Mountain biking in Sedona and other stories from the desert

On the way toward Arizona, for no reason other than a hankering, I took a drive up a mountain until I couldn’t drive anymore.

All the signs were branded with bullet holes, on the way up and the way down.

I stayed in Flagstaff, Arizona for four nights because it was pretty damn cool, and only 20 miles from Sedona, AZ, the only place around to do some decent mountain biking (too snowy in Flagstaff).

Sedona, where everything is red rock (and not snow!).

Apparently this was the go-to spot for mountain bikers this time of year. I’d heard this guy (Craig) had been in Sedona for much of the winter. His website was posted on the back of his van for great trail descriptions he’s ridden on his 18+ month (?) trip so far and a detailed travelogue.

I asked the guys at Bike & Bean in Sedona if they had any group rides coming up, and they did in a few days, but after one of the mechanics gave me a good up and down look, he said the ride would be very “aggressive” and I could hang on at the beginning but that would be about it. Honestly, I was a little offended, but he was probably right (a reason to keep at it!).

The first day I rode in Sedona, I wasn’t too keen on which trails were better suited for hikers or bikers, but by day two, I found exclusive biking trails–where I didn’t see another person for over an hour! The guys at Bike & Bean said there is over 300 miles of single track here!

Ride Pics

bigger rocks

on the edge of a big rock

gnarly switchback

which eventually brought me to a dead end

I ended up staying in a hostel in Flagstaff, about 20 miles from Sedona, because, well, Sedona is kinda ritzy, and Flagstaff had a good feeling about it. It was quite cold there though, and I needed a shower so sleeping in the van was out of the question.

As a bonus, I met some awesome people, including a kick ass girl from Minneapolis named Bonnie.

The two guys on the left are from Denmark (the one of the back left was the Danish National road racing champion last year [ooh, la, la]), and the other guy is from England.

The last day I was there, I went to a show and watched IHYWYP (I Hate You When You’re Pregnant), who used to be pretty popular back in the day. It’s just one guy with a pair of briefs and a microphone. The Flagstaff kids were getting into it, but I thought it was kinda lame.

THEN, I went to the Grand Canyon (because I love America).

It was majestic, big…grand, if you will, but the other tourists were surprisingly irritating.

For example, there is a gadget on the side of the rim that calculates the current air visibility. In winter (when I came) the gadget says a person can see 130 miles, which is the farthest one can see per the sign. In the summer the average is 90 miles. As I was reading this, a middle aged couple was looking at the gizmo with digital numbers, commenting on how “neat” that was. Then the wife posed a question, “I wonder why you can see farther in the winter?”

To which the husband replied, “Oh…humidity…yep, humidity.” And they walked away.

But, on the sign it clearly read in several places that the visibility changed due to POLLUTION. Read the sign ass-hat. I’m sure humidity is a factor; more water vapor carrying dust particles, expanding air, and the like, but humidity alone does not produce that hazy effect which happens south wind of L.A.

Well, I got outta there, and headed north toward the Hoover Dam. The dam was a place I had planned to stop by, take a tour, and chill; but it was so congested and I missed the last tour of the day, so I took a picture and kept on going.

Lake Mead

This lake has quite a fascinating saga if you’re interested in water rights and whether desert cities, like Las Vegas (and L.A.), will be able to cling to the life it’s known for the past 80 years–Hoover dam was built in 1931-6. They began producing hydro-electric power mainly because they was no other way to pay for the construction of the dam–and politicians in the East weren’t going to pay millions of dollars of depression era money to fund such an ambitious dam on the other side of the continent if it couldn’t pay for itself.

A couple articles about the lake’s grim future.
Las Vegas Running Out of Water Means Dimming Los Angeles Lights(Feb. 26, 2009

Lake Mead may go dry by 2021 (Feb. 12, 2008)

GOOD: Lake Mead is drying up (May 6, 2009)

Next Post: Death Valley


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