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The McDowell Mountain Regional Park is one of my favorite places to ride. The competitive track has a Sport Loop and a Technical Loop that are about 3 miles each and full of fast singletrack.
The Technical Loop is only called technical because of a couple of steep drops you can launch off of, plus it has a short tech climb. When I demoed the Session 10 last year, I rode the big drop about 10 times in awe of all the plush. You can ride these loops to your hearts content. I like to ride each loop twice and then connect to the Long Loop via the Tech Loop connector. Makes for a nice 20 miler.
The Long Loop is just that. Long. The Long Loop was not a friend of mine the first time I rode it as I pretty much bonked. I spent all my energy on the Technical and Sport Loops, so it was a beast.
On another Long Loop epic, I was stopped for a trailside break a couple of miles in. A girl came up the trail and as she passed she politely said, “I’ll let you pass when you catch back up to me.” I thought…”that was nice of her, it shouldn’t take long until I pass her…” I clipped back in and spun off in hot pursuit. I never even came close to catching her. I remember seeing her up in the distance hammering away and she turned to look behind her. I couldn’t see her face but I knew she was laughing. I found new life on the long loop as soon as I upgraded to full suspension.
The McDowell’s are home to the McDowell Meltdown, part of the Arizona State Championship Series and the Giant Dust Devil Mountain Bike Series. The park also offers moonlight riding on Pemberton Trail on select dates in June, July, and August.
Overall the park has a lot to offer. If you’re going to pay 6 bucks to get in, you might as well bring lunch, stay a while, and hit a few other trails; Pemberton, Dixie Mine, Coachwhip, Scenic, Granite, Tonto Tank, and Bluff.