Prickly Pedal on the Maricopa Trail

Writer Grace Hill
Photos by Princely Durai

During this year’s Prickly Pedal, experienced mountain bikers from all over the country will once again race across the challenging 40-mile course on the Maricopa Trail. After last year’s successful inaugural race brought more than 300 riders to the Valley, even more racers are expected to return this year and attempt the rocky climbs and aggressive ascents that weave throughout the northernmost part of the trail.

Scheduled for January 21, the event begins with an energizing meal for racers courtesy of Hickman’s Egg Ranch. The mountain bike race will then commence at 8:30 a.m. with a rolling start at Cave Creek’s Flat Tire Bike Shop, and continue into Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. Fans, family, friends and the community will cheer on the participants, 13 years and older, who excitedly pedal their way to an awesome outdoor adventure.

As competitors race against one another, they will soon find themselves competing against the challenging desert terrain. Rocks, sand, water and mud will all attempt to throw the racers from their bikes. If those don’t do it, the roller coaster runs and steep rock climbs and descents will try to do so. Some dismounting will be required, as racers will hike on foot where their bikes cannot take them. This course makes for a fun journey, albeit a tough one.

It’s a trip that eventually takes riders all the way from the starting line in Cave Creek to the finishing line at Lake Pleasant in Peoria. Most racers will take about four to five hours to complete the 40-mile course. To give competitors much-needed energy to finish the race, two aid stations with water, sports drinks, fruit and GU products will be available on the course.

To celebrate the achievement of all who participated, competitors, fans and volunteers are invited to attend the after party from noon to 6 p.m. at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Exhausted racers can relax during the party, which will include an award ceremony, refreshments, raffle, beer garden and live music. Racers can store their bikes in a secure bike corral during the party, while a shuttle will return racers to their vehicles in Cave Creek afterward.

Proceeds from the Prickly Pedal support the Maricopa Trail and Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization that dedicates itself to protecting, promoting, developing and maintaining the Maricopa Regional Trail System. The Maricopa Trail measures 315 miles long and connects the 10 regional parks of Maricopa County.

For those eager to attempt this one-of-a-kind race, online registration closes on January 18 at 9 p.m. All registrants will receive a race T-shirt, water bottle and promotional items, which can be picked up at the expo located at the Flat Tire Bike Shop on January 20.

Prickly Pedal
Flat Tire Bike Shop
Starts at 8:30 a.m. Must be 13 years or older to race.
Register online –
Online registration closes January 18 at 9 p.m.

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