DATE CHANGE: Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 8 am!
Starting above the community Lukachukai 1 mile east of Buffalo Pass on Hwy 13. Look for the big gathering on the north side of the highway. Camping is available onsite Saturday night around all the weekend festivities!
Ride organizers: Mark Povich and Kurt Refsnider
New in 2017 and back for 2018, this event will be again part of the Chuska Challenge Mountain Bike Festival, a weekend of riding, camping, and music high in the Chuska Mountains of northeastern Arizona. Saturday will feature a circuit MTB race, a kids race, and family-friendly tours, and Sunday will be the AES Cove Classic event.
The Cove Classic route has two options – the first loop (the northern loop) is 35 miles with 5,000 feet of climbing (5+ hours ride time). Tacking on the second loop (the southern loop) increases those numbers to to 58 miles and 8,000 feet of climbing (~7-10 hours ride time). The riding is on a mix of maintained dirt roads, old mining roads, rocky 4×4 trails, one loooong sandy hike-a-bike (~1.5 miles off and on, but it’s relatively flat), an adventurous singletrack descent out of the Lukachukai Mountains, and some of the newly-developed trails around the once-bustling mining community of Cove. The terrain is rugged and beautiful, ranging from high mountain riding in pines and aspen to Moab-like sandstone slickrock. Water will be available from one spring, and a very informal aid station with refreshments will be available where the route drops into Cove. Don’t underestimate this terrain – the miles rarely come easily.
A few very important points:
- As usual for AES events, this route will not be marked in any way. You are entirely responsible for your own navigation. The GPX files for the route and important points along the way can be downloaded using the link farther down on this page.
- This route is entirely on the Navajo Nation. This is private land. Unlike other AES routes, we only have permission to ride this route on this particular weekend as part of the Chuska Challenge Mountain Bike Festival.
- We kindly ask that all riders make a donation of $20 to the Dine Bike Project in return for the organization’s support of this event (checks can be made out to made out to Navajo YES, cash can be donated the morning of the event, or you can donate online here) and will be collected before the ride. The Dine Bike Project is a mountain/kids bike exchange program to help promote health and wellness on the Navajo Nation. If you have any bikes or parts you’d like to donate, they will be accepted, as well!
- Please stay on the route, do not disturb or run sheep or other stock animals, beware of sheep dogs, don’t enter any of the many sheep camps along the way, and be especially friendly to anyone you meet.
- Carry a means to treat/filter water from sources along the route
Having once been the lone Arizona venue in the 4-Corners Cup Series run during the 1990s and early 2000s, the Cove Classic was hosted in Cove, a former mining community very receptive to mountain biking. Because of its reputation, Cove is one of 10 communities across Dinetah that has been chosen to receive support by the Navajo Nation to further develop its many outdoor possibilities. In 2017, the Cove Classic came back in a new form as part of the Arizona Endurance Series and the Chuska Challenge MTB Festival.
GPX Files (follow the link, then look for the download button):
A few key points along the route:
- Mile 2: Stay right. First loop (the northern loop) is done counter-clockwise.
- Mile 14: Cove. Informal aid station with water.
- Mile 19: Piped spring. Should have water flowing. Should be treated/filtered.
- Mile 22: Begin ~2-mile hike-a-bike. It’s mostly flat but very sandy.
- Mile 31: Stay right (or return to the camp area if only riding the first loop). Second loop (southern loop) is also done counter-clockwise.
- Mile 32: Piped spring. Should have water flowing. Should be treated/filtered.
- Mile 42: Tsaile Creek. Water source if you treat/filter it.
- Mile 46: Piped spring. Water source if you treat/filter it.
- Mile 52: Roof Butte out-and-back.
- Mile 57: Turn right to return to the camp area to finish Loop 2.