Monday, August 9, 2010

WV Midnight Century Review


The first ever Midnight Century went off without a hitch. A total of 3 of us rolled out of Buckeye at 3 after 11PM. ( Steve, Rhino, and myself) The weather was PERFECT! It was in the low 80's with a slight breeze out of the east. The sky directly above us was gorgeous with stars shining bright. To the east was a GIANT thunder cloud for us to marvel at during our trip east on the RID canal. Nature put on a spectacular show for us with frequent burst of lightning. We made good time on the canal although we were in no particular hurry as we were soaking up the cool moist air and the spectacular views. We were about 15 min behind schedule when we caught up with Matt up in Estrella. Matt was all set to go and even had some welcome power bars for us all. We were getting some strange stares from the possibly intoxicated motorist that passed us by. they had to think we were crazy to be out at 0100 hrs on a bike. One fellow stuck his head out the window and screamed for the infamous Harvy. We waved and went about our ride. Next stop now 4 strong was FINS. This was Steve's first visit to FINS. We did almost everything there before heading out for S&M. By this time the light breeze we had enjoyed left us and things got a bit sticky. S&M was fun as always and the group had a good clip going, Rhino was crushing it on his loaded SS rigid and Steve was rocking it on his first trip in the WV. Next came the best part where we took the group on a trail they had never been on over boy-scout hill. The top of the hill offered spectacular view of the Phoenix skyline and the aforementioned storm. We took ourselves an extended break on the hill to soak in the view and the cool breeze that had picked up. We figured the sun would start to rise in about an hour so we got going. We decided to head out on trial 18 instead of the planned full monte around the TH and secret trails. When we hit Estrella Parkway we parted ways with Matt who also riding strong and is right on target for his tour of the White Mountains. The Horizon was just starting to change color and the stars were fast disappearing. The moon finally made it's first appearance of the night as a tiny sliver low in the eastern sky. We had a nice easy spin back to the circle K on Litchfield road where we topped up with Mountain Dew and Gatorade for the final few miles. The sun was out, time to turn off the lights and draft our shadows. I think we all started to feel the sleepless night and miles on the way back, it is funny how the morning sun somehow always makes me feel tired. A welcome distraction came on bullard avenue when we got passed by a couple of " Tri Geeks ". Just happy to see other folks on bikes we yelled out to them "hey, Hi, Hello, Good Morning, How you guys doing" ! Not even a shrug of the shoulder or a nod of the head back. This was after direct eye contact. At first we laughed about it, then we deiced it might be fun to chase them down and force a smile out of them. We spun up the cadence to bridge our gap, Rhino on his SS maxed out around 250rpm, Steve got a late jump, but I was able to bridge the gap. I pulled along side and said " how's it going?" Now all we got was a look of disgust. I guess they were afraid i may try to jack them or something cause they put the hammer down and got away from us. It was a welcome distraction from the tired eyes. We shadow drafted all the way back to Buckeye. We took a picture shook hands and took off for some well earned sleep. We got ourselves 75 miles for the night. It was a great ride for sure. Destined to be a yearly classic.

Thanks to Steve, Rhino, and Matt for making the trip!


Monday, August 2, 2010

F.I.N.S. Estrella Clean up day


Recent accounts of close calls with some recreational shooting have inspired myself and others to take action. Anybody that has ever ridden FINS has seen the mess of junk left behind by the folks that come out to enjoy some shooting on the south-west side of FINS. This could be fine and dandy if there shooting area was not directly in line with the GRUNT / EXPOSURE trail. There are some that feel a conflict between the shooters, trail users, and law enforcement could lead to restrictions or even closure of these trails. To be proactive in this we would like to gather a group to help clean this area up and help post some signs to inform and potential shooters of the potential hazards of shooting in that particular area. It looks like a team of 10-15 people and 2-3 pickup trucks could get the job done in under 2 hours. I will talk with waste management and CCMC to try and arrange for some dumpster space. More to follow, thinking of a date in October. TBT.

Here are a couple photos of the area in question. One shot from the bottom of shooting gallery looking north to grunt / exposure and the other from the top looking down. Most of the large items that used to be out there have ben shot down into little parts scattered about.

Thanks- SWBP

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Handlebar bag tips


Handlebar bags are a great tool to help you carry your stuff. There are a thousand different ways to mount and carry your stuff on the handlebars. In the tour I used a simple Bungee cord and a waterproof stuff sack. It worked OK, but the frame was rubbing on the bag, and i am sure it would have cut through by the end. The best setup that I saw on the tour was the Burrito style bag made by CDW. I saw Dave T. on the side of the road with his foot jammed in one side packing as much as he could into his. It looks heavy, but once rolling you don't notice the weight even on tight ST. It almost seems to help handling a bit, IMO. Just be sure to add equal weight to the butt bag or be prepared to go over you bars on a rock drop. In my homemade version 2.0 burrito bag I put my Big Angus Air core Mummy, REI Halo Long down 25 bag, heavy duty Cabelas Bivy sack, Mont Bell down jacket, Rain Jacket, Tarp, Rope, bug head net, and my spot tracker. Basically my entire night time kit. I like to put the jackets on the ends so I can get to them fast if i need to. On the tour I found that having my jackets in the Butt bag were not only hard to get at, but took up 50% of the space in that bag. Now that bag is free for other clothes, tubes, parts and food. The entire Kit including the bag itself and the spot with batteries weighs in at 8.2 lbs. It would be easy to take another 2+ lbs out of that if you went with a lighter bivy, sleep pad, and ditched one or more jackets. Depending on where i am going and the weather forecast always dictates bivy, and jacket choice. This may be for another topic, but i am leaning towards always taking my "good" Cabelas bivy over the emergency bivy. I am sure i would not want to sleep out a rainy night in the E- bivy. For more examples of bags check out the CDW link above.

Pictures... My homemade V2.0 bag. and everything i stuff inside it. Total weight for everything you see is 8.2 lbs. Pretty average, but this is a very comfy no compromise kit. If you are willing to sacrifice some comfort and risk some on weather you can get WAY lighter. I would say that this kit would keep you comfy and dry on something like the Tour Divide. ENJOY

Good luck

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Flag to Sedona 110

November 13-14 we will attack the Flag to Sedona and back by way of Castner Mtn. Same route as the AES just over 2 days. more to follow. Check out the route.

Kokopelli trail 140


September 25th/ 26th Moab Ut. We are going to attack the Kokopelli trail. 140 miles from Moab to Fruita Co. Plan on 2 days of riding. I am searching for a neutral sag/ camp point near the 70-80 mile mark. There is a shuttle available back to Moab. it is 175$ for up to 14 people and bikes, the cost can be split up. Mostly 2 track and fire road. 15-20k climbing. No water except the Colorado river that is very silty. Not an easy trail! More info to come.


West valley midnight century


August 7th ( sat night ) at 1100PM. the first annual West Valley Midnight Century. We will roll out of Buckeye ( location TBT ) on the RID canal to Goodyear. Route TBT but will include F.I.N.S. , Secret, S&M, Park Ave , and PIR. 100+ miles 3-4K climbing. Plan on 6-8 hours of riding with lights. Water can be had at a few spots along the route. You will need 5-6 hours of lights. More info to come. Please leave an interest comment to show your interest.

More info...
Sorry about the constant date swap, I recently got a new work schedule that I am trying to come to terms with..... So the OFFICIAL final date is sat. the 7th at 11pm.

We will all meet by the fire station in the westpark subdivision in Buckeye. It is located behind the Westpark elementary school. Major streets are Miller / Warner. Better directions to follow.

The ride.....
I have ben strongly advised by the powers that be to avoid the PIR loop after hours to avoid fines and or jail time. So in light of this new information the revised route will be....

RID canal into Goodyear
Up Estrella parkway to pick up the 50ers at the market
over to FINS, every stitch of it...
then over to S&M over to the park
Big loop around the park back to S&M
over the new trail into park ave
park ave back to the market
back the way we came on the RID

I am not sure the total miles without PIR, guessing 70-80+

sorry about all the confusion, still working all the bugs out, i am guessing the first year will be like this, please hang with me.
Directions to start....
from I 10 exit and go south on Miller rd
Turn Right at warner into westpark
first right at first round about
second right at second round about
Right at digital sign for school
Left on magnolia 1st street you can go L on
Fire station is 1/16 mile on L
please dont block the truck, spots are off to left
any questions call jim 623-210-6867
For those going for the 50, we should be hitting the Eliot Market in Estrella Mountain Ranch at about 12.30am. Directions I-10 south on Estrella parkway about 8 miles. Right at Eliot rd. market 1/4 mile on Right side. Closed after 9pm.
* Update 8/6/10 Everything is still on schedule rain or moonshine. There have ben a few others to throw in. Looking like 5-7 folks. Should be a great ride. Weather is looking like it could get wet, I myself am looking forward to foul weather as a welcome break from the heat. Any questions feel free to call. Jim T. *( kinda ) offered up a pancake breakfast at the finnish. See you all there.

The route will be from the south... S&M ( not shown) into the PD to GD to BU to the arena (water available) where we decide on PIR . then over a "secret trail" to TH back to PD and S&M.
Thanks- SWBG

Comments of interest list
Rhino is IN
Jimfab is IN
Matt is In for the 50
Jim T is IN

Thanks- SWBG

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Welcome to the southwest bikepacking blog


Welcome to the southwest bikepacking group. The idea of this group is to introduce and expand the sport of bikepacking. We will try our best to put together overnight " bikepacking " trips across the southwest U.S. The idea is to arrange a medium distance trip that will allow sag for the people that are interested in the sport but don't yet have all the expensive gear required to go self supported, Of corse going self supported is always the goal. Emphasis will be on exploring off the beaten path routes, route finding, self reliance, photography, having a good time, and expanding the sport. There are no entry fees involved unless permits or campground fees are required, then it is up to you as an individual. This is a ride at your own risk group, We will simply provide a suggested route and tentative date, it is up to you to arrange for your safety and make good judgement to allow you to remain safe. Check back often to find out about the next trip.

Any questions, comments or ideas please e-mail jim at