Sunday, May 13, 2012

Diggin' it.

Dum de dum de dum...

Thursday saw a ride out to Fisher Point after work, where the sun was being very photogenic, hiding behind a cloud.
 Friday was another ride on Surprise up Snowbowl road. I'm making it a goal to ride up it after work at least once a week. Mostly because it's beautiful, also because it's challenging. And you see stuff, sometimes.
Smoke from a prescribed burn on Hart Prairie.

This little guy was being a character, running all over around me.
 Saturday... I worked on Slide, pulling apart the carbuerator to clean out the pilot jet, which is so small it gets clogged if you try to pass a neutrino through it. Exe also got grillin' stuff, so a grill cleaning and inspection took place, followed by the first grillinating of the season. We avoided making hockey pucks, and successfully made good bacon-wrapped cheeseburgers.

What does this have to do with bikes?

Well, after that, Exe and I took Su out to Fisher Point.
"Where are we?"

Love this view.
It occurs to me that the backlog of during-the-week rides that get saved up for a post lack in-depth descriptions... because usually not a whole lot happens. They're usually pretty uneventful, which is good.I try to relax, at least mentally, on my rides after work, but I still want to share the stuff I see on them.

So... today. I've been trying to have one big torturous weekend ride every weekend, something bordering on epic. So far I think I've been doing pretty good, and today was no exception.

After discussion with Jack, I decided to do my usual Arizona Trail east of town loop. I just got the proper length stem in for Pretty, and I wanted to see how it felt, as well as see how Pretty did on a trail that I'm more than a little familiar with. Also, it's been a while since I've done it in the spring time.

So, roll out on the Loop trail, breeze quickly through Skunk Canyon, and power to the top of Fisher Point, where I stopped to call TC and wish her a happy 27th lap around the sun.

From there, Pretty made short work of the Arizona Trail along Walnut Canyon. Spots that were sketchy on Tri were no problem, and stuff that I impulsively panic-stopped for and walked I was able to roll over, drop, or climb, albeit with some hesitation, but no incident.

It also does help matters that there has been a lot of rerouting of the trail, pulling it out of drainage, and eliminating some of the steepest and most unrideable sections. (Unless your Danny Macaskill...) That said.. there are still some sections, that despite the awesomeness that is the Pivot Mach 429, I am just not strong or skilled enough to ride yet.

Like this section. The picture doesn't show how steep and loose the trail is.

But it has a nice view of Walnut Canyon.
 What the Pretty Pivot does do is make my favorite section of the Arizona trail in this area even more fun. I thought it was a blast rolling through it at 18 mph and catching air on the water bars with a singlespeed hardtail. But doing it at 25 with the soft landings of a full squish bike is just bliss. The downside is that section seems so much shorter now.

Before long I found myself a ways east of town, as the Arizona trail winds away from the ponderosas into the junipers and piƱons of the high desert.
Mt. Elden, and The San Francisco Peaks.

It's even green out here.
 And then it winds back again.
Pines and oaks.

Good trail.

The nice thing about doing this ride in Spring... this field is not full of sunflowers!

Picture Canyon.
 It was somewhere around here that I had a conversation with my bike that most people would likely find odd. It started when I stopped to carry the bike up a staircase built into the trail, scaling the canyon wall, and Pretty kicked me in the back of the knee with a pedal.


"You're seriously going to carry me up this? Aren't you even going to try?"

"Pretty, you may be awesome, but I'm not. I can't ride up this."

"You didn't even try!"

"Alright, fine, I'll try."

So I hop back on the bike and manage to ride up the first four steps before the front tire planted, and I flailed about trying to keep from falling over, during which time Pretty bit the back of my ankle with a chainring.


"That's for talking out loud to an inanimate object!"

Pretty is an aggressive bike, in more ways than one.

Fortunately, all was forgiven, peace was made, and we continued on.
More greenery, behind Sheep Hill.
 The part of this section of trail that I hate, the slog through the cinders... well, once again, despite Pretty's awesomeness, was still a slog. I need to take Snowblind out here. Maybe then I'd have fun on it.

Closer and closer to Elden.

Hmm... which way?
One way heads to town... the other way goes around Mt. Elden. I was feeling pretty good, so I let my water supply decide for me. Just over a liter left, and it's still cold, let's go!

Little Elden.

I had never ridden this section of Little Elden Trail before.

I'm glad I came this way.

Winding around the mountain, faster than I had planned.

Little Elden Spring.

So green.

Someday I'll come down this trail again...
 Little Elden Trail was one of the trails affected by the Schultz Fire, and subsequent flooding. It was also one of the first to be re-opened, earlier this year. The work that's been done to shore up the trail in the fire and drainage areas is amazing, and I have to thank everyone who worked on it. Little Bear Trail is a trail I've done only once, before I was any good at all at this mountain biking thing. It was also one of the hardest hit by the fire and flooding. They're hoping to open it later this year, and there is a trail day dedicated to reaching that goal, which I plan on joining in on.

Not long after Little Bear, I ran in to Anthony from Absolute Bikes and FBO heading the opposite way. We chatted for a while about trails, bikes, and shoes before heading our separate ways.

You know you go to the bike shop a lot when the manager recognizes you on the trail and doesn't have a problem with stopping and hanging out for a bit.

I see nothing wrong with this.
Fire scars.

The edge of the burn area.
Soon I made it to Schultz Creek Trail, where two things happened. First, I ran out of water. (Oh noes!) Second, the downhill started. (Aww yeah!) As expected, Pretty ate up the trail, though I didn't make nearly as many bad line choices as last time. At the bottom, I hooked up with the FUTS and took that home.

So, after 43 miles today, and over 100 miles since I got it a week ago, what are my impressions on full suspension?

I am definitely more confident on Pretty, than I am on Tri. Of course, I was more confident on Tri than I was on the Giant and the B-52, both being 26" bikes. The Pivot makes me a more confident rider, but not a better rider. However, one thing Anthony mentioned to me today, is that going back and forth between the hardtail (Tri) and the full suspension (Pretty) will make me a better rider on both, which makes sense. Pretty builds my confidence to just roll over stuff, and Tri builds the skill to roll over things, once I have the confidence to even try to.

The other thing is endurance... I have much better endurance with Pretty. It could be gears, it could be the fact that I'm almost 30 pounds lighter, I dunno... but I can go on longer rides, and come back with energy to spare, while before, it was a struggle to get home, sometimes. It has me wondering what my range might be, now. If I hadn't run out of water when I did, I probably could have gone another 10 or 15 miles today.

So, in short, I'm diggin' it.
Mileage: 43.4

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