2009 was my first visit to Phoenix, AZ with a bike. My wifes family has a house that's, fortunately, only a 10 minute bike ride to South Mountain park. It's like being at a ski in/ski out condo right on the mountain. 2 years ago I said, "I'll be back. Next time, though, I think I'll have to nab the car for a day to check out some other riding areas around Phoenix."
Needless to say when Christmas rolled around this year and there was talk of an AZ road trip, I said "Sign me up!"
I managed to get in over 12 hours of riding over 4 days there. Not too shabby. The house was the closest pedal to the Mormon Trailhead, which is one of the tougher trails on the north side of the mountain. It's rocky, it's steep, and it has some big moves. Loose rocks, too. Last time I was out here, I went up and down Mormon a few times. On this trip, however, I only climbed it once and wasn't on it again. No offense, Mormon Trail. I will definitely see you again.
I did have to stop at the top for a glamour shot of my latest ride, the carbon fiber Carbine from Intense. Such a sweet bike. Dare I say, Intense took my favorite bike ever, made it lighter and snappier and stiffer? Just might have a winner on our hands with this one!
I climbed National to a trail that I was introduced to by the downhill shuttlers on my last visit. The Geronimo Trail. I think Geronimo is a new favorite trail. It's steep, it's fast, it's chunky and technical, and it's full of small drops and launches. It's good stuff.
From there, a sandy wash up the middle of the park.
I did not come out of this one unscathed. This is where I missed a 2' slab step up on a climb. It's just a flesh wound, really, primarily paint. One of the goals of this trip was to put the Intense Carbine thru the ringer out of the gate. That, I did.
As luck would have it, fellow Redstoner Lee H was visiting family in Scottsdale, which is surrounded by McDowell regional park. He offered up a guided tour on some of the riding he hits regularly in AZ. I could not say no. I also could not say no to Polibertos Taco Shop for breakfast. Mmmmm, good.
McDowell park was completely different than South Mountain. The terrain was less technical and definitely more rolling with longer, gentler climbing. The trails saw seemingly less use with better maintenance, too. Groomers. But still great terrain for riding. Hardtail 29er was all I was thinking.
On the backside of the park, we caught a view of Fountain Hills. Named so because of this retirement communitys landmark, the worlds largest water fountain. Something like a 200' water fountain in the middle of the desert doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Seems kinda wasteful and extravagant, doesn't it?
The backside of the park had a little tighter singletrack, too. A lot of it was fall line-esque, but made for some fun riding.
Our last day in AZ and back to S. Mt. We drove up to the top to check the views. It was cool to see a paraglider take off from right where we were standing!
I had always wanted to go down Telegraph Pass, which was reputed to be uber gnar. I started the day with a quick but steep climb up Ranger.