Sedona Road Trip Part II: Cactus Spines and Singletrack

Dec 9, 2012
by Mike Kazimer  
 
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Photos by Ian Hylands
Words by Mike Kazimer

Everything in the desert is sharp. The rocks, cactus, yucca plants, even the leaves on the trees are designed to draw blood or puncture tubes. We finished our first few rides in Sedona, Arizona, scraped and scratched by the pointy plants that lurk around every corner. It wasn't just the tricky, technical nature of the trails that was contributing to our wounds – it was the fact that in spots the scenery is so spectacular it's easy to get distracted and find yourself heading straight into some type of flat-inducing object. After amassing a ridiculous number of flat tires due to close encounters of the cactus kind, we made the effort to convert as many bikes as possible to tubeless. A long evening spent with a roll of Gorilla Tape and a bottle of sealant ensured we wouldn't need to worry quite as much about the spiky desert plants' attempts to thwart our forward momentum.

  Firsty getting the bikes dialed in at Over the Edge Bikes.

  Unless you like changing flats more than riding, Slime and Stans's are necessities in the desert.

  Coffee is another necessity to get the day started.

  Spines of all sizes. Run into one of these and suddenly you're a human pincushion.

  Mike Levy channeling his inner E.T. as he shows Eric Porter where to go.

  "Big wheels keep on turning..." Mike Levy descending a steep slickrock roll aboard the Mason FS.

  Richard Cunningham (RC) doing his best to avoid getting skewered by the sharp desert plants.

  Eric Porter gives us a demonstration of his uphill riding skills. Charge up the loose rock ramp and then bunny hop over the last ledge.

  Stopping to chat with some Sedona park rangers. They were friendly and wanted to hear our input as to what we thought mountain bikers wanted from their riding experience.

Sedona trails are steep and punchy - for each technical downhill there's an equally technical uphill that follows soon after. Even the shuttle rides aren't all downhill - it's almost guaranteed there will be a section of climbing just long enough to make your head pound and legs burn. Trails like Slim Shady, Highline, and Hangover have proven to be perfect for ensuring our quiver of test bikes gets a full thrashing. Trail bikes are ideal for the riding in this area - they're light enough to handle the climbs, but capable enough to shred the downhills. We'd also highly recommend running a dropper post - the ability to adjust seatpost height on the fly comes in handy on the sneaky little uphills every trail seems to have.

  The White Line is a narrow, off camber path that traverses through a steep expanse of slickrock. Catch a pedal here and you're in big trouble - it's certainly not for those with a fear of heights. Diamondback's Eric Porter and Jon Kennedy head out and back.

  Wayne taking an energy food handout from Mike Levy.

  I see a 650b. Heading up to get another shot of the Scott Genius 720 in the evening light.

  Once you get over the tree root at the top of this line it's only a matter of keeping the handlebars from bashing into the rock walls, which is easier said than done.

  A rider descends on the Hangover trail.

With near-perfect weather since our arrival, the days have begun to run together in a blur of bikes, dust and burritos (we've developed a slight Mexican food addiction). The local riders have been kind enough to share their favorite rides with us, leading us to steep rock rolls and natural wall rides tucked away in the craggy desert landscape. Slickrock provides unparallelled traction – it's as if the ground were covered with skateboard grip tape. We've been riding as long as possible, pedaling until the sun's last rays sink behind the hills and turn the thin clouds purple. We've only begun to scratch the surface of the riding opportunities in the Sedona area, but luckily we still have another week of riding in this desert playground.

  Eric Porter and Mike Levy ride into the afternoon shadows after a long day in the saddle.

Keep checking back for more reports from the road, and watch for the results of our product testing throughout the winter.
Must Read This Week

47 Comments

  • + 45
 Ok, who else is making a sign out of old tubes now.
  • + 2
 haha i was thinking about it. haha.
  • + 1
 If I still worked at the LBS haha
  • + 4
 I'm still looking at the reaaaaalllly good looking cup of coffee.
[Reply]
  • + 14
 Wayne = Ultimate Good Guy Status
We don't know each other but I bumped into him on slim shady Friday while hike-a-biking-home a flat. I though I had come prepared with stan's, two spare tubes and a patch kit.... but an encounter with a sharp rock reminded me that it had been a couple months since I Stan'd up. Spare tube 1 fell victim to a cactus thorn, spare tube 2 turned out to be the wrong size, and the patch kit was an emergency tire boot (doesn't work as a patch). Anyhoot, Wayne hooked me up with a spare tube even though there was only one mile of trail left. He refused to let me compensate him, stating that he'd rather have the karma instead. Well played amigo.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 Was in Arizona just this October...whole time I was hiking I was wishing I had my bike! Looks like an awesome time!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Not to take anything away from Over The Edge, those guys are great, but a good hang is with Dave Cichan at Fat Tire in Old Sedona... An even better hang is if he takes you out on the trails...
  • + 1
 Agreed Dave showed us a heck of a good time and sure can ride a bike
  • + 1
 I have to again agree with this! Dave is one great rider.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I spent last November in Sedona and another two weeks this March. Great place to ride when it's a cold and rainy winter in BC. I know Dave & Jen Cichan from Fat tire, Great bunch for sure. PS Any body going to Sedona in the New year? I have time off and I'm looking for some riding buddies.
  • + 1
 Come to the "Hungover on Hangover" ride! Meet @ Over The Edge at noon, New Year's Day. BBQ and beers at the shop after! Gonna be a goood time!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Luckily, only a 4 hour drive for me. Word of advise to you guys up there right now. If you want some bomb Italian food, head to Troia's in west Sedona! Amazing!
  • + 1
 If only we had such awesome trails... maybe we should start organizing some road trips, weekends with camping or some such.
  • + 1
 Yes, yes we should. And Amy said she'd shuttle us.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 When I was a teenager I hated Sedona. I knew it was beautiful but I hated that it was a tourist town with a bunch of old people and nothing going on. I now realize that growing up there helped cultivate my love of riding. You can't ride a bike there without understanding the joy and love for the sport immediately. I'm sure it's the same way for kids who grew up in Bend, or Moab, or Whistler, or Steamboat. There is no having to imagine yourself in a beautiful challenging riding destination. Long live Bike and Bean!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 No one else found the what was visible of the coffee chick attractive?
  • + 1
 Hah, the first thing I saw as I scrolled down. Nice looking coffee as well.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Riding in the desert is dangerous, even the vegetables can hurt you.

Awesome photos, it has been a few years since I have been riding in Sedona, this is inspiration for a December/January road trip for sure!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 "The White Line"..... holy shit!!! That doesn't look fun at all.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 sedona is 20 minutes from Flagstaff, which is where i go to college, and i love going down there on the weekends to ride, so awesome!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sedona is awesome! I am lucky enough to live only 45 min away in Prescott, where we have hundreds of miles of our own great trails too!
  • + 1
 What's up buddy? Ride on!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I love Sedona. I have to go back!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Sedona is magical, the contrasting colors spectacular and yes, sealant is a MUST!
  • + 1
 I rode there for 3 days using tubes, no flats.
I guess I was riding to slow for the thorns to puncture my tires Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Nice place ... and Scott Genius with new wheel 650b, review please ... ???
  • + 2
 Don't worry, a review is in the works.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I love living in AZ...so much riding year round.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sedona looks like such a fun place to ride!! And I can't wait to see some reviews on those test bikes!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'm sold on a trip there after seeing these pictures.
How's the weather there in January?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 here is a vid of white line. pucker factor 10
www.youtube.com/watch?v=i11k0x_82sY
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Photos look stunning! Wish we were there. But we were happy to provide the guys some gear for their journey!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 brings back some good memories from January this year, magical must ride place. very nice report!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 10 min drive for me! love riding Sedona
[Reply]
  • + 1
 for your mexican food addiction: $1 tacos at tortas de fuego!! i'm sure team OTE sent you that way
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Does anyone know what trail that is in the 4th picture from the bottom. The one where the guy is riding through the crack.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I sure hope Scott is gonna bring out a new Genius LT to compliment that amazzing new Genius...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 just got back from 5 days of riding in Sedona..sweet riding. Over the edge hooked us up - great guys
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Oak Creek Brewery. Excellent Pale Ale.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 its all fun and games until someone gets a cactus spike up the butt!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Going to Sedona next month. Just decided some of the trails we will be riding! Thanks PB!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 shouldve made the name cactus splines and sick lines!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 ENOUGH OF THIS just tell us who won POY already!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It was good riding with u guys.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "A rider descends on the Hangover trail"...naked Smile
Great photos!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 love that place!
[Reply]

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