Monday, March 12, 2007

Sedona Full Moon Rides - Part Two

Sedona Full Moon Rides - Part Two
with Rama Jon
Full Moon Riding in Sedona: no lights allowed…or needed!

There is something special about being out on your bike on the trail as the rest of the city sleeps. In the silence and the darkness you can’t help but notice nature, there is nothing else out there. The noises of the city are easily forgotten for a few moments as the full moon casts it’s mysterious spell over all of us. The heightening of the senses is addictive and is probably the key to being able to ride at all. This is the same addiction that makes us all mountain bikers in the first place, whether we are first time riders or seasoned veterans.

When you get to Sedona, the first thing to do is stop by Mountain Bike Heaven and find out when the locals are riding. Club rides, another tradition of Mountain Bike Heaven are on Wednesday and Sunday mornings and are free to all takers. Sunday’s adventure is for advanced riders only, while Wednesday is more moderate and open to all skill levels.

Sedona’s trails are easy to get to and fun to explore. It’s best to orient yourselves with the red rock formations and then go. No need for a Red Rock Pass since you can pedal to all the trails from town. So stash the car and pedal to the trails. Recent work on the trail system has made the trails easier to follow allowing for more fun and less wandering around in the woods.

There are several loops around town that can take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 5 or 6 hours. If you can’t make one of the club rides and you don’t feel comfortable on your own, Mountain Bike Heaven offers Bikapelli Adventures that are custom made for your needs. For those who want a crack at Sedona red rock riding on their own, it’s best to snag a reference map so you can find the connections from one trail system to another. Recently the names of most of the trails have been changed to protect the innocent and confuse everyone else, so don’t get too hung up on the map.

To enjoy Sedona completely you need 2 or 3 days, and it really takes several months to figure your way around. The classic Sedona rides include the red rocks at Broken Arrow and Soldier’s Pass. Both of these areas link up with many trails in many directions most of them well marked by huge cairns fondly referred to as "rocks in bondage" or by heavy tire tracks.

Other classic rides include: Secret Trails, Midgely Bridgely, Cathedral Rock, Buddha Beach, Pyramid, Compactor, CoxComb, Deadman’s Pass, Mescal Mtn, Carrol Canyon, Stutz Bearcat, the Other Side, to mention a few of the favorites.

Sedona’s brutal rough rocky cactusy side is best portrayed on the Airport Loop and it’s many offshoots. Xtreme downhillers can test their nerve on the many downhills off of Schuerman’s Mtn, but you’ll have to pedal up. If shuttling is your thing, the new Schnebely Hill/Munds Trail is just what the doctor ordered, a 10-mile downhill run into town. And for those who want something totally different, the Mingus Mtn shuttle and downhill is beyond beyond. This ride was once referred to as the revenge of the vegetables.

While in Sedona, eat like the locals. Sit-down breakfasts are best at Soup and Salad, or the Coffee Pot, and take out at Sedona Bagel and Donut can’t be beat. After ride favorites include the buffet at the Indian Palace, the best sandwiches in town are at Sedona Memories, and the Red Planet Diner and Myan Taco across the street form the bikeshop are standards. Upscale dinners can be had at the Javalina Cantina, and vegetarian faire is at Tai Spices and New Frontiers Natural Foods.

Nitelife is a bit dull in Sedona, but getting brighter. The Oak Creek Brewary provides entertainment and a cross section of Sedona natives. For nighttime coffee try Ravenheart and don’t forget to check out the new wine bar and martini bar.

Take it from someone who knows, Sedona has the best mountain biking around, day or night, with or without light.

This article was written by Rama Jon, founder of Mountain Bike Heaven. The Bike Shop can be reached at (928) 282-1312.

Special thanks to the many riders who have contributed to the full moon experience in Sedona.

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