Sunset Team Guys Out and About – Sedona, AZ
My wife and I spend last weekend visiting her grandparents in Arizona. They live in Surprise, the land of Buicks, golf courses and 4pm dinner reservations. (Its a suburb of Phoenix.) We spend most of the 3-day weekend with family but we did manage to break away for a day trip up to Sedona. We left the Phoenix area shortly after 5am and made good time on the 2+ hour drive. The desert is gorgeous in the early morning, the colors during sunrise were vibrant. After a great hike at the Red Rock State Park my wife agreed that letting me mountain bike was a good idea. (She understands my needs better than anyone.) I rented a mid-level Kona 29er from a shop called the Bike & Bean which is located just off the main trail system outside Sedona. I settled on just a two hour rental as to not abuse my wife’s understanding and because we needed to get back for another early dinner reservation with the grandparents. After some advise from the guys at the shop I set out on one of the most memorable mountain rides I’ve ever done. I started on a trail called Slim Shady which included technical rock gardens, slickrock, washed out creek beds and fast sweeping corners. All in the shadow of a giant red rock monolith called Cathedral Rock. The best time to ride in Arizona is January-March so my timing was perfect. The trails were in exceptional condition thanks to heavy rain a few days prior. The landscape is similar to Bend with the biggest difference being the prickly-pear cactus, some right on the side of the trail. I continued on to the end of Slim Shady and went under highway 179, through a large flood culvert and onto a trail called Little Horse which offered a little technical climbing and a near-miss encounter with a cactus. From Little Horse I found Llama which took me toward two more monoliths, Bell and Courthouse Rocks. I stopped to take in the scenery and to catch my breath, (elevation in Sedona is 4,400′) and realized I had about 45 minutes worth of trail to cover but only 25 minutes left on my bike rental and my wife’s good graces. I got back onto Slim Shady and did my best impression of, “John Weathers enduro pace” back to the Bike & Bean, realizing that all future vacation rides hung in the balance if I was late. The last part of the ride was a blur as a raced down this gem of a trail. I was a little late but both the shop and my wife understood. I used the drive back to Phoenix to reflect on how awesome the ride was. It was a fairly flat ride but combination of towering monoliths, slickrock, riding a 29er and the surprise opportunity to ride made that a ride I’ll not soon forget.