Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sedona (not so) Big Friggin Loop

A couple of days post Coconino Loop I was ready to ride some Sedona singletrack. The Sedona Big Friggin Race loop was in order. It had been shortened this year to 37 miles and I got the go ahead from Mary to head out. The race was won this year in 3 hours, 40 minutes. An impressive feat. I gave myself a little more time and told Mary I'd meet her back after her hike with the dog.

The route traversed some trails I had not seen before, Highline was a real treat. The trail climbed up nicely and then contoured around before dropping down some very steep switchbacks and fall lines. I got a little misplaced right away as the trail was covered with some sticks, making it look, and likely, illegal. After getting a bit misplaced again on Baldwin trail (see a theme developing here....)I was off to Red Rock State Park for the second time this week. Exiting the park you ride pavement for a bit and then turn on to trail. I got really lost here as the trail split multiple times and the GPS track was a little vague. I ended up climbing a bunch of trails that were specifically not the one I was supposed to be on. After a bit of searching, and remembering who laid this course out, the wee trail going up the wash and leading to some hike-a-bike made perfect sense. I was back on the track.

The trail topped out at HWY 89 and I was of to Girdner, Old Post and Cockscomb trails, I'd been out there before and remembered them being nice hikes, in and out of a sandy wash, not primo bike stuff, but there were miles to fill and this was about as far out as you could get. The trails eventually turn to really fun stuff, Rupp trail and the end of Girdner are just big grin stuff, although of course I got misplaced out there as well.....
Crossing the road at Dry Creek the track took me up a driveway with no trespassing signs. A little searching showed a small but worn trail that I assumed was taking me over to Thunder Mountain trail. About 50 feet in I come across a couple of guys working, they are not happy to see me..... something about trespassing and questioning my eyesight were discussed, I pleaded ignorance and turned around. I headed down Dry Creek road and was about to head down 89 when a Forest Service truck rolls up with a couple of kids in it. I hit them up for a way back up to the trail, they happily obliged and off I went.

Thunder Mountain is a mix-mash of fun and technical in and out of the wash riding, although today with tired legs I was ready for the fun swoopy stuff to return, and the Teacup/Jordan trail is just that.

The wind was amazing this day, easily 40 miles an hour in places. After getting out through Broken Arrow I was getting hammered on Llama, pedaling my ass off going downhill and not looking forward to the Pathway, knowing full well I would be in it's teeth! At the top of Llama I gave Mary a call, she was just hanging out at Bike and Bean and the timing was perfect, ten minutes later I rolled in, a perfect day.

I did the extended play version of the race, 45 miles instead of 37, total time out was 4 hours and twenty minutes. I was happy with that time, tired legs and being lost for 20% of the course notwithstanding, not sure where the extra mileage came from, I must have been really lost out there in places!

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