Days in the saddle: 5
Season: Spring and Fall
Trip Dates: May 30 - June 3, 2015
Wow factor: high
Resources: Arizona Endurance Series Coconino Stage Bikepack page (maps, cue sheet)
|This is the full Coconino 250 route|
our summer road trip in Flagstaff, on a route that promised to push our limits and blow our minds.
|Leaving from Mary and Chris' house high above Flagstaff.|
We left our friends’ house on the flanks of Flagstaff Mountain and cruised into town, where we connected with the Arizona Trail. Lots of singletrack, high lakes from spring snowmelt, and long moderate climbs were the name of the game….
|navigating the lakes edge to get some water- great water on day 1|
|Some of the riding on the first day was along an old railroad grade that allowed for some easier miles.|
|Our ViewRanger app was better than the cue sheets, and we also carried hard copies of the gpx on Caltopo|
As sunset approached we reached our destination: the Schnebly Hill overlook. 61.8 miles.
|Closing in on camp "Oh yeah"|
|The largest alligator juniper I've ever seen was pleasantly placed to stave off the hot afternoon sun|
|views of Bear Wallow Canyon and Sedona from camp|
|loverly morning shade|
|Deep Shade under Route 89 in what we later found out to be 100 degree weather.|
|Coffe creek area|
|Sheepshead Creek area is one giant sand trap, miles of it.|
|We were super stoked to spend some time napping in the shade next to the lagoons at the Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. We soon found out temperatures that day reached 100 degrees. Wah.|
Days 3 and 4 promised lower mileage (39 mi. and 34.3 mi.), but the Mingus Bipass took longer than we anticipated. The high elevations made for cool temps and beautiful views as we contoured around Mingus Mtn toward more sweet singletrack, clean springs and, finally, the 7 miles downhill to Verde River.
|Big smiles on the Mingus bypass. If you find a flip flop on the bypass, let us know...|
Just when we thought the bypass would never end, we hit the road going up to the summit and were back on route. Singletrack led us down to contour east of the Precott Valley and over to the Verde.
|Psyched for the downhill to the Verde!|
Day 4 was my hardest, winding up the Great Western Trail toward Williams. We could see Williams Peak off in the distance the day before, so I knew we had a long way to go and a lot of elevation to climb… luckily, areas like Pine Flats provided our legs with some easier cruising and we were able to find water from recent rains. After climbing all day, I would have been hard pressed to turn off the pavement to ride/ HAB up and over Bill Williams Peak. This was the moment when my respect for the C250 racers grew into awe- to imagine riding from the Mingus to Williams in a day and finishing on Bill Williams Peak literally blew my mind…
|starting early for a long climb up to Williams|
|We quickly left the main road to Williams and got on the Great Western Trail, which wandered through interesting canyons|
|Pine Flats- the delightful word being flats- a nice break for the legs and lots of rainwater|
|Showers and a real bed in Williams was equally as mind blowing|
I was a little sad on our last day (48.1 mi.), as our great adventure was coming to an end. We found our way back over to Flagstaff through high meadows and ponderosa forests, past Paradise Forks, and even managed to find some ice cream. So delish.
|Sycamore Canyon selfie|
|Mandatory head dunk, Paradise Forks|
|Parks snack break|
|Closing in on Flagstaff: San Francisco Peaks|
|Ski fence! Brannigan Park|
|Our mantra: Please! Close the gate|
We ended on the flowy singletrack above Ft. Valley, giddy as we sped toward Mary and Chris’ house. We felt a little bad cutting out the singletrack above Flag, but not for long… beer, steaks, mac and cheese, friends’ company and creature comforts beckoned a couple hundred feet off the route… and we happily gave in. The tone for our summer trip was set: spending time in the mountains together, with friends, and pushing ourselves in new ways.
|Magically, when we finished the C250, the clouds parted in Idaho!|