I routinely ride 50 miles or more (slowly), and with a lot of climbing. But there is something about Arizona desert riding that seems much more difficult. A few weeks ago my attempt to ride 50 miles on the Black Canyon Trail was thwarted by a blown sidewall. Earlier this week (3/17) I went back to try again. However, the last ride was done as a point to point shuttle, from the north, and it had a large net loss in elevation. Since I had no shuttle this time I did an out and back ride north from the Black Canyon City (BCC) trailhead, which involved much more climbing. The problem with out and back rides is that you often feel great going out and it is easy to "bite off more than you can chew", by going out too far. This is especially true in the desert this time of year because it can be really cool in the morning, which it was, but quickly warm up to dangerously high temperatures by the end of the day. So I did not go out exactly 25 miles before turning around. If the temperature was OK on the return I would then do an out and back south from the BCC trailhead to make up 50 miles.
Going north was slower than I anticipated, due to the net elevation gain, and the fact I lost the trail several times after crossing dirt roads. So I turned around at mile 23. As I had discovered on my last ride, the trail back to BCC is one of the most fun I've ever ridden, and I reached the junction to the BCC trailhead at 44 miles feeling quite fresh. So I had to do an out and back south to bring the ride up to 50 miles. However, going south from BCC is much more difficult than going north. The trail is more rugged, and there is a lot more steep climbing. So the most difficult part of the ride came at the end. But I just kept plugging along at my tortoise pace and I finished in just under 12 hours, feeling pretty good. I feel this is one of my best ever biking accomplishments, especially considering my knees only had one, rather than the obligatory 2-3 days rest between rides, and I was riding solo in some pretty rough territory.
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Thread: My best biking accomplishment
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