I say 2.5 Bypass (which is nothing compared to the annual Quad Bypass ) because we rode to Windgate Pass, Bell Pass, and the Gateway Saddle in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Riding from my brother's house in DC Ranch, our route was Desert Park to Windgate to Bell Pass (with a quick out-and-back on Prospector to the scenic view) to Gateway Saddle and back on Desert Park. One of these days I need to try the climb to Tom's Thumb, but after reading Mike's report I think my fitness level needs to be a bit higher than it is right now.
The descent down Bell Pass was better than I expected. After climbing (and hiking...) it in the spring of 2008 I knew it was steep, loose and rocky, with a handful of relatively tight switchbacks. Given my tentative descending skills I expected to walk a few sections. However, while I did unclip in a few spots (just in case I needed to eject) I never had to put a foot down.
The trails are dry and dusty as it hasn't rained in a long, long time. A cold front moved in last night and there's a chance of rain Monday. I'm actually hoping we get some moisture to freshen up the trails. Temperatures are in the high 50's to low 60's which is cold from a local's perspective, but feels great to me.
Windgate Trail, before the real climbing began
Looking down on the Bell Pass Trail before starting the descent