Friday, May 29, 2009

AZT Utah to Flagstaff - Day 1

Our odyssey began Friday afternoon with a car that started overheating 20 minutes out of Phoenix, a get together at Pay-n-Take, and a night sans rem at the gnome's shire.

Scott gave away schwag. Nice sack dude.

I won a belt and was clearly a little excited.

This means it was time to go to bed so we could get up at 4:45.

There was an attempt to rain on our parade in the morning.
Our parade route was to take us 170 miles and 15,000 ft. of climbing from the Arizona/Utah border on the Arizona Trail to Flagstaff. For me this was to be the completion on my riding the entire 800 mile AZT route in the last 4 years or so. Suffice to say I was excited.

A stop at Navajo Bridge.

After a 4 hour drive to the AZ/UT border we're ready(ish) to ride.

What we don't know is that the trail is like glue, it's all climbing and we have 10 extra miles of climbing we weren't aware of for the day. This is the way of the AZT.

Yes, the trail goes right through there.

The section from Utah to Orderville Trail Head was just brutal and beautiful.
It would however be much more fun in the other direction.

The mud wasn't the kind that that is like clay and builds upon itself and clogs your wheels and drive train (more on that a few days later) but it was the kind that was like glue and never lets you coast, even on a downhill. Imagine riding with your brakes rubbing all the time. It was also oddly soft like riding on a mattress.

When you add in the elevation and elevation gain it really equals a beat down for flat-landers like us. We wouldn't have it any other way.

There were some crazy rain and hail storms we had to take cover from.

This was usually followed by a treat of awesome scenery and/or some superb single track. And a cursory search for my lungs.

AZT gate.

We made camp for the night a few miles from Jacob Lake.
This was to be the scene of a brutal 5 hour thunder storm that lit up the forest, soaked me to the core and made for a pretty miserable first night. I had to take solace in the fact that I was wet but at least I was warm and I managed a couple hours of sleep.
After the storm passed we had clear skies, incredible stars and damaged psyches. Well I did anyway. John fared much better than I with his large tyvek sheet and bivy.

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