I recently read an article in Peleton magazine titled, “My Favorite Roads.” The author went on to write about some the roads he’s ridden around the world that have left lasting memories for him and capture the essence of riding a road bike. The article inspired me to do something very similar, but to write about some of my favorite trails here in this adventureland.
This trail challenges me every time I ride it. The first climb warms up my lungs and I am greeted by a view of the ridge on the other side of this small valley, Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. I can’t look away for too long because the trail is narrow and the exposure to my right has its consequences. My concentration is tested all the way along the ridge to the view point, where I take a dog-leg right turn and descend down onto the slickrock that skirts the base of Cathedral Rock. I soon come upon the ‘chute’ and its brethren features after it that challenge my ability to control my speed and choose the proper line.
I have no shame, there is usually one spot that I am forced to get off and walk the bike. I still have some things to learn before a proper clean ride of this trail, but that’s why I like it–it challenges me every time.
I love climbing and this trail has one of the longer climbs in Sedona. As I work my way up that climb I catch glimpses of what has become some of my favorite views in Sedona. Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte all sit in a line to the South of Skywalker.
The descent off the high point of the trail keeps my eyes looking ahead of me as I roll over loose rock and gravel. Tighter turns and slight uphills on this section make me search of the proper gear. This trail is an adventure from the beginning with slight exposure in certain spots, a climb that makes me work for the view and diverse riding surfaces that test the rubber I’m rolling on.
Tight turns, technical rock transitions and flow that will challenge even the best of rappers. Sand, slickrock, loose gravel and dirt. Diversity is what Slim Shady is. Slim Shady forces me to be a well-rounded rider.
The southern end of the trail is nearly all sand. Tight turns wind me through the short trees, shrubs and cacti. The flow is intoxicating. Quick ups and downs paired with the tight turns create are a rollercoaster. The northern end is chunky. Rocks and boulders line the way. A dry creek bed serves as the catalyst for change in riding surfaces. The ride ends with dirt switchbacks that might make some riders think they’re in the PNW. No, no. This is Sedona.
The equivalent of a powder run would be this trail. The jumps and ledges along this descent keep the momentum moving and my stoke high. The loose rock and gravel add their own dimension; that sensation that my wheel will slide out from under me at any moment on some of the turns. Trust in the bike and myself is needed and this trail has taught me to do so.
Grand Central is the type of trail that when I reach the bottom, I think to myself, I want to do that again!