Llama, Broken Arrow, Submarine Rock, Templeton
We got a one hour extension on hotel check out to 12 noon. This gave just enough time to get a respectable trail ride in and shower afterwards. The women dropped me off in Oak Creek and shopped there. Last spring, I rode Llama and Broken Arrow with Dave and knew I would have to ride them again some day. That happened this morning. These are the premire riding trails in Sedona, and one guide book says if you only have time for one ride, hit these. Sedona trails were much looser and dustier this year. I was dabbing and hike-a-biking more sections than I recall last year. Having a completely bald rear tire was partly to blame. Dry conditions were another part. And becoming a soft roadie was the rest.
We left the hotel in such a hurry early this morning that I forgot to grab the camera and trail map. The Bike and Bean shop was already open at 8am, so I picked up a basic map, not nearly as detailed as my large, plastic topo map. Most bike shops wreak of Triflow chain lube, but Bike and Bean smelled of gourmet coffee.
I hauled-A on the first few trails, I'm sure hitting the highest HR's of the trip. I wouldn't be riding the next day, and time was short. Dave and I skipped Submarine Rock last spring, so I decided to check it out. It's a half mile or so singletrack out to a large slick rock formation that resembles a submarine.
After I finished Broken Arrow, I wanted to ride as much of Templeton around Cathedral Rock as possible. This would be new to me. I cut in from the Cathedral Rock hiking trail head, rode out to switchbacks that descend to Oak Creek, then started working my way back to village of Oak Creek. The riding around the lower rim of Cathedral Rock was mostly slick rock with little elevation change, presented some exposure to steep drops, and offered great views. It was a great way to wrap up several days of riding.
Cathedral Rock Hike
1.6mi, 45min, 800ft vert
After checking out and boxing bike, we decided to hike Cathedral Ledge. This is probably the most popular hike in Sedona, but it is not for the faint of heart. It is hands and feet climbing most of the way. The hard part is coming back down, as you can't see where to put your feet at times. Slipping is not an option in several places. Neither Cathy nor mom were willing to give it a go, so they hiked out and back on Templeton Trail that I biked a couple hours earlier.
Back side of Cathedral Rock hike
The view from gaps between the spires was spectacular, one of the best in Sedona. From some angles, Cathedral Rock looks like a single monolith of sandstone, but it actually consists of multiple spires that you can climb in between. Upon reaching the high point, one climber immediately called a friend on his cell phone to say how amazing this hike in was. After capturing several photos with the Canon SLR, I had to hurry to get back down. I had to stop and dwell on several sections about how to navigate them. It is way easier to hoist yourself up with hands than it is to let yourself down the same section. Any fit person not afraid of heights can do this climb, although it was the most technical hike I've done.
That's a wrap for this trip. I now have well defined cycling tan lines. We had sunny or mostly sunny weather every day with temps into 70's and 80's and zero precip. No crashes or mechanicals on the trail, although a minor tangle with a Cholla in Tucson left me with a flat tire the next time I rode. We fly back Tuesday, back to work on Wednesday. The three hour time difference back to the daily grind will be hard to handle.