Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mountain Bike News with Rama Jon - Josh 2

Mountain Bike News
with Rama Jon 12/99


Miracles happen and even in Sedona where we expect miracles to happen, when they do happen it is way special. Combined with the Holiday spirit, this miracle is what stories are made of. Last week Josh Smith returned home after nearly four months in the hospital recovering from a serious mountain bike neck injury. Josh was determined to walk out of neuro rehab, and as we watched his progress, no one but Josh himself and perhaps his mom and dad believed he would accomplish this goal.

Well, surpise, surprise, Josh has accomplished his goal. Several days after returning home, Josh walked into the bike shop on his own power. Sure, he’s walking a little slow compared to his old self, but he is walking, and that feat alone will make this Holiday season one that will always be remembered as special.

Josh’s road to recovery has not been a bowl of cherries. His ups and downs have made all of us wonder whether he would walk again. Perseverance, a little luck and a lot of prayer by Josh, his family and his friends have brought Josh back to us. Presently, his playful nature has been replaced by a philosophical seriousness that will be called upon in the next steps of his healing.

For all the trials and tribulations, Josh’s spirit is way strong and it is clear that being home will excelerate his recovery. Of course, the first thing we did for Josh when he got home was to set up a bicycle on a wind trainer so that he could have an adjunct to his physical therapy routine. It did my heart good to know that Josh is back on a bike again. At this point, getting some meat back on Josh’s bones is of top priority. After nearly four months on IV and then on cafeteria style hospital food, Josh’s taste buds are ready for a workout again.

As we reflect back on the year and the last decade of the millenium, Josh’s accident certainly is an event that has changed us all. A once carefree attitude has been replaced by a masked cautiousness. With any luck, the next millenium will be an injury free one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mountain Bike News with Rama Jon - Josh 1

Mountain Bike News
with Rama Jon 9/99


Mountain biking is a dangerous game and accidents do happen. Sometimes these accidents can be quite tragic. Several weeks ago, four Sedona mountain bikers headed to Page for a road trip. As the first ride began, Joshua Smith, an expert mountain biker, was dealt a hand of fate that has landed him in critical care. Through a miscalculation, Josh took a header into slick rock and was knocked unconscious. Fortunately, his friends were near and his breathing was restored almost instantly. Through the use of technology, in this case a cellular phone and a GPS unit, we were able to contact Page Search and Rescue, and Josh was airlifted out within 30 minutes of the accident from the middle of nowhere.

Josh’s blow to the head caused a great deal of trauma in his neck and currently Josh has been in a struggle for recovery. His friends and family have shown tremendous support, and this combined with Josh’s spirit and drive is helping him make huge strides. It’s shocking to see your friend in the hospital, much more so in critical care. It makes the simple things in life so much more important, like breathing on your own. A lesser man might give up, but Josh is not like that. The changes his friends have seen from the first night to the present are so remarkable, that there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Josh will be back riding his mountain bike before too long.

Josh’s road to recovery has already taken him through some of the biggest battles of his life. He has come through in shining colors and seems to make progress on a daily basis. As Josh recovers, the rest of us mountain bikers have to deal with continuing our sport knowing how easy it is to get hurt. There probably aren’t too many mountain bikers out there who don’t have some injury story or lingering pain. These injuries all seem so insignificant compared to critical care, but just like all of us, I’m sure Josh can’t wait to get back on his mountain bike. Josh, we’re waiting for you, and it just won’t be the same until your back out riding with us again.

Josh’s accident was a freak occurrence, but in mountain biking freak accidents can occur in the parking lot just as easily as on the trail. I find it’s best to start off on rides at an easy pace simply to get the feel for the terrain and to see how in tune you are today. This is especially true if you are on a road trip and have been cooped up in a car for any length of time. It’s normal to be amped in this situation, and it may require self control to be sure you're all warmed up before you get radical on the trail. And then, there are the mountain bikers like Josh, who seem to thrive on those moments of death defying situations. As one noted mountain bike daredevil says, "Cautiously dangerous out on the trail."

Josh, keep up the good work. Our prayers are with you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Volcano Boyz

Hard Time and Tim are two crazy MTB Boyz. They like to do one thing on their MTB's, ride sick, steep, out of control lines anywhere they can find 'em. On this particular adventure they found themselves on the Volcano fields outside Flagstaff, AZ. This place is a free for all... You got dune buggy's, motocrossers, sand rails, and now mountain bikes. The motorized locals thought these boyz were Crazy, hiking their bikes up these cinder cones... "What's an hour up for these kind of downhills anyway!" sayz HT.

The boyz may have inhaled a little too much Carbon Monoxide this day from all those stinkers... Being a little confused they ended up hiking the wrong cone, a national monument or something, and got some big fines... $600 smackers. Well now they know the boundaries.

When asked what's next, the boyz replied, "Well, we're working on the permits for Everest. We figure the downhill is long enough to justify the climb..."

You heard it here.. we'll keep you updated...

Friday, April 6, 2007

Panguitch: Southern Utah's Brian Head

The Incredible Singetrack of Utah's Brian Head begs a question: Why go all the way to Moab, anyway?

by David Hard - Bike Magazine, July 1997

Aside from superb terrain, gobsmacking views, and a meticulously presented trail system, biking at Brian Head, Utah, offers some great gloating opportunities. Pull off Exit 75 just three hours north of Las Vegas on Interstate 15, and before embarking on the short drive to the resort of Brian Head, look back at the highway. Without a doubt, you'll see California- and Nevada-plated sport utes topped with bikes heading north, bound for Moab. It's hard not to laugh at these unsuspecting pilgrims. Bound for Mecca, they’re missing a miracle right under their nose, a miracle called 100 miles of convenient, easily accessible, nearly unspoiled singletrack.

In a way, Brian Head is to mountain bike resorts what Vail is to ski areas. Though neither may be the absolute last word in extreme terrain, both provide more trails for more athletes of more abilities than their competitors. In Brian Head's case, the variety can be traced to a blessed location. Situated at 9,900 feet in elevation on the edge of Utah's vast Markagunt Plateau, Brian Head can offer gently rolling terrain in one direction, steep canyon plunges in the other.

For experts, the two premier rides are the cool-sounding Dark Hollow and the cumbersome sounding Left Fork of Bunker Creek. Starting at a ridge just below 11,307-foot Brian Head Peak, the two trails were coated with a frosting of September snow during last year's Fall Colors Festival. Sticking more to the plateau, the Left Fork ride descends gently into lush high alpine meadows that gradually give way to pine forests. But before the woods swallow up the sunlight, the trail meanders along the plateau's edge, offering spectacular views. As you follow the fall-line alongside Bunker Creek, aspen groves surround you as the singletrack narrows. The riding then becomes more technical, but not confidence sapping. Roots and waterbars occur frequently, but it's still easy to keep a rhythm going until you cross Blue Spring Creek and reach Hwy. 143 after 12 miles. From there, you can ride mostly uphill back to the town of Brian Head or coast to the scenic village of Panguitch Lake and await a shuttle pickup.

Though shorter on singletrack, Dark Hollow is a more demanding ride. Dropping off Brian Head Peak, the trail traverses a slope heavy with fir trees. Soil as dark and moist as the B & M canned brown bread favored by '70's campers provides superlative traction for tight hairpin turns until the trail levels out at Cub Lake Meadow. Entering the Paradise Springs drainage, you become fully engulfed by your third ecosystem (after alpine and subalpine) of the ride. This particular realm is called the Canadian system, presumably because you'll feel like a beleaguered hockey goalie after biffing over the abundant roots. Turning onto Second Left Hand Canyon Road, you descend a jeep route past red rock formations so fantastic they look like God got bored at dinner and started playing with candle wax. After several stream crossings, you hit Hwy. 143 and can either climb the steep pavement back to Brian Head or descend to the town of Parowan for a shuttle pickup. If you take the latter option, your vertical drop will be nearly 5,280 feet - in other words, a mile-high vertical drop in 13 miles of sweet riding.

Despite the incredible scenery of those rides, Brian Head's most stunning attraction is nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument, a three-mile-wide, 2,500 foot deep natural amphitheater full of spectacularly colored pinnacles, ridges, and towers. Luckily, you can check it out from the Blowhard Mountain Trail. Beginning from a trallhead 10 miles southwest of Brian Head, the path clings close to some daunting cliff edges as it passes through bristlecone pines and the carved ramparts of Cedar Breaks.

All the best routes are meticulously described and mapped in the free Brian Head Mountain Bike Guide available throughout town. The guide lists 18 rides of varying degrees of difficulty. In addition, many of the listed routes can be abbreviated or lengthened by taking shortcuts or scenic loops. As if all these options weren't enough, there's also a six-mile system of dirt paths called the Brian Head Town Trails. Linking town offices, Brian Head Resort, and most of the businesses, these trails enable bikers a quiet way to get around the area without a car.

Be aware that at this altitude, prime riding season takes place between June and late September. For a fun orientation to Brian Head, check out its two fat tire festivals: The Brian Head Bash in early August, or the bratwurst and beer bonanza of Fall Colors/Oktoberfest, which takes place the third weekend of September. Call Brian Head Resort at (435) 586-2478 or (435) 677-2035 for more details. A variety of ski lift and shuttle packages are available from the resort as well. Bike Shop: Mountain Bike Heaven (928) 282-1312. The best coffee is nearby in Panguitch at Buffalo Java. For lodging, try the convenient, comfortable Brian Head Hotel (435) 677-1016, or reserve a condo through Brian Head Condo Reservations (800) 845-9781.

For a remote little mountain town, Brian Head also offers some amazing culture. Wayne Newton is just three hours away in Vegas, and nearby Cedar City showcases the renowned Utah Shakespearean Festival every summer. Call (435) 586-7880 for tickets, show-times, and information on shuttles from Brian Head. Just be aware that in this part of Utah, "To be or not to be?" is not the question - it's "Why the hell would anyone drive another six hours just to go to Moab, anyway?"

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Mountain Biking Panguitch, Southern Utah!

Panguitch is the heart of Southern Utah's most scenic mountain biking. From intense single track to picturesque mountain touring, Panguitch is minutes from Bryce Canyon, Red Canyon, Brian Head, Panguitch Lake, Zion, and is only four hours from Vegas, Boulder City, Salt Lake City, Moab, and Sedona, AZ.

Red Canyon - The Trails:

Casto Canyon Trail - Fat Track baby! Gentle, loving 5 mile climb straight up to Casto Springs. Pass through Red Rocks and HooDoos whose beauty is only rivaled by Bryce Canyon, the red sand sculpture oasis. Losse Canyon - 3 mile gentle single track climb. Stunning Red Rock Scenery. This one's good for the whole family.

Cassidy Trail - Connects Casto Canyon to Losse Canyon and extends into Red Canyon State Park off Hwy. 12. This trail is 16 miles of intense climbing and descending. It has its technical moments. Intermediate to advanced riders will have fun. Ride through Pine country and Red Rock HooDoos. You get it all on this one. This is one exciting trail!

Thunder Mountain Trail - Starts north of Red Canyon State Park. It’s an up and down trail across the top of Plateau. Fast, fat track switchback descent to the entrance of Red Canyon State Park. This is the one you’ll be telling everyone back home about!

Chimney Trail - Starts at the King Creek campground at Tropic Reservoir. A 2 mile fat track climb primer, then tight, steep, exposed switchback descent around Red Rock arches, chimneys and other Mars-like formations (sounds like some place else we know? Starts with an S...). This trail is for the Gnarly only.

More about Panguitch:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007



Roable Johnson, above, follows an old road along the East Rim of the Grand Canyon to Cape Solitude, where Shannon Hurley, below, enjoys lunch and a rest. Cape Solitude, a wilderness area, looks down on the confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers and is off-limits to bikes, as this group learned from park rangers when it returned from its ride Saturday. A warning was issued.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Cyclists Bag Fame for Illegal Ride

by Karyn Riedell - Sedona Red Rock News 9/20/96

A group of local mountain bikers, dubbed the "Sedona 5," pedaled their way to national recognition last November when they rode their bikes into Grand Canyon National Park territory which is strictly off-limits to mountain bikers.

Their feat - and subsequent arrest - has hit the pages of national biking magazines and fired up dialogue on the Internet.

Thousands of e-mail messages sent to the group's web site express support for the group, viewing them as folk heroes of a grassroots movement seeking trail access for mountain bikers. At the same time, critics revile them for promoting a bad-boy image of mountain bikers.

On November 19, the group decided to take advantage of the five-day shutdown of the park and go for a spin on the North Kaibab trail-head, located on the Grand Canyon's North Rim.

However, they were never able to complete their ride. Fourteen miles into it, they were intercepted by park ranger Sandie Hand, who took them to Phantom Ranch to be interviewed and frisked.

THEIR RIDE out of the Grand Canyon was quite different from their ride in six hours earlier. They left in leg shackles and handcuffs aboard a National Park Service helicopter. Accompanying them were two rangers with automatic weapons and bullet-proof vests.

The five bikers - Rama (Jon Cogan), Long Tall (John Panetta), Wheeze (Mitch Obele), Forest (Forest Michaels) and "Dangerous Dave" Hart - were taken to the National Park Service holding facility.

Ten days later, they were found guilty in the U.S. Magistrate Court of violating a national park closure and bicycling in a prohibited area. Each was fined $244 for the helicopter ride and $250 for violating the closure and riding in a prohibited area.

Although the $250 was suspended, the riders were forced to turn over their bikes to the court.

"This is the most notorious thing in the world of mountain biking," said Cogan, group member and owner of the Mountain Bike Heaven shop in Sedona.

Since the November ride, admirers have praised the group for committing a daring act of civil disobedience, while detractors have condemned them for damaging the reputations of mountain bikers everywhere.

ONE SUPPORTER, writing on the Internet from Canada, praised the group's act as "a revolution of sorts," saying that "working with the system isn't going to work in this case."

"I am all for what you guys are doing," wrote another supporter from Arizona State University.
"We cannot let the developers and the 'forest circus' (U.S. Forest Service), along with ranchers and miners, the Sierra Club, and numerous overly conservative horse loving conservation groups crowd us off the land that we pay to maintain. As a climber I have seen it already happen," he continued.

This e-mail is one of more than two-thousand sent to the Sedona 5 web site address. Most of these - about 75 percent - express support, according to Cogan.

Some of those sending e-mail messages indicate that they plan to boycott Sedona if mountain-bike access will be limited.

"I am going to Sedona this winter with my family. I am very concerned that mountain-bike access to trails might be curtailed. If this takes place, we may reconsider our winter vacation plans. I speak for a family of four," wrote David Yu Greenblat, of Rutgers University in New Jersey.

BRUCE BOIKESS, a resident of High-land Park, N.J., even seemed to think that Sedona would be closing trails to mountain bikers. "I am a mountain biker. Sedona is famous for having beautiful riding areas. I was planning to go there in the future. Now I hear trails may be closed," he wrote.

Some mountain bikers fear that the Sedona 5 are damaging their reputation. Daniel Paduchowski, manager of Sedona Bike and Bean, said he is afraid that confrontations with other groups, such as hikers and equestrians, will escalate and that even more trails will be closed to mountain bikers!

About 80 to 90 percent of trails in the Sedona area are now designated as wilderness and are thus closed to mountain bikers.

Paduchowski regards the group's Grand Canyon ride with disdain. "They're not the first people to ride the Grand Canyon. They're just the first ones to get caught. They probably think it's cool that they get written about as bad boys, dope smokers and renegades," he said.

EVEN ONE of the Sedona 5 has since abandoned his fellow bikers. Obele said that he is no longer a member and regrets his participation in the group. "I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not a member of the Sedona 5 organization, and I do not support their policies or share their opinions. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, I do not support the use of controlled substances," Obele wrote in a letter to the Sedona Red Rock NEWS.

Another critic is Jennifer Burns, landscape architect and planner for the Sedona Ranger District.
"We're concerned about the Sedona 5 giving mountain bikers a bad name," Burns said, adding that Sedona 5 members have not attended U.S. Forest Service meetings or contributed to discussions.

"These guys have not really worked with us. If there is something we can do to meet their needs, then we'd like to talk to them. But I don't know what motivates them," she continued.

BURNS SAID that the U.S. Forest Service is considering opening up more trails for mountain bikers and developing more trail connections, such as one between Midgley Bridge and Schnebly Hill.

For his part, Cogan said that he will continue his efforts to increase trail access for mountain bikers by seeking grass-roots support.

One of the things Cogan wants to see changed is the 1964 U.S. Wilderness Act. "The Sierra Club was instrumental in keeping mountain bikes out of the wilderness. They weren't nearly as successful at keeping out ranchers and miners," Cogan said.

The Wilderness Act restricts all mechanical vehicles, including bicycles, from entering wilderness areas. "We're not saying we're better than cows. We just want equal rights. I have nothing against a wilderness act that would keep out cows, horses, mining equipment and rugged hiking shoes," Cogan said.

"Anyway, much of the area around Sedona is not really a wilderness - as defined in the Wilderness Act - so the trails should not be off-limits to bikers," Cogan said.

But Cogan said he has gained hope from the movement that he helped launch. "The political stuff is new and alive. It shows hope that maybe the people can impact something," he said.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Cosmic Energy - Part Four: Simon's Bike (and almost Simon) Go Over The Cliff

Channel Some New Age Singletrack with Rama and Stickums in Sedona, Arizona
by Dave Rich, Bike Magazine - April 1995

On Saturday morning we met Rama, Wheelie (Rama's shop mechanic nicknamed for his crazy stunt riding and his ability to true a wheel), and Simon for breakfast in Jerome, a former mining camp considered the oldest town in Arizona. Built on the side of a mountain, the town's roads are so steep they make the streets of San Francisco seem Iowa-flat, Some of the buildings are actually starting to spread downhill like slow-melting pats of butter.

Simon is known locally as "Stickums" because he went over the bars, landed on a prickly pear cactus, and was stuck with 300 needles. "I have nine lives," he told us between mouthfuls of pancake, "or at least I used to. I'm down to four now. The closest I came was racing motorcycles. I crashed going about 140 and hit a concrete barrier. The announcer said there was no way I could have survived."

From breakfast, it was a short hop to the top of Mingus Mountain where Rama, Stickums, and Wheelie began gearing up. Even though it was a warm day, they were all wearing tights, long sleeves, and gloves. "The brush overgrows the trail in some spots," Rama warned. Burn and I followed their lead. Doug thought he knew better.

Mingus Mountain is the toughest ride I have ever done. It took us five hours to cover 12 downhill miles. The first section is the Coleman Trail, a two-mile trials course of sharp rocks, agave, and steep, pinched switchbacks. If I had been alone, I would have said it was unrideable and turned back, but the Sedonans showed us otherwise."The trick is to go a little faster than seems safe and keep pedaling," Simon advised.

From the trials course, we hooked onto the Black Canyon Trail, which presented a new set of technical challenges, mostly organic. The trail was less rocky, but you had to pedal through stiff, sharp brush instead. The way was a jungle of scrub oak and cat's claw, with the occasional prickly pear land mine popping up and jabbing a quill in your sidewall. Within a mile, Doug's uncovered legs and arms were swelling and scribbled with long red hemorrhoidal scratches.

After three miles of brush torture, the bushes finally pulled back and gave way to fun, challenging trail, contouring the hillside, in and out of little valleys. Rounding yet another bend, I nearly rode into Rama, standing in the trail. He was looking at Wheelie, who was lying across the trail holding onto Simon, who was hanging by a tree limb over the edge of a 75 foot cliff...down to three lives.

"Get me up, man!" he was screaming at Wheelie. Just like on TV, I ran over, braced myself against a rock and held Wheelie's free arm, while he tried to pull Simon up without going over himself. Simon finally gained a foothold and we hoisted him back onto the trail. Simon explained that he had ridden the section a hundred times, but had been dicing with Wheelie, ate it, and went over the wrong way.

"I thought I was a goner for sure, man," he said, peering over the edge at his bike, lying unconscious on the rocks below. "I grabbed for the tree as I fell and by luck got hold of it. I was just worried the roots wouldn't hold." After a 20-minute downclimb, Wheelie and Rama managed to reach Simon's bike. Amazingly, the only injury was a taco'd front wheel, which Wheelie, living up to his name, fixed in a flash, and Simon was able to finish the ride.

The scariest part of the Mingus Mountain ride is that Rama says it's relatively tame compared to some other rides in the area. The trail rating "gonzo-abusive" was coined up north in Moab, but it belongs in Sedona. And the town and the locals are just as far out there as the riding. Rama said it all while we were discussing alien visitations during a rest stop on Mingus Mountain: "I wouldn't mind being abducted... as long as I could bring my mountain bike."

Cosmic Energy - Part Three: Mountain Biking To Higher Consciousness

Channel Some New Age Singletrack with Rama and Stickums in Sedona, Arizona
by Dave Rich, Bike Magazine - April 1995

After prying Burn away, we had lunch at the New Frontiers Natural Grocery Doug. recommends the Vortex Veggie Sandwich and the Astral Traveler Smoothie, while I opted for the Harmonic Convergence Veggie Burger and the Crystal Quencher. Conveniently located down the block is Mountain Bike Heaven. We were greeted at the door by Rama, who talks in a slow, stoney way, like Chong in "Up in Smoke" when he says to Cheech, "You just ate the most acid I've ever seen."

Above the door was a picture of Bagwan Shree Rashneesh, one of Rama's early spiritual teachers, flanked by posters of mountain bike gurus John Tomac and Travis Brown. Rama envisions his shop as a sort of fifth vortex. "I try and promote higher consciousness through mountain biking. It teaches lessons, principles of movement, and balance and coordination, much more than other sports.

The shop is the focal point for local riders who gather for short rides after work and weekend epics. As we rode out of the parking lot, a baker's dozen of riders moved in a pace line up over the pavement to Secret Trail, which is actually well known and appears in area guidebooks. Like most of the rides in the area, the Secret Trail is a riotous mix of Third World-class roads and singletrack.

We climbed a dirt road for a half hour until were stopped by a sinkhole wide and deep enough to swallow a mobile home. A pink jeep driver standing across the gap yelled, "Look out for the hole," much to the amusement of his passengers in the back seat. From the hole, a typically gnarly, rocky singletrack took off, snaking through a wall of scrub oak, which is essentially a tall, dry shrub. The trail careened downhill, with switchbacks and three- and four-foot drop-offs every 100 yards. As we descended, the path became smoother and faster until it became just a procession of banked turns and whoop-de-doos that led us back to the pavement just in time for sunset.

Cosmic Energy - Part Two: We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

Channel Some New Age Singletrack with Rama and Stickums in Sedona, Arizona
by Dave Rich, Bike Magazine - April 1995


On the first morning, Golden Brainard, a Specialized team member from Flagstaff who logs winter miles in perpetually snowless Sedona, took us to Broken Arrow, about six miles from town. On weekends the area can be crowded with pink jeeps that a tour company uses as a gimmick, but we only passed four on a Friday morning.

Following broken, shelf-rock roads, we climbed onto Submarine Rock, a slickrock formation in the shape of what else?-a submarine. Like clouds, Sedona rock formations are named, including Coffee Pot Rock, revered by local riders; Snoopy Rock, which looks like Snoopy in repose on the roof of his dog house; and, I'm not making this up, Blow job Rock, which is an unlikely, horizontal rock shaft sticking out of a butte and almost into another rock's mouth-like opening. A local Puritan wanted to blow it up because he thought it obscene.

Off the back of Submarine Rock a singletrack leads to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a church built into the rock that is highly overrated as an attraction and looks like two vertical slabs of sidewalk sticking out of the sandstone. The trail is a good intro to the area's flora. Every 100 feet, Golden would yell back, identifying plants hazardous to bike and biker alike. The plants are ubiquitous to every ride: prickly pear cactus, wide, flat cacti the thickness of a T-bone with poison tipped spines; cat's claw, with grabbing, scratching branches: and agave, a member of the aloe family used to make tequila. The agave consists of a cluster of short, leathery leaves with needle sharp points that are as hard on your tires as the agave tequila is on your stomach.

When we got back to the car, a guy practicing yoga in Richard Simmons-length shorts approached Burney and me. Rather than the boring "Hi," he came right up and asked when we were born. Actually, he didn't seem to care when I was born. "You were born under the sign of the rooster," he told Burn and quickly followed with, "Do you have a boyfriend?" When she pointed to me, he looked surprised to see me standing there in front of him. "He was born in '68? He's a dog," he looked back at Burney. "You're not right for each other. I'm part Navajo," he said like he was bragging, even though he looked as pale as my legs in February. While I mounted the bikes on the roof, Steve Running Shorts, or whatever he claimed his name to be, tried to talk her into coming over to his van to look at his Rainbow Family Photo Album.

Cosmic Energy - Part One: We See A UFO

Channel Some New Age Singletrack with Rama and Stickums in Sedona, Arizona
by Dave Rich, Bike Magazine - April 1995

At first glance, the UFO looked like a flaming green and white ball shot from a Roman candle. And it could have been.

Just then, we were driving past a high school in the middle of the Res, which is what everyone in the Four Corners area calls the Reservation, the very barren and somewhat eerie 200-mile stretch of slickrock and barbed wire in Arizona that's home to the Navajo and Hopi nations. But the object flew across the horizon in a straight line, neither arcing nor diving, and simply vanished when it struck the Earth's atmosphere. The three of us in the car, Doug, Burney, and I, still can't agree on whether it was a ship or a meteor.

Seeing the UFO was strange, but not as strange as the reaction of the people in Sedona, Arizona, where we were headed at the time. Expecting rolled eyes and doubt, we were met with "Yeah, you should have seen the Mother Ship that landed here last week." and "The energies in Sedona are open for all sorts of spiritual and alien contact.

"As mountain bikers have Moab, New Age crystal fondlers have Sedona. Rama, the owner of Sedona's lone bike shop, Mountain Bike Heaven, says seekers and healers from all over the planet are drawn to the energy emitted by the red sandstone buttes, spires, and pinnacles surrounding the town.

The town itself seems inseparable from the rock, built in and around it like water pouring into a series of bays and inlets. On the outskirts are the four vortexes, the energy centers where people gather to worship their deity of choice, from the sun to Native American spirits to crystals. Shops all over town try to draw you in with offers of free maps to the vortexes. The maps have ads on them for businesses such as the New Earth Lodge Vacation Cottages, Angel's Chakra balancing & Aura Clearing, and Rainbow's End Steak House.

Though it's easy to shrug off the somewhat hokey mysticism of the town, there is powerful mountain biking magic working in Sedona. The area has some of the most scenic and technical trails in the Southwest, set in a backdrop of surreal red rock desert and green vegetation.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Ugliest Seat in the MTB Universe!

Have you ever seen a more Grotesk saddle?

...Ingredients - One WTB Saddle, One gel insert from a gel saddle cover, One gel saddle cover and 3 yards silver duct tape.

There is a method to Dangerous Dave's madness. He has shown us in Sedona that big, fat (but not nessecarily ugly) saddles are the way to go. You see, when you're in the extreme, the more surface area your saddle has to offer, the more control you'll have on your bike. When you're in the air you can squeeze the saddle between your legs or while using body english through the rough, slow sections you can maintain a comfortable contact with your saddle at all times. The light weight XC saddles are great for racing, but in the rocky, twisty, gnarly terrain we call home, you need a big fatty.

This may sound like heresy to some, but here in Sedona it's all about control in uncontrollable situations. If your riding is on the more extreme freeride side, try a large saddle, you'll love it and your riding will go up a notch, just ask Dangermouse.

So if, by chance, you know of an uglier saddle, PLEASE - Send us a picture . . . the world needs to know about it.

Hey, could someone please move those bikes . . . oh, never mind !