Day 5 - Flagstaff - Mount Elden loop ride

Round Mt Elden Moutain Bike ride (Flagstaff, Arizona)

 
 
 
 
 
After a good nights sleep in my King bed, I started the day with more Banana Waffles pancakes from the Hotel, the breakfast selection at the fairfield is pretty good. From reading the forums on MTBR I had found out that there was still quite a bit of snow in the shade on Mt Elden, But the the trails of the Mount Elden Loop should be clear. So I headed over to Schultz Creek to start the ride.
At the trail head I met a chap called Gary who was taking a year out of work with his camper van, dog and a road and mountain bike to cycle at as many places around the states he could. I invited him to join me on my ride which he did - whilst letting him know I'd be pretty slow going up hill due to the altitude and not being as fit as him 8-;. We headed up Schultz creek which had many creek crossing which had water in, it was the first time I had ridden the trail while the creek had water in it . Schultz Creek trail - Click to Enlarge
Schultz Creek trail - Click to Enlarge At the section the trail where it climbs up away from the creek high on a bank there was still a fair bit of snow , which some hike a bike was required.

Snow on Schultz Creek trail

Video (8MB)

When the trail was clear of snow it was dry and dusty, the Schultz Creek trail varies from being a fairly wide double track to nice singletrack and gradually climbs up to the junction with the Sunset Trail. At Schultz Tank the pond was not frozen, unlike when I had last visited here in November 2005. Schultz Creek trail - Click to Enlarge Schultz Creek trail - Click to Enlarge
Schultz Creek trail - Click to Enlarge

Schultz Creek trail

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From Schultz creek the trail dropped down and then climbed back up a bit, more snow was encountered as we rode the trail the shade.

Schultz Creek trail

Video (2.5 MB)

At one point I decided to ride through a patch of snow and had comedy over the bars moment, as my front wheel stuck in the snow.

 

Schultz Creek trail

over bars Video (3 MB)

Little Elden Trail

Little Elden Trail Video (2.5 MB)

The trail dried out completely at this point, and we had a great blast down the Little Elden Trail. Little Elden Trail
We then connected onto the Sandy Seep trail, which ended mostly up heading around the mountain, there were quite a few energy sapping patches of sand, as the trails name suggests. Little Elden Trail Sandy Seep trail - Click to Enlarge
Sandy Seep trail - Click to Enlarge My chain snapped as we rode through the seep, but we fixed it quickly using one of Gary's powerlinks, we eat some food in the shade of these pine trees before continuing along the trail. Sandy Seep trail
Sandy Seep trail - Click to Enlarge Fatmans trail - Click to Enlarge At the Junction with the Fatmans trail I though it would be a good idea to ride the loop, the trail was quite technical I had to hike a bike some section's, but overall it was a fun trail..

Fatmans trail - Click to Play

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Fatmans trail - Click to Enlarge

Fatmans trail

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At the end of the Fat Mans Loop we tuned Left and headed towards the Pipeline trail, since I had last visited there was now a singletrack trail which roughly parallels the pipeline trail which we took.

Pipeline trail - Click to Enlarge Pipeline trail - Click to Enlarge

Pipeline trail - Click to Enlarge

I managed to whack my rear mech on a rock in one rocky section, and slightly bent my rear hanger.

We spotted this cool looking lizard in the woods as we were trying to find the route to the Lower Oldham Trail. It turned out I had sent us up the wrong wash, Gary decided to head off on a clear path, and I continued bush whacking before I realized I was going the wrong way and headed the way he had gone. Lizard on Pipeline trail - Click to Enlarge Lizard on Pipeline trail - Click to Enlarge
Lower Oldham trail - Click to Enlarge Once I was riding on my own I slowed right down and stopped to eat some powerbars. I was feeling quite tired at this point and the climb back up the Lower Oldham trail was quite energy sapping. Lower Oldham trail - Click to Enlarge
Lower Oldham trail - Click to Enlarge Lower Oldham trail - Click to Enlarge Rocky ridge trail - Click to Enlarge

Rocky ridge trail - Click to Play

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By the time I got to the Rocky ridge trail I had caught my second wind and had fun riding along this trail, the trail had a fair bit of up as well as down.

Rocky ridge trail - Click to Play

Video (19MB)

Rocky ridge trail - Click to Enlarge

When I arrived back at the SUV Gary had a pot of coffee ready on his stove for me, he then gave me some details of rides to do around where his home is St George.

We then arranged to meet up later for dinner, and I headed into Flagstaff to see if I could get my front fork sorted out as it had started to leak oil badly.

Round Elden Loop route map - Click to Enlarge

Mt Elden Loop Map

In Flagstaff I took my bike to AZ Bike who said they could do my fork there and then, so I left it with them while I had a walk around town, I bought a bungee cord from Babbits a quite good outdoors shop, and had a great Banana Malt at the dinner near to AZ Bikes. Unfortunately when I went back to AZ bikes they said they were having problems stopping air cavitations in my fork and asked if I could pick it up the following day which I agreed to. I headed back to the Hotel and met up with Gary we had a swim in the Hotel pool and then headed over to Casa Bonita for another great Mexican meal. I'll be sure to look Gary up the next time I visit the states as we had a good day out on the trail.

Day 6