my first visit to the southwest was a trip to Sedona in 1997. red rocks, dangling chilly ristras, and Kokopelli tchotchkes — a whole new world. I was 17 and had only seen New England — only ridden the stodgy soggy landscapes of my home region, bounding and bouncing my way at maximum low speeds navigating the rocks and roots indicative of riding “mountain bikes” in the northeast.
my mom had seen some photos of the area in a hiking magazine, and on our April vacation from school, we flew out to Arizona, arriving at night in Sedona. what I saw when I awoke the next morning rearranged my perception of landscapes. I can remember “mmmbop” by Hanson was on the radio non stop that April, my little sister loved it. so with mmmbop likely playing in the background, I opened the door outside to another planet. it mine as well have been Mars to a fresh faced New England country pumpkin like myself. the southwest was instantly my new obsession and I could not wait to put my 26″ x 1.95 45psi slime filled rubbers to the red dirt.
upon returning home I painted my bedroom red rock color (it turned out pink) and proudly hung a steel Kokopelli (the Anasazi god of fertility) from TJ Max on my wall. my cultural appropriation knew no bounds as I even more proudly hung a Navajo rug (also from TJ Max) on the opposite wall. this was the new 17 year old southwest me, and informed my decision to move to Durango after high school.
I have been coming back nearly every spring since — but the pandemic scrambled that a bit.
Brendan Shafer, my good pal from high school bike shop days who has lived in Durango ever since I left in 2004 has historically shared these trails with me over the years, and we decided it was time for another Sedona spring break.
as you can see from the photo above, even though Brendan and I grew up riding together, we certainly went separate ways with what we ride. Brendan is the best rider I know, he is also really good at a lot of other things. but you know your boiy Ronnie needs to maintain a look 😎. I mean, i’m sure modern FS bikes are great and all, but… they don’t go with my shoes.
the weather did not cooperate, but the soil drains quick there for the desert, so we were still able to get out between snow flurries to baptize ourselves in that vortex rich red dirt.
I always end up on the double black diamonds with Brendan … he can clean them all… up, down … he floats and flows over everything. its very impressive. I keep up by imploring questionably executed cyclocross dismount and remount techniques. we are used to this.
I clench my anus as tight as I can and lean back, dragging that clenched ain’ on the rear tire. thats the technique. its a real Kegel workout in clenching. thats double diamond Sedona riding on the kinda bikes you and I ride. so much exposure!
sedona is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. if you ignore the pink jeeps and the down town tourist traffic … and you can … then it really hums at a higher vibration… man.
well thats it. we had 3 good rides and watched hardtail party on YouTube the rest of the time.
that Kokopelli still hangs in my childhood bedroom 25 years later. blessing me with the curse of infertility.
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