Tag Archives: Sedona

Meeting the IMBA Trail Care Crew and Re-Routing Trail in Sedona

Jenny and Jake being interviewed for a local new story

This weekend we had the awesome opportunity to attend a full weekend of events in Sedona presented by the Suburu IMBA Trail Care Crew (TCC), Jake and Jenny.  The Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition brought the TCC to Sedona, where they have a passionate mountain biking community and a lot of gnarly trails.  I have just started riding in Sedona and I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet other local riders and get another perspective on the trails.

The local land manager, Jennifer, addressing the volunteers before we started our trail work

Jake and Jenny presented three workshops, Club Care, Land Manager Training, and Sustainable Trail Building.  IMBA has devoted a lot of time and resources to identifying the best practices in trail design, building for sustainability, and club development.  They train two TCCs who then travel the country spending almost every weekend passing on that knowledge to club leaders and land managers.  As many of our regular readers know, Jay and I are applying to become the next TCC.  Not only did we learn a lot this weekend about Sedona singletrack, we also had the unique opportunity to see a TCC in action.  It was busy and tiring weekend, but we definitely ended the weekend hoping more than ever that we are chosen as the next TCC.

Jenny giving instructions on how we are going to start a new section of trail

On Saturday, after a morning classroom session on designing and building sustainable trails, we actually had a chance to re-route a section of the Slim Shady Trail.  The Slim Shady Trail was built by locals and was not part of a planned system.  The Forest Service, who manages the land, has been evaluating these unauthorized user built trails and deciding where, when, and how they can be incorporated into the trail system.  In this particular case Slim Shady serves as an important connector from the Village of Oak Creek to Sedona and therefore the Forest Service decided to find a way to adopt it.  In order to incorporate this trail, some sections needed to be rerouted because they had the potential to damage cultural sites or protected wildlife.  We had the opportunity to re-route one such section.  With the help of the TCC the new trail was laid out along the contours of the hillside and was designed to have some fun natural challenges to keep it in character with the rest of the trail.

The rock armoring when it was all finished

For the actual trail work we had a large group with several experienced trail builders.  We were able to divide up into small groups and work on small sections of the new trail segment.  I got to work on a lower section where the trail transitioned from large juniper trees with a base of duff to a sandy dip.  As the trail dipped into the sandy drainage we decided to reinforce the low point with rock armoring.  I really enjoyed working on this challenge with the only other female volunteer, Jodi.  Together we found rocks that were the right size and shape, dug out a hole for them and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle.  This was Jodi’s first time doing trail work and I think she appreciated the chance to see that trail building is a good mix of problem solving and playing in the dirt.

Jodi doing some finishing work

A rare picture of me (in the pink shirt) cutting a dead log to use as a check dam on the old trail segment

After classes on Thursday and Friday and trail building on Saturday, we finally got to actually ride our bikes on Sunday.  I am used to riding alone or with Jay, so this group ride was intimidating at first.  Not to mention it’s Sedona, and as Jenny and Jake pointed out, an intermediate Sedona trail is a black diamond advanced trail most other places.  Luckily, Dave, a local mountain biker and former mountain bike instructor at Whistler, was acting as the sweep and therefore as my personal support system.  Dave was not only patient and encouraging, but he was also a great teacher.  I probably learned more in a two hour ride with Dave than I learned in the past six months biking alone.  Note to self: participate in more group rides and look into classes.

Jay coming out of the last turn on Mescal Trail

Overall the weekend was a huge success.  The TCC visits serve as a catalyst for mountain bike clubs and land management agencies to gather together.  Connections were made and important conversations were started at this TCC visit that will have a lasting impact on Sedona.  We were thrilled to be a part of it.  Thanks Jake and Jenny and IMBA for this opportunity!

The Sunday group ride crew

Jake and Jenny and Jay and I in front of the decked out Suburu

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Favorite Trails: Mountain Biking in Sedona

sharon in sedona

Here’s a crazy concept …  riding a trail more than once!  I think part of why I lack confidence in my riding is that I am almost always riding a trail for the first time.  On the road we would even help build trails and never get to ride them, much less come back and ride them again.

sharon biking in sedona

Well, on Sunday we headed back to Sedona and back to the loop that we rode a month ago.  Guess what?  I rode better and faster!  It shouldn’t be a big surprise since it is so much easier to get off the brakes and keep pedaling when you have a vague sense of what’s around the next corner.

sharon biking in sedona

It was such a beautiful day to be riding and we felt so lucky to have this mountain biking destination only a short drive away.  Now we are getting excited for the Flagstaff trails to dry out and become rideable again.  Jay was able to get on singletrack in Flagstaff for the first time yesterday on the dusty southside of Mount Elden.  Hopefully he can take a helmet cam video of the riding there and share it with our readers soon.

trail in sedona

How are the trails where you live?  Anyone out riding yet?  Any beginner/intermediate riders in Sedona have a recommendation for me?

sharon riding in sedona

Oak Creek Brewery, Sedona, AZ

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While riding in Sedona, Sharon and I thought it would be a good idea to visit the local brewery after our ride.  I am glad I didn’t judge this brewery by its bottles.  Going back a few months, I bought Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale in bottles and discovered that their bottling process is not good.  Out of a six pack, two were flat and one tasted terrible. Thankfully the beer fresh out of the tap at the brewery is nothing like that experience.

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Sharon really enjoyed trying there winter warmer which I also found tasty. It’s yet another high alcohol beer that does not taste boozy. I also enjoyed tasting their IPA, which was a great example of a beer conforming to a style well.

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In the picture above I am enjoying the porter.  This porter had great dark roast flavor with a strong coffee taste.  Of course in the end we filled the growler with the crowd pleasing beer that put this brewery on the map, the Nut Brown Ale (pictured above in the glass on the table).  It’s really terrific and I am so glad I didn’t let a few bad bottles put me off of it.  (Yes, the bad bottle incidents happened with more than one six pack from more than one store).  If you get the chance to have this beer out of a keg don’t miss it. I will still pass on bottles however.

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The Nut Brown Ale from our growler was rich, smooth and offered a complex flavor.

Mountain Biking in Sedona

view from lunch spot in Sedona

The great thing about riding in Sedona ... great views!

I have heard Jay talking about the gnarly trail in Sedona for years.  I imagine Sedona as a minefield of massive rock ledges, baby head rocks, and breath taking exposure.  For a long time I’ve had no interest in mountain biking there, I’ll stick to my hiking boots and leave the biking to the experts.  Well, not anymore.  Having ridden my mountain bike in 9 states and 2 Canadian provinces, I’m used to trying new trail systems and hopefully finding something in my ability level or just beyond.  In settling down, we are determined to keep seeing and experiencing new things and pushing our comfort zone.  So yesterday, we headed down to Sedona.

jay and sharon's bikes in sedona

The start of our loop, unloading at the parking area

Jay knows the manager at the new Over the Edge Bike Shop in Sedona, so we stopped there first.  I was so glad we did.  They had a great, locally made map that we bought and the guy in the shop was able to recommend a seven mile loop that is a favorite of beginner riders.  Great shop, we’ll definitely be back.

jay studying the map

The map was incredibly useful

The trail started on Long Canyon, but since Long Canyon shortly ends in Wilderness, you have to turn left and continue on Dead Man’s Pass trail.

dead man's pass trail sign

This trail was not nearly as intimidating as it sounds

In fact you basically keep turning left to avoid Wilderness along the route.  That’s one of the aggravating things for bicyclists in Sedona is that there is a ton of federally designated Wilderness (which does not allow for bikes but does allow for horses) and not all of it makes sense.  They basically set aside all of the higher up areas for Wilderness.

sedona wilderness

Can't go there! Time to turn!

This trail loop was awesome for its variety.  It started with buffed (if a bit sandy) singletrack that slowly climbed.  Next, there was a series of relatively short and relatively steep descents.  After that you encounter a twisty flowy section that is reminiscent of a pump track.  Finally, you turn on Cockscomb to head back and get a nice flowing descent until the last bit where you have to go up again.  There’s a little section of road that finishes out the loop.

A nice section of up and down

What I realized about Sedona is that it is a lot like Moab.  Yes, Moab is where expert riders go to push their skills to the limits and break their bikes.  But Moab is also interested in reaching out to all levels of bikers and they are creating more and more beginner and intermediate trail.  The trail I rode in Sedona at Dead Horse State Park was very similar to this trail in Sedona, but with some added sections of slick rock.  I’m looking forward to riding here again.

jay and sharon

On our lunch break