About 2 years ago tRoy dreamed about a big mountain-bike loop in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona. A loop that would hook together some of that area’s best single track. Earlier this summer the Apache Enduro was announced – potentially tRoy’s White Mountain dream course.
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On September 25th at 7:00am, five self-supported, bike-packing cyclist lined up to attempt the ~200 mile loop. Without prearranged support, they carried gear that they would need for night riding and sleeping on the trail.
tRoy forgot to turn on his GPS’s track log and about 6 miles into the course he took a wrong turn. He corrected his mistake and turned on the track log. The only way to follow a route like this is to have a route file loaded into a GPS unit. Also, having an active track log allows the cyclist to quickly identify and correct wrong turns.
The first 35 miles of the course consisted of fun and moderately technical single track. He stopped at Dipping Vat Springs for water and salami.
The afternoon was warm and tRoy lost a lot of water to sweat. He thought he was slowly becoming dehydrated but pushed on and made it to Greer, AZ at 4pm. There he purchased food at the Tin Star General Store, and filled his water bottles. Above Greer, he rode with Chad Brown.
At the top of the climb Chad decided he would camp near the Sunrise ski area and return home the next day. tRoy turned on his lights and continued riding the course into the night. The cool temperatures and plentiful springs allowed him to rehydrate. Near Crescent Lake, at 1am, he took out his 18 ounce sleeping bag and slept well. He awoke and was on the bike at 7:30am, riding the Overland Trail to Mexican Hay lake.
He thought Overland Trail made a better name for this trail.
He saw an old cabin.
He borrowed some water from an unoccupied camp.
He made it to Mexican Hay Lake then enjoyed the fun single track above the South Fork of the Little Colorado River.
He stopped for water and, in anticipation of the hot climb ahead, took a dip in the shallow water of the South Fork. There he reflected upon the weather that felt more like summer than fall. He noticed a butterfly enjoying the unseasonable weather.
Eventually the climb let up and the pavement gave way to dirt but tRoy was running low on water. He passed a couple of cattle ponds anticipating better water ahead. Near Cerro Trigo Peak, he noticed a gully of basalt rock.
He scrambled into the gully and found natural tanks of basalt rock that held cool clear water. He treated the water with chlorine tablets and took his second shallow dip of the day. He was cold for a few moments, then stoked to ride up the hot climb ahead. His afternoon consisted of dirt roads, jeep roads and single track. After many hours of dirt roads, the single track allowed tRoy to loosen up and flow. As the sun approached the horizon, he found a spot to park his bike and nap for 20 minutes.
Refreshed, he pedaled into the sunset and eventually made it to the Panorama trail head after dark. For him, the flowing Timber Mesa Trails and rising moon provided an excellent end to his Apache Enduro loop.
Some numbers from tRoy’s GPS:
~17,000 feet of climbing
38 Hours:59 minutes