Seven runs on a wet Sunrise Saturday.-
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  1. #1
    caninus xerophilous
    Reputation: SunDog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Seven runs on a wet Sunrise Saturday.

    Punches Doggies and I finally made it up to Sunrise this past Saturday for some lift assisted gravity riding along with some fellow “Merry Freeriding Men”, a group of desert dwelling Tucsonans visiting the highlands in search of MTB adventure and mayhem. Overall we made seven runs and most assuredly found what we sought

    The weather was fabulous with heavy rain laden clouds circling the peak and darkening the skies, dropping an occasional squall of rain or ice pellets. When we purchased our lift passes we were informed due to the threatening clouds and gusting winds that the lift could be shut down at any time. We saddled up and quickly made for the lift and rode each run as though it were the last, riding pell-mell in a four man mountain cross downhill peloton.

    The trails were well designed and offered a variety of challenges and a healthy dose of speed. There were chutes, drops, roots, crazy critters, jumps, ladders, steeps, and berms along with some healthy monsoon crafted ruts to add to the challenges. The trails types varied from high-speed wide-open roads and velo schlussing slopes to classic tight and technical forested single track.

    I think the trails at Sunrise are suitable for intermediate to very advanced riding and utilize the existing terrain to maximum advantage, which is a testament to the thought and skill that went into their design and management. There were a variety of riders representing the full spectrum of MTB’ers that were enjoying the quality trails, with no need for medical evacuation. It seems to me that the designers/custodians of the trail network there have their hands on the pulse of the Arizona MTB’ing population versus the IMBA types who seem to want to make bridle paths out of some of the finest existing technical single track MTB trails in the United States.

    We were blessed with the wet weather, which was enough to give a taste of the “Shore” to we lowly desiccated desert dwellers. Yes the rocks and roots were wet, slick, and sick and the ground a confidence inspiring tacky texture. We fared well and had much fun in unfamiliar wet roots and rocks and were only daunted by the wooden bridge in the Chutes & Ladders, as it was treacherously slick and the penalty for failure upon the boulders below was too high to try. The moisture slickened steel pipes on one of the main trails was another thing, taking all of us down at least once for failing to loft the front wheel or taking a bad angle.

    The high speeds brought on by bravado, steepness, and gravity was the biggest challenge for me, but by the third run I was letting it fly wide open, perhaps inspired by my riding buddies and the fearless youngsters bombing down on BMX bikes.

    We gave the “Poop Chute” and that gnarly bit of rock infested steepness below the lift near the end of the runs some valiant assaults. No one cleaned them and there was much tumbling of bodies and bikes for the noble efforts. One dauntless attempt down the gnarly rocky steepness by our fearless leader, Dave the Brave, was rewarded with some cheers from some fellow MTB lift monkeys on a passing lift chair who had a bird’s eye view of the carnage.

    My biggest spill came when I was jockeying for position in our downhill peloton as we were leaving the lift area up top. I took a high inside line and hit a deep rut, which sent me ballistically OTB to the laughter of my riding buddies. Though I hit hard I came away trauma free, however my front mechanical disc brake was inoperative for the ensuing run down the Chutes and Ladders. I did managed to make it safely through with some Flintstone braking technique and sound judgment.

    One thing about a full day of downhilling, you don’t realize the effort until you roll out of bed a bit stiff in the triceps and quads the next morning. It’s definitely a work out!

    Though it was surely a full day of E-ticket riding, I still prefer good old fashion trail riding on gems like Green Mountain/Milagrosa, National/Geronimo, Squaw Springs/Six Shooters, and the like. Something about these trails that the trails on Sunrise lacked, perhaps continuity or solitude. I will be back to Sunrise for sure, but the lift assisted downhill trails at Sunrise do not beckon me like a siren such as the Onion Saddle/Ida Peak trail in the Chiricahauas.

    Many thanks to the folks from the Slippery Pig and the Apache Nation for bringing such fine trails to Arizona where it seems there is a conspiracy to dumb down nearly every trail to the lowest common denominator. Also don’t forget to tip the lift wranglers and try some of the “Burrito Lady’s” fabulous fatties with “the works” while you’re up there.

    Who needs that casino when there is much chance and excitement upon the slopes.

    Last edited by SunDog; 09-07-2004 at 06:52 PM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    If a picture is worth 1k words, here's 5k...

    Yep, Sunrise if fun alright....but I MUCH prefer the dry conditions to wet....
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Great pics of Sunrise. I love that place!

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