Being fairly familiar with the west coast meant that the first leg of this trip didn't feel like much of a challenge. I saw old friends, rode in some familiar places, and felt pretty relaxed overall. Sedona, though, was completely new. I'd never been here before, never been this far east - I had finally left the bubble.
I followed my routine of first stopping at a bike shop near the trail system to get suggestions on where to go. After some friendly conversation with the nice folks at Absolute Bikes, I was on my way.
I found it difficult to ride and enjoy the scenery at the same time, so I took my time and made sure to do both. The trails themselves were a fun mix of "this is great," "ok, this might be tricky," and "nopenopenope." Thankfully all of the nopes were easy enough to catch before it was too late to stop.
The most unexpected part of riding here was the temperature - it was completely manageable, in the mid 70s at most, and enabled a good three hours to go by without running out of water or feeling zapped.
Those three hours passed really, really quickly. At this point, I'm unable to distinguish whether what I'm enjoying more - the novelty of a new place, or a top-notch trail system. At least in Sedona, they were a pretty awesome, even match.