Explore Your State Vol. II : Dirt, Rivers and 9 Mile Hill

Photos and Words by Thomas Keating (shot with SHOT WITH 35MM YASHICA T5D)

Explore Your State Volume II was one of the largest rides State Bicycle Co. has had the pleasure of organizing. All of the riders met for the start of the ride at Cartel Coffee in Old Town. With the sun up and everyone itching to go it was time to take off.  

The Route:



After the ride started, everyone made their way out on Indian School Road. Worries about the distance or the looming 9 mile hill disappeared as a dog increased the pace of the ride. 

After making a turn onto the Beeline Highway, the group encountered the first steady elevation gain of the day. The ride split into a few groups just before it crested the top of the first hill of the day. Everyone then coasted into the first regroup point of the day and prepared for the dirt section that lay ahead.

On the way to the dirt, the group was treated to sprawling fields kept green by the Rio Verde. The Rio Verde stop was highly anticipated, but there was still a long dirt section that kept the group from the river.

As the group hit the river the pace decreased and everyone was cautious in order to keep the rubber side down. While not everyone managed to do so, most handled the dirt with ease.

The Rio Verde stop was the highlight of the route because it marked the halfway point and gave everyone the chance to soak their legs. Everyone enjoyed their time in the river but 9 mile hill promised to put more hurt into everyone’s legs.  

When B-Hard says selfie, you selfie.

Some of the riders decided to stay out of the water.

After the river, the group started to suffer up 9 mile hill.  As the suffering increased the group splintered into pieces and I wasn’t able to get any pictures. At the top of 9 mile, the ride was entirely downhill. Despite being downhill, a majority of the group had to suffer their way back to Cartel. Those who did make it all the way back were rewarded with a finishers patch and some were even rewarded with a beer.