Words and photos by Wyatt Spalding (@wyattspalding)
The 2022 edition of Pinyons and Pines starts in Flagstaff, Arizona and routes riders through the towns of Williams, Jerome, and Camp Verde before returning to Flagstaff. The route consists of a bit of everything: technical singletrack, chunky doubletrack, a few miles of pavement, and many steep hills along the way.
Yesterday, cyclists arrived at Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution anxious to start the 2022 edition of the Pinyons and Pines Bikepacking Race. At 6 a.m., riders were on their way to experience some of the best riding northern Arizona has to offer.
Day one started off with a chilly morning as temperatures were freezing the night before. Riders were quick to warm up, though, as they began climbing into the San Fransisco Peaks via Schultz Pass Road and the AZT. The riding to Williams was accompanied by perfect weather after the sun rose higher into the sky. After a resupply in Williams, many riders descended to the Verde River, where temperatures increased a bit. This made for a sweaty and steep climb into Jerome as the sun began setting.
For most of the day, there was a strong lead group playing ping pong with their positions, including Jacob Miller, Ezra Ward-Packard, Mathew Tyler Turner, Andrew Strempke, Matthew Bowe, and Sean Huzieff. As the night closed in, Jacob Miller, a 33-year-old Flagstaff local, led the race. He was followed closely by quite a few riders who don’t plan to sleep, so it will be interesting to see how things play out.
The remainder of the course has a fair share of gradual climbing and ends with a stretch of singletrack that’s quite technical, so who knows who’ll make their way up to the front. Either way, it looks like people will be finishing the 310-mile course sometime today, quite possibly just in time to redeem their free pizza at Pizzicleta (a complimentary gift for completing the Pinyons and Pines Race)!
As of this morning, Andrew Strempke (last year’s winner) and Jacob Miller are neck and neck at the front of the race, about to hop onto a segment of the Arizona Trail heading north back toward Flagstaff. There’s a pack of three riders not far behind them, including a few speedy drop-bar setups. Our friend Katie Strempke is in first place for the women, currently sitting in 12th overall, just 30 miles behind Andrew.
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