Dodging Storms

Monsoon season is upon us here in Arizona, so it makes packing in the riding on weekends tougher with regular afternoon storms. I am also adjusting to van life, and more specifically learning how my fan, with the added feature of a rain sensor, works. Thus far, I have gotten a few serious storms that put some serious water into my bedding, which creates an epic drying scenario. That in mind, I figured why not head to Sedona for a nice ride this weekend to avoid the wet weather and allow some warmer temperatures to bake out any residual water.

My buddy Ben and I arrived at Sedona bike park early for some laps to warm up and had a great handful of trips down the terrain line just having fun and perfecting our hits on each feature. Since we made the 45-minute drive to Sedona, we felt it necessary to hit some trail, so we decided to chance the eminent storm we saw rolling in from the Northwest. As it arrived, our initial trail choice was instantly canceled for us as nature started pelting us at the trail head with no sign of capitulating.

Another rowdy trail, Hiline, was south of the storm, so we tried driving out of the weather system. With substantial drizzle at the trailhead, we putzed around for a little less than a half hour and decided to go for it. It was warm enough to help us with evaporation if the rocks were indeed damp, and the dirt would still be tacky from the prior rain. We decided to dig right in and the trail was perfect. The climbs seemed very tolerable and we were at the top in no time. Some small mechanical issues required a stop or two, but we caught our breath at the drop in and off we were. We started hauling down the high-value sections and it was on. Hooting and hollering down the way, tight turns, great dirt, fast descent and before we knew it we were on the red rock and all over the great formations of that trail. Fun drops, narrow passes, steep stair cases and rollers if you’re willing to consider some alternate paths.

By the time we hit the base, I’m out of water and the work is about to begin. I inquired with some people playing in the river at the base, but they only had beer. So we decided to crunch it around Cathedral rock so we can just start putting the miles behind us. It required some stops, sweat, and tons of huffing, but we made it. No storm made us call our ride early, but we pushed it to ensure we weren’t caught with our chamois’ around our ankles! To top it off, we had a friendly couple in an RV at the trailhead notice our parched faces and offered us quite possibly the coldest and tastiest Gatorades in existence. Nothing like a fiercely fun trail to retest skills and track our improvement, but also a random act of kindness to renew faith in humanity.