Sunday, March 20, 2011

Double-H Loop

After a restless night of attempted sleep at 7000ft in Flagstaff, Alex and I headed off to Sedona for a wicked late start. We parked in Oak Creek to begin a loop called Double-H, for Highline and Hog. I hadn’t ridden either of these trails before. They only recently became “public,” apparently being local insider trails before that. Videos suggested some moderate exposure on Highline, and I hadn’t done any research Hog.

Climbing Highline

It didn’t take long on Highline before we realized this ain’t New England! Lots of climbing started things off until we contoured high up along red rock formations. A local rider in body armor and a much burlier bike than ours flew past us. As I rode out on a lip skinnier than my handlebar, Alex blurted out “Dude, don’t ride that!” It’s ok if you don’t look down.

View from Highline

We popped out on a point with gorgeous views in most directions. The burly dude was still there. We waited for him to descend first, but he told us to go ahead, as he wanted to meditate up there for a while. Yeah, Sedona is like that.

Portion of descent

When we got to the final set of switchbacks down, we paused in disbelief, like how do we get down that without sliding on our asses? Just then burly dude comes by, possibly never hitting the brakes. After some serious hike-a-bike down, we got to the creek. Then it was right back up the Templeton Trail to ride across the base of Cathedral Rock.

Easy carving on Templeton

We crossed under the highway and worked our way up to Chicken Point. The fork off to High on the Hog trail was hard to find and we never would have found it without a GPS track. This definitely was not a mainstream trail. Hog entailed some pretty extreme exposure. Riding this trail caused so much stress that my sphincter was cramping up.

I didn't hesitate here on Hog

Eventually we get to the switchbacks off the ledge, which were well designed (aka rideable). We took Broken Arrow back up to Chicken Point, skipping Submarine Rock since daylight was becoming a premium. Llama Trail back to the car finished the ride.

Sketchiness on Hog

We finished with about 24mi in 4hrs on the Garmin. The Double-H loop was easily the most challenging four hour ride I’ve done anywhere with huge stakes if you messed up much of the time. Ironically, I have not been wearing an ankle brace at all during this trip and risk of ankle injury hasn’t even been on my mind. Fear of death supersedes any worries of rolling ankles.

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