Tuesday, April 29, 2008

um yea

Adjusting back to life after the AZT is always the hardest part.
It wasn't 5 minutes at work and I would have traded it for headwinds from hell and hobo camps in a heartbeat. Blair had the right idea - tour South to the border and turn around for the AZT300. Some fantastic write ups from Scott, Troy, Mike and Marshal.
Riding the AZT pulls me very strongly in two directions. One direction is to never stop. The other is to get back to my family as soon as possible. So I try to have my cake and eat it too.
Some days I just ride my bike.

And put things in perspective.

Catharsis through climbing.

And one thing reigns supreme.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

AZT Day 4

Molino to Meligrosa to Le Buzz.
The moon was exceptionally bright the night before.
I only remember because I was so happy when it moved far enough and I was in the shade
of an oak. The next thing I remember is Mountain Blue Jays waking me up. The ride started off proper with a nice cleaning of the stairs to the trail. We streaked down Molino with wide grins. It was nice to be on some trail. Even the climb up the other side didn't dissuade the mood. We saw a hiker and some Canyon Ranch patrons as we turned off the AZT to go down Meligrosa - still one of my favorite trails. Even with a rigid fork and loaded for touring. We bumped and ground our way down to the bottom losing Scott and Dave at the very end. I figured Scott was with Dave and he knew where Le Buzz wuzz. Blair, John and I made our way down towards grub and caffeine. Dave rolled in a short time later, sans Scott and it didn't really register that Scott was still out and more importantly, didn't know where we were. Blair started working the phone but before his work bore fruit, Scott rolled in on sheer clairvoyance.
Maybe he could smell us. With only one more day budgeted away from work and the warm temps. in Tucson we decided to pull the plug a little early and rent a van back to Phoenix.
So ends another AZT trip and talk has already begun for the next one. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

AZT Day 3

Our slowest morning departure - it was after 8 by the time we headed up the North side of
the Catalinas. We were blissfully unaware that we had 29 miles of climbing in front of us. I only know that it was 29 miles after the fact - I'm glad I didn't know before.
We made Peppersauce in what felt like short time and easy effort. Then the climbing began in earnest and the group splintered. I fell off the back and came around the corner to see Ryan had found us and was gonna join for the day. Then the climbing really began. Everyone tried to find their happy place and think of Summerheaven and not of the looming climb. It was beautiful scenery watching the desert give away to pines and shade. I finally made the top and had a burger at the cafe. I think Blair already had two and painted a bit.
More deliberations of what to do next. Ryan's truck was at Palisaides and he offered a run to Tucson for supplies.
Dave, Scott and I tucked for the bomber run down the mountain to our Prison Camp camp, maxed out at 42mph. On our way down Scott and I were just behind Dave at about 35mph when his sleeping bag got loose and jammed his rear tire. Sketchy stuff but Dave kept it upright and disaster was averted.
At Prison Camp we waited out a church group for a camp spot. We think we could have converted the group to bikes with Dave's tale of almost being smoted.

AZT Day 2

During the night the wind picked up. To 25 mph.
In the morning it was still windy. Still 25 mph. Maybe 30. We awoke slightly later than the previous morning and headed East into the Boulders segment.
All while getting flogged by the wind out of the NE.
We eventually made Freeman Rd. where the group decided to forgo any more brutality than necessary. We skipped the official AZT section to Tiger Mine Rd. and caught the wind as a tail wind for a few miles before turning East again on Willow Springs Rd. The group splintered and Blair and I caught some of the 24 OP course. It was smooth as concrete and a ripping good time. And then back into the cross/headwind. Then we hit the highway and turned directly into the wind for a soul crushing ride into Oracle. Did I mention the wind?
We had lunch at the local Italian joint and contemplated our next move. We were pretty beat. Peppersauce Campground was discussed but it was a few miles East and we didn't want to be cold in the shade of the Catalinas in the morning so we loaded up at the dollar store and the circle-k and made for the AZT in Oracle State Park were we spent the night and racoons gained a compression strap.

Another victim of the wind

Walking the wash to Ripsey Ranch

Almost zero track.

AZT Pork Barrel project no doubt.

Willlow Springs Rd and the Catalinas in the distance.

24 OP course

AZT Day 1

In the morning we broke camp pretty fast and commenced climbing. The trail at the base of the mountain was awesome. In fact it was so much fun that we missed the turn to stay on the AZT that John and Gordon properly negotiated. We back tracked and before long we began a long slog up a wash followed by some steep climbs to get us out of the canyon we were in. We bombed down FR4 into box canyon which had some water flowing. We took the opportunity to filter some water and take in the view.
By the time we made it to the other side of the diversion dam it was hot and past lunch. We stopped briefly to cool off in the Gila and eat some snacks before we climbed out to the Florence-Kelvin Hwy. I began to wonder if I brought enough food.
We made it down the F-K Hwy (really just a dirt road) and Gordon who had been ill the week before the ride was having problems. Given the remoteness
of the next segment and his symptoms, he called for extraction.
Sucked but the right choice I think.
At the exact same same spot, the Flag crew was pushing the pace and blew the turn to get off the F-K Hwy where we were waiting. It was getting late and we needed to get to water. No way we could catch them. After waiting for 45 minutes we decided to continue on and hope the Flag crew would turn around see Gordon and he could direct them or maybe we would find them in Oracle.
With some reservations we left Gordon and rode a few miles, found water and after loading up made camp a mile away. A bit later the Flag crew showed up. I was worked and sleep came fast.