Upper 50 and Fantasy Island

Today was another day in paradise, what can I say. Tucson AZ is the place to be in the winter, no doubt about it!

After enjoying a breakfast of oatmeal and bannanas, Cribb and I drove back to 50 year trail in Oro Valley. We hooked up with the trail right where we left off yesterday, at the "chutes". Basicaly, the chutes are an extended downhill section where you ride in a real deep rut, with dirt on all sides of you, at pretty steep angles. After whooping up and down a few times, you ride out onto a ledge that looks out over all of the Catolina foothills and snakes it's way down and around into the valleys. There were all smiles on this rider, no doubt about it!

After the chutes, we tackeled the daunting boulder-faced Catolina foothills on the Upper section of 50 year trail. After a sweet, technical uphill step-up section, the boulders and drops became so frequent that we had to walk up and down a lot of sections. There was NO WAY some of this trial is rideable unless you're one of them crazy downhill dudes...but Cribb and I avoided the super tough stuff and rode the rest.

After surviving Upper 50, the best section of trail was to come--Middlegate. Full of fast, tecnical but rideable downhill switchbacks on beautiful Arizona sand and rock, this section of trail was my favorite yet so far. It was so much fun I didn't even stop to take pictures--it just wouldn't do it justice. You absolutely have to ride Middlegate if you visit Tucson. 5 star ride quality for sure.

After a quick break for lunch, Fantasy Island trail became our destination. This is the local "training" route, since it is all very rideable singletrack in a more urban setting (but it's in the midde of the desert, with 5 mountain ranges in the distance, with no road noise...these guys from Tucson are clearly spoiled). Fast and fun, with enough fast, rocky downhills to keep you on your toes, Fantasy Island proved to be all smiles yet again. I was, quite simply, eating it up.

Tommorow--yes, there is more--we ride up the daunting Mt. Lemon. At over 9,000 feet tall, it's no small peak in the Catolina mtn range. In fact, it's the tallest peak! We start at about 2,600 feet in the foothills tommorow at 9:00 am. That leaves only 6,400 feet to climb over the next 3 hours. More adventures on the way, don't get bored yet!


Steve said...

I'm jealous. It sure beats the Ma Da Hey North Dakota mud!

Hauser said...

That's enough, you better cut the trip short and come on back, your having too much fun and making us way too jealous!

Say hi to Cribb, OK, go ahead and keep having fun.


Ryan Baumann said...

I'm glad I've got the approval of the Master Clyde! Do I get punished!?

Jealousy is expected. Complying whle being jealous is prefered.

Team trip to Tucson in 07!

Sarah Lukas said...

Glad it's been awesome there- I look at your pictures and I look outside at the snowmobilers passing by and I feel it will be a long 4 months...Be safe

Cole House said...

hey i think its time to get off the mtb and do a good 3 hour 27 mile 8% grade called MT Lemmon

Ryan Baumann said...

Just did, Mr. House. Just did!

Roland said...

Awesome pictures! It looks like you are having a great time. Say hi to Cribb and have fun. See you back in snow country.