Spring Training with Lucy the Trail Dog

Once February hit it seemed like things change from Winter to Spring overnight. We haven’t had drop of rain or snow for nearly 6+ weeks. The trails are dry, at least a lower elevations, and the temps have been in the 60s nearly everyday. These conditions made for some great training days and adventure miles.

One of my coolest adventure rides was my 100-mile, 10.000′ el. ride into the Blue Wilderness from Alpine. Reaching 9000+ feet and dropping down to below 6000′ the ride took me from pine trees and snow down to cactus and heat. Pretty cool to have so much variety here in AZ.

Another great ride was the up and over 4 Peaks, another 10,000 el. ride. That’s probably my favorite mtb training ride I’ve done yet.

Our friends Trevor and Karlene moved to Prescott last fall and this past weekend was our first opportunity to get together. We rode in Prescott on Saturday and then Sedona on Sunday. Such a great weekend!

The girls did their own ride Sat. and then Sunday we stopped by the Sedona Mtb Festival, visited with some friends and then took the girls on HiLine one of the harder double black trails in Sedona. They rocked it! We sessioned the chute a few times which made for a fun day of riding in beautiful Sedona.

Lucy the Energizer Doggy

I’ve been slowly training Lucy into shape this winter. I gotta say it’s worked, she’s FAST! After hiking 10-miles with our friend Cristin on Sunday we rode 8+ miles Monday and then another 5 Wednesday and I gotta say I was having a hard time keeping up with HER! By the end of both days I could tell she still had plenty more in her legs. I think she’s ready for the doggy Olympics…

It’s pretty cool to watch her as she mostly runs in front of you on the trail, over logs full speed. Cruising down a fire road section I looked down at my Garmin and we were holding 25+ mph! Needless to say I may have created a little monster :p

Local Racing Picks Up

This weekend is the Fat Tire 40 sponsored by McDowell Mountain Cycles, followed next weekend by MBAA #4 at White Tanks. This week I started my first set of intervals for the season so looking forward to some good training these next few weekends as we get closer to the first bigger race of the season, for me at least, Whiskey 50.

A change up to the course should make this year a great time.

Some photo’s from my recent adventures….

Top of Four Peaks
View form the top of Four Peaks.
Coronado Trail
The Coronado Trail winding through the Blue Wilderness.
Blue Vista
Blue Vista Overlook on my ride through the Blue.
Start of HiLine
The Start of HiLine trail in Sedona.
Tim & Evie in Sedona
Evie and I in Sedona.
Lucy the Trail Dog
And Finally… Lucy our super fit trail dog!

Winter Wonderland Coming to an End in Pinetop

December and January were pretty good months for playing in the snow. El Nino has brought cooler temperature with more precipitation to the Southwest which has been a lot of fun. It’s suppose to stick around all year so that should make for some great riding conditions come monsoon season in the late summer.

That being said, the 15-day forecast shows temperatures in the 50s and 60s so it’s pretty safe to say that the bulk of winter is over. I’m sure we’ll get a mid March or April storm with snow that melts off in a day or two, but otherwise it’s right into spring.

That’s how Arizona does seasons, not much transition time, or at least very little crummy shoulder seasons. You can always ski and/or ride just about any day of the year.

Evie has been skiing a lot, I’ve gone a handful of times (snowboarding) along with some really, really fun fat bike rides.

The snow is mostly melted in town, but the mountain still has a ton. Base miles have begun for mtb season along with a little bit of low intensity racing. Another rider moved to town from Boulder, a former pro who raced for Specialized in the 90s along with racing in Europe in his early years. We’ve got quite the group up along with the NICA kids that are flying!

MBAA Series

The Arizona Mtb series has started up and is already coming into it’s 3rd race. Luckily we have a marathon class which makes putting in some quality base miles relatively easy. Last year I joined the volunteer board as marketing director and this year I’ve been voted in as chair. The guys and gals before me have done an awesome job getting the right people in place to make sure things run smoothly so it’s been fun to be a part of.

I’ve got some bigger rides planned for later this month and more exploring will be had! The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival is the first weekend of March, no doubt that will be an awesome time, plus a lot of people coming down from colder climates to ride and hangout here and there. Arizona is a pretty exciting place! We’re pretty fortunate to live here.

Web Design Projects

Lastly, I’ve had a lot of new clients come way already this year. It’s always super fun working with business owners, uncovering problems, and coming up with solutions. You can check out my latest web design projects and if you or anyone you know needs website help or getting their business found online don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

Until next time!

Sunrise Park Resort
Sunrise Ski Park, just 30-mins from town!
Snowboarding
3 mountains & 2000′ vertical right out our back door!
Snow covered forest roads
The snow covered forest roads have been perfect for fat biking.
Fatbiking
A little Fatboy action.
Fat biking the ATV trail
I found an ATV trail with snow berms and rollers that made for giggles and smiles all the way down. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike.

Holiday Cheer Brings in the New Year

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve got some cool photos from the past few months to share, but first a little story telling.

My parents and sister flew out for Thanksgiving. The weather always seems to be crummy when people come to visit (as if a few days of cloudy skies is really that crummy…). We had some friends and our neighbors over for dinner on Thursday, it was a nice feast.

On Saturday we took a drive over to the Grand Canyon, it had been a while since I’d been there and Evie had never been. The south rim has become super commercialized with asphalt pathways and thousands of people all over taking selfie photos nonstop.

Next time we go, hopefully it will be to hike rim to rim, or spent some time on the north rim, which is much less accessible, thus less crowded.

The weeks after Thanksgiving flew by as they always do. I’ve been doing more running and hardly any riding, which I’m okay with. I’ve purposely tried to stay off the bike for a few weeks to give me some time to prep for next season.

Dave came to visit in mid December, we did some riding in the Phoenix area, the McDowell’s, Phoenix Mountain Preserve, then out in Gold Canyon and Picket Post. Desert riding is sure fun, but it doesn’t compare to high altitude dirt 🙂

For Christmas Evie, Lucy and I went to Colorado Springs where her brother, sister in-law and 3 kids live, and her parents met us there from South Dakota. It was a little snowy and COLD. Bitter cold. One morning I went for a run and it was -6!

We hiked the Inlcine, which I had never done. Think a mile long staircase. It was pretty cool, we took the Barr trail down around the back side and it was pretty icy in the shade, but still fun.

Star Wars was sold out when Evie’s nephew and I tried to go see it. Maybe one day next week I’ll take Evie. On our way back we stopped in Pagosa Springs at one of our favorite breweries Riff Raff Brewing Co. They have the best Red Ale I’ve ever had, and their IPA is one of my top 3 of all time as well.

Lucy found a hot spring along the river and dove in. Snow on the ground and 30 degrees outside, but she didn’t care 🙂

Next year is just around the corner, so I guess it’s time to start thinking about next season. Since moving to Arizona the Epic Rides races have become much more accessible so planning to hit all of those (Whiskey 50, Grand Junction, Carson City). There are some really cool races in Colorado like the Gunnisson Growler, Crested Butte 40, and Outlier Vail that are on my list. We’ll definitely be going back to South Dakota for the Dakota Five-O and Evie will be doing more DH racing so that will probably take me to a few new cool spots.

The MBAA series (Arizona’s mtb series) starts up next month so I’ll jump into a few of the marathon races to log some good base miles in the warm desert. I’m done with USAC after they announced yet another price increase for a UCI license, now $200 + a $25 anti-doping fee + increase in entry fees. Racing the ProXCTs can be fun, but it’s become so easy to upgrade to pro the fields are getting saturated with 100+ riders.

On a 5-mile course it’s a joke. Unless you’re racing WORS, it’s really tough to show up to a SoCal ProXCT, start in the back row, and expect to move up into the top 50, let alone into the points contention. That means no National’s this year either, which, to do just that one race XC Nationals at Mammoth would cost nearly $400 (UCI license, anti-doping fee, $100+ entry fee). When top 15 at an Epic Rides event are getting paid and no UCI license needed, it’s tough to justify.

Well I said I’d share some photos so here ya go! See ya in the New Year!

Fall Swim
Lucy going for a fall swim at Scott’s Reservoir.
Lucy and Evie on the Mogollon Rim
Lucy and Evie on the Mogollon Rim north of Payson.
Forest Service Elevation Marker
We’ve been spotting these cool Forest Service elevation markers
Grand Canyon
Evie’s first time to the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon
Pretty neat.
Dave and I on the AZT
Dave and I on the AZT
McDowell
McDowell.
AZT
View from the Arizona Trail.
Picket Post Trailhead
Picket Post Trailhead.
Lucy Pagosa Hot Springs
Lucy in the Pagosa Hot Springs.
Riff Raff Brewing
Riff Raff Brewing Co.

That’s a Wrap!

It’s been a long fun season, but the end is here, finishing at home!

Tour of the White Mtns 50 Podium

Last weekend kicked off my final race of the season, Tour of the White Mountains right here in Pinetop. Having the Epic Rides crew and a lot of our friends in town for the weekend made for a lot of excitement. The weather and trails were downright awesome! 50’s at the 7:00 am start of the 50-mile race and mid 70’s all day!

The pace started out hot and stayed that way for the nearly 4-hrs of racing. A little bad luck by a few racers, but on the whole it sounded like everyone had a clean race with no one getting lost this year. I managed to pull off a 3rd place finish battling some tough competition.

Afterwards, Charlie Parr rocked the stage with some fantastic blue grass tunes and Sierra Nevada kept the beer flowing, including a keg of Narwhal!

Brian Leddy took some great photos throughout the day.

A big shout out to Brent and Harry at McDowell Mountain Cycles for letting me rock in the MMC kit this season and helping me out with racing. The same goes to Mike and Melissa at Mike’s Mix. Many-a-good things have been concocted in the kitchen thanks to their great products, along with fueling us on the bike.

Hello Off-Season

Now that racing is done, it gives me more time to explore the White Mountains of Arizona via hiking. Evie, Lucy and I submitted Escudilla yesterday, a nice little 6-mile hike up to 10,900′. Next on the list is Mt. Baldy, along with a lot of other neat hidden gems here in AZ.

I’d like to get up to Aztec Peak, checkout more of the Coronado trail, Pacheta Falls, AZT, and cross the Sheep Bridge out by Bartlett Lake, that’s just scratching the surface! I’m looking forward to a fun winter, hopefully I’ll do a little more XC skiing if we get snow and maybe some fat biking too!

I’ll leave you with a few pictures from our hike up Escudilla.

Lucy in the Aspens

Looking into New Mexico's Gila National Forest

Animal Bones

View from Escudilla Lookout Tower

Tour of the White Mountains – Where to Eat, Ride, & Explore

Tour of the White Mountains

This weekend is the 20th annual Tour of the White Mountains right here in Pinetop-Lakeside. A hint of fall is in the air with the leaves starting to change color and morning temps dipping into the low 50’s with day temps in the 70’s.

The trails are in great shape with a big help from the local mtbers and the TRACKS organization. Bluegrass musician Charlie Parr from Duluth, MN is booked for the after party festivities. it should be an all around great weekend!

If you’re coming up for the Tour here are a few places I recommend checking out.

Where to Eat

  • La Vie – Trendy, Hip & Modern Cafe (across from Charlie Clark’s Steakhouse)
  • Thai Promise – Healthy Asian food with no MSG
  • Pinetop Coffee Roasters – Best coffee on the mountain, a Saturday morning must! (Hwy 260 & Woodland Lake Rd.)
  • Moose Henri’s – Great food & 30 AZ craft beers on tap
  • Baked in Pinetop – Fantastic breads, sweet treats, and MUST TRY cinnamon rolls (closed Sun. & Mon.)
  • Eddies Country Store – Groceries, meat counter, and quality beer selection
  • Jalapenos – Counter service burritos, I dig the sweet pork! In Show Low near Hwy 260/77 intersection. Stop on your way into town (and again on the way out!)

Sunday Rides

All the local trail maps can printed off and just like the Tour course, are tagged with blue and white diamonds. You should have an area map in your swag bag showing how the trails link together, 200+ miles!

  • Panorama Trail (9-mile loop) – Swoopy fast singletrack, a few rocky descents, one steep climb up Twin Knoll, and ripping back down to the parking lot. Take 260 west to Penrod Rd. stoplight, make a right, go about a mile then right on Porter Mtn. Rd. The trail is up the road on your left about 4-miles (trail map). I prefer to ride clockwise and think it’s the most fun ridden this direction.
  • Blue Ridge/Springs Trail (9-mile loop) – Blue Ridge is really tough. Think of climbing Prospector at McDowell Mountain, very rocky and physically demanding, but fun (trail map)! If you’re staying in the Country Club and feel up for more of a challenge this would be a good one (two way, but I like riding clockwise). You can start at Springs trail head and connect into Blue Ridge. Springs has a lot of big rocks, roots, and drops.
  • Los Burros/Lake Mountain – If you want more of Los Burros, you can park at the Los Burros campground (trail map) and take the short cut and make a left to re-ride the north end aka. “the fun part” of Burros. Looking for some enduro? Head up Lake Mtn. Rd. to the fire tower and then drop in Four Springs for some steep fast fun that spits your right back onto the Tour course so you can finish back at the campground.

Where to Explore

  • Rim Trail – On the west side of town just past the go carts off hwy 260, look for a sign for The Rim Trail. This is a short mile or so loop that takes you out to the Mogollon rim with some great views.
  • White Mountain Nature Center – The nature center is off Woodland Rd. and has a lot of interesting artifacts and history from the White Mountains.
  • Woodland Lake Park – Right in the heart of town, take the dog or kids for a walk around the lake (about 1-mile). There are also Ramada’s with picnic tables and grills for a nice picnic.

I’m looking forward to a fun packed weekend!

Dakota Five-O!

For the past 3 years I’ve been spending Labor Day weekend in the Black Hills of South Dakota — thanks to Evie 🙂

The black hills are most famous for the faces of Mount Rushmore, but there are amazing mountain bike trails, tons of hiking, water falls, streams, and sunny skies.

Roughlock Falls, South Dakota

This year we picked up Evie’s niece and nephew in Colorado Springs, and brought them with, meeting up with grandma and grandpa when we got to Spearfish. It’s nice to make a long weekend out of the event. Always good to see so many friends.

Sadly, this was the only picture I took on the trip, too much fun and excitement  had me forgetting to pull out the camera.

Tony, Ryan and Cole drove out in the sprinter, and Corey, Justin, Karen and Butch also drove out from Wisco. We spent a few days ripping around on the “can’t wipe this smile off my face” singletrack, most of which were one way shuttles 🙂

Dakota Five-O: Home of the Pro’s, Joe’s, and Who Knows

Each year, more and more talented riders seem to show up to the Dakota Five-O. This year I was stoked when Corey get the win after making a wrong turn last year.

I had a great race following a mediocre start. I entered the singletrack about 15th, not ideal, but quickly started working my way up, making a few late race passes to finish 7th.

I could ride Five-O single track all day long! The trails were in the best shape ever and my Scott Spark crushed the descents like mad. Overall satisfied with my effort, hydration, and fueling. I’m always amazed at how after nearly 4-hrs in the saddle, the race comes down to just a few minutes.

Afterwards, free beer from Crow Peak Brewery and burritos from Barbacoa’s, plus live music and prizes, it’s quite the after party. Can’t wait to do it again next year!

Hometown Race

Next up, Tour of the White Mountains, right here in Pinetop! Stay tuned for a special post next week where I’ll be highlighting some of the best places to eat, drink, and hangout when coming to town. Along with some great post race riding spots.

Cheers!

Summertime Livin’ is Good

The last couple of weeks have been a lot of fun.

August started off with a return trip to Wisco to visit family and at weekend in Marquette, MI for Ore to Shore, one of my favorite weekends of the year. Great trails and lots of familiar faces. This year was no different. We sandwiched the race with some “can’t wipe that smile off your face” riding on some the new trails at Marquette Mtn. Incredibly fun!

The race itself went down as usual, well except for the lead group getting stopped by a train. This brought things back to maybe 40 or so riders and it got a little chaotic once we started rolling again. At some point a gap opened up and a chase group formed and we finished with a bunch sprint for 18th.

Lake Superior

Nationals

Prior to that Evie and I hit up Mtb National’s in Mammoth Lakes, CA, what a pretty area. We rented a condo with Corey, Jeff, Joe and Corey’s two friends Michelle and Jonnie that turned out to be a stone’s throw from the venue. It was a good bunch and everyone had a good time, including Lucy!

Lucy

I’m hoping that this year is just the year of bad luck between my flat at Whiskey and then Nat’ls. Had a great first few laps, but then (discovering afterwards) what turned out to be a little electrolyte overload I had to stop and get off my bike for a little while which pretty much put a damper on any hopes of finishing in the top 20. A fun course though, your standard mountain course 15-mins up, 5-mins down.

Evie crushed the downhill race, winning the overall Cat 3 on her trail bike. That being only her second DH race ever was pretty cool.

Good Ol’ WORS Racing

WORS

Back in Wisconsin, the second weekend of my trip I went up to Minooka Park to checkout the WORS race. Bummed that they did away with Crystal Ridge after which I’m told “The Rock” is no more. Anywhoo, the Minooka course was fun. Super tight, so tight that my 700mm bars barely fit through one set of trees, and twisty.

The race itself hurt! So much hammering on every small up hill and out of every single corner to gain a half second here and there. On laps 1 and 2 I was constantly out of the saddle, but my back really didn’t like. After another go around on laps 3 and 4 I started to get into a little better rhythm, but a little to late to make much out of it. 10th on the day, which is about par for the course for a “meh” kind of day. It was good to get out and mix it up with the WORS crew.

Back to the Mountains!

Birthday Ride on Bug SpringsAfter returning to Arizona, I spent a week in Tucson before returning to the mountains of Flagstaff and then home to Pinetop. My birthday was on Tuesday so I took a little stroll up Mt. Lemmon and dropped in on Bug Springs, way fun! Even in 90+ degrees up there.

In Flagstaff, getting back to rocky technical goodness I took the win at The Old Fashioned Mtb Race. Bike was great and so was the nutrition. After returning to elevation after almost 3 weeks at sea level my lungs felt it. I can definitively say that there’s about a 5% gain in power for me coming down from elevation. At sea level the legs just seem to flush the lactic acid better due to more oxygen (or some other type of scientific explanation).

Next up, South Dakota for the Dakota Five-O. Rain or shine, it’s sure to be a great time!

One Year & Counting!

Yesterday Evie and I celebrated our One Year Anniversary, a pretty cool thing.

A lot has happened in the last 12 months. In traveling around the county racing our bikes we’ve made some incredible friends, but had to say a temporary goodbye to our Wisconsin friends as we moved west to Arizona. Evie sold her house and started a new job as town manager of Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ. I moved my website design business, we got a new dog, new bike sponsors, and have been on many new adventures. Here’s to having many more in the years to come.

A look back at our first year…

Spearfish Canyon, SD

WORS Racing - Tim

WORS Racing - Evie

New Home in AZ

Lucy

Skiing Pole Knoll

Hiking

Summer Fun

Tim and Evie

 Love you Ev!

The Grand Junction Off-Road

Another race weekend is in the books. This time to Grand Junction, CO for the Epic Rides – Grand Junction Off-Road.

It’s starting to feel like race season, except for it’s over here in AZ. A little strange coming from Wisconsin. Aside from Colorado Springs and Mountain Bike Nationals in Mammoth, CA there’s not a whole lot going on the next two months.

The good news is August and September are filled with some great races that I’m really looking forward to like the Dakota Five-O, Tour of the White Mountains, and Moab Rocks, along with a handful of other local races here in Flagstaff.

Grand Junction Recap

Grand Junction is the real deal when it comes to mountain biking. Very much like Moab and Sedona, lots of big ledges, drops, chunky descents, and technical climbs. All the things I love about mountain biking. The town itself is a blast. Super well laid out and the crew at Epic Rides put on another fantastic event.

Friday was the Fat Tire Crit, which unlike at the Whiskey 50 was totally flat. It was also much warmer in GJ than Whiskey (and dry), which was nice. The crit itself was a total blast. I decided to stick this one out instead of pulling out after a few laps in Prescott, saving the legs. I made it almost to the end with the lead group which stayed pretty big. Halfway through the race I made a move during a lull that shot me to the front through the start finish, that was pretty fun! All in all a good time in GJ on a Friday night.

Sunday was the XC race and I was pretty pumped despite having a cold. I felt a little nauseous the start, probably from taking a bunch of meds with breakfast. I sat down in some shade and put some ice on my neck which helped.

When the gun went off we rolled out through town and out towards the Lunch Loops where we would jump onto the first singletrack climb. I made my move as we neared the trailhead, but things got a little bunched so my starting position was not very good into the singletrack.

After feeling as though I couldn’t really push it I tried to hold my position over the next 20-mins or so of climbing. Once we popped out onto the road things were pretty strung out. I was feeling like it just wasn’t my day, but focused on riding smooth and figured there would be a lot of flats (which there were), some guys would blow up, and others might fade (so I hoped).

When we started down Butterknife, the first 7-mile chunky, ledgy, rocky singletrack I started to get into a rhythm and quickly caught up to and passed about 5 guys. Dropping down to the river and starting the 2000′ Windmill rd. climb I passed 2 more riders and tried to keep it steady, riding with my chin up to help the oxygen flow. Thank goodness the race was at 4500′. My 8000′ lungs needed all the help they could get!

On the way up Windmill rd. I came across Todd and TJ who both had flat trouble. It wasn’t long before they got rolling again and rolled up on me as we approached the Bangs Canyon descent. What a blast! Big rolly, chunky jeep rd. with tons of launches and big drops.

After that we began the last major climb up a big slab of slickrock for maybe a mile or so. Todd was gone and TJ started to pull away from me here too. With one more final descent to the finish down Andy’s Loop I figured no one would be rolling up behind me so I focused on riding clean as there are a few tight corners with some sharp rocks that caught me off guard in the pre-ride.

Rolling into town cashed was a good feeling. Having a clean race, despite being sick was also a good feeling. 21st on the day and only a few minutes out of the money, pretty pleased with that and stoked for next year!

Thanks to Bobby and Kim for letting us crash at their place. Lucy had a good time and made some new friends too 🙂