What can I say - WOW - thanks Scott and Chad and anyone else who had anything to do with putting this race together. Michael B. and myself rode down Schnebly road with Chad to meet everyone at Starbucks Friday morning. When we all took off from Starbucks we decided to not take the short cut so we did the whole route through Broken Arrow, Llama etc. we figured since we travelled from Alaska we wanted to get all the riding in we could! Plus, how can you beat Broken Arrow and Llama, they were some of the best of the whole route! Definately needed the GPS for that section as we were constantly getting turned around. We met up with Mike on those trails and rode with him a little bit. Then Michael B.'s tire blew out and we tried to repair it a couple times, we proceeded in getting flat after flat after flat after flat, it actually kinda got funny, or at least it is funny now maybe it wasn't then! Thank goodness for the bike shop in Cottonwood to buy more tubes and a new tire. Stopped and ate hamburgers, donuts and lots of candy at a gas station in Cottonwood before heading up Mingus. Mingus was quite the interesting trek, I kept thinking there must be a more ridable route to get up there, but none-the less it builds character right? We got up to Mingus right before it got dark and camped under trees to stay out of the wind. Bryan came along awhile later and set up camp with us as well.
Day 2 - great single-track down the mountain. Met up with Mike and Bryan at the water tank, after filtering it, it actually tasted pretty good even though it looked green. We then ran across Redrock girl and her partner at Verde River. After that we never saw another rider for the rest of the trip, which was too bad as it would have been fun to swap stories with everyone. Got to Benham trail and looked at the mountain to the left and kept thinking, no they certainly aren't taking us up another mountain with antennas on it, BUT yes they did. We ended up pushing up the top part in the dark and had a difficult time finding the Bill Williams Trail in the dark as our headlamps were pretty wimpy, so we headed back down Benham for a bit to try and find the trail but decided it had to be on top so we headed back up and low and behold found it. The trip down in the dark was interesting to say the least, but rewarding once we got to Williams. It was hard to find a hotel as they were all booked but found 1 room left at the Budget Host.
Day 3 - this was my 2nd favorite day, the first day was my favorite. As we were riding along Sycamore Rim I was reading the cue sheet and it said we were going to cross the canyon at the most "reasonable" spot, and I was thinking to myself, these guys are sick they are going to have us drop to the bottom of the canyon and then climb the cliff back out and act like mountain goats, so I mentally prepared myself for that and when we did cross it I was so relieved and smiling from ear to ear
. Then of course we had to stop at Texaco for lunch and chocolate milk for me but Michael had to drink beer to kick his engine up a notch or two! The Moto trail was fun BUT the single-track going down to Flagstaff was like I had died and gone to Heaven - wow that was soooo fun! Even got to play a little in the snow on the top before heading down that single-track.
Day 4 - Started out great, but I have to be honest the big smile that I still had on my face from the long single-track from yesterday went away when we hit the cow post-holed section. I didn't want to verbalize it to Michael that this was not fun, as then it would become reality. I kept thinking that if this won't kill me it will make me stronger at least. We were sitting somewhere along that trail having lunch and saw a mountain with antenans on top and Michael looked at his GPS and said "Whew" we aren't going up there, but we should tell Scott and Chad that they missed a mountain to send us up - just kidding guys the route is perfect as it is. BUT the best part was riding back down Schnebly Road to Munds Wagon single-track back to Sedona - PURE BLISS, I didn't want it to end. We completed the ride in 39 hours 22 minutes.
I bought a hard-tail 29nr with all the bikepacking gear just for this race and it was the first time I have done a bikepacking camping trip and - I have to say it all worked out pretty well and even though I was loaded down all in all it wasn't bad to ride with all that stuff.
Sorry to hear people had knee issues, bike issues, time issues, etc. things happen and I know we all get disapointed in what happened but I'm sure your time out there was better than sitting at home watching TV like the rest of America - great job for everyone to just show up!
Again, Scott and Chad - you guys put a lot of work into putting together such an aweseome loop to share with the rest of us, and all we had to do was go ride it. Thanks so much and hope to make it back down there do it again. Sharon S. - Anchorage.