Sorry for the delay - it's been crazy.
Saturday we drove out to McDowell and made a big loop ride out of the Sport, Technical and Long loops (this was a good idea, Mark). Mark's brother, Paul, was fresh and made us work, plus he's the better downhill rider. The loops were fun and Paul made the ledge climb (see the video). We did the big loop in just under an hour - not bad pace.
Next we drove a few miles to Pemberton and headed up the Stoneman Wash trail. It's a mellow incline but it you feel it after a while. They put me up front, even though I've been the tail man all the other rides, so I tried to pull a respectable pace. It was nice to get in a a good rhythm and roll along. The trail is fantastically buff - I wish we would have come down it, but, well, I'll get to that.
At 6 miles out we made a short out-n-back on the Secret trail, then with daylight waning, we went north on the Pemberton trail to take it around and close the loop. The riding was nice, but even with us racing down the old double-track the light was getting dim. By the time we hit the single-track it was hard to see and we kept getting surprised by features we couldn't make out.
I went cycled through feeling good, feeling dead, and back to feeling good. At least I ended strong (for me) - I took the lead and held it back to the cars. I have pretty good night vision so maybe that was factor.
Back at the house Paul treated us to delicious teriyaki chicken and pineapple sandwiches. One last session of Rock Band and the vacation was pretty much over.
Mark and I drove back Sunday - through Flagstaff this time. The drive was pretty good.
Big thanks to Mark and Paul for another fantastic mid-Winter Arizona mountain biking escape.