I was in need of little fitness ride, and I wanted to do a little exploring in the Mazatzal Mountains. I was also inspired by a ride Maadjurguer did last spring. My goal one day, is to pedal a traverse of the Mazatzal's from the Beeline Highway to Roosevelt Lake (Bee to the Bear and Back).
I believe there are a few trails open to bicycles in the area (outside the wilderness), but I'm not sure what the condition these trails are in. Here's a link to the trails that are open to mountain bikes in the Tonto Basin. If I get some beta that these trails are in rideable condition (not overgrown), then maybe I'll check 'em out. The only riding I did was on the road.
Anycow, I started my pedal up El Oso Rd. here, at 8:30, and ended up at the Lone Pine Trailhead around 12:00. It really shouldn't take this long to get up to this turnaround point, but I took my time once I got up on top of the ridge. I was also pedaling my heavy bike today, which was also unnecessary, but its all I had available. Plus I had the idea that there was gonna be some chunk on this road. BTW, the armor I packed up to the top did serve a purpose; it kept me warm on the rip back down the hill.
I'd say temps were in the upper 40's to low 50's when I started my ride at the 2,200 foot level. I was pedaling in shorts and just a long sleeve shirt, but I certainly wasn't cold on the pedal up. Once I got up on top of the ridge, about 3,500 vf higher in elevation, the temps were probably about the same as when I started(Lone Pine T.H. sits at nearly 5,700 vf).
El Oso Rd. (the bear), had absolutely no gnar on it. It was probably smoother than half the roads in Mesa. It did have an occasional water rut/bar. The biggest obstacle of this road, was the steep, steep grade. Even this wasn't as bad, as I had expected. Every single inch of this route, I could pedal. I had been looking at this road on Google Earth and did a few searches, and I thought it was gonna be chunky and to steep to pedal in some sections. Boy, was I wrong.
Once I got up on top of the ridge I turned onto onto Pigeon Spring Rd and decided to check out the Pigeon Spring and Loan Pine Trail-heads. This 2 or 3 mile traverse across the ridge had a few sections of ups and downs, so there is some elevation change. Pretty nice views though.
The rip back down El Oso was a hoot. It took me 45 minutes to get to the bottom from Lone Pine T.H., but most of that time was spent traveling across the ridge back to El Oso road, and fixing a flat tire. This was the first flat I've had in prolly 2 years; time for some new tires. From the top of the ridge to the bottom (about 8 miles) in reality only took about 25 minutes.
The big rotors on my 'barcalounger' were kinda nice to have, as I flew down the mountain. Even though the gravel road was in excellent condition, it wasn't totally brainless riding. It was fast, and slipping on the crushed granite/cinder was keeping me tame. At the curves of the road, the inside edge had a really nice berm to roll through.
Not the most inspiring ride, but the speed rawked, the views were of the lake and surrounding peaks ruled, and it was all new to me. I'm looking forward to rolling this again.
Here is a short and dorky little vid:
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Thread: El Oso Rd