It’s been a busy spring here at Campfire and we have been having some fine adventures. The one that stands out the most has to be our lovely overnighter of the Tombstone Hustle- we had to plan this one a bit late in the season. But as luck would have it, we had a cool weekend tucked between two hot weeks and the riding temps were ideal.
We called this our intermediate route despite it having a 4-mile or so advanced section of rugged mountain biking with hike-a-biking on the pass over the Dragoons. We felt that even if bikepackers didn’t have the skills to get through the 4-mile stretch riding, they would be fine with mostly hiking through it and could still arrive at camp at a decent hour.
The gang met up in Tombstone’s historic “Old West” town that the route is named after at around 9 am. Our group of riders consisted of 13 riders, half of whom had been on rides with us previously. We were joined by a couple from the Czech Republic who had just arrived in the U.S and were using the ride as a warm-up and familiarization with desert bikepacking before departing on an AZT trip. Erik Binggeser had ridden his cargo bike down from Tucson to join us in style.
The first day was the shorter of the two days, totaling about 28 miles vs. 42 on the second but it contained the tough hike-a-bike which would balance out the challenges of the two days. We meandered through the high desert and had a fun encounter with some friendly horses.
Eric split off of the route to avoid the hike-a-bike section with his cargo bike. This also would take him past the Dollar General that supplied the camp with the local beverage of choice to ward off looming dehydration.
As we worked our way up towards the Dragoons, we decided to take a slight detour to look in on the pictograph site.
A little after lunch, we hit the trail that would take us up and over the Cochise Stronghold pass. This section was certainly rugged and was all hike-a-bike for the first mile or so. One rider from our group had been pushing himself quite a bit and this was his first big trip since overcoming some health issues. With the rigor of the hike-a-bike, he decided to call it and turn back to camp on his own and then return to Tombstone in the morning.
While the hike-a-bike was tough, it only lasted about a mile. The last half mile to the top was decently rideable. The descent down from the pass was a whole lot of fun! Several riders had done the loop in the opposite direction and everyone concluded that the clockwise direction we chose was more fun given that the trail descent was longer and the hike-a-bike was significantly less the way we went.
We finished out the ride, finding Eric at our agreed upon camping area with a supply of cold Bud Lights to celebrate the day with.
After an enjoyable evening complete with campfire, ‘smoreoes and the development of a plethora of new businesses ideas that played off of Erik’s Instagram empire, @TrueMarmalade … TrueMarmaBlade, TruMarmaShade, TruMarmaSpade, etc, etc. we headed out the next morning for our 40 mile jaunt back south around the Dragoons back to Tombstone.
Our ride took us through Sun Sites and a stop at the Dollar General store. Continuing on, we cruised past some ghost towns, an old jail and a table for giving and taking random tokens of life.
Our lunch site was a quaint, shaded roadside spot with relics from the area to entertain. After lunch, everyone seemed ready to ride fast and we put it in the big ring to finish off the climb before a long descent back into Tombstone.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on this trip and special thanks to all the riders who contributed to the above photo collection: Erik Binggeser, Nate Garcia, Jacob Wilkinson, and Toby Smith.
More Campfire Mar/Apr ’22 Highlights
- Catalina State Park – Beginner Ride – March 12th
- Another great beginner overnighter was had out at Catalina State Park. See our Instagram post.
- Cycling About Baja Divide Presentation – April 19th
- Alee and Laura graced us with their presence and the premiere of their film on bikepacking the Baja Divide.
- Swift Bags!
- Yes, we’re now a Swift Dealer! Check out our lineup and Swift Combo Deals.
Notable Tucson Mar/Apr ’22 Cycling Scene Happenings
- Ruta del Jefe
- We were super excited to sponsor and support this amazing ride. We joined in for the festivities, offered repair support, and were out on the course to support riders doing the long 130 version of the ride.
- It was fantastic to see this amazing event spring back to life. We were right in the middle of it offering free bike repairs (aka fixing flats) all day.
- GABA Bike Swap
- The bike swap was relocated from downtown to Armory Park. We heard the new spot was great but didn’t make this one. We’ll be there in the fall though.