Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Tucson Trip: Day 3 – MTB 50 Year Trail and Fantasy Island (Main+Xmas Tree Loops)

Everybody said 50 Year Trail was a must ride. Somebody had the same feeling about Fantasy Island. But Tom was not interested in either. He had ridden both many years ago. Since today was his rest day, today I would be free to do any ride I wanted. Erik and I were lucky to hook up with a local, Art, to show us around at 50 Year Trail. It helped tremendously because there were many side trails that could get very confusing. He was a lot of fun to talk to. By the end of the ride, Erik and I had made a friend in Tucson! I look forward to showing him and his wife around when they visit the Bay Area someday. 50 Year Trail got every thing, from very smooth whoop-de-dos to very technical rock step ups, which I was not good at. And the gusty wind made it just a little more challenging to stay clear the cacti lining the sides of the trails. Oh, at one place, my bike stopped cold hitting a rock and I tipped over falling right into a cluster of old dead cacti. The little needles immediate covered my right butt cheek. It took a while to clear most of them using tweezers during our break. Another new experience.

After the ride, we parted ways with Art and drove home. Erik needed to log on to work. I hopped back in the car and rushed to Fantasy Island. I got great tips from an MTBR user blue109, so I wasn't too worried about getting lost. But I noticed my rear tire was again low in pressure. After examining the tire, I pulled a couple of long but thin thorns out, spun the tire, pumped it up, crossed my finger, and hit the trails. It was 4:40pm already on the day after Winter Solstice. I was relieved when I rolled back to car before dark. It seemed that the slime tube really worked. The ride was super relaxing except that I was a little unsure about my own navigational skills the whole way until getting back to the car. One guy at the parking lot before I left for the ride commented that the wind was the worst he had seen. Maybe that explains why there were so many chollas on the trails. I paid special attention to dodge them despite a pace faster than usual.

50 Year Trail and the Chutes

Online resources: SDMB

Navigation: Follow a local guide, seriously!

Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 9.3
Elevation Range (ft) 3157 – 3544
Total Ascent (ft) 934
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 3.7
Total Descent Distance (mi) 5.6

Mei's Ratings (all out of 5 star system):
Overall Rating 4 stars
Technical Difficulty 3 stars (for some big rocky step ups)
Aerobic Difficulty 3 stars
Grin Factor 4 stars (oh, the sweet Chutes!)

Photos: All are in this album

The evil cholla

Fantasy Island (Main + Xmas Tree Loops)

Online resources: Topofusion, SDMB

Navigation: MTBR user summed up very well in a message he sent me:

its a one-way counter clockwise trail, so if you stay left at all the splits you will stay on the main loop. from the irvington side you will see the map at the trail head. "Lone Cactus" is the main loop. the first loop you will see from Lone Cactus takes you onto the Bunny trail. i usually skip this one as its just easy flat singletrack, but if you want to add some miles its nice. theres a few loops off bunny trail but they are all about the same. snake-dance is very tight and twisty through cactus, and Rez loop goes to a fire road. Xmas tree is the first loop i take. its pretty simple and short, but has a cool jump near the end i like to stop and play on. right after xmas tree is the famous "shaft!" its not as rough as it looks lol. the burro pit loop is right after the shaft and my personal favorite. Burro sort of turns into Bos loop, but as always, if you go left at the split it will take you back to the main lone cactus loop. not a hardcore ride by any means, but i like it and have fun there.

Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 7.4
Elevation Range (ft) 2781 – 2867
Total Ascent (ft) 509
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 2.8
Total Descent Distance (mi) 4.6

Mei's Subjective Ratings (all out of 5 star system):
Overall Rating 4 stars
Technical Difficulty 1 stars
Aerobic Difficulty 1 stars
Grin Factor 5 stars (Whoop-de-dos)

Photos: All are in this album

2 Responses

  1. Patrick Herlihyon 25 Dec 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Fantasy Island looks like a lot of fun!

    I think it's time you go tubeless :)

    mudworm

    Fantasy Island is like a playground. Fun indeed. I have wanted to go tubeless, but am not too sure about my ability to mount it nicely and efficiently.