Myself and a buddy did the FOR preride yesterday and got smoked. We made it fine and had a blast but we were crushed when we got done.
My buddy had some serious derailleur problems and had a nearly impossible time climbing so hike & biked hills way too much.
The initial climb is all road but almost non-stop and steep and is over 3 miles long from the ranch @ 6000 Bradshaw. The portions that are real trail are usually pretty dang technical. The course was marked with small wooden stakes and easily missed. We unfortunately saw a guy pass a marker on a horrible climb (when the trail turned left instead of continuing up). We tried to yell at him as he continued up to get him back but he had headphones in and was riding solo and he was too far away to chase down. I would say the only true negative is the trail markers were very lacking and very easy to miss. Otherwise it was fun.
We also got caught in a big downpour and got soaked and extremely muddy. The mud and rain were easy and the rain felt great......it was the slick mud that got us because we were in a downhill section. My Rampage and Saguaro couldn't shed mud fast enough and it was like riding on ice.
The course is difficult due to climbs, technical sections, and distance (over 15 miles per lap) but I had a blast. DIfficult and technical is what I was hoping for so this is a positive thing. The smooth downhills were FAST and we loved them.
It's a beautiful area with some gorgeous views. The trails and roads will test you in a few different ways. The few other riders out there were super-friendly. All-in-all I loved it and so did my buddy.
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Thread: Fire on the Rim Preride, 8/25