whoa. quite the trip i must say. i finished up tonight after 13 hours out and about for the day. the last few hours were trippy. in the dark. mini headlamp and crazy terrain. 285 miles. 20k feet of climbing. 5 days from the AZ mexico border. let me say again - whoa. maybe i should have trained. more later.
ok. 4 hours of sleep appears to have been enough.
i'm still trying to sort it all out.
here are pics
day1 was pretty uneventful. i started near montezuma pass south of the hauchuca mts and proceeded on dirt roads to parker cyn lake. i found the TH for Canelo East where the AZT300 started the day before and rode a mile of it before turning around and heading down 83 to fr 799 that took me to canelo pass and the canelo west section of the azt. it was a brief grunt up to the true pass. it was no walk in the park but it was nice to finally be alone. as i started to descend i realized that my rear brake was fading. dammit. stupid juicy 7s. it took me a full day to realize i could crank out the lever more and that gave me enough hydo pressure to stop. it's hard to think clearly sometimes when all i wanna do is ride. i saw lots of evidence of illegal aliens - trash, bivouacs but didn't see any until day 2 and it was just one guy on a ridge a few over from me. the canelo hills are awesome and canelo west would make a great regular mtb ride. i rolled into Patagonia and hit the store for water and corn nuts and then i saw the velvet elvis (pizza) so i stopped in for grub and a beer. so i rolled up in full gear and sat on the patio and nary a persona gave me a second look or asked what my deal was. i always found that strange- like they wanted to ask but were scared - people are freaks. i hit the road to my aunt and uncles and had to ride 82 in the dark which was less than fun. i hit the house and hydrated and ate, showered and slept in a bed. it was rural so it was all good to me. some 56 miles the first day.
i headed north into hog cyn after a hearty breakfast and family farewells. after a couple of miles i found fr 4111 and climbed up to the ridge and followed it until it dropped me down to gardner cyn. as i was riding up gardner an old black lab came out barking at me and was coming pretty close. he wasn't really going to bite me but i stopped and got off my bike as the owner came after the dog. dog was just spoked and was my buddy in an instant. the owner and i chatted a bit and he asked about what i was doing.
a little up the road and the azt was on again and route i knew well. i was at kentucky camp in no time. i stopped to have lunch and chatted with the camp host. a nice good ol boy from georgia. he was a chatty cathy. i mentioned the spring fling of the rainbow people at patagonia and he said he wondered why he heard so much law in the area. he said he hadn't seen any illegals but earlier in the week a group of 6 mtbers had a big cat encounter and one guy had to finally fire a shot near it. i think he may have been more dehydrated than i was...
i had it in my head that the section from k-camp to oak tree cyn was pretty fast but there was still a bit of climbing to go and i was getting worked. i made it to the cyn 83 junct and hopped on 83 until the new section at sahurita rd. the sun going down fast, i was tired and low on water and it was another 12+ miles or not super fast st to colossal cave. so i just took andrea's route to the cave and made camp. some fucker used his diesel truck to smoke me on the road. i just held my breath and my temper. the camp was cool and i just had a couple as company. i was in the bivy pretty quickly. i woke a few times from the brightness of the moon but i slept pretty good.
i slept pretty good. got woken up a few times by the brightness of the moon. it was cool and the ground was nice and soft under my thermarest. i ate and broke camp pretty quickly and made my way further into the park to the new st to the rincon valley. it was hella fun and mostly zippy stuff that was a nice break for my legs. before i knew it i was at a little market on old spanish trail having a sandwich and chips at a table donated by my old shop in tucson (fair wheel bikes). Then it was back on the road. i was thinking about staying at the home of some friends for the night and decided to go to broadway bikes, a few miles off my route, to see if i could get my rear brake bled. the folks were none too helpful immediately telling my i'd have to leave it before realizing they didn't even have the kit cuz i told them i'd just buy the kit if they had it. none too pleased i left and decided to head out of town. after a stop at safeway for water and some grub it was on to molino basin. as i was headed up the mtn i saw a guy on a bike with an very similar set-up and realized it was lee. i called out and he turned around. i haven't seen lee in some 6 years or so since we did the tubac 50 (my first endurance mtb ride) and some other assorted rides (it was his an scott's trip that 1st gave me the idea of riding the azt). we chatted for a few minutes. he got 200 miles into scott's race and his body wasn't cooperating so he was headed home. it lifted my spirits talking to him and i slogged on thru my own misery up to molino basin. i found a good spot to claim as my own and laid around (it was only 4ish) until it got dark. i was awoken during the night by a guy in the parking spot above me coughing to the point of almost puking. i finally dug out my headlamp to let the fucker know he wasn't alone. i think he and his buddy slept in the truck as there were about 30 cigarette butts in the lot when i left. gee, wonder why he was coughing so bad...
i slept ok but had to conserve water for the next day as water was most of the way up the mtn and it would take a few hours to get to it.
i eyed the camp hosts water tank as i left camp but it was hooked to their 5th wheel and there was no spigot. it was early and i didn't want to wake them. my next water chance was some 15 miles up the mtn. i was pretty sure i could make it.
the cimb up the road was ok. slow. but ok. roadies and folks training for road bike tours could be found. most were pretty friendly. i saw an awesome waterford that had the frame couplers to make it travel sized.
i made it to water and washed up a bit before i pressed on into summerhaven (or what is left of it since the fire.) i had lunch at the cafe and filled up on water at the general store. i didn't really have a plan of where i was going to camp and i was pretty loaded on water so i had options. i figured i could make peppersauce cave campground and maybe even oracle. the descent was fun but it was a traverse down into and up, up out of many little and one larger cyn was also tiresome. i realized i could make oracle and get a room and a shower. on my way into "town" an old lady in front of her house asked if i had been camping. i stopped and talked with her and her husband for a bit. they both talked to me but neither of them heard what the other was saying. "harold, he knows. he said he alrady been on the secation! harold!" it was hilarious. night was spent in the spider infested a-frames eating microwave pizzas from circle k and drinking a foster's oil can.
day 5 (the muthafukka)
so we finally speak of day 5. i awoke to some dumphuck knocking on all the doors of the fab a-frames looking for some other dumphuck. sweet. i got up, loaded up and made my way to the local (only) mex joint where a huge (400LBS) guy saw my get-up and started asking questions. good old feller with (supposedly) a 6k acre spread and did some sort of work for goldwater. i ate the biggest mofo burrito and paid my tab. i hit the circle-k to load up on water since the next section is the most desolate and has the least access to water. i called the wife and i was off. it was pavement to dirt to st to dirt to the azt north of freeman rd. someone had cached 10 gallons of water, 2 had been opened. i stopped to eat lunch there and fill my belly with water from one of the gallons that was open.
i was surprised how much the next section had grown in a few months. i hit the huge cottonwood at ripsey in no time and started making my way into new territory. i hit the boulders with all the graffiti and thought for the 1st time i could actually finish the ride that day. i called my wife and left her a message saying i might finish tonight and to prepare accordingly.
well i took a wrong turn shortly thereafter and lost for a good 25 mins. when i finally hit box canyon the sun was setting and i stopped to put in clear lenses and a long sleeve jersey on. a redneck couple i ran into gave a nervous laugh and said i had more than 16 hard miles to the us60 after i got out of the cyn (i was starting to bonk and stress a little). i tried to ignore being alone in a box canyon and secretly cheered when i was able to call my wife again (get cell service) after the climb out. but my road wasn't signed and i still had another canyon to climb into and out of. i stopped and took off my helmet and strapped on my camp headlamp and used that to navigate out. it was rough and painfully slow but i made it to the 60 in time to catch my wife on her second pass. it was late and i was fried. my three year old woke up to give me the best welcome ever. nice support crew i got for sure.