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Arizona 2010 - Flagstaff Part II

 

AZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunDay three (Sunday) was the designated shuttle scum day. Since we camped pretty much at the top of the Schutz creek trail the two shuttle drivers drove down to the bottom of the Scultz Creek Trail (Corner of Shultz Pass Road and Mount Elden Road) while everyone else rode the trail down. From there we loaded up Art's truck and started up the mountain. This road is pretty rough in spots so high clearance vehicles certainly help. With all the bike on the racks it was slow going to make sure not to abuse up the bikes, racks and people (We had a couple in the bed of the truck).
 
Once at the top the first run was Sunset to Wasabbi followed by a bit of Upper Oldham. Dean opted out of riding this stuff and generously offer to drive the truck back down to where we would be popping out along Mount Elden road.
 

AZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical Fun
Up near the top of Sunset where we started

 
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Little bit of loggage on Wassabi
 
AZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical Fun
Some rocky bits as well
 
AZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical Fun
Some doubles were sessioned
 
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Jeff on a log ride on Upper Oldham. This was much trickier than it looks
 
AZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunIt was exceptionally hot that day which was quite out the normal temperature range for this time of year. Dean's offer to met us along the road was a huge time saver and saved us the suffering of climbing the upper half of Mt Elden with all the extra protection we were lugging around. We made our way over past the peak and to the top of Private Reserve. Dean and Bill set off on some more XC style ventures while us armored up types pointed our rigs steeply downhill.
 
AZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunPrivate Reserve is billed as a double black diamond trail. While such monikers are highly subjective I think most people from most places would agree with that ranking. There are some sizable air opportunities and some challenging rollers, twists and drops. There was one particularly gnarly section where there were about 10 moves in a sequence down a steep rocky slope. You needed some speed to clear one move and you had an extremely limited amount of room to get your speed dialed down to be properly setup for the next tricky move. Even a slight error higher up in the sequence magnified the difficulty as you progressed down. You had to be virtually flawless at each step to pull off the entire sequence off.
 
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I was really my element on the lower half of Private Reserve. There were numerous patches of slick rock with some drops and rollers interspersed with dirt all tilted on a significant slope. I did not take any pictures of this section as there was way too much fun being had. The final feature on Private Reserve is called "Happy Ending". It is a gigantic steep roller that gets steeper the further down you go. I guess this thing could be in the range of 50 feet or so. The tranny is the interesting part as it is a little sketchy. Without having someone to show us how it is done we all decided to save it for another day.
 
After cruising back down to the bottom and fetching the trucks we decided to roll into town where we hit up some showers and then some good grub and libations at a brewpub. Back at camp latter we would continued to enjoy the scientific marvel of fermentation. Amidst all the festivities, Bill, Jeff and I were contemplating what we would ride later in the week since our trip was a bit longer than the rest of the groups.
 

Day Four

 
AZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunAZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunDay Four was also scheduled to be a technically oriented day. This time however we would be earning our keep and do all the necessary climbing. The plan was a morning ride looping back to camp followed by a post-lunch ride from camp as well. For the morning session we planned on riding Pickle and Jedi as well as all the necessary bits to put those trails together. We started with a wake-up climb up Little Gnarly. It is an old double track that has some rocky bit that makes it, well... a little gnarly. The climbing was not too terribly tough but get offline a little and it would cost you some extra energy due to the rocks. Little Gnarly took us up to the Dry Lakes Basin. There was actually some water in at least one of the lakes and the rest looked a little marshy. It was quite pretty up here. We skirted along the northern edge of the basin and picked up the Pickle trail near the junction of the Upper Brookbank trail. Pickle started out with a short section of steep climbing before things turned downhill. Pickle is billed as a single black diamond trail and once it turned downhill it did not disappoint as it had some nice flow as well as technical rock features to keep you on your toes.
 
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Near the bottom of Pickle there was a fork in the trail that we did not have on our maps. We were pretty sure about one way but not so much about the other. We all knew we were going to be climbing up Lower Brookbank so a couple of went one way and the rest of us went the other. The ordinal Pickle route cuts back to Lower Brookband directly while a newer section goes done to Rocky Ridge. If you go all the way down to Rocky Ridge you just have a bit more of climbing to do on the way back up.
 
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AZ 2010 - Flagstaff Technical FunThe climb back up Lower Brookbank was a quite a grinder for me. It has some steepness to it in quite a few spots but the rocky terrain takes and extra toll on the legs. In some of those spots I just did not have the will to expend the extra energy so I walked some bits. Back up in the Dry Lakes Basin, Art and I chilled at the rally spot at the top of Little Gnarly. We did not have to wait long for everyone to regroup.
 
Next on the agenda was Jedi which also started off from Dry Lake Basin. This trail is billed as a double black diamond. We all agreed that this trail does not warrant that rating. It could be a double black diamond XC trail but it was not the gravity fed trail we were expecting. It was downhill for only half its length with a bit of contouring and uphill hill to do near the end. It did have some log jumps here and there. Jedi would have been much a bit more fun without the armor and full-face helmet. I think we would have been much happier with a run down Lost Burrito.
 
Back at camp Jeff, Bill and I decided to skip the afternoon ride and take this road trip on the road.
Next stop was the North Rim of the Grand Canyon