Mountain biking has a lot going for it compared to hitting the road. A new set of skills and challenges, nearly constant great scenery, basically no cars, etc etc. The one thing that bothers me about my MTB experience to date, however, has been the fact that I’ve driven my truck to go biking just about every time I’ve done it. Something about driving somewhere in order to hop on another vehicle to travel some more and then driving back… just rubs me the wrong way.

Then I saw the following video on one of my favorite blogs and felt like a complete pile…

Armed with my new GPS and suddenly moved to feel like an incredible lame-o, I decided today would be a great day to do some MTB’ing sans car. There are reasons for wanting to drive to a trail to bike it – it’s much easier to get out if something goes wrong, for example Well, screw that!

My destination was Tucson Mountain Park and the Star Pass area. This was my first ride in the area, one that I’d been putting off because despite the insistence of locals that navigation is straightforward out there, the sat map made it look like an insane mess of trails and washes in every direction. I’d loaded up about a dozen key waypoints on the GPS and set out. Even with the GPS I managed to mess up the directions. Interestingly, despite taking a few totally different tracks than what I’d planned, I still ended up hitting everything I wanted to.

One such navigation mistake lead me to this cool picnic table…

All in all the trip was a ton of fun. The ride out to the trailhead was itself a reasonably challenging ride for me (especially compared to driving!) and portions of the trail were harder than anything I’ve ridden at Sweetwater, Fantasy Island, or 50 Year. Fortunately, the ride home was basically one really long descent down to the UA.

The area is really beautiful…

Despite having only tasted maybe 10% of it (and sucking pretty badly at that), my thoughts on more than one occasion turned towards one day doing this… maybe if I can find a SAG helicopter I’ll do it tomorrow.

Distance: 26.6 miles
Time: 4:06:05 (door to door)