"My time from the race in 2018 was two hours, 39 minutes ... It has 3,000 feet of climbing"
Mountain biking’s movers and shakers select their favourite places to ride. Here’s one such trail in Arizona chosen by ‘Deadly’ Ned Overend.
“There are so many great trails. I chose one that I’ve been riding recently. I have been doing more riding in the desert this winter. It’s a nice break from the snow and rain in Durango where I live. I’m sure coming from the UK you can appreciate riding where it’s warm and dry. This winter I have been training for the Cactus Cup XC, which is a 43-mile loop through McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Scottsdale, Arizona. The race was supposed to be on 14 March but it was cancelled because of the virus.
“It is a fast loop; my time from the race in 2018 was two hours, 39 minutes. It has 3,000 feet of climbing, some of which is on gradual, longer climbs but most is short, power climbs.
“There is a lot of variety in this loop, sections where the trail is nothing but rocks and long sections on smooth, fast hardpack with a thin layer of sand on top so both wheels are drifting in the corners when you are pushing the pace (there are hundreds of corners).
“I am known more for having had success on longer Alpine-style climbs, so it’s been a fun challenge to try and be more competitive on a fast course that takes a lot of power to keep momentum up on the short climbs. There is some good flow on these trails as most of them were built by mountain bikers.
“I prefer riding the Specialized Epic full-suspension for this course because of all the sections with rocks and ruts. I have a dropper on my Epic. Most riders who are not focused on racing are riding short or medium-travel trail bikes.
“Ned is an one of the founding fathers of XC, he was the first ever UCI world champion back in 1990 and has multiple US national titles. Ned officially retired from competition last century, but still races for Specialized on gravel, XC, and marathon.”