Tuesdays with Dirty: Long Rides and Human Jerky

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I’m cooked. Not baked or fried, but I think I pedaled in the blazing sun long enough today that I could be considered human jerky. My lips are cracked and bleeding, my eyes are bloodshot and my arms and face are tanned to the color of a piece of perfectly cooked bacon. Needless to say, it was an amazing ride!

The idea came to me Saturday while I was cruising the intertubes at work trying to look busy. It appeared that Black Canyon Trail system that D2 wrote about is now complete. 79 miles of singletrack cutting right through the central Arizona desert finishing on the north end of Phoenix. It was clear that it was my duty to go ride the entire thing, and do it soon before it gets too hot. If I could arrange some way to get dropped off at the northern end, I could pedal the whole trail and then I could just ride home. I made a couple phone calls and within 15 mins my ride to the start was arranged. One quick facebook message to Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance for some more trail details and it was a done deal. My buddy Erick decided he wanted to ride the first day with me and jumped in the car with about an hour notice.

My friend Maximum was kind enough to drop us off (thanks for the ride, amigo!) at the wide spot in the road knows as Mayer, AZ. There is no established trailhead yet so I had to go off some vague clues I had from an email.

“Go to the mile marker, backtrack a quarter mile and look for an abandoned orchard. The trail will be on the uphill side of the orchard”

Turns out what I thought were vague directions were actually spot on and we found the trail pretty easily. While meandering through the orchard we came across an old printer and decide to have our own Office Space moment with it. Arizona style.

az style

Once we found the trail, the riding was superb. This entire trail system is perfect contour, bench cut singletrack, by the book. The amount of work that went into building these trails is mind blowing. I owe each and every member of this trail crew a round and a high five. Well done.

bike bones
my ride

At one point we were grinding up this doubletrack climb and I mentioned “I sure hope some singletrack comes up soon”. No sooner did the words leave my mouth then we turn the corner and see this (note line of trail in the middle of the picture):


We both say “WOW” in disbelief when we saw where the trail was about to take us. From where we stood with our mouths open, there was trail running across every ridge as far as the eye could see. For 3 more hours we rode those trails before we reached Erick’s car and went our separate ways. He had to go back to the “real world” and me, further into the desert. I made camp at dark and stayed awake just long enough to cook some food over a nice little fire

camp stove

When I awoke the next morning one thing was very clear, it was going to be hot. The sun hadn’t been up more than 20 mins and I was already sweating while breaking down camp. I threw back a cold cup of instant coffee, a couple handfuls of trail mix and I was on my way. I had previously ridden everything from here on in and I was well aware of the large amount of climbing ahead. I needed to get that over with before the sun got too high, but not before having to cross a nice refreshing little river.

DSCF1549There was singletrack for many more hours


When I finally hit civilization I treated myself to the best reward known to any bike tourer


I heard it hit 90 degrees today. If you were on the trail at noon and asked me what temperature was, my answer would probably be 110. I roasted in the sun and just turned out the miles until it was done. Just under 80 miles of dirt followed by about 35 miles of road to get home made for a great ride. This would be where I would post a map of my ride if I had one of those fancypants GPS things, but I don’t. You will just have to take my word on it. It was an amazing experience and I feel very fortunate to have such an amazing trail system so close to my home. I would encourage you to kill some time at the office and find your own little overnight adventure.  There is something pretty cool about carrying everything you need with you, sleeping in the dirt, and riding more miles than you think you can.

Long live long rides. Keep it dirty…

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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds, single women and single malt. Currently in Carbondale, CO Follow on Instagram @dirty_biker

57 Replies to “Tuesdays with Dirty: Long Rides and Human Jerky”

  1. Damn. Closest thing even remotely like that for me is a 5+ hour drive. I fucking hate it here. That looks just delicious (the singletrack, AND the beer and ice cream).

  2. goodtimes for sure. E was looking for adventure the night before….glad he found it with you.

  3. I too have heard nothing but good stuff about those trails.

    As above, why the gun and why scatter printer parts?

  4. To answer the gun question, why not? Shooting guns in the desert is like drinking while fishing. Plus when you’re rolling solo that far out, gotta have something to keep you safe.

  5. nice. the only time i’ve spent in mayer was handcuffed in the police station… but that’s a story for another day. do you at least pick up your casings when you’re out shooting at random crap?

  6. great post DB! i like the AZ style office space picture best, i think. i’d give away my last xanex for some HOT right about now. it’s not even 60 degrees yet and its 1pm, im ready for summer. guess maybe you should come out to the midwest for some riding soon? we would love to have ya.

  7. fucking AWESOME ride report. Bravo!

    Snowed here this morning… the ski hill got 14″ overnight.

  8. …sorry guys but that’s seriously fucking sad that you have to feel the need to carry a gun…

    …understand, i’m not putting any of you down, if you honestly feel safer ‘carrying’ but it’s sad to be able to ride through such beauty & yet feel concerned enough to pack a firearm…

    …we got rattlesnakes, we got bobcats n’ coyotes, we got feral hogs & we got cougars out here, so i’m guessin’ your talking about the worst predator on the planet, ya ???…

  9. BGW, it looks like we will have to agree to disagree on this one. although we are now in the 21st century, the AZ desert is still a pretty sketchy, if not lawless place. Story time:
    2 years ago about this time, i was exploring this same area for 3 days. I was chillin’towing my BOB trailer when all of the sudden i came under fire. It seems that 2 methed out desert rats on the hill above me thought it was funny to shoot at the flag on my trailer.(5 ft behind my head), ducking behind a rock and squeezing 3 shots into the air diffused the situation quickly. What started as some kind of perverse fun and games to the tweakers all of the sudden became reality when the tables were turned. Now i don’t know about you, but having a firearm in that situation made me feel a little better. I have about 8 more stories like this that actually led me to the purchase of my sidearm. I wuold share them with you over pints any day.
    I actually only carry a gun when i off road tour, and i won’t apologize for it. There are a lot of bad people in the world and i seem to run into them when i am furthest from civilization. The last thing i want to do is be the guy that shows up with a frame pump to a gun fight. I thought the office space scene would be entertaining. I know I laughed. To each their own. AZ is much different than northern CA.

  10. …alert…post #17 was not me…some dipshit thinks they’re being cool by fucking with the site & gnomer or gianni can verify that it didn’t come from my e-address…

    …dirtybiker…post #16 certainly was me & ya, that’s what i meant by the world’s worst predator & under those circumstances, i’d say we could agree to agree’ with that kinda shit going on…

    …what i’m really “just sayin'” is that it’s a shame, the one time you can really get away by being out in the middle of mother nature, ya gotta deal or be concerned with motherfuckers, instead…

    …i’ve done some shooting w/ a friend up at the north end of the bay & i always enjoyed it…

  11. i remember when i lived in AZ – tonto basin to be exact – everyone had gun racks on their trucks. it’s just how it is. the wild wild west…

    DB – wish you had taken me to the shooting range!

  12. It’s interesting to see people feel “safer” by adding more handguns to a sketchy situation.

  13. Yep, that’s about the range you need to hit a TV with a Glock. Did you hit the target? It’s anyone’s guess with an automatic.

    To those horrified by the sight of a hand held destruction machine – please understand that this is Arizona, and there’s a lot of folks that think that anywhere you go, a violent, heavily armed, yet poor shooting tweaker is going to come out from behind a cactus and have his way with ya. The meth-heads don’t have guns, people.

    Even more horrifying though, are the wild dogs that are waiting in every dust storm ravaged span of desert, cause they love human jerky more than anything else. Get a flat alone and you might die!

    No dude, scorpions and rattlesnakes don’t need a hand cannon to be dispatched, they just need to be left alone. Still, there’s a side of my brain that knows it is just and right for cyclists to be at least as well armed as the lunatics that wish to run us down while perched in their sun-bleached pickup truck.

  14. Sounds like a good ride may not be good for me to go and try it solo when I come to town… may just stick with what i know.

  15. …Alert! Post 21 was not me!! Some other dipshit has found a design flaw in the site that lets people post with others’ aliases!!!

  16. …yeah I like to pass judgement on others for excercising their constituitional right…

  17. I don’t get the overwhelming fear of guns on this post. I guess everyone here thinks guns are evil, bad and only red necks and gangsters have them. I am glad to hear you can carry a sidearm in AZ. There are some decent trails in Central NJ that are down right creepy. You can be riding through the woods and come across guys in suits waiting for a “trick” to show up. and see drug deals as well as sex on a log between two people not dressed for the environment they’re in. I always hoped i did not break down on those trails. Cannot get a CCP in NJ, so I would look funny with a long gun slung over my back outside of hunting season.

  18. read what i actually wrote, you pathetic little bitch…get your facts straight…i wasn’t objecting to carrying a piece if folks like dirty-b’ actually think it necessary, i was saying what a shame that a person out enjoying the sights would need one…if that’s arizona, so be it…

    …but that was like, zoom, straight over your head…

    …the only constitutional right i’d object to is your right to act like a moron…i find it in bad taste…

  19. gosh not sure how I made it solo from coast to coast without weaponry, must have been the funny bike and my instinct to fins quiet places, and I rode Philly to NYC in a day so as not to have to find somewhere to sleep out there

  20. 31: That redneck is a lazy fuck with his pickup truck. I tow my AA gun on the Burley trailer. Can’t afford any ammo for it, but it gives me a feeling of ‘security’ just in case an air-strike is called on my ass.

  21. People,

    Some perspective here.

    That printer had probably been expelled from the printer pack by a more dominate, later model, more fully featured printer.

    These old, rogue printers tend to prey on the weak & vulnerable so Dirty was doing us, (& it), a favor by putting it down, (the HP ones are the worst).

    I’m sure that Dirty pulled his entrenching tool out of his pack & buried the remains. Plus built a pile of rocks over it to prevent wild animals digging it up. Of course after checking under each rock that he had not disturbed some delicate ecosystem.

    He also would have picked up all his brass, & sent them off to some form of ‘Trade Aid’ organization where they would be converted into wind chimes & returned to us to buy at exorbitant prices.

    & yes, leave the snakes & scorpions alone & they will leave you alone, unless they’re Rattlers or Puff Adders in which case all bets are off.

    So take care out there..

  22. for those of you who have never been to this c’here part of dah cuntry, shit sumtimz goez down. Been on the receiving end mahself in a number of situations to attest to Dirty’s need to pack heat. It’s sad to say, but I’d rather have it and never need it, than need it and not have it. P.S. you only hear the one’s that are close. And if you disagree or don’t believe, I’ll take you to a little place down south where trafficking and bikes don’t mix so well. Cheers, now, enjoy the trails!

  23. Feel free to run with a gun, your right so enjoy it if you feel the need. I have grown up and lived in AZ all my life. I have solo toured across this country N to S, W to E, randomly off road, thru North Georgia for the love of… and 3-5 week solo tours in 7 countries. I now roll 2 months a year with myself and my 130# girlfriend in Baja really away from it all on single track and trails for hundreds of miles (guns are illegal down there but the bad guys have plenty). Never felt the need. For you “ducking behind a rock and squeezing 3 shots into the air diffused the situation quickly” until the next flag rides by and they decide to get back at them. Enjoy your rides, I just don’t like to throw down for a long dick contest with firearms, someone else will always be bigger and stupider.

  24. I think everybody here is missing the point…riding bikes and shooting shit in the desert is really fucking fun.

  25. What sortah-bar bag is that? you took a camel humper bag also for extra water and yer gat?

    cool write up, to bad you didn’t shoot a rabbit and cook it up while you were out.


  26. what is the best way to carry a handgun on a mountain bike?
    is there a place comfortable and secure that doesnt require stopping and swinging a backpack around?

    pointer, thats true everywhere

  27. Geezus man,

    It’s his tour let him carry what he wants to. Weight is weight right?
    Great write up man, carry on and carry heat if that’s what you want to do. Your singletrack, your tour, your decision.

  28. if you support ridng bikes while having a gun, then the terrorists have won.

    that rhymes

  29. Carrying a gun means being a terrorist?
    Summ Bitch.
    This is ‘Merica.
    For Christ’s Sake.

  30. a few years back, maybe 6 or 7 now, as the camp was forming for the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, Mateo sniped a jack rabbit from the scrub; before too many were around. He skinned that little bastard, soaked it in a chipotle marinade then grilled it up. We ate like thieves that night. I’ll never forget it.

  31. @Gnome: Way to go! How the hell did you miss the hugger that was holding the bunny? Careful shooting it must have been ;) I trust you used the skin to make a set of bar mitts too?

  32. No kidding eh? How could we have gotten away with that? I think Mateo used a 7mm rifle, but I’m not sure. Regardless, I was impressed with the entire affair. The fact that he nailed a Jack rabbit? Obviously it must have been sedentary for a moment but I can’t recall the conversation. it’s quite possible that he shot it at full stride. An American Quigely Down Under. And he went straight to work on it as if he wasn’t fucking around…which he wasn’t. That Jack was supper.

  33. A Glock or some shit? Better than nothing, I reckon.

    Me, I’d pack a Mossberg pump with 20″ barrel and rifle sights and an Armalite takedown .22. If I had to shoose one, probably the .22.

    And there are only two reasons to police your brass:


    2-Covert ops.

  34. “And there are only two reasons to police your brass:


    …2-Covert ops.”

    …duh, windchimes…

  35. Bein’ a commercial electrician by trade I handle just an awful lot of metallic electrical conduit. Sometimes I’ll cut off a piece and it will fall on the deck with a mellifluous “tingggggg” and I think to myself, “Hey! I could turn some of this scrap into something cool…”

  36. …so, dirty b…should we ever get the chance to share beers n’ stories out your way (i’d love to ride in az someday – moab is the desert-iest place i’ve ever ridden), just to make it interesting, if we go riding & plunckin’ at cans (copiers ??? – in the desert ???), i’m bettin’ 5 bucks i’m a better shot than you w/ your kel-tec .380…
    …not that i honestly think i’m a better shot but the adventure would make the after-beer more enjoyable…

    …anyway, dirty b, ‘cuz of all the controversy that got stirred up over this (by others), i hope that you personally “got” where i was coming from…

    …i don’t object to ‘carrying’ if it’s deemed necessary or appropriate because it’s a lawless environment…that just makes it a ‘safety first’ issue…

    …but living out here, the thought of a pre-ride check involving ‘bottles, spare tube(s), patch kit, pump, tools, .44 magnum long barrel’ did seem appalling, yes…

    …riding out on the dirt, getting away from ‘civilization’ comes with a real sense of freedom & the need of a firearm is just another tie to our ugly base culture that i’m glad i don’t have to consider on a daily basis ’round here…

    …no harm, no foul…

    …btw…when i learned about guns, i would smoke a fat one with my instructor/friend, then field strip & reassemble an ‘h&k 93’ blindfolded, both smoothly & cleanly…& amigo…i was good at it…