This fall marked my third year in a row of bikepacking the Coco 250, a self-supported 250-mile loop starting in Flagstaff. The route goes down to Sedona via the Arizona trail, then across the desert low lands to Cottonwood, then up and over Mingus Mt to the Verde River and then up to Willams, and finally back to Flagstaff. The first year I did the stage race, organized by Arizona Endurance Series which breaks the route into 4 stages. The year after that Chase and I made an attempt at thru-riding the route but ended up bailing and getting a Hotel room in Willams.
This year I decided to give it another go and try to do all 250 miles in one push. I had just bikepacked the Colorado Trail the month before so I was feeling strong. I set a goal of 42hr but really I was just going to get out there and give it my best. I decided to bring a sleeping bag, but other than that I was packing light, warm layers, a repair kit, and a 2.5L MSR bladder in the frame bag.
I started at 730am on Saturday from my house in Flagstaff and rode to The Place Restaurant, which is the official start/finish of the race. The first segment down to Sedona went well and I was treated to a great view from Schnebly Hill vista of freshly rained on red rock.
The riding in Sedona was great after having just gotten some moisture, and I enjoyed the killer single track over broken arrow and out lama trail. Red Rock Park was just closing when I arrived, but I had enough water to get to Cottonwood so I didn’t need to fill up there. The Lime Kiln section was also wet and that made the sandy sections firm which was nice for sure.
The sun set on me mid way on the Line Kiln and I adjusted to the change of pace that night riding tends to bring. There were many hours of darkness and night riding ahead of me and it was with no small amount of dread that I watched that last light fade from the sky. Continue reading “Coconino 250 mile Thru-Ride bikepack”