Monday, April 18, 2011


i had made arrangements for the pops to pick me up at picket post trail head (the end of the race where i would leave my car) and transport me to the start of the race at parker canyon lake. we picked up one other wayward soul, andy s. from flagstaff who joined us on the trip to the south and a bonus night of camping.

i intentionally got to picket post early so i could have a moment of silence.

on our way down my dad was intrigued by something he saw on the way up.

eventually we made it to the start which we shared with some livestock and their salt lick. the bastards kept me up all night and i swear i could hear them licking the salt blocks.

the morning came after many short bouts of sleep. mistake #1: going to bed at 8 pm and not drinking water until i got up at 5:30 am.  but it sure was purty in the morning and i was happy to be.

 see? tim captured the optimism and i left at 7:50 as soon as i got my spot. i knew it was going to be toasty and i couldn't stand waiting over an hour to start, so off i went to chase down andy who left a few minutes prior. i was keen on having company for as long as i could.

not long after this andy informed me he accidentally erased all the tracks from his gps. damn. but he still soldiered on ahead of me picking up some bonus miles i believe. never saw him again until a brief glimpse in patagonia.

don't be fooled by the pretty pictures - the canelos are a beat down, pure and simple.

not 5 miles in my chain jumped the cassette and lodged between the hub and the cassette. after many attempts and finally brute force, i got it out in one mangled piece and continued on always shifting before needed to.

i think andy and i were the only ones to see the non-insignia federale with the automatic weapon and bandoleer with clips. nice guy. interesting job.

back to the brutality of the canelo hills.

not long after canelo pass the fast guys came by like i was standing still. managed one shot.

got a nice grease stash from my chain suck fun...

i was almost out of water after canelo pass and was eying some nasty stock tanks but then i remembered cott tank. simply a small oasis with a spigot and cool clean water from a solar operation. i didn't even bother to treat it and it was delish. i took a time out in the wash and had had some summer sausage and jalapeno cheese. all was good until i saw a wasp crawl into my helmet. then i looked up and saw all the bees and wasps in the blooming tree above me. time to move on.

less than 1/2 a mile from harshaw pass i heard a telltale hiss that signaled a sidewall slice on the rear tubeless tire. i had one tube. after a sewing session, booting the tire, injecting the tube with my one run of stans, i was off....again.

let me preface this next section with the fact that i am a firm believer in karma and such ambiguous notions of luck and faith. i hit the store in patagonia only to be accosted by max asking if i wanted to share a pizza next door at velvelt elvis. i had planned on a minimal stop but the reality was i was dehydrated, fighting cramps and unable to absorb/put down the calories and water i needed. max was hurting too (having started from the border going for the full race to utah) and his suggestion was what i needed. thanks my friend. after grub i took off to sonoita knowing he was going to catch me.

max and i met up again in sonoita and picked up food (and for me a beer to celebrate my birthday - can't imagine a better way to spend it) and then we headed back into the santa ritas with the thought of stopping at kentucky camp for the night.

i was cramping and in pain but i wanted to get to water for the night and luckily we found water and a great site in gardner canyon. 

we had one racer from colorado come thru and chatted for a bit but we hit the sack at 9 in hopes of bringing things back together the next day. no sign of the blokes from asheville we met in patagonia.
a lazy up around 5 and departure around 6 sent us on our way after a brief headset adjustment.

max's azt750 machine. that dude has a motor.

when i flipped my bike over to deal with the chain suck issues in the first 5 miles i neglected to remove my gps...

in the morning the 7 miles to kentucky camp was excellent except for when max went over the bars and punctured his tires on a yucca....

we saw some fat hawks on our roll up the kentucky camp.

not long after kentucky camp, day two started to feel like day one - fighting cramps and no energy in the legs. max was feeling better and pulled ahead, not to be seen again save for a brief glimpse on the hills leading into the tucson valley.

after the brutality of the hills section coupled with the 90 degree weather, and my physiological reaction i decided to bail.  actually i hit the lake and filtered water in the hopes of at least making it to tucson and started to ride but the rear tire felt funny = huge thorn = yuri done. in a perfect example of karma/etc; not 3  minutes after i bailed to hwy 83 a car full of hikers i saw earlier pulled over to offer me their last cold Gatorade. thank you gents - much appreciated. not a minute after that Marshall who had to bail on the 750 saw me and pulled over. he and his friend Dave were kind enough to drop me back at my car at picket post. by 5pm i was back home wondering what the hell just happend.

this was the last place i filtered from before i called it.

80 some miles later my fix starts to come unglued.

 regardless of how i finished i still accomplished what i wanted. pushed my limits and had fun. what more can a guy ask for?


Chad said...

I have walked away several times from that damn race and each time I do, I tend to have a better view on life. I think your self-portraits paint the picture of what it was like in that heat.

I tip my beverage toward your limits...job well done.

big jonny said...


big jonny said...


Mark Bahti said...

what a trip...literally

Tommy Kelly said...

You're a bigger man than most just for showing up, not to mention giving it you're best. Well done Yuri, and thanks for taking us on your journey.

You're an inspiration.

Kekku Lehtonen said...

Amazing meditation on life.

Jim Bauer said...

Yuri, What guts and determination. I stand in admiration. Jim Bauer

maadjurguer said...

You can be proud that you walked into the arena and shed blood...I walked away before even starting. Good Job.

Lee Blackwell said...

i got to re-live it through your report. nice work

zMud said...


Awesome report. I would love to get you on the road for a ride while I'm still in AZ.

Flagstaff Forester said...

Great write up and love the pictures. Thanks to you and your
Dad for giving me a ride. Same time next year? Heck yeah, I'll give it a go again.

Rhino said...

thanks for the pics.