Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cross Bikin'

 When one has a ride half planned that includes equal parts asphalt and concrete, dirt roads, and singletrack, what does one do? One could hop on the mountain bike, which is practical enough, but mountain bike tires wear quickly on pavement, plus it gets rather boring rather quickly. A road bike is simply not practical, what with skinny slick tires, those never do well in dirt.

Enter the Cross Bike, or in my case, STeve, a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike, doing both jobs well enough to be enjoyable and fun. It's like the KLR 650 of bikes.

When I was first getting into bikes with some level of seriousness, I had discounted cross bikes completely, saying "Well, if I want to ride on dirt, I'll just roll with the mountain bike." But now I know there is some use to them, as today's ride proves.

I took off with a mind to ride streets through town, then head back on mostly dirt. I managed to stick pretty close to that vague plan. When I was rolling east on Old Route 66, I decided "Hey, I want to check out Picture Canyon, and it's right over there!" So I hit the dirt early.
Doesn't say no bicycles... off I go!
 I had heard about Picture Canyon, so named for the petroglyphs left by the Sinagua in the area, but I'd never been there. No time like the present, right?
I never knew there was a waterfall in Flagstaff.

Picture Canyon, where it starts widening out.

Yucca next to a redeveloping wetland... I love Flagstaff.

A little rapid further downstream.

I imagine the view from here being awesome later in the year, with leaves on all the oaks.

As it is, it was a great spot for lunch. MUFFIN!
 I didn't find any petroglyphs this time around, but I'm sure I'll be back. Picture Canyon is a short, shallow, but steep walled canyon, with a whole lot to look at.

After "lunch," the singletrack riding began, if only for a mile.
This looks familiar to me...

Looking back upstream into Picture Canyon.
 I ended up tying in to Rain Valley Road, Townsend Winona Road, then Koch Field Road, where I took a forest road south back to Route 66, with some views along the way:


 I wasn't ready to head back to town just yet and fight the wind back home, so I opted to head out towards Walnut Canyon, and ride a segment of the Arizona Trail on STeve, to see how we did on some tougher singletrack.
Looks like a game of Catch that got carried away.
 We ended up doing quite a bit of walking. The trail was really soft packed from the winter, and skinny tires don't do too well with really soft stuff. The tallish gearing on STeve didn't help much either. But, most of the trail was ridden on, which I'm happy about.

I hopped on Old Walnut Canyon Highway when the AZT crossed it, and cruised neatly back into town, where I tucked into the drops, grit my teeth, and ground against the headwind all the way back home.

Ok, it wasn't that bad, but I was definitely glad I wasn't on a mountain bike. I actually made pretty good time, though my legs are all twitchy now.

After getting home, I took a picture of Su. She looked like about how I felt.
I want the ball, but it's so far away...

Now... where do I go next weekend?
Mileage: 34.1


DH said...

so, when you say 34.1 miles, does that mean in one entire go, or is it sort of a general reading off your bike odometer after/between posts?

I really like that waterfall, too! I'm sort of surprised in all of the photos that the rock isnt crumbling more under the conditions -- it doesnt look like there are many plants or topsoil to speak of to keep it all stuck together! :O As always, such beautiful weather in all of your shots. I'm crazy jealous of the panorama you have in your backyard.

Polar bear said...

Typically, my mileage at the end of the post is what I've done on that particular ride, or day. I try to make a note if it's otherwise. In this case, this was a 34.1 mile ride in total.

And the rock in Picture Canyon is very hard volcanic rock, I believe it's basalt. Looking at the walls, you're just seeing the edges of the rocks, which might be ginormous. Fun to think about!