Dreamy Draw by nightPost #1: Dreamy Draw Recreation Area, Phoenix Mt. Preserve, Phoenix, Arizona
Hellow fellow mbposters, this is my first post on this website of what I hope to be many. I am relatively new to the Phoenix area, so I have not yet familiarized myself with many of the trails in the local vicinity. However, I did have the pleasure to get out on a night ride last week (my first ever night ride) with a fellow co-worker/mt. biker at the Dreamy Draw Recreation area located in Phoenix.
I had ridden in the area once prior during the day and noted that their were many trails and spurs to other trails in the area, and all too quickly I was going in circles. I welcomed the opportunity to go with another rider who knew his way. We managed to meet through an email sent around the office regarding the upcoming 24 hrs at Old Pueblo. Some of my fellow coworkers in my office, and in cooperation with another office in Tucson have managed to put together two teams to participate in the upcoming race, myself being included on a 4-man corporate team (I'm very excited). My coworker decided to bail out of the race this year, however was still looking for someone to ride with. I found out that he did most of his riding at night which I had no experience with at all. However, I just recently purchased a NiteRider HID system for riding at night since I could not get any riding in during the day with my work schedule, and during the summer it is impossible to ride during the day anyway.
We agreed to meet up at the parking lot for the Dreamy Draw Recreation Area at 7pm. Being a rooky night rider, I was not aware that my battery had lost "some" of its charge since I had unplugged it about 2 weeks prior (I bet most of you can see where this is going). We set off, him on his beautiful new Turner full suspension 29'er and me on trusty 'ol Claire. Quickly, I found out how out of shape I was which compounded with me trying to judge rocks, ledges, etc. for the first time at night. Dreamy Draw you see is an area of uplifted granitic and metamorphosed rock right in North Central Phoenix. Most of it is really chunky, blocky, and sharp, and did I mention loose? These factors make it hard enough during the day, and by night they only complicate things.
However, I hung in there. Our route included names such as "Old 100 Trail", the "M&M Trail", and he mentioned other names I cannot quite recollect. After about an hour I started getting my rythm back and started to be able to judge what I was seeing at night. I was beginning to get faster, and feel better. We made awesome ascents, and fast descents, and my partner was making comments about how it was good to find someone he could ride with. At about 1.5 to 2 hrs into the ride we were making a gradual ascent up to a supposedly wicked downhill section. That's when the light went to LED backup power. My battery was done. Not having a spare, this is what I was stuck with. I yelled up the hill toward my partner to wait at the next junction. When I arrived I informed him of the situation and we elected to take an easier route, (but still not EASY with little light), back to the parking lot. Letting him lead, I stuck on his rear wheel using his light to illuminate most of the way. After about 45 minutes of this, we made it. I was fully intact, with not even a cactus needle in me!
I agreed to make sure my battery was fully charged for the next time we go out at night, which hopefully will be this week. I must say that riding at night introduces a whole new challenge to the sport, but it only adds to the benefits. I can't wait to get out again. Til next time, Adios.