CRACK! It happens faster than you can say the word, but man does it hurt. As I wrap up my first two weeks in Sedona, and say a farewell to family that had been in town visiting and riding for the week, I’ll now be spending the next couple of days nursing a bruised body and ego. Wanting to be environmentally conscious (and conscious of my gas budget) I opted to pedal the 2 KM over to my family’s hotel via my trusty mountain bike – in the dark – post rain. Even with a head lamp on, it still wasn’t enough to see the off-camber curb lip for the crosswalk as clearly as I had hoped, and whoosh, down I went, head first. It really does pay off to wear your helmet every time you mount your bike, as I’m sure my cracked helmet would have been my head instead. It happens to the best of us – just a hard one to swallow after pedalling over 200 KM of some of the wildest mountain bike trails. But let’s retrace those tracks first …
In a land before time… just kidding, but it seriously feels like I rode into the classic kids movie here in Sedona. If you haven’t made this a destination on your Bucket List of places to ride, I highly recommend you do so, and move it closer to the top. The mountain biking here is world class. I devoted a significant chunk of my travels to be able to ride and explore every trail that this area has to offer, and it was a bonus that one of my best friends was going to be here for a month to do the same.
There are well over 200 miles of single track here, so we had to create a game plan to make sure we tackled all the ‘areas’ of riding that Sedona has to offer. It’s incredible how different each area is from the next, and how accessible they are from downtown. We set up camp just on the edge of the Village of Oak Creek, riding distance from the Bell Rock trailhead, which seems to have the best bang-for-your-buck of trails, literally right from the doorstep. It was a well earned break from Goldilocks (my van).
Almost everyday we set out, we packed a lunch, filled our hydration packs and hit the open trail for a full day of adventuring. This was often fuelled by chocolate, candy and margaritas from the previous night (I am on vacation, remember?) The trails are well marked and labelled according to their level of difficulty. I also recommend picking up the local trail map. It’s much nicer to see the whole picture verse just the tiny tidbits of an area from TrailForks. That said, TrailForks has also been extremely handy while on the trail, and saves pulling out the big map.
Sedona is thriving with the culture of mountain biking, and tourists. It does get busy here on the weekends, and all the trails are multi-use, which means you should always keep your eyes up for pedestrians that are sharing the trail. Fortunately, you won’t find many people on the crown-jewel Hangover Trail. I really enjoy a challenge on my bike, but when the consequence of a small mistake means that you will be tumbling for who-knows-how-long, I chose to play it safe in those situations. I would like to be able to come back another day – not be laying in a heap in a valley somewhere. While the features were quite difficult, but achievable, the sheer exposure will play with your head. No amount of time playing on the skinnies at Joyride will prepare you for this. There was a lot of romantic hike-a-biking (and cursing) from my section of the group. My pro-rider sister and brother-in-law found it quite entertaining.
My list of ‘favourite trails’ keeps growing that I could go on forever about them, but I just recommend you get yourself and your mountain bike here to ride one day. And when you feel tapped for energy, you could take some time to rest, or do what I have been, and go in search of an infamous Sedona Vortex to recharge with its good-vibes energy.
For more inside #VanLife details, follow miniiadventures.com
And always remember, home is where you park it!