Day 19 - Sedona Mountain Bike Ride, AZ


In the morning after a good nights sleep in a comfortable bed at the Fairfield Inn I had some breakfast at the pretty good free breakfast.

Then I got in touch with my car rental company, they arranged for me to take the SUV to their approved tyre centre.

It had rained quite hard in the night , so the car wasn't covered in a layer of dust from the rainbow rim dirt roads which was good.

At the Garage they looked at the tire and found that it was not repairable as i'd driven on it for too long before I was able to change to the spare tyre.

They didn't have any of the same tyre in stock , so they gave me number for the car rental place at Flagstaff airport. After filling up with gas in Flagstaff I drove over to the airport, and they were able to swap me over into another Dodge Journey - but this time the SUV was Black. I'd driven about 2350 miles in the silver one.

After getting the new SUV I drove back to flagstaff and then went to a few shops I stopped off at a couple of bike shops but none of them had much in the way of things I needed to buy apart from a new Camalbak bite valve as my current one was all moldy and some more Camalbak elixir. At the outdoors shop Babbits in the centre of flagstaff I bought a new tripod to replace the joby tripod I lost over at Cassidy Canyon in Utah. I then went to Diablo Burger and had a really tasty burger and chips before heading back to the hotel. Where I crashed out on the bed and had a nap, as I was still tired from the epic drive the night before. I woke up at about 16:00 , as it had stopped raining outside, but was still windy and quite cold in Flagstaff I decided to go down to Sedona and try riding the High Line trail I drove south down the I17 and took the oak creek turning down up the 179, rather than going down the 89 from sedona as that's quite a slow windy road.

I parked down in Oak Creek and set off on my bike at about 17:30. It was quote cloudy down in sedona but the sun was shining through quite often. From my car I rode about a mile up the road to The Bike & bean shop and then looked around for the entry point to the trail.

Using my GPS I wasn't able to find the start of the trail right away, but I after I worked out where the trail started I rode along the Made in the Shade singletrack leading to high line, there were a couple of small puddles along the way but in general it was all dry. The singletrack was nice and narrow , and started out quite flat before climbing steeply at times up towards the rock walls.
The clouds and low light made for some great pictures. The view from this side of the valley was very nice as well looking over towards Bell rock and Courthouse Butte.
The trail climbed up quite steeply at times, over slick rock and through wash's. It was pretty well built and enjoyable to ride as it was nice and narrow with plenty of tricky bits to keep you on your toes, unlike the rainbow trail i'd ridden the day before. I had to hike a bike a couple of times for some of the harder rock moves.
As the trail gets up closer to the cliffs it undulates up and down and twists around some Huge rocks, climbing up through wash's and then down singletrack cut into the side of the slope. Its around 1.7 miles until the trail drops back onto the slim shady trail which I took north, after initially going the wrong way back towards B&B.
Heading along Slim Shady singletrack I missed the high line trail, and then had to backtrack again to go the right way. As I started to climb upwards on the high line trail I could see a lot of rain in the distance north up the valley, But I could also hear thunder nearby. As It wasn't raining yet so I carried on as the trail was great.
My luck with the rain finally ran out at about 19:00 after riding just 1/2 a mile of high line as rain came sweeping around the rocks. The rain was really wet rain !! - big fat drops of rain which at first came down so hard I couldn't see more than 10 metres in front of me. I decided to turn around and head back the way I'd come now. I was totally soaked to the skin , but even with Thunder and Lightning going on all around me it was a brilliant ride.
The wash's and stream beds now had water gushing down them, which made for an interesting ride back down them. I took the lower part of Made in the Shade back towards Oak Creek Village, rather the higher route as there is a lot of slick rock on the upper route which I wasn't sure would be that fun to ride on in the wet.
The trail was mostly down hill on the way back and was a lot quicker to ride than it was heading up. After about 15 minutes of rain , the rain slowed and the streams began to stop flowing , and the trail started to dry out. I carried on back towards Bike and Bean.

Luckily enough Bike & bean have a hose that bikers can use to wash their bikes, as my bike and me were covered in red sand. I stopped and chatted to some bikers who were thinking about starting a night ride, but were waiting for the big rain clouds & rain to move on. I decided to call it a night for now, and ride back along the pavement in the rain to my SUV, and bought some food at the IGA supermarket before heading back to Flagstaff.

Even though I hadn't managed to do a long ride, I'd really enjoyed this ride , great views at almost all times and a challenging trail , unlike the rainbow rim trail I had ridden the day before which had had occasional great views and a rather boring easy trail.

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Click here for Day 20