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sedona spring break

top o’ the highline trail

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.

yours truly and Brendan (brad)

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.

red bottom

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.

tubed in the red room on hangover trail

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!

there is a photo in ever direction

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.

9 responses to “sedona spring break”

  1. wizard culture Avatar

    I love hardtail party! He definitely inspired my first trip to Sedona a few summers ago while moving back across the country. Did some hiking and only had a day to ride so rented a steed from Thunder Mountain and rode midday in August for five hours and despite the searing dry heat my excitement and absolute joy whilst riding and gazing in every direction was more than enough to feel incredible despite fatigue and dehydration. Probably some of that vortex energy powering me up too?… True magic courses through those rocks and dirt and junipers, that is for sure.


    1. coolultraromance1598 Avatar

      right?! I was very pleased to be recommended his channel


  2. Cass Gilbert Avatar

    oof, makes me miss that Sedona scene.


  3. Dick Avatar

    I once danced naked in the moonlight in Sedona on mushrooms.


    1. coolultraromance1598 Avatar

      a fine way to utilize moonlight


  4. Danny Avatar

    I live here in sedona and ordered 29er Mars tires to try on our red carpet trails. How did they do for you?


    1. coolultraromance1598 Avatar

      they worked great for me —- 20 psi with cushcore.


  5. Peter Avatar

    Wow Ronnie, that’s some awesome country. Total agreement about the importance of maintaining style when encountering the unstyled masses.


  6. Jaybird Avatar

    Sedona is the shit. I remember my first time there and although Hanson wasn’t playing in the background it was playing in my heart….
    Theres a reason the southwest has such a magnetic pull to it. Being from out west and living in the Northeast for over a decade now I do believe there is also a magnetic pull here as well. It’s different but still present if one seeks it out.
    The Wooooods have a power the desert never will.

    Mmmbop over the rocks and roots.


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