It has been probably 16ish years since we last rode in Tucson. I raced the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo mountain bike race waaaaay back in the day, and we came here one winter for a little getaway but this is a real treat to be able to hit some singletrack in the middle of what would be full on winter in Bend. For our first ride we put together a few hours of singletrack in the Starr Pass area. The trails consisted of rocks, cacti, and classic desert views. We started from the 36th street trailhead and put together a fantastic loop. It’s different riding trails you have never ridden before, or at least haven’t ridden in a long time. You’re seeing the world for the first time. It’s not unlike life in general, you stare down a rocky shoot and decide in a split second what the path of least resistance is. Life is about choices, right? I had so much fun picking lines, pedaling through rock gardens, popping up and over features and flowing. One of our trails was appropriately named Beer Garden, another Explorer. Seems fitting. We crossed the highway using a tunnel and added on the Bittersweet Loop to complete our ride.
Tucson is a rare treat for us because we’re able to stay with family. That night we were treated to dinner at Za’atar Mediterranean Restaurant. Derek had the chicken shawarma plate and I had a falafel sandwich. I’d HIGHLY recommend either..and a side of garlic sauce.
Brown Mountain and Tucson Mountain Bike Park
Our second day of riding started at the Gates Pass Trailhead. We did a loop that involved Golden Gate Trail at the start. This trail was pleasantly challenging after the recent rains. It was washed out and rutted with rocks strewn everywhere to keep us on our toes as we rode down the many many stair steps. We took the Prospector Trail into Gilbert Ray Campground where we decided to add on the black diamond Brown Mountain Loop. I LOVED THIS LOOP. It started easily enough on fairly narrow trail through cactus and rock fields, and then switchbacked up and up. There were some short hike a a bike sections before reaching the top. The trail from here was definitely challenging with steep rocky sections. Several hikers stopped to watch us descend and one even clapped for me as I cleared sections. At several points you could really hurt yourself, but we made it down safely and finished off with an easy pedal back to our truck.
Two successful days of singletrack left us with sun tans and smiles. What next?