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A little while back I discovered that a hillside near our house has several challenging trails on it. I have been trying to clean this section for a while. By clean, I mean ride it all the way through without putting a foot down. A few days back, after I first managed to clean it, I decided it’s time to break out the go pro again.
This next clip is me trying to take the even more challenging high line up and around the boulder in the middle rather than around the bottom of it. I still have not quite managed to get it. With a little persistence I hope to get this tough new line.
It all started when Sharon and I were at the Original Pancake House and I saw bacon waffles and pecan waffles on the menu. I immediately thought, “Why no bacon pecan waffles?”. I even tried to order one and they said it would not turn out right. Jump ahead to now and Sharon and I have a Belgian waffle maker that was a wedding present from our friends Matt and Julie. I used the recipe for pecan waffles that came with the machine and just substituted some fresh cooked bits of applewood smoked bacon from Bashas for some of the pecans.
Living in Flagstaff has its perks. A huge perk of our new house is just how close to trail we are now. How close is close? Watch the video and see me go from our driveway to a short steep technical downhill in 40 seconds of riding on the road.
The video is three clips, the middle clip is a very nearby dirt jump at the bottom of the Shultz Pass/ Rocky Ridge area. The last clip shows another trail that is less than two minutes away from the house.
Brr! When we first got home from Virginia it was 11 degrees overnight in Flagstaff. I am determined to keep bike commuting all year long, so I am learning how to layer up and handle the cold.
Any suggestions for bike commuting in winter?
Jay holding the bottle of Bridal Ale that was a gift from Pat and Cindy Kennedy
As the storm made landfall and the rain and wind whipped around outside, we celebrated this new phase of life with a special brew, the Pelican Pub & Brewery’s Bridal Ale. This bottle was given to us by Jay’s parents’ friends, Pat and Cindy Kennedy. The beer is named Bridal Ale because it was originally created to celebrate the marriage of two Pelican Pub staff. Pat and Cindy picked it up while they were traveling in Oregon and hand carried it back to their home in Oregon. It made it all the way to Virginia with them in their carry on. Getting married of course gives you the opportunity to closely examine all of the reasons why you love your partner and want to spend the rest of your life committed to them. What I did not fully realize was how much your wedding also makes you look closely at the relationships you have with your family and friends and come to value them and appreciate their support.
Oh, and the beer was fabulous – I would highly recommend it!
Recently we had a chance to volunteer for the last day of trail work with Flagstaff Biking Organization this season. Flagstaff is cooling off quickly and before long we will have snow. On this particular Saturday however, it was wonderfully warm and the ground was soft from recent rains. A perfect day for digging a new bench cut trail to try to finish out a missing link of the Flagstaff Loop Trail.
The segment we were building was just west of the Campbell Mesa area. Even through we built more trail than expected that day, the loop remains broken and it will take some Forest Service or ACE crews working in the off season to keep the trail work going. I can’t wait until the Flagstaff Loop Trail is complete!
Jay with Wanderlust brew master Nathan Friedman
Yes we have not visited and written about a brewery in a long while. It’s not that we have not been going to breweries… they just don’t seem blog worthy when they’re in your backyard. And truth be told we have a lot of local breweries: Beaver Street, Flag Brew, Cosmic, Mother Road, Lumberyard and Mogollon. They even put out some good beer.
Thankfully, Wanderlust has come to us to solve that problem of not having something new to blog about.
Last Saturday was a long anticipated event for Flagstaff beer lovers. The grand opening of Wanderlust. Wanderlust is a little different, their emphasis is on distribution. They do not have and have no interest in getting a kitchen. They are a one man show and the ring leader is Nathan Friedman. The brew master Nathan is a long time home brewer taking the plunge and going professional. His specialty is Belgian beers. I suspect this is not only because he is good at them but is also what he likes to drink.
I had one major fear for the kick off of Wanderlust – running out of beer. Sure it sounds crazy, but this is a crazy town and running out of one or more beers is standard fare for this town. Wanderlust is the smallest of the Flagstaff breweries, so the fear was even more real.
Sharon and I had the Belgian Pale ale and the Oatmeal Stout as well as the Local Farmhouse. The Belgian Pale Ale was a stand out for me. I have had a few different Belgian IPAs that all tend to be over flavored with different very strong flavors competing for dominance. This beer was flavorful, unique, well balanced and easy to drink, well at least for those of us who like hops. We got our growler filled with the Belgian Pale Ale for $12.
The Farmhouse is smooth, not too dark and has lots of subtle flavors that suggest it’s more mild than it really is. It hides a 7.5% ABV punch.
I look forward for good things to come from Wanderlust.
Before I left town, I had the opportunity to go to New Belgium’s Clips of Faith short film festival. Of course it was fun to try the final few New Belgium beers that I had never tried and hang out with my soccer teammates (Jay was out in the field for work). I was also pleasantly surprised by the film selections.
The final film left me misty eyed. This was based on a couple’s 5 month road trip to South America. The similarities between their adventures and our adventures on the road transported back to the highlights of an epic road trip.
As I watch the couple climb over sand dunes I laughed thinking about how Jay would tease me about my obsession with sand dunes. I hate sand and refuse to hang out at the beach, but I couldn’t get enough of land locked sand dunes.
Besides the fun flashbacks, I was also touched by the final narration of the film.
The narrator asks:
Is it possible to be happy with this life?
Did you enjoy your story?
These questions get to the heart of what we are still trying to ask ourselves.
I hope you enjoy the clip!
As most of you have probably heard by now, I am working for American Conservation Experience. This means I am often working in the field for days at a time. For most people this would mean needing a car to haul gear. Not for me, not with my Fargo bicycle.
- Yes I also carried the orange pack in the foreground.
Sure, being a one car household has some to do with riding more, but there is more to it. Living in Flagstaff forces you to up your game.
- It looks awkward but this bike is built to haul and handled surprisingly well.
Here in Flagstaff people haul multiple children simultaneously by bike. Sighting someone riding to work with 60 pounds of gear in the rain is common place. I certainly appreciate being constantly reminded that I should up my game. It feels good to ride strong even when it is uphill, in the rain, with a rig that may be north of 80 pounds.
Jay and I are incredibly excited about the Flagstaff Loop Trail, a 42 mile circle of mostly singletrack surrounding Flagstaff. Construction on the Loop Trail began in 2008 and Flagstaff Biking Organization hopes to fully connect the loop through trail construction this year. We helped on one of the missing links this spring and really hope that the remaining missing links will be finished by the end of the year.
In the meantime, we are now able to make a small loop near our apartment on Lake Mary Road by connecting to a new Loop Trail segment behind the Pine Canyon gated community. That segment heads across a mesa and then drops down towards Skunk Canyon. At the moment most of the trail is unsigned so it is helpful to either study the Loop Trail map (see link above) or go with someone who knows the area. The Loop Trail is designed to be between beginner and intermediate so it is the perfect practice area for me.
The first video shows where the new trail turns off of the Arizona Trail. If you stayed straight it would head towards Fisher Point.
This video shows a representative sample of the trail. Note the extremely dry conditions. The trail should improve when we’ve had some more rain.