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  1. #1
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    Visiting PHX, BCT Advice?

    I'm going to Phoenix in a couple of weeks for work and will be sticking around the following weekend to take advantage of some riding! From my research, it seems the Black Canyon Trail would be a pretty fun ride, though the logistics of it have me a little concerned. I'd like to shoot for riding it in a day (~80 miles). I didn't see a whole lot in the "visiting Arizona" thread on the BCT - is that indicative of anything?

    First - is this reasonable? The highs this week look to be in the low 100's and I'm guessing there is not much shade around. Coming from the Northeast (it was low 90's and humid this week), am I going to get killed by the heat? It looks like the water situation isn't too bad with some good planning, as there seem to be some stores you can link up with along the way.

    I'd like to do it as a 1-way route, as I don't think I'm going to do 160 miles in a day and I don't want to deal with the logistics/gear for camping. Does anyone run a shuttle that would either drop me off/pick me up at the end points or could shuttle me back to my rental car at the start of the trail? I can't imagine Uber does much that far out of town, but could that be an option?

    Finally - what's the rental bike situation like? I could definitely ship my bike, but would prefer to rent if I could get sufficient bike for a reasonable price (thinking mid-level hardtail). I'd like to find a weekly rental so I can ride some other trails during the week as well. Any suggestions on good shops, etc. that could help me out?

    I'm planning to call around a bit today, but would love any advice you guys have!

  2. #2
    Ahhh the pain....
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    BCT this time of year can be a little dicey given the warm weather...especially the southern sections of it. Get's pretty darn warm in the southern 35 or 40 miles. Most folks do the whole thing (N-->S) in the Nov-March timeframe when the highs are more like 70-80. Plus the fact that it's pretty remote if you had a problem.
    If you're talking about being here in the month of Sept, I'd sure point yourself north (Sedona or Flagstaff) for any sort of all day rides. Sedona will still be a bit toasty unless you get out early. I'm not an expert at rental options but I'm sure others will chime in.

  3. #3
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    ^^ This. Not a good time to try and do the whole thing, BCT is demanding and remote. There's virtually no shade so you'd be getting cooked the whole time. I personally don't ride any of it from June-Sept. While our monsoon season is winding down, there's a few wash crossings that can flash flood making them impassible. Last year in September a few buds tried to do a loop ride and got stuck at a wash on the way back that had risen dramatically. They had to wait several hours for it recede enough to cross.

    The BCT is one of my favorite rides and very unique but I second Ray's suggestion of Sedona, Prescott, or Flagstaff this time of year

  4. #4
    DFL>DNF>DNS
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    In addition to Ray's advice above, you may want to consider much shorter day rides on the BCT. For example: The new Copper Mtn. Loop up north, stage at the Big Bug TH off SR69 & ride the BCT north, then do the CML in a CCW direction back to the BCT. Something like a 15-ish mile loop. OR Stage at the Bumble Bee TH, ride the dirt road north to the top of Antelope Creek segment, then hop on the BCT back to your car. OR stage at the Rock Springs TH (aka Black Canyon City TH) and ride the popular Little Pan Loop by taking the BCT south, ride the loop portion in the CCW direction. About 24 miles total & 4 potential water crossings. Do this one early in the a.m. to avoid the heat!! Use the Trailforks app for any areas suggested.

    Maybe post up again right before you arrive and someone may join you.
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  5. #5
    Meatbomb
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    Quote Originally Posted by schillingsworth View Post
    OR Stage at the Bumble Bee TH, ride the dirt road north to the top of Antelope Creek segment, then hop on the BCT back to your car.

    .
    How far would that loop be?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    How far would that loop be?
    ~ 28 miles. I ride the trail up to the cattle tank at the bottom of Antelope Creek then hop on the road there to climb up. Otherwise get dusted out by all the side by sides and vehicle traffic on road. Another shorter option is to drive in a bit and start at the end of Hidden Treasure segment, that's about a 21.5 mile loop

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    How far would that loop be?
    Depends on where you start. I started down by the bridge near Bumble Bee and followed the track schillingsworth mentioned. It was about 20 miles:

    https://www.strava.com/activities/440482818

    It's a fantastic ride. The road can get a little busy on the weekends but many drivers were pretty good about slowing down.

    I believe there is a more formal trailhead a little closer to I-17. This would likely add another 5 - 10 miles on the ride with a little climb at the end.

  8. #8
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    I live a few miles from the southern end of BCT. I ride there in summer, but only at dawn before it gets hot. I am also acclimated to heat. However I would not consider a full length BCT till November. Basically day time desert high temps should be under 90F to have it fun experience. It can be done in 1 day, but it is a long day and you will be in the hottest part of the ride in the hottest time of the day.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the tips guys - probably a bit more than I need to get into for September.


    At this point I'm thinking of getting a place in Flagstaff for the weekend. Any suggestions for similarly "epic" style rides up there?

  10. #10
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    I did a 61 mile 8000 ft, 8hr ride up there with may be 1 mile of repeated trails. I could have gotten more, but ran out of water and gas. Lots of trails in flag.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  11. #11
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    Prescott Circle Trail. 56 miles and more than 8k feet of climbing. Scenic XC style single track for the most part with a few sections of modest tech. It will be warm, but if you start at Sundog Tr. you can be under shady pines during the heat of the day. Not remote so easy to pull off. Bikesmith and Ironclad have rentals. Soul Cycle, too, I think. Check out Trailforks for details on the ride.
    Veni vidi velo!

  12. #12
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    It's a dry heat.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  13. #13
    Ahhh the pain....
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    So many great all day ride options in Flag. One of the more quintessential loops is the ATM (Around the Mtn)....about 45 miles depending on where you start. It's a combo of singletrack and forest roads. If you're looking for even more, adding onto it a loop south of Flag can easily push the ride over 80 miles.
    If you're looking for lots of climbing, tons of great trails on Elden that will fry your legs going up and be a hoot going down.
    All the stuff is rideable from wherever you're staying in Flag.

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