Mountain biking in summer heat takes a lot out of people who live in Phoenix. A nice 20-mile ride in Flagstaff did wonders to get me back in a mountain bike sort of mood.
It was a bit of logistical challenge. Sarah wanted to go for a ride on her tri bike while I hit the trails. We had to find a place that allowed access to the best riding spots for us. I parked the car at the New Frontiers grocery store on Milton. That made it easy for her to get to Lake Mary Road, while I had a short road jaunt to Buffalo Park. From there, I had easy access to all sorts of trails.
I picked a nice grind up the Rocky Ridge Trail, which is part of the Arizona Trail stretching north to south throughout the entire state. From there, I connected to the Schultz Creek Trail.
Last year, I didn’t even make it Flagstaff to go mountain biking in summer. So I didn’t see how the trail had fared since a fire closed the trail – I want to say that was in 2011. I don’t know how bad the damage was -- and my untrained eye could detect few signs of fire damage. Add that to a long time since my last ride, and I couldn’t spot huge differences. If you’re a local or just have a better memory than me, feel free to set me straight.
Regardless, Schultz Creek was once again a big beer stein full of fun. And not just on the way down. It’s an entertaining climb that lets you settle into a nice groove. It was even better for me when I latched onto a group to turn a trio into a quartet – I had a good chat with fellow Phoenicians Ian, Paul and Christian during the climb. I wish I could’ve gone further on my first jaunt mountain biking in summer without blistering heat.
As usual, there was intermittent cloudiness and even thunder. Par for the course when I go mountain biking in summer up in the pines. And a nice change from feeling beat down when I ride in Phoenix!
And it’s not exactly off-road riding, but I appreciate the Flagstaff urban trail system. It’s one big element in making Flagstaff a bike-friendly off-road Amsterdam. You can get to quite a few places on your bike without encountering cars for long stretches.
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