The Sedona mountain bike festival takes place in early March, and it has become a yearly event we look forward to every year. As that date approaches, there are a few things I become aware of. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost 20 years now, I've learned to appreciate two things: rain and sunshine.
You quickly learn that it rains in the NW — a lot! It could be seen as a negative, but at the same time, that rain makes things green and lush and keeps our trails running amazingly with loamy dirt. As much as we loath the rain come February, I also realize it makes this place we call home pretty amazing.
Sunshine is the other item you learn to appreciate as well. During winter, we often don’t see that giant burning orb for a few months at a time, save for a few days when it decides to tease us of Spring. When the end of February rolls around and the Sedona festival looms on the calendar, I get excited to ride my bike in the sun and warm weather! Although most of my southern California based friends can't relate, my brothers and sisters in the PNW, as well as my east coast peeps, know what joy that riding in sunny weather brings — Oh, to feel alive again!
My first chance to ride Sedona was 6 years ago. Prior to that visit, I'd seen pictures but they truly do that place no justice. The sheer beauty of the landscape is awe-inspiring and I instantly got it. That first moment of seeing the red spires of Sedona is that place is special — as is the mountain biking.
There is a thing riders refer to as “Sedona miles”. It is a strange phenomenon that means you do a ride that is 10 miles and it feels like you went 20. It's hard to explain — it could be from the vortexes or maybe just the punchy climbs followed by the white knuckle, super-exposed stair-step descents.
Regardless of the reason be prepared to work hard for your thrills there. You'll be exhausted by the end of your ride, but the terrain ridden will put the biggest smile on your face. My favorite trail is a toss-up between High on the Hog and Hiline. Both offer some pretty fun and technical riding and you can get your speed up.
If you want a quintessential Sedona trail then Hangover is it. Be prepared for a very long 10-mile ride, and know that you will experience some pucker up moments as you ride along the narrow edge of cliff trails. It's well worth the effort if you have the skillset and time.
Anyone coming or thinking of coming to Sedona for the festival will be rewarded with a well-run event with a ton of activities, demos, giveaways, and bands. It will be well worth the trek to the desert for some early season shredding.
Planning the trip? Make sure to stop by the Gravity Cartel / Spank Industries / IXS booth for a chance to win swag and prizes. This year we gave away a prize package to lucky riders that included Ride Concepts shoes, Spank Spike Pedals, and iXS Flow Knee Pads.