MTB odyssey – pics and stories

So the stars were aligned correctly this past holiday weekend and the Ayatola MTB (aka Tom) and myself took on a trip through the southwest, in search of Great Rides. As I mentioned earlier our plan was very simple and at the time we finally got started, not particularly elaborated: drive to Vegas wednesday night, ride Bootleg Canyon thursday, then drive to Flagstaff/Sedona, ride there on friday, drive to Phoenix, ride South Mountain saturday, drive to LA/SoCal and do some ride there on sunday and finally, head back to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Here are our pics and stories.

After a night in New York – New York, Las Vegas that is – we headed to Bootleg Canyon in the (late) morning. Bootleg turned out to be a true piece of art, courtesy of local trail master Brent Thomson. The XC trails are a blast (‘Skyline’ was a favorite of ours) and for the true gravity junkies there are a bunch of hairy downhill trails with interesting names (‘Kevorkian’, ‘Poop Shoot’,...), which we just stared at. Oh yeah: the small, spiky rocks that are all over the place are very, very sharp.


Bootleg trails


Tom on a hairball section of Skyline


Sin City in the backdrop


The second day we rode in Sedona, a loop comprising Broken Arrow and Little Horse, and a little bit of Templeton / Cathedral Rock (the map we bought was useful). Broken Arrow sports some fun slickrock playgrounds, interesting tech problems and gorgeous scenery; and Little Horse is a perfect rollercoaster.


Sedona slickrock


Uphill battle


Chicken Point vista


A Problem on Little Horse – Tom ended up endo-ing it in style…


Day 3 brought us to Phoenix. National Trail on South Mountain has been one of my all-time favorite rides since I did it the first time last winter; now we were planning on closing the loop Mormon – National – Telegraph pass – Desert Classic. This ride turned out to have it all: tech climb workouts, rocky and rolling singletrack, psycho descents (Telegraph!) and fast, smooth up-and-down cruising (Desert Classic). Caveat: besides hard rocks, the trails are also infested with cacti (such as the particularly unpleasant cholla) , so carefully select where you fall.


Up Mormon trail


A futile attempt of climbing the ‘Waterfall’ on National


A local shows how to ride it down


Having fun with the ledges and drops on National


Sample of the psychotic Telegraph Pass descent


At the bottom of Telegraph, connecting to the Desert Classic trail


After this, we did lots of driving. The desert, LA, then I-5 through the Grapevine. More driving the next morning. We decided to make Montana de Oro our last ride of the journey, as it was kind of on our way back to the Bay Area, and I had heard nice things about it. The perfect California fall weather was still in effect, and it turned out to be a great day: blue skies, amazing views of the ocean and Morro Bay, and an awesome ride: a steep and tough singletrack climb, giving us a ticket down Ridge trail, with its twists, thrills, bumps, jumps and sandpits.
Then, after +1800 miles of driving, 65 miles of riding, and little sleep, we made it home again.


Montana de Oro


Climbing up the ridge


Ocean view


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