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Old 05-26-2015, 11:03 AM   #1
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How We Broke The Space-Time Continuum - ƨliɒɿT blO no ɘviƚɔɘqƨɿɘꟼ wɘИ A

If you ride the same trial in the same direction time after time, year after year, you sort of get used to it. Trails have a unique flow and you get to know where all the difficult spots are. Even minor changes aren't so surprising since generally most of the trail looks the same. A little erosion or rocks out of place just makes things more interesting. Just be very careful riding those same trails in the opposite direction. That's how Slowred and I broke the space time continuum.


The ride started off like any other ride in the Prescott National Forest of Arizona.



But Slowred tossed out the suggestion earlier in the week to ride a common loop that we do in the PNF in reverse. Not in reverse gear or sitting on the bikes backward, of course, just in reverse order so we'd see all those old trails from a new perspective.



It seemed like a great idea to me! So rather than start on Pine Creek Trail, like we normally do, we started on Arrastra Creek, where we normally finish this loop.



This camping area with an old corral is where we normally exit the trail...



And then we return to the truck on this graded road.



This end of Arrastra is usually the reprieve from the relentless beating in all the rock on this "trail". Going the 'normal' direction this trail feels like it is mostly a faint disturbed dirt mark in the bottom of a wash/drainage.



Even though the PNF MVUM calls this whole trail singletrack, the northern part is nearly wide enough for a full-size vehicle (as long as they didn't mind AZ pin stripes). This spot marks the switch to the much narrower section of trail. Check out the erosion undercutting the road. This spine isn't going to last through too many more big rain storms.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:09 AM   #2
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This is where the trail enters the drainage in this direction. Not too bad, yet.



The trail starts to look like this a little farther in.



I don't get a lot of pictures going the other direction on this trail.



By the time we're in these spots, I'm just trying to maintain momentum and get through the rock.



It didn't seem anywhere near as bad in this direction.



It was definitely an advantage being fresh for this trail.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:22 AM   #3
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Slowred's plush 350 XC-W is probably the better bike to have in this kind of terrain.



My 500 XC-W is stiffer and can be a handful if I'm not careful with my right wrist.



Having the trail go directly down this drainage is interesting.



It could be really freaky in a big rainstorm, though. I imagine it filling with water and hiding all the rocks and big holes.



We took a little detour up a trail that looked more established to see if we were missing the 'real' trail. All we found was someone's ranching supplies. They left their bags of concrete out in the rain a little too long.



So we got back on the real trail!
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:41 AM   #4
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Here is space time disturbance #1: This trail feels like it has 10x more of these sections when you ride it in the other direction after riding the rest of the trails we connect to get here.



It isn't easy going this direction, but it also doesn't feel as long.



I think this area was old ranch land. The grassy fields seem almost out of place in the landscape. Those enormous trees are also unique in the area.



The trail used to go right in front of a little cabin, but it has been rerouted to include a neat section of singletrack. It's a little tight, but if you can look up for a second, the views are pretty cool.



Slowred demonstrated the one downside of the 350 here. You don't always have the 'pop' to get up a steep, jagged rocky hill with no run-up. Fortunately it clings to hills like one of those sticky wall walker toys.



Even when this trail gets mild there is not a lot of room for error.



But we like it for the challenge, variety and scenery!
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:06 PM   #5
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I don't have a photo record of space time disturbance #2, but it was spooky! It was like we met our alternate selves from a parallel universe. A couple of coincidences are normal with riders, but the chances of the number that stacked up in our short meeting had to be greater than the chances of winning the lottery!

Similarities:
- Residing in similar parts of town (same cities that are pretty far apart)
- Similar age ranges.
- My near-twin used to work at a place I had meetings with that week and was very familiar with the subject of those meetings.
- We were riding some of the same trails in the same direction.
- Same GPS units (My almost-doppelganger and I both had Garmin Oregon 600s)
- Same tires (I usually run Maxxis Desert IT's, just like my almost-twin. Slowred and his were running MT-43's. I was trying a Motoz Mountain Hybrid and Slowred's alternate had one in his garage to try.)
- Similar bike size differences, and both KTM's.


Differences:
- Lots, of course, but most notable that made us sure they were from a parallel universe was that they were both on two-strokes.


Since that disturbance didn't destroy the universe (as far as we're aware), we continued on the western part of Arrastra Creek and started climbing up the Yankee Doodle Trail!



Climbing up this is where a trials tire or the Mountain Hybrid I'm trying really comes in handy.



I found that with traction nearly all the time and a 500 XC-W geared up to 14:50, I was using the clutch more to slow down and keep the front end down than actually maintain traction or engine RPM.



I had to let Slowred go ahead when my clutch finger literally gave out. This bike has a stiffer than stock clutch spring washer and I couldn't keep the clutch in enough in some of this steep, rocky terrain.



We finally made it to the top of the first climb, only to see another in the distance.



Fortunately this one was shorter and felt milder than what we just came up.
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:15 PM   #6
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Wait, didn't we just come up a hill that looked just like this??



There are two of these big hills in a row.



We normally come down the rocky trail to the right in this picture.



The piece of trail Slowred is on here is much better.



This is one of those rare times that going straight up the hill is WAY easier than trying to make a bunch of back and forth turns on the hill.



That trail on the right is composed of mostly large rock and includes some steep steps that I sometimes walk my bike down.



The line on the left follows a fire break from the Gladiator fire a couple years ago.



It's still not easy.



Just better than trying to push your bike to the top of this hill.
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:30 PM   #7
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The view from the top (or just down the other side) is worth it!



Slowred took a spill down this hill when that bush on the left grabbed his handlebars. Or maybe it was a gust of gravity from that rift in the space time continuum. Either way, this hill is tricky in both directions!



Farther down there is an extremely sharp turn in the trail. On the way up my front tire just skims the ground as I make the turn up this hill. I think my rear tire was just skimming the ground on the way down!



Between the really difficult parts of this trail there are these little recovery sections. They can be fun too, I guess.



It's just too easy to get distracted by the scenery and ride off the trail!



That's not much of a problem when the trail is this narrow.



Though it makes stops for pictures like this a little more interesting.



I would have needed about a 6-foot long leg to put my right foot down here.
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:40 PM   #8
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The Yankee Doodle Trail intersects a couple of roads that serve as bailout points. At Senator Highway (a dirt road) we had a little discussion about how fatiguing it was to go the opposite direction on the southern section of the Yankee Doodle Trail. We were considering our options, including going up the next, more challenging section of the trail, when those dangerous words came out; "I'm game if you are!"

So we started up the next section of singletrack!



We know what it's like going down some of these eroded steps in the trail.



Normally I would rather go up a trail. In this case...



I'm not so sure!



My slow camera missed Slowred as he disappeared around that manzanita on the right. Then I had to hike back up to my bike. I'm not sure which mode of transport up this hill was tougher!
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:47 PM   #9
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We are used to coming down this rockpile when we ride this trail in the other direction.



I think my eyes went cartoonishly large when I saw it in this direction!



Fortunately with the Mountain Hybrid or a trials tire you can sort of float the front end up and the rear just tracks right along where you point the bike.



It was a lot smoother than it looks like it would be.



So many of these challenges are as much mental as they are physical.
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Old 05-26-2015, 12:53 PM   #10
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Then again... Sometimes it's just physical.



I came into this rock pile and didn't see any good line so I went to the right (left side of the picture) and basically pushed my bike to the top.



Slowred made an interesting line choice, but got hung up. I was panting too much to come down and push.



After a couple of attempts Slowred found a good line around, but this section of trail just seemed relentless.



The trail used to go through that log. I'm starting to like the work-around a little better.



We were really feeling the fatigue by this point.
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:05 PM   #11
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The next Yankee Doodle Trail intersection is at a continuation of Poland Jct Road (called State Rte 261 Trail on maps). From there it would be a rocky climb followed by some milder, but still rocky trail.



The signs saying, "Caution: Tree Felling Ahead!!!" and our energy level made us point the bikes down the dirt road and head toward Five Corners and Big Bug Mesa.



After some twisting and turning on Big Bug Mesa we found our ticket out.



The not-so-well marked Pine Creek Trail!



This fallen tree over the trail seems a whole lot lower on the way down!



I wonder how much longer that live tree is going to hold up the dead one that I just took my sweet time going under.
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:18 PM   #12
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I tried to take some time and get the perspective of riding this trail in reverse. We are usually fresh and moving pretty well up this one.



Somewhere in here I realized most people must go the other direction on this trail. All the plants are trained in that direction and I found myself having a mini-jousting session all the way down!



I also took the opportunity to slow down and look for the alternate trail that shows up on my Topo maps and in the PNF's MVUM. I didn't find it... again.



There are a couple obstacles on this trail that just look ugly in both directions. Here I have to turn 90 degrees to the left, cross the little puddles of water and hope the tire doesn't slip over that slick gray granite.



I didn't get a picture of the next tricky spot because I wanted to keep the momentum going, but I have a picture from another ride going the 'normal' direction. Taking the obstacle that the red rider is coming down as a step-up with almost no room for error on the left is exciting, but not as bad as I thought.



It was a great day of riding. I think we will be riding more trails in the opposite direction in the future. It gives a totally different perspective on the same old trails.

Yardstick screwed with this post 05-26-2015 at 01:25 PM
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Old 05-26-2015, 07:26 PM   #13
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Nice...... Awesome shots as usual. I start panting for air just reading the report.
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:09 PM   #14
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Your RR's just keep getting better Yardstick! It was an awesome day with perfect temps and very little dust!

Yardstick starting up Arrastra


Cruising through the wash in the lower part of Arrastra


It's funny how right Yardstick is. We are usually finishing our ride on Arrastra and it always seems tough, but today it was a breeze early in the day.




Hardly seems like you are in the desert southwest when it looks like this. BTW, that Mountain Hybrid is a BAT (Big Assed Tire)!


Awesome trail!


Scenic views on Lower Yankee Doodle. Where's Waldo (Yardsick)?




This step on Middle Yankee Doodle has been my nemesis before. Yardsick made it look easy peasy.


Shortly after that step we found further evidence that this trail just plain hates KTMs.


There were fallen logs all over this trail.


This was my final pic. Yardstick finishing Bee Trail with style. Great ride. It doesn't get any better than this folks.
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Old 05-26-2015, 09:47 PM   #15
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nice RR, thanks for sharing.
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