Best Road Bike Ride (2011)

Bartlett Dam Road to Bartlett Lake

Most cyclists are willing to punish themselves up a climb for the reward of the thrilling descent. The road to Bartlett Lake is just the opposite. Just before Cave Creek Road ends, Bartlett Dam Road cuts through the desert to the east, winding its way 14 miles down to a remote lake fed by the Verde River. The descent is broken into two sections, with a small climb in the middle, and the final stretch is down a straight-as-an-arrow screamer (watch those brakes). After cooling off at the marina store, settle in for a hard grind back out. And beware riding this in the heat, as it is panhandle-hot down there.

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