Saturday, June 5, 2010

That was either madness, or brilliance.

It's remarkable how often those two traits coincide.

My bright idea this time was once again to ride to Sedona and back, but this time, taking a route I read about on Handlebar Sandwich, going out Woody Mountain Road, through the Sycamore Canyon/Secret Canyon wilderness areas along a powerline cut over Casner Mountain.

Yeah, I never heard of it either. But it was something different, and I really wanted to ride it, especially for the switchbacks dropping off Casner.

I ended up missing the turns I was shooting for, and wound up on highway 89 somewhere between Sedona and Cottonwood, and had to ride north into Sedona. I was doing fine until coming up the last big hill, when my legs started cramping up, to the point that I launched myself off the bike. At that point I decided to call Exegete for a save (again) and limped to a gas station, then to the Burger Pig for a shake while I waited.

The ranch off Woody Mountain Road. Mooooo.

The Peaks are starting to get pretty small...


The Taylor Fire burn area. Josh and I saw the smoke from this when it first started when we were out riding around. I've never ridden through such a fresh wildfire area, and it was really surreal, almost like stepping into another world. In most places there was nothing on the ground but loose dust and ash. There's no shade, and not many sounds aside from the occasional bird and the wind.

But the tenacity of plants always amazes me. Not even a year on, and plants are already coming back. The green stands out so brightly in this place.

This would have looked much better green... but then I likely would not have seen the view from the road.

Looking south from the rim, with Casner Mountain on the right.

San Francisco peaks from atop Casner.

Going down....

This is where it got steep. Switchbacks all the way down.

I think this shot best displays the grade. I had to stop here to let air out of the tires because I built up enough heat from the brakes to make the air in the tubes expand that much. I've never had brake fade on a bicycle before, and the rims were too hot to touch. I think it's time to upgrade to discs.

I'm alive!

I think this qualifies as an epic ride, and the scenery, the switchbacks, and having a better idea what my endurance limits are made it all worth it.

I'd do it again. (Later in the year when it's not as hot.)
Mileage: 56.7

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