Riders Heading South For Epic Trail

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A Payson posse of six local mountain bike riders is heading down to southern Arizona this weekend for a 34-mile ride in the Arizona Endurance Series.

Owner of Hike, Bike and Run Mick Wolf said he gathered up five experienced riders to participate in the Kentucky Camp Epic Saturday near Patagonia.

“It is a neat little race,” Wolf said. “They don’t mark the course, they give you GPS directions, so you either have to GPS it or write directions down, but they leave it up to you to find it.”

The group plans to stay together for much of the race, to avoid being lost or injured.

Wolf, along with Matt Sopeland, Brent Lee, Brandon Labonte, Chris Smith and Nick Payne will tackle the loop, which includes 5,300 feet of climbing.

Wolf said he has never ridden the course before, so “I have no idea what we are getting ourselves into.”

The Dec. 13 race, at Kentucky Camp near Patagonia starts at an elevation of 4,500 and tops off around 6,000 feet. The free race is limited to 72 riders.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) designated the track as an “epic” trail, the only one of its kind in Arizona. According to the IMBA Web site the criteria for epic trails are quality: quality trails, a quality experience —something worth celebrating.

“The new thing is anything epic in riding,” Wolf said. “In the ’90s cross country was the huge thing and that kind of died off, and then it was downhill racing, but the new thing is epic.”

Wolf said he is trying to get the Cabin Loop Trail, north of Washington Park, east of Pine certified as an epic trail.

“I would love to get IMBA and Forest Service officials together and get the second epic in Arizona,” Wolf said.

Wolf has pioneered for more single-track mountain bike courses in Rim Country.

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