if i can see why it looks so smooth. ill just chalk it up to superior skills and poor depth perception in the footage itself. is it a floaty sorta flow over the lower 3 rocks were seein?
 
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