Adventure Biking in Flagstaff with the Boys

Words by Cheman Cuan
Photography by Cheman Cuan and B-Hard

On a Monday.....my day started with a very early alarm blaring in my ear. Groggy eyed but still awake because of a good amount of stoke for things to come, I quickly glared at my phone making sure to post in our group message to see when everyone would be arriving at my house. B-hard was first to reply and he was very obviously pooping and looking at his phone at the same time (as he explained over Facebook messenger). He arrived shortly after and was greeted by my two puppies, eager to help him finish his Sausage McMuffin.   

Photo via Checuan

Tyler Rice, Alex Steezeman, and Bryan Sawgerty came over shortly after. We loaded our bikes up and off we went to Flagstaff, Arizona to hit up some “riding that is a straight up DHrun. It’s incredible. It’s a straight up Pinkbike video trail”. That’s what Tyler texted me prefacing the ride – gotta love that guy's stoke for anything and everything bikes. 

Photo via B-Hard

Two hours of driving later, we finally arrived in the town of Flagstaff! We met up at a local coffee shop and indulged in some great coffee, and of course used their “facilities” (if you know what I mean). The local barista in Macy’s Coffee Shop fan-girled so hard after she recognized B-hard and Steezeman as SBC riders. Amped on getting riding, we loaded up and made our way to the trailhead. 

We had all planned on going “Casual Kit” for this ride and I forgot my damn cuttoffs. If you know me personally, it’s unlike me to forget anything on a ride (especially cuttoffs). After several minutes of stressing, Steezeman told me to just cut my pants at the trailhead. Whatever. Had to do something so I asked B-hard to borrow his knife in order to make my pants into shorts. All the guys really got a kick out of this. It probably looked extra ridiculous since I refused to take my pants off to cut them. Simultaneously, while I was fixing my pants, Tyler was having some trouble with his valve on his tubeless tyre. Steezeman quickly worked his wizard magic on Tyler’s bike and resolved the issue with a simple washer. Wish my pants situation was that easy!

Photo via B-Hard

Okay FINALLY we were rolling onto the trail and up the mountain. Steezeman is the trail boss and he had a pretty good understanding of where to go (or at least I put faith in thinking he did). Most rides with Steeze usually result in a bit of hike-a-bike but that’s what makes a ride an adventure anyways. Not to mention he is always down to stop for a photo or two.

Photo via Checuan

Moseying around the lower trails, we finally began our way up. Man, was that a climb. Navigating a steep ascent, loose rocks and roots was made especially difficult thanks to the thin air of Flagstaff’s 7000′ of elevation (or maybe I’m just out of shape). Climbing turned into hiking and we were eventually spit out onto a fire road.

Photo via Checuan

Deciding to take the fire road up the mountain meant less hike-a-bike and possibly an easier way up. I rode back with B-hard as we both had completed the 90 mile #exploreyourstate ride the day before. So much for a recovery day. We held up the caboose as our friends rode at their own pace. Slow spinning up a mountain gave us plenty of time to bullshit and of course stop for photos. B-hard was killing it on his hefty fat-bike all day!

Photo via Checuan

We would climb for awhile, stop and take pictures and then climb more and more and more. Eventually we reached the summit of Mount Elden. There was a fire watch lookout and we could see for miles around in all directions. We all quickly reached for our cold weather gear as it was windy at the summit. 

Photo via B-Hard

Lots of pictures later, we finally began the descent back down the mountain. Tyler began leading us, followed by Bryan on his ridged Single Speed, then myself, followed by Steezman and B-hard pulling up the rear. Tyler was bombing the trail on his Trek XC bike – line choosing is key to mountain biking and he was on point. I was on Bryan’s wheel for the start of the decent but was quickly finding myself approaching him on a lot of the technical parts. Can’t blame the guy for being on a fully ridged bike. Made it past Bryan and eventually found myself following Tyler’s wheel. Tyler and I have similar bikes so it was fun to push each other on the technical stuff. 

 

Photo via Checuan

Down the mountain, we banked turns, ripping rock gardens, and really pushing the limits of traction (sorry mom ,if you’re reading this). This trail was one of the best flowing trails I’ve ridden. Eventually we found ourselves near the trail head and consequently right by this massive jump. Bhard was committed to huck it. Warming up with more and more speed, he eventually sent his massive thick-girl of a mountain bike flying!

Packing up, we then headed to the local brewery where we refueled and drank for the rest of the day. Our server thought it was funny that we were all on our phones but we were just still riding the stoke of that ride while we shared our pics. The day was concluded with some coffee at a local cafe and a short jaunt around downtown flagstaff. We then piled in our cars and jammed back to the valley. 

#ExploreYourState


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