Monday, October 5, 2009

SoMo - Mormon/National/Telegraph/DC

What was going to be a fun, gnar, and technical Saturday morning ride turned into an epic adventure as usual. We met up with one of the Luna girls at South Mountain, who was going to show us some lines on National. Instead of our usual 'up Mormon - down National', we went 'up Mormon - up National', meaning at the intersection we went to the right instead of left.

This part of National was new to me, and I have been missing out big time!!! What a fun trail, and the obstacles are challenging but most of them are within my skills range. Obviously we had to walk up the waterfall, and I'm not sure if I can even ride down it, it would definately take some sessioning. We took a break up on the middle section of the waterfall, and ended up hanging with some people from the MTBR group.

It was a shame that I wasn't riding too well that morning, I wish I was a little more balanced, I would have wanted to try and session some of the obstacles.

We ended up riding to the Buena Vista parking lot, where we were blinded by a brand spanking new, bright orange 2010 El Guapo. Extremely nice bike, but I was kind of disappointed with the weight: 33-36 lbs range, even though it was only about a 5" travel bike.

So from there we kept on going on National, and went past the towers. This is where the trail gets extremely fun! Mucho exposure, stair steps, rocks, boulders, and very loose conditions! Even though some of it was way over my head, I had a lot of fun riding what I was able to ride. After that comes a section called the 'catwalk', which is a somewhat narrow trail that runs along a ridge, elevated high along the road. Which meant on your right there was a very steep, and rocky cliff with the road right next to it, you would probably fall to your death, or at least get badly hurt if you happen to crash over the edge.

The catwalk ends with some fairly extreme switchbacks, leading you to the Telegraph Pass trailhead. From that point we hike-a-biked down Telegraph Pass, mostly due to extreme conditions of monster step downs and crowds of hikers. We reached the intersection with Desert Classic, and rode Desert Classic back to the Pima Canyon parking lot. It was after noon at this point, and it started heating up, and what saved us was probably that there was somewhat of a cool breeze. I did not have fun on that stretch of Desert Classic, especially not after that section of National. It seemed extremely boring to me, and it didn't help that I was all geared up with armor and a full face. I pulled over at some point and took the armor and helmet off to strap it to the camelback. My heavy built black stallion is not built for speeding through light XC singletrack, and I wasn't too excited about pedaling along a set of knobby and balloony tires on a flat trail. Yes, I consider Desert Classic 'flat'.

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