Well, another day on the bike, what's new?
55 miles? Doesn't seem so far compared to Trans-Andes, or considering the Whiskey 50 was last weekend, rode a lot this week, and oh yeah did a Splash&Dash race three days ago (winner winner chicken dinner!), but oh my holy cow, rough stuff out there.
The Sedona Big Friggin Loop is one of the Arizona Endurance Series (AES) events, grassroots, low-key, no prizes, nothing official, just good sufferin' and great camaraderie. Most of the AES usual suspects are incredible riders, regularly pushing themselves out on multi-day (week) ventures and racking up rocky vertical like it's nobody's business. They are rock gawds for sure! The original 2013 SBFL was scheduled for early spring, but it rained that day, and like the good riders they were, cancelled it for the year as to save the trail from unneeded abuse. Since we were putting on the Sedona Singletrack Festival (SSC) a few months later, we thought it'd be a good opportunity to try a redux & got the blessing from Scott and Chad. It would definitely be hotter out there this time of year, but what the heck.
We all met up at the start point around 630am and launched on dirt. We also knew that some others would be starting about an hour later. I was so clumsy for the first few miles (sorry Brian)...not sure if it was because of no warm-up (the inner triathlete in me) or nerves not wanting to fall too far behind the group or annoying my friend Strars who'd graciously agreed to muster through the route at my less-aggressive pace. Knowing that much of these trails are far above my personal riding ability (rock stairs straight up and/or straight down), I knew I had quite a bit of HikeABike (HAB) in front of me for the day, so I'd worn my more agile Izumis and they worked out great.
Once we got through the first half which is definitely the most techy and took far over half the total time, we hit the flowier dirt of the dry creek area. Of course, by this time, although I felt decent overall, I was definitely feeling some fatigue. Fighting w/that bike up, down, over rocks and boulders all day is unlike any other feat for sure.
Surprisingly, especially for a Sunday, we didn't run across too many people out there (except the 2 places I wanted a QOM ha!). Even being local, much of this course was "new" for me...as I had avoided certain sections due to mere techiness/cursing (Thunder Mtn, Huckabee, etc.) and others I'd never done in the SBFL direction. Fun stuff!
In all, we rode for about 7 hours course/ride-time (w/a total of a lttle over an hour stopping...mandatory double espresso at safeway starbucks...a little bike maintenance, running across friends along the trail, etc. No major crashes -- neither bikewise nor emotionally haha! A few minor bonks, a massive bee sting, some chainsuck, a few F bombs tossed around, lots of comedy....all in all, an absolute epic single-day ride. Oh and wildflowers were in full-bloom! Incredible! Threw on a sundress and compression tights (ahh the fashion sense of a dirtgirl!) to go chow down on some well-earned Mexican food (Cinco de Mayo after all) and some chocolate ice cream and rolled into the SSC site just in time to see John and Tim hop off their dusty bikes still in tact. Those crazies (who started later than the group), finished in the darkness. Hard enough in daylight, but those guys rocked it and still seemed pretty peppy.
Not sure if I'll push it beyond this, at least as far as the techy goes, but this will definitely go down as a "been there done that" ride. Kudos to everyone who showed up and encouragement for anybody who attempts it next year (check out the AES website for next years route/dates...TBD).
(Everybody loves "HILINE" and it's incredible descent, except for me. Are ya nuts? Mr. Claus apparently did it on his rigid SS. Holy crap!)