Here are a few pics from the last and worst ride of my life – yes, it HAS been nearly 8 months since I’ve hit the trails.  Insert sad face here.  I had to visit UT on a work trip way back in June, so I decided to bring my bike along and make a short stop in Park City.  I visited and decided to try the IMBA Epic.  It looked like it would be a challenging climb that would offer some great views and a rippin’ downhill once I got to the top.

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above: I parked my car at a bike shop in town and peddled to the trail head using the mtbproject app as my guide.  Without a handlebar mount for my cell phone, I missed a few turns on the unfamiliar city streets, adding a little bit of distance to what IMBA says is a 26.4 mile ride.

below: Once I found the trail head, I got into an easy going peddling groove and paced myself for a 10 mile climb up to 9,900 feet.

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above: Aspens lining the Armstrong trail on my way up.  Armstrong is open to cyclists traveling uphill only.

below: The barren slopes of Park City waiting for winter.

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above: Shortly after making this turn, my left foot began to feel like it was floating all over its pedal.  I finally had to stop to see what was going on and I discovered that my Time pedal had blown a ball-bearing which was allowing my pedal body to completely come off the spindle.  Not wanting to turn around and give up on the ride, I decided to keep going and concentrate on my pedal stroke to ensure my foot would not slip off the spindle.

below: After a grueling climb that nearly bonked me close to the top, the views below were mine! For the last half mile of the climb, my calves tightened up and threatened to completely give up if I pushed any harder. I had to walk a bit, but the push was worth it, or so I thought.

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Shortly after the picture above was taken, the thunder clouds which were once on the horizon continued rolling in and started pouring down rain. I got my phone out one last time before I left the views to make sure I was headed in the right track and peddled on with one foot barely attached to the crank.  After the first half mile of a nearly 10 mile descent, I new I was in trouble.  The thunder and rain were not letting up and my face was getting pelted with grit flying off the front tire.  To make it worse, the rocks and roots forced me to slow to snail like speeds in order for me to not wash out.  After a few miles of rolling in the stream of water running down the middle of the single track, I stopped to double check my phone again for direction.  Ever tried to use a touch screen that is wet?  Don’t bother!  Ever tried to dry a cell phone screen while standing in pouring rain completely soaked head to heels in water and mud?  Don’t bother!

After several fruitless attempts to check my whereabouts, I gave up and continued down the trail, avoiding any trails that branched off in other directions.  After giving up on the idea of not getting too dirty, I had to embrace the mud that quickly covered me from head to toe.  What should have been a 20 minute ripping descent turned into a painful 1 hour crippled ride down the mountain.  Once I got near the bottom, I found a fire road to bail on and headed straight to my car after being defeated by the mountain.

The trails and scenery in Park City were incredible and I hope to return someday – hopefully I’ll have better luck with the weather.  Had I not had to work earlier in the day, I could have avoided being on the mountain in the late afternoon.

below: Good beer is really hard to find in UT.  Great beer is even harder to find!  If you are ever searching, stop by Epic Brewing and pick up some bombers of their Exponential Series.  I had the Sour Apple Saison (which left me wanting more tartness – I’m a huge sour fan) and the Smoked and Oaked.  Both were very well done and left me wanting to sample more.

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Oregon Adventure

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I took advantage of another business trip that brought me to Oregon for a week. I drove up a day early to sample the world famous trails of Oakridge, one of two cities in OR completely surrounded by National Forest. To say there is not much happening in Oakridge is an under statement! It felt a bit like a ghost town. However, they do have hundreds of miles of single track a stones throw away!

below: Oregon Adventures is a must for an out of shape guy like myself. They’ll shuttle you to the top and let you rip down the buff single track without having to do all the hard work yourself. It was around a 45 minute drive to the top of Alpine Trail, “the Oakridge Crown Jewel.”

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alpine garminabove: Here is a snap shot of the Alpine ride. I sat next to a friendly fellow from Australia on the way up and he talked me into hitting a little bonus section of trail off the backside of the Alpine start that he had read about.  That is the lollipop section pictured on the most northern part of the map above.

below: I started the ride with 3 other guys and eventually finished with just one of them after some unfortunate technical problems for myself and the guy I finished with. Here are the other 3 riders pictured heading down through Sourgrass Meadow near the top of the ride.

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alpine 5above: The dirt was incredible. There wasn’t the least among of dust on my bike afterwards, a refreshing change from your typical washed out dusty Nor-cal trails. I also encountered some of the narrowest single track I have ever ridden – the kind that made you adjust your point of view a little more towards your front tire so you don’t ride off the edge of the trail. When they say single track in OR, they mean it!

below: There were some incredible views on Alpine, but they didn’t last long. Savor them while you can on this ride!

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below: The bottom section of trail featured some incredible forests with endless views of giant trees reaching into the sky.

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above: I stopped by Brewers Union Local 180 for a post ride beer and burger. I was impressed by both! This is the only brewery in OR that serves real live ales from casks at the proper temperature. You can see the cask closet above which is kept at a cool 50 degrees. You may also notice that the casks are tilted at different angles depending on how empty they are. The beers are hand pumped and poured into your 20oz pint via the beer engines you see in the very front of the photo. You won’t get skimped on a proper pour at Local 180!

below: Because the ale is alive in the cask, the yeast continues to ferment and condition the beer until it reaches your stomach.

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below: I had read a lot about Oakridge before this trip – mostly people raving about the insane quality and quantity of single track. This introduction of Oakridge via Alpine trail left me a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I would go back in a heart beat. However, I thought the riding would be better. Some of the downhill sections of Alpine were straight and steep and you had to shed speed with your brakes. While the moments of views were amazing, they were short lived. The very top of Alpine was flowy and fun, but it didn’t last long. Like I said before, I’d love to return and sample more of what Oakridge has to offer. Hopefully I’ll get to someday.

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After leaving Oakridge, I had to get to the business part of this trip which landed me in Corvallis and Eugene. I had 2 free mornings on the Corvallis leg, so I hit up McDonald-Dunn Forest and Mary’s Peak.  Here are a few pics below.

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below: We accidentally rode on a short section of trail in the old growth forest that was closed to bikes. We didn’t see the sign until we reached the end of the trail at the next juncture. Oops! No trees were harmed in the riding of these trails and the taking of these pictures.

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Mary’s Peak

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above: The drive to the trail head is a dusty dry road that goes for miles into the middle of nowhere. I was already feeling unsure about leaving my car parked when we showed up to an empty lot. This sign below didn’t help either which was posted at the trailhead. It was an anxious ride that day, but the car ended up being ok!

below: No shuttle for this ride. We had to earn our descent!

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below: I highly recommend this trail if you are in the area. The descent was a blast that had some nice switchbacks and tricky “rooty” technical features. The view of Corvallis at the top of the ride is nice too!

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If you love riding your bike and drinking craft beers (not at the same time!) there is no better place to live than OR. If you are ever in town, the Growler Guys will keep you stocked with more beer than you can drink.  At $10-$15 for a fill, it is a great deal too. They mostly feature local beers, but usually have a few offerings from breweries located in the surrounding states. Being from CA, I was after OR beer anyways. If you want to sample a few beers before making your decision, no problem! You can even get a pint while your buddy makes his mind up. The stand alone growler filling station is something I hope makes it to CA soon.

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above: Their digital screens keep you updated up to the minute. The screens run a proprietary software that lets them quickly update a tap and put the correct image of the tap handle on display.

below: They also have a Kombucha and a few ciders on tap as well. If you are traveling without a growler, they sell both large and small ones on site.

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I was able to visit a few breweries while I was there (Dunsmuir Brewery Works, Rogue Ale Public House in Eugene, Block 15 and Falling Sky [I may have left a few out]). Below are a few pictures from Falling Sky. This place was one of my least favorites that I visited, but I just happened to get the camera out for a few pictures. The atmosphere was the best thing they had going for them. The service was meh and the beer was just ok. They do however win the award for having the most schwag available for sale!

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A Check for the Bucket List

I recently took advantage of a work related trip that took me to Phoenix AZ.  With a baby girl on the way that’s due in a few weeks, I’ve been trying to cram in as much new riding as possible.  Having visited AZ in the past without my bike, I knew there was some amazing riding to do.  The plan was to ride around the Phoenix area during the week and then spend a few days in Sedona when business was finished.

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above: We only had a vehicle with a roof rack for the drive out there.  Since I knew we’d be encountering all sorts of airborn debris on I-5, I decided to get out my trusty old bike bra for the drive.  It was designed to be used with a fork mounted setup, but I made it work for my application.

below: For the Phoenix area riding, we decided to check out the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  The riding was challenging and was close to town, so we ended up riding here both of our days in Phoenix.  Most of the pictures below are of the Sunrise trail.

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above: The climb to the top was steady once you got a ways out from the trail head.

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above: A larger than life size cactus at the top of the climb.  We looked, but we didn’t find any perfectly shaped ones, like the kind you’d see in cartoons.

below: Once you get to the top, you can drop down the backside our turn around and head back to the car.  If you drop down the backside, you’ll add a bit more climbing to your ride. Even in the “cooler” temps of April, we found our Camelbaks to be empty near the end of a 2 hour ride, so we only ventured down the back on one day.



above: These stairs were the cause of a 45 minute delay after a piece of exposed re-bar shredded his rear tire just moments after this photo was taken.  It was to gnarly for the Revo tire sealant to fill.  I wonder if OrangeSeal would have done the trick?  We’ll know next time!



After work was done in Phoenix, we head up to Sedona the very next morning to try and catch half a day of riding.  We decided to start off with Chuckwagon – Deadman’s Pass – Mescal.  It was a great introduction to the area and offered some great views with several nice flowy sections.

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above: Any direction you pointed the camera would have shown something like this.  The red rock was every where.

below: Chuckwagon trail opened up into giant red rock playgrounds along the 4 mile loop.  We stopped and played around for a bit on the one below but didn’t stay for long since we were racing daylight.









below: Mescal trail is one of the most unique trails I have ever ridden.  The section below featured a upper and lower route around the inside of a red rock bowl directly below Mescal Mountain.  Unfortunately my cropped-sensored-DSLR sporting a 24mm fixed lens couldn’t capture the impressiveness.  The rider in the picture below is nearly finished circling the bowl.  Do you see him in the distance?



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below: This cactus let me know I was too close as I squatted on top of it to get the shot. Thank goodness for padded bike shorts.  Unlike my parking lot accident in Phoenix that caused me to scratch my stanchions and pull around 20 needles out of my elbow, this guy took it easy on me and didn’t leave me with any needles in my ass.


below: A few shots from Hiline to Cathedral Rock.  Hiline had some incredible views but didn’t have as much flow as we hoped for.





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below: Here are a couple of panoramic pictures courtesy of Photoshop’s photomerge action. At times, it was very difficult to keep your eyes on the trail ahead of you with views like these!


below: Hiline rock-chute






below: There were lots of rock-chute playgrounds intersecting the trail that you could ride down.  They would take you as far down as you wanted to go!  The one below had a few nice drops in it.






below: Famous Pizza and Beer served up some killer pizza and offered a small but impressive tap and bottle list.  Highly recommended!  We ate here for lunch after riding Hiline.  Afterwards, we hit up Deadman’s Pass to Mescal one more time.

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below: This was my first but hopefully not my last ride in Sedona. If you are after one of the most unique experiences you can have on a mountain bike, Sedona should be at the top of your list.


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