Tuesdays with Dirty: Singletrack Hunting.

A while back, I was holding down the bar with everybody’s favorite Gnome and he was telling me about all the riding he has been getting to do lately. I was a little more than jealous. Although I’m having my fair share of fun, my tires have not been hitting the dirt very much lately. In the past three weeks I have been surfing, skateboarding, rock climbing, and even went on a couple road rides. But it just wasn’t mountain biking.

As long as I can remember I have hunted for singletrack. That line of dirt, carved in a place where it really doesn’t belong yet somehow makes the journey better. It doesn’t matter if it is .25 miles or 25 miles long, I’ve got it bad. When I was a kid it was those shortcuts through empty lots, with their little jumps that were so much better than the sidewalk. As I got older I realized the power of the shovel and started making my own any place I could. Always anonymous, and always open to everybody. If it’s worth making, it’s worth sharing.

My approach to singletrack seems to have shifted yet again since I have moved to Arizona. I spend a considerable amount of time seeking out trails that I have never ridden. Pouring over google earth, obsessing over ways to link up trail systems, and making note of every bit of shit talk I hear at the bike shop. I have even gone so far as to befriend a group of elk hunters at the office to maybe hear a snippet about trails that are “so damn tight I can’t even fit my quad through there”.

I awoke this morning in Flagstaff with rain and lighting already over the peaks. I discussed trail options over breakfast with the boys and they informed me of a random parking area and trail marker out west of town. They had never rode it, but they had to go to work and it was my duty to go explore. I geared up at the trailhead with thunder rolling in the distance and clouds darkening overhead. The only proper thing to do was throw the camera in a dry bag, grab  a raincoat, and start riding. After passing a couple official looking trail markers I finally came to a sign that informed me this is the Arizona Overland Trail. A badass little piece of pioneer history right underneath my tires. most of the “trail” was overgrown and looked like this:

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It was tough going but I rode on through meadows, down dirt roads, and back to the forest again. I even passed some cool old homesteads:

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After a while I finally stumbled upon a nice piece of worn in singletrack. It was short but oh so sweet. I managed to grab this self portrait right before the rains came:

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Three hours of grinding, going over the bars, hail, rain and mud for maybe only 2 miles of singletrack. Yup, it was totally worth it. Keep exploring. Keep it dirty…

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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds, single malt, and single women. Tempe, Arizona, USA

8 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Dirty: Singletrack Hunting.

  1. That’s some dirty shit. Looks like you caught a piece of the Sycamore Rim Trail. Pines to the Mines will hit a nice section of that come this October, and that event is worthy of your dirty so you should attempt to attend.

  2. Whoa… the sound of tires on dirt underneath, thunder overhead, the smell of pines and the biggest surround screen theatre made, and you got front row seat. It can’t get any better. Thanks for sharing.