Day 21 - Flagstaff Mountain Bike Ride, AZ


 
 
 
 
  
In the morning when I woke up my lower back was very stiff, so I had to cancel a ride I had arranged with traildoc from the mtbr forums. After a bunch of stretching I got my back a bit looser and then packed up all my gear. I decided to take it easy today and go ride the trails on Mt Elden. As usual the FairField in at Flagstaff had been a nice place to stay at, with little noise from the trains.
It was another great day clear blue sky's and about 70f. I parked in the car park at the end of schultz creek and started my ride at about 12:45 and started by riding up the Rocky Ridge trail. I was feeling tired from the day before and the climb up rocky ridge felt pretty hard.
After about 2 miles of mostly climbing I turned right onto the Elden Lookout road. Its quite a long old grind up the lookout road, in one spot there are some nice views of the San Francisco Peaks. The Road towards the top was very eroded and rutted, ride able on a bike but you wouldn't want to drive up in a low clearance vehicle.
I rode all the way up the Look out road which is about 4.2 miles of climbing, past oldham meadows on the right and up to where the Sunset trail starts at about 9159ft. I rode up to TV Hill to lookout over flagstaff and then headed back to the Sunset trail. The trail starts by rolling through open grassy meadows on narrow singletrack, all the trees here had been burned down in a fire in 1978.
The first part of the trail is nice easy fast singletrack with great views. Since I'd last ridden up here the trees that had grown after the fire were now getting quite tall. A section of the sunset trail is known as the catwalk and has a couple of very rocky technical sections along its way.
Eventually after passing the Heart trail on the right the trail drops down through the Hobbit Forest, which has lots of Huge granite boulders scattered along the path. My Bike handling skills weren't up to riding all this trail as it headed down, but what I did ride was nice and fun.  
After the hobbit forest the trail goes smoothly through Grassy meadows amongst old growth forest, and arrived at the closed Little Bear trail - which was shut due to a large forest fire caused by careless campers earlier on in the year.
From this turn of the trail climbs upwards for about 3/4 mile , at the Brookbank turn I turned right and continued to head up the Sunset Trail.
Since I had last ridden here this section of the Sunset trail had been rerouted and was much better than the rut fest it used to be. Although some of the corners on the way down didn't ride too well as the camber was set the wrong way on the corners.
After some fast riding through open meadows the trail starts to descend down fast through the trees towards Schultz Tank, it was so much fun I didn't stop to take any pictures. Just as I started up Little Gnarly I realised I lost my main tripod I decided to carry on up the trail and then go ride down jedi before back tracking to look for the tripod.

The upper parts of the Jedi trail was great as it headed down through the Aspen, the lower parts were good as well, although I had to do a bit of hike a bike on some of the bigger obstacles. At the end of the Jedi trail it reconnected with the Schultz Creek trail.

I then backtracked for about a mile up the sunset trail before I found my tripod laying in the middle of the trail. Going back for the tripod wasn't too bad as I got to ride back down the trail again.

There's no pictures of my ride down schultz Creek as I was enjoying bombing down the trail as fast as I could to stop. The trail is great fun aas you can can go as fast as your legs will propel you down the trail, as it heads down along side schultz creek. Towards the end the singletrack opens out onto a old dirt road - but even that part is fun as your riding so fast, and there are little jumps and smaller tracks off to the side of the main trail. Finally my ride came to an end as I arrived back at the car park at 18:40 , I'd ridden about 21 miles and climbed around 3059ft on this ride.

Once I'd packed up my bike I headed over to Rockman's house. After unloading my copious amounts of luggage I had a shower and then headed out to buy some nice big juicy steaks and other stuff for us to eat that night. Rockman cooked the steaks very well. I then spent a couple of hours dismantling and packing up my bike ready for the journey home using rockman's very well equipped garage. Rockman's home and family were extremely nice , I really enjoyed staying at his place that night.

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