How could a week of no work and lots of planned pedaling get any better? Well, start with Sedona's majestic vista's, it's trails that inspire, enlighten, challenge and occasionally terrify. Add to that a collection of characters from the extended Over the Edge family and warmer than normal January temps and what you get is the perfect mtb road trip. We arrived Sunday evening late after driving through quicksilver light illuminating the "rez" from the nearly full moon only to find everyone in bed. A rapid unrolling of bedgear for empty beds or floorspace and we drifted to sleep dreaming of the coming 2 wheeled adventures. Morning found us scrambling for a frenetic breakfast mixed with hugs from old friends and introductions of new before settling into the first of the family "meetings" that was the official excuse for this gathering. We wrapped up the morning discusions and suited up checked tire pressures, lubed chains and such and got down to the real buisiness of riding our bikes. Pedaling directly from the rental house a short distance up the cul de sac to some singletrack below the airport that would allow us access to all the great trails Sedona has to offer. One thing about Sedona is no matter where you slumber you can access mind blowing trails in minutes without ever needing to load the bikes and drive accross town. A miriad of climbs, decsents and intersections later led us to a river crossing where we wet our feet then began the slow climb to Highline Trail the goal of the ride. Once we topped out on Highline Trail we stopped to take pictures and regroup then rolled out on the aptly named singletrack. Squeals of breakpads and glee permeated the ether as we descended back to the river crossing and limped our tired selves back to the rental house. Evening found us enjoying each other tales/lies washing it all down with some adult beverages and an early bedtime.
The next morning was a repeat of the previous mixed with the anxious energy that comes with the knowledge that the days goods would be Hangover Trail. Some of us pedaled accross town and others still aching from yesterdays excursion loaded the van and drove to the Schnebly Hill Trailhead. Shortly after begining the techie grunt up the singletrack, the group split into 2, the stronger crew chasing Ross Schnell up the demanding trail and others opting for the easier option of gaining the elevation on the dirt road. We reconvined at the trips first official vortex, an intense confluence of energy that makes Sedona so famous among those inclined to "new age" philosophies. Hangover trail is an utterly inspired piece of trail building threading thru a cliffband with exposure omnipresent. It is definiately a trail that can cripple anyone inclined to a fear of highs or lacking technical skill. Our numbers soon spread out along the technical passageway each riding or walking the scarier parts depending on their skill or bravado, including Dinka the tiny mongrel trail mutt that could run your average pedalhead into the ground. We finally finished the loop regrouping at "chicken point" for a thrilling flowy descent that was a welcome change of pace from the preceding miles. Back at the trail head we headed back our seperate ways only to reconvine at an area mexican resteraunt for some margaritas a quick bite and tales effervescent with adrenalin and fatigue.
Day 3 the group split. Some driving the hour south to Bumblebee to ride a section of Black Canyon Trail, a 79 mile ribbon of flowy 2 wheeled bliss weaving around monster saguaro cactus and other sonoran plantlife found in lower elevations. Those present relishing the opportunity to just spin thier legs a welcome departure to the hyper-concentration needed the preceding days. The remainder of the group headed to a network of trails named after everybodies favorite "other white meat", Hog Heaven, High on the Hog, Pigtail and other pork puns. All together delivering an awe inspring conglomeration of smooth flow, super chunk and smiles. That evening the owners of the various over the edge shops met to discuss some actual buisiness and the remaining crew gathered at Bodacious Burger to snarf down some burgers as inspired as the local terrain, like the cactus burger with fried cactus strips and a prickly pear sauce or the samurai a tempura fried patty topped with teriaki sauce and pickled ginger.
The final day found only a few folks still riding, some were to worn out to continue and others faced the reality of returning to the day to day grind. Those still cranking were dealt a delicious morsel of singletrack sweetness known as Aries, Western Civilization the Last Frontier and a few others that were ripped through before the signs naming them could be read, a perfect balance of slow smooth climbs, smooth scenic stretches and eye watering descents.
Sadly as all trips must end we piled into our vehicles said our goodbyes and headed our seperate ways, each to our own pedal destination town already plotting our next opportunity to return to this mind blowing landscape.