Hard at work on the Coconino Loop Race

The Coconino Loop Race fast approacheth. I’ve done a multi-day race and route or two, and this one might just come out on top as my favorite. It’s a loop, it’s beautiful, it’s got loads of technical singletrack, it’s big, and yet it seems somehow reasonable, all the same. Like something I’d want to come back and ride every year.

In addition, we’re experimenting with a new style of race — self-supported stage racing. Basically there are a few spots on course where you can stop for as long as you want and the clock isn’t running. The idea is to make the racing a little more social, a little less demanding and perhaps introduce some new strategy elements as well. We’ll see how it all comes together in a few weeks.

Creating a route like this is no small task. Dave knows what I’m talking about. Master Tucker even more so. Even crafting the AZT 300 route, where some of it is obvious (follow AZT) still requires some diligence.

Yep, life is rough when you have to head to Flagstaff to ‘work’ on the route. Then it’s cold and you get rained on, thoroughly extracting a week of desert heat.

Bonehead Scott uploaded the wrong GPX track for Wing Mountain’s moto trail, so we were on our own. XC and hike-a-bike was the remedy. We found the trail, and the trail was good.

We also found somebody’s freeride stash, and had no choice but to sample it. That’s Troy showing us how it’s done on the hard tail.

It took a little encouragement, but Chad went HYYYOUUGE, too. After the freeride stash the route cruises more moto trail featuring a couple of bobsled style drainage runs. Wing mountain gets the Coconino Loop nod.

Troy would have turned into a pumpkin at 5:30, so he boogied home. We continued on to Rocky Moto, and it too was good.

The sun came out for a minute on the pipeline.

When it says “technical route”, turn left.

SS technical wizardry. We had a nice evening hanging out with Paula and her friend Sara from Flag. They went for (another) run the next morning while Chad and I got organized for Sedona.

The goal was more/better singletrack and less roads. Scheurman Mountain was first up, and while it was worth riding, it had the dreaded…

downhill hike-a-bike. Ick! Ride/hike up just to hike down, or risk serious prickly pear consequences trying to ride it.

The other route we wheeled through was good.

“You’ll like this Baldwin, it’s a good Baldwin.”

Indeed. It’s hard work, and I’m glad we get to do it. As Chad said, “I like putting on races, it gets me to ride in cool places.” Maybe go buy one of his super cool shirts to thank him for all the work he does on AES.

A couple of nice improvements to an already great loop. Hope to see a lot of ya’ll there. If not this year, next…

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