I've also ridden in Arizona before where the rocks are sharp, the climbs are steep and everything would just as soon kill you. But it's always been day trips on a rental. This time I'm 5 days into long hard rides on my own bike. I'm starting to learn how these sharp rock channels filled with loose rock shards, and deep gravel beds carry the bike. I'm riding stuff I wouldn't want to walk and loving the hell out of it.
I have to give a lot of credit to my Pivot, a bike that is proving it can carry me through amazingly rocky, nasty trails just about the same when I very carefully pick my lines as when I just blindly bomb my way through. When the bike is engineered to take almost any terrain I point it at, confidence goes up. I'm riding faster, harder and cleaner than ever. Thanks goes out to John and Harlan at Bicycle Garage in Fountain Hills, AZ for putting me on this bike!