We stood huddled between two pines trying to stay out of the cold, wind and rain. I gazed out to the west and heard what sounded like a freight train barreling toward us, I turned and raised an eyebrow at my friend Joee as he said, “That sounds aggressive.” As soon as the words left his mouth we were getting pelted by marble sized hail. Soon we were drowning in a sea of hail as a wave of white marbles overtook us. We grabbed our bikes and sprinted to a nearby tent at the Nordic Center, grateful to make it out alive. Safely under the cover of a tent we did what any Phoenician would do in a hail storm, start playing with the hail and taking pictures! #hailedit
While all of that did happen, and I’m not really exaggerating, the rest of our bike ride in Flagstaff was much more tame. My friend Ashley and I decided to get out of the heat on Saturday and spend the day mountain biking in Flag. We met up with our friends, Jimmy, Joee and Aislinn, there and decided to ride a section of the Arizona Trail starting from Aspen Corner. In a previous post about Petrified Forest, Ryan mentioned how Flagstaff is our favorite place. It’s really hard to put into words how much I love it. Being in Flagstaff, especially on the trails, awakens the senses and cleanses the soul. The views of mountains, prairies blanketed in wildflowers and aspen groves are one thing, but the smell…the smell is what makes Flagstaff, Flagstaff. I think I speak for the rest of the group when I say we all just needed a day for our souls. We weren’t there with a training schedule, a work out or goal in mind. We were just there to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. This was a good thing, since I am still very new to mountain biking. My friends were gracious and encouraging, making sure I felt comfortable the entire ride.
We only rode a short segment of the Arizona Trial from Aspen Corner to FR 151, but I heard it might be the most beautiful section of the AZT. While I won’t argue with that assessment, since it was beautiful, I hope one day I’ll be able to make that claim for myself. The whole reason I rode my mountain bike this weekend was because I want to become more comfortable on it so Ryan and I can start bike-packing together. We have a few routes planned in Northern Arizona and some closer to home. Hopefully, I will continue to gain confidence on my mountain bike, so that I will be able to share about some of our epic bike-packing adventures soon!