I learned a hard lesson today on South Mountain- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Drugstore Trailrider
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    I learned a hard lesson today on South Mountain

    It has been cool again in southern Arizona, and I have been riding down in Gardner Canyon where two water bottles were plenty for a 20 mile ride.

    This morning I left Tucson headed for SoMo, and 20 minutes from home realized I had left my camelback on the kitchen counter. Too far to turn back, but I had two full water bottles too, so figured I would just make do since that had been more than adequate recently.

    I started at 10AM with the two bottles and no trail map, from the Pima Canyon trailhead of National, went up Mormon back to National, on to Buena Vista, and stayed on National past the comm towers.

    I had kind of hatched a plan to connect down to Desert Classic and return via that trail, but when I got to the Telegraph Pass Trail I was a bit intimidated about taking it since I was solo, and thought I would find another way down to DC. Should have had a map. I rode on, and on, and on, on National. It is a great trail, with some sobering exposure and wild downhills, but the water was gone and there was no connection down to the south side of the mountain and DC.

    By the time I got down to San Juan Road my over-riding (my only) interest was finding water. Finally close to the park entrance there was a picnic area that had a water fountain and a shade producing shelter over a picnic table.

    I got rehydrated (drank about 4 quarts, and filled my two bottles), but my energy and enthusiasm had both taken a big hit. It was all I could do to ride the pavement parallel to Baseline (draining both bottles again) until I got back to 48th and could return to the trailhead.

    Before I got back on the 10, I hit a Circle K and got a 44 ounce Thirstbuster and a 32 ounce Gatorade on the way back to Tucson. Finally had to pee for the first time all day when I got back home.

    I feel pretty good now, but kind of embarrassed too. After 26 years in the desert I thought I was too savvy to be that stupid. Maybe someone else can go to school on my mistakes and not get themselves in a similar jam. It isn't even May yet, so this was mild compared to summer.

    John W.
    Body Armor--Don't Leave Home Without It!

  2. #2
    Jm.
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    At the spring fling-national ride, I made sure to ask; "do we need to bring water on this ride"???
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  3. #3
    Skinny legged XC geek
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    That's why you're only a drug store trail rider

    Actually, Telegraph is the best way back to DC. There is another route, east of Telegraph, but it makes Telegraph look easy.

    Lots to be said for riding with a buddy, especially in unfamiliar territory, eh?

    Glad you're OK.

  4. #4
    Kathleen in AZ
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    Dang! That's a long ride for only 2 H2O bottles... If you had dropped down Telegraph just past the towers to Desert Classic, you could have refilled on water at the parking area which is at the end of the paved trail that meets at the same location where Telegraph and DC meet. Too bad you didn' t have web access on a on your cell phone - you could have posted a question out the AZ MTBRers and we would have given you advice. Shoot - I work so close to SoMo that I would have come to rescue you up if need be...

  5. #5
    Steep Hill
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    John says: "Gimme a dry, salty....cracker!!!!"

    Quote Originally Posted by papajohn
    ...After 26 years in the desert I thought I was too savvy to be that stupid. Maybe someone else can go to school on my mistakes and not get themselves in a similar jam...
    I feel your pain John. Not nearly as uncomfortable as your SM experience, but....

    Last Sunday I set out to explore the northern reaches of Pima and Dynamite. Around the area of "Punk Rock" and "The Hill". On my way back to Dynamite Rd., I was diverted for the better part of an hour after trying to connect a loop ("You can insert the word 'lost' now").

    * I am alone.
    * Water is running low,
    * Temperature is rising,
    * I am 8 miles from my car,
    * There are no other riders in the area on Easter Sunday

    Now throw in a snakebite, a serious crash, a endo, a un-fixable mechanical, and I am in deep $hit.

    Two years ago there was a Phx guy in his early 20's whose grandmother reported him missing after not coming home for several days. A week later his body was finally found (with his bike) in a wash somewhere along Pima Rd.

    Have a safe summer everyone.
    Steve
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  6. #6
    MFC
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    On the bright side, congratulations for completing your first National end to end run!

  7. #7
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    Not quite end to end

    Quote Originally Posted by MFC
    On the bright side, congratulations for completing your first National end to end run!
    There's still a ways after San Juan Road and it's not quite as easy as it looks.

  8. #8
    Drugstore Trailrider
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    I see what you mean...

    Quote Originally Posted by murphy
    There's still a ways after San Juan Road and it's not quite as easy as it looks.
    I am consulting what I can find for a trail map of the South Mountain Park (if anyone can supply a link to a decent trail map of SoMo I sure would appreciate it), and I do see that National crosses San Juan Road and continues. Another time. I must admit that with my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth I was NOT in a mood to continue exploring further.

    As it was I turned south on SJR and rode about 1.5 miles before I realized that was not leading to civilization. I could see houses and buildings to the south, and almost took off bushwhacking to get to them, but instead turned around and took SJR back to the park entrance.

    Someone else's point about riding with a buddy, especially in unfamiliar territory is right on. It's just that I have gotten the impression from you Valley folks that it is FOLLY to ride SoMo on the weekend, and I don't know anybody up there who is available for weekday rides and might be interested in leading a foreigner around.

    Also, I did grasp that Telegraph Pass was a way down to DC, but I have formed another impression that it is a heinous downhill that only the stoutest riders should attempt. For what it is worth I handled almost all of the downhill on National going east to west, though I lost about 4 and 1/2 teeth off my big ring, on that section below the comm towers. How much worse is Telegraph than what I was on yesterday?

    Finally, Dirtgurl I thought of you actually. I appreciate all of your suggestions, and you point out one additional folly. My cell phone was back in my truck. I pretty much made a clean sweep for foolishness. I hope to join some of you guys up there for a better experience in the future.

    John W.
    Body Armor--Don't Leave Home Without It!

  9. #9
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    Telegraph pass has been recently sanitized. It is all quite rideable now if you relax and stay focused, although towards to the bottom there are still a couple tricky spots. If you do walk, it will only be a very short walk.

    National has stuff almost as challenging, so you should not fear Telegraph Pass.

    Also, even on weekends National Trail doesn't have many people on it after Buena Vista (the first parking lot you come to).

  10. #10
    Drugstore Trailrider
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    Thanks for the Info

    Quote Originally Posted by murphy
    Telegraph pass has been recently sanitized. It is all quite rideable now if you relax and stay focused, although towards to the bottom there are still a couple tricky spots. If you do walk, it will only be a very short walk.

    National has stuff almost as challenging, so you should not fear Telegraph Pass.

    Also, even on weekends National Trail doesn't have many people on it after Buena Vista (the first parking lot you come to).
    Re Telegraph Pass is that a good "sanitized" or one of those "wildcat, dumbing down sanitized"?

    Also, am I correct in interpreting that the paved road that ends at Buena Vista is accessed through the Park entrance at SJR, and only there? And there is a bench to the north of the BV parking lot with a trail running north from there, is that Geronimo?

    Thanks for any replies.

    John W.
    Body Armor--Don't Leave Home Without It!

  11. #11
    Saucy Size
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    Quote Originally Posted by papajohn
    Re Telegraph Pass is that a good "sanitized" or one of those "wildcat, dumbing down sanitized"?

    Also, am I correct in interpreting that the paved road that ends at Buena Vista is accessed through the Park entrance at SJR, and only there? And there is a bench to the north of the BV parking lot with a trail running north from there, is that Geronimo?

    Thanks for any replies.

    John W.
    You know, there are some good maps out there that'd help you out. :-)

    But to answer your question -- the road up to the BV lookout/lot is an offshoot of Central Avenue. The main paved road up the mountain enters at Central. If you ever need to bail, the road will take you back down to the Central entrance where there's plenty of water and food at the bar up the road a bit.

    The bench at the north end of BV is, in fact, the opening to Geronimo. Best descent on the mountain IMO.
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  12. #12
    Drugstore Trailrider
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    Paul, I was waiting for you to ask if I had your book!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    You know, there are some good maps out there that'd help you out. :-)

    But to answer your question -- the road up to the BV lookout/lot is an offshoot of Central Avenue. The main paved road up the mountain enters at Central. If you ever need to bail, the road will take you back down to the Central entrance where there's plenty of water and food at the bar up the road a bit.

    The bench at the north end of BV is, in fact, the opening to Geronimo. Best descent on the mountain IMO.
    Thanks for your reply. I wouldn't have asked without making an effort on the internet first. I have the NatGeo Topo program and it is peculiarly difficult to interpret SoMo. A google search for SoMo turns up the city park website with a pretty generic and fundamental diagram, and I hadn't been able to find anything else like the southern Arizona trail maps that SDMB has on it's site.

    You have pushed me over the edge. I will head out to find your book!

    John W.
    Body Armor--Don't Leave Home Without It!

  13. #13
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    Sad, but that bar is closing

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    If you ever need to bail, the road will take you back down to the Central entrance where there's plenty of water and food at the bar up the road a bit.
    The Stables (the bar just outside of the park entrance) is scheduled to close in about a week. There's still the soda machines at the stone houses, or the Circle K further north.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by murphy
    The Stables (the bar just outside of the park entrance) is scheduled to close in about a week. There's still the soda machines at the stone houses, or the Circle K further north.


    Say it ain't so!

    Thanks for the heads-up. I guess I'm not that surprised.

    p.
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  15. #15
    caninus xerophilous
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    The Map

    Quote Originally Posted by papajohn
    Thanks for your reply. I wouldn't have asked without making an effort on the internet first. I have the NatGeo Topo program and it is peculiarly difficult to interpret SoMo. A google search for SoMo turns up the city park website with a pretty generic and fundamental diagram, and I hadn't been able to find anything else like the southern Arizona trail maps that SDMB has on it's site.
    The Phoenix version of The Map is probably the best. Should be able to find it at Summit Hut in Tucson. Paul's book is kind of hard to find.

    Louis

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunDog
    The Phoenix version of The Map is probably the best. Should be able to find it at Summit Hut in Tucson. Paul's book is kind of hard to find.

    Louis
    Gee...thanks for the upsell, Louis. :-(

    It's the Internet...try Amazon.com. Very easy to find.

    Oh, and the big color The Map is excellent. Good coverage of SoMo.

    p.
    Last edited by Paul B; 04-16-2004 at 08:10 AM. Reason: incomplete
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  17. #17
    pedaller
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    There is also

    Los Dos Molinos a bit further up the road (north) on the west side of Central! M-M-M-M....

    Just make sure you have a sag wagon to pick you up there after a few Margaritas

    Some like it HOT!!!
    "Nobody ever told me not to try" - Curious George Soundtrack by Jack Johnson

  18. #18
    MTBR Tool
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    Gee...thanks for the upsell, Louis. :-(

    It's the Internet...try Amazon.com. Very easy to find.

    Oh, and the big color The Map is excellent. Good coverage of SoMo.

    p.

    Borders at the Biltmore has Paul's book - broke down recently and ponied up for one in preparation for an out of towner's visit. It's right next to the boot and shoemaker section.

  19. #19
    caninus xerophilous
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    Hurry up and............

    get version 2.0 out mister! Include cool color maps and full coverage of all the excellent trails you have added over the last few years.

    Then, maybe I'll buy another one.

    Louis

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