Sedona: 7 Lessons Learned in the Desert
Maybe it was our heightened metaphysical state due to the Sedona Vortex , or maybe it was the late night Del Taco we munched down while hauling ass from the Phoenix airport up to Sedona. Whatever it was, we made a few realizations in the desert:
- Lesson One: Working in the bike industry can have its perks. Our friends from Magura USA invited us to their annual press camp to give a preview of upcoming 2010 products and product training from Stefan Pahl, the Magura Germany product manager. The camp is held in Sedona, Ariz., which boasts myriad notable trails all nestled between postcard-worthy back drops of Sedona’s dramatic rock formations, the perfect place to test products.
- Lesson Two: It’s not a good idea to rent your vacation home to a group of mountain bikers, especially if rain is in the forecast. So after getting caught in a deluge, we got back to the house caked in mud. We all took turns getting the cold hose shower to knock the big chunks of mud off body and bike, before jumping into the hot tub. Nonetheless the nice clean chorine blue water was mixed with a combination of soil, sweat, spilled Miller High Life and one slice of salami -- it quickly became a foggy brown swirling cesspool of man stew.
- Lesson Three: When in Sedona get a guide or hook up with a local to show you the trails. There are literally hundreds of trails in Sedona. But to find your way through the best of it you most definitely need someone with local knowledge to get you to the crème de la crème dirt. We were fortunate enough to have Sedona local, John Finch, pick a few amazing trails for us to ride and help show us lines through the slickrock, those of us from more forested areas simply could not read. We can only hope our bike skills are as honed as John’s by the time we reach our mid-fifties.
- Lesson Four: 38D-24-36 is not a Shimano part number. After doing a little research, we found out the rental house we were staying at was formerly owned by 1940’s Hollywood cleavage queen Jane Russell. So it’s possible that we have an unhealthy fascination with old Westerns, especially those with busty actresses wearing cowgirl hats and skirts. But the thought of staying in the same abode with the star of Outlaw was rather appealing to us.
- Lesson Five: It does rain in the desert. And we got a good taste of it. Attempting to ride Hangover, one of the more technical trails we sampled in Sedona in a downpour definitely gave the word slickrock a whole new meaning. These situations really make us wish we had opted for the Five Tens instead of the carbon soled Sidis.
- Lesson Six: Tapered steerers are here. Magura had a few samples of 1.5′ tapered steerer forks that will be in the lineup for 2010. The plan is to offer Taper on the Durin Marathon, Thor and Wotan forks. The 1.5′ tapered steerer allows Magura to build an oversized crown that increases strength and rigidity over standard 1-1/8′ steerer forks. The tapered fork is a much better option for most than a straight 1.5′ steerer because it is just as rigid, provides a multitude of stem options and weighs less. In fact, tapered steerer forks typically weigh roughly within 20-30 grams of the same model with 1-1/8′ steerer.
- Lesson Seven: Go Tubeless. It’s strange for us, since all of us here at Competitive Cyclist are unanimously tubeless tire advocates, but every time we head out West to ride, we are surprised to see most guys are running tubes and tires. After waiting trailside to change countless tubes on our ride, we had to start razzing the Magura camp. We thought the advantages of UST tires were common knowledge: thicker sidewalls resist cuts and punctures -- without tubes, pinch flats are eliminated, so lower tire pressures are feasible -- which in turn provides better traction and a smoother ride -- sealant inside the tire will seal small puncture like those picked up from cactus thorns. By the way, our Sedona guide John and his wife Janet were running tubeless and probably the only riders on the trip not to experience flats. Hmmmm.