Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sweetwater Trail

Went to ride Sweetwater, one of Mark Flint's latest contributions to Tucson singletrack art. Fast, smooth, beautiful.

Jake, my host for this last bit of Tucson visit, railing it at Sweetwater

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't (bother) Try(ing) This at Home

My shoe experiment (http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com/2008/12/eye-talian-loafers.html) has officially proven to be futile. As you can see, after the APC I have one toe patch and one heal patch left.

The shoe goo is sticking to the shoe for the most part, but the tire patches peeled off the shoe goo rather quickly really.

Oh well, it was a good idea anyway.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Antelope Peak Challenge

Scott and Chad's Antelope Peak Challenge was a great ride. The day was the best since I've been here in AZ--sunny and upper 60's for the most part. A bit of wind in the afternoon, but no big.

I was running late and frenetic when everyone gathered at the intersection of hwy 77 and the Willow Springs Road. I was able to roll with the group at 7:15 AM, but without any time to spare.

The first 8 miles or so were neutral, so the group was all together until we reached Oracle at around 8 AM.

The first singletrack was the piece of Arizona Trail that goes from the Tiger Mine Road to the beginning of the dreaded gasline section. It's rarely used, and often challenging to follow. But it's a sweet, technical bit of trail.

One of these riders is Rob Brinkeroff--he and I played leapfrog all day until he rode past me while I was removing a hedgehog cactus thorn from my foot near the base of Antelope Peak.

The gasline was tough, but it just did not feel as long as it did the time I rode this loop solo and the other direction two years ago. The gasline bit ends in bloodsucker wash, where we rode devilish beach sand for what seemed like quite a while. Probably only 15 minutes or so. Then there was a brief bit of doubletrack over from Bloodsucker to Putnam Wash, where we rode through this old abandoned ranch site:

Then it was a short trip upstream in Putnam Wash.

This is a view south across Putnam Wash, where the AZ Trail again becomes singletrack.

This was the beginning of a section of singletrack that was fiercely overgrown because of its remoteness. The white-spine acacia, cat's claw, palo verde and other various mean and spiny flora drew plenty o' blood on my shins. Oddly, my left leg got ripped really good, but the right was mostly OK. Go figger.

Antelope Peak, seeming close but still nearly an hour away.

Just before reaching the doubletrack at the northern foot of Antelope Peak, I lost the trail completely. Tire tracks were radiating away from the small wash where the trail disappeared. I was wandering through the cactus and brush, looking at my GPS and trying to figure out which direction to go when my foot bumped a hedgehog cactus. Of course, a spine went into the side of my foot. The end was barely protruding from the shoe, so I had to sit down and take off the shoe to yank it. It's always a nice relief to get those little guys out--you really notice it when they're shoved up into your flesh.

After that little ordeal I was just feeling a bit negative about tramping through the brush, so I eliminated the idea of climbing Antelope Peak to get the 75 minute preem and the photo op. I had been planning to go up there. Kind of wish I had done it now.

Instead I got out to the Freeman Road, facing a bit of a headwind as I headed west to the intersection with the Willow Springs Road. Lee Blackwell and another dude, I think probably Veeze Price Andy Stevenson, caught me and we rode together for a while. I was feeling it. They rode off ahead around the intersection with Willow Springs. Not long after, I caught them as Lee stopped to eat. Andy Veeze came with me to ride the singletrack into the Old Pueblo venue since he had not successfully loaded the course into his GPS and he needed a guide to get him there. So we rode together for most of an hour.

When we got the the venue, he wanted to go straight to the finish, but I was intent on doing the bonus lap. So I showed him to "His" and told him how to complete the course. Then I turned back west to ride the lap. I stopped by at June and Phil's camp to see if Phil knew how things were going for June. He had not heard from her, so I went on and promised to call when I finished.

The worst part of the bonus was "the Bitches". It's another bit of gasline, the least enjoyable part of the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo course. I started riding the course at about 4:10, and rolled off the course under the Willow Springs Arch at 4:59.

Back to the finish at 5:30 on the mark. Of the 11 men who finished, I was #11 (woo hoo!)

Official results are here: http://rockyroad5050.wordpress.com/aes-results/

Good day. Thanks Scott and Chad!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

blinky blinky

Junebug took me for an exploring ride. We wanted to review the route (using Painter Boy) that the Antelope Peak Challenge will take to make a more direct route from the Willow Springs road to the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo venue. Then we rolled up to "the blinky light", a radio tower high above the desert, to ride down to the venue on singletrack. Stans to Stickman to Painter Boy to Bones.

Outbound on Painter Boy

It was sprinkling when we embarked. The weather stayed off in other places for the most part until about an hour in. We were stopped to work on June's dragging rear brake rotor when it began to rain a bit harder. We pulled out rain jackets and put them on. Almost immediately the rain slowed, within 5 minutes it stopped.

My theory is that the rain gods look down. They throw some rain at you, then watch to see how you react. If you're prepared and not terribly traumatized, things tend to go better. If you're wearing a hawaiian shirt, baggies with a single clif bar in the pocket, a single water bottle and no pack, you're going to see serious weather.

Painter Boy was pretty easy to follow, but the connecting "trail" to Willow Springs was mostly cow path. We made two meanders off the trail in less than half a mile, but then found the intersection of the service road up to the blinky light and Willow Springs Road.

The climb up to the blinky was not bad, at least by Colorado standards. From up top the view was splendid.

Then it was time to start riding the ridge on a faint trail known as Stans. It sometimes was hidden by overgrown bunch grass, marked by tiny cairns and sticks for the most part. But it was followable. Sometimes I had to slow to a near trackstand and look around, but only a few times had to stop to hunt around ahead for a cairn or visible bit of trail. It reminded me of the Blue Dot trail above Moab.

The views were spectacular.

Great ride. Hoping that the weekend will be dryer, especially Sunday.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Colossal Cave to Rincon Creek on the AZT

Overnight some weather moved in. The NWS was saying that we had 10 days of clear warm weather. What gives?

So the rain pattered on the roof of the tPOD all night, but it was only moist. No puddles, just warm and humid and sprinkles on and off.

Things were looking a little iffy, but pretty. Love that Sonoran Desert!

The sprinkles became constant and not intermittent. But I wanted to make it to Rincon Creek. So I rocked it, brushing white spine acacia on and off. But it was fun. I made the Creek as the rain began to fall in earnest.

Got back to the tPOD just as the sky opened up. It really rained as I made lunch. Now I know, we're supposed to be in for some crappy weather through tomorrow. Clearing Saturday in plenty of time for the Antelope Peak Challenge on Sunday. Word!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cienega AZT

When I first showed up on a vision quest in the Tucson area a little over 2 years ago, the first place I lit was the Colossal Cave Mountain Park east of Tucson near the town of Vail, AZ. I discovered a section of the AZT there that really made me feel welcome. And a great place to camp.

I wound up joining a volunteer crew to work on this section of the AZT on two different Saturdays during that January of 2007. So I have a special attachment to this bit of the trail.

I went back to CCMP as soon as I got here. It was not even noon, so I decided I might as well get on my way out to see one of my favorite pieces of singletrack anywhere.

This is the bit I had the great pleasure to work on.

I headed south, out of Colossal Cave toward I-10 and the Santa Rita Mountains beyond.

This is one of the two bikes I brought on this trip, courtesy of Shawn. It's his beautiful custom Coconino. Let me tell you, Steve knows how to make them corner!

This is a little bit of twisty trail just north of the 3 Bridges.

I wound up riding more than 10 miles south after crossing the interstate. They've been working hard on this linkage to the Santa Ritas, and it is nice. There were fresh tool marks on much of it.

Nice 36 mile out-and-back.

SE AZ at dawn

Getting back to SE Arizona is always a treat for me. I rolled south from Salida on Tuesday, getting do Deming, NM by about 10 PM. Here's a tip for those of you who like to Wal-Mart camp. The Walmart in Deming sits really close to I-10 and really close to the railroad tracks. It sounded like I was parked in the median of the interstate--until trains came by mind you. Then I could barely hear the big rigs howling by for the train whistle. Not. Much. Sleep.

I left early (naturally) and was rolling west on I-10 before 6 AM. The sun rose behind me at around 7.

Just as the sun was clearing the horizon, a quick coyote ran across the highway a couple hundred feet in front of me. Good omen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

CB Nordic in Sunshine

Kathy's folks treated us to a really nice weekend in Crested Butte for nordic skiing. Could not have asked for better weather.

I'm not [intentionally] dancing here, I'm trying to not fall over.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Day at the Beach

It's been so much skinny-tire for me--mostly on the rollers. I needed a taste of singletrack, and a chance to shake out my ride for the Antelope Peak Challenge, a Coconino hardtail I'm borrowing from Shawn. It is a sweet ride; cruiser-style with a curved top tube, S-bend seat stays, Fox fork, crossmax 29, full XTR--pretty much full bling. I'll get photos of this blue beauty on here ASAP.

It is the perfect ride for Pueblo Lake State Park. Head tube angle is just a touch steeper than I'm accustomed to and it really likes to turn. Just think a turn and it goes there. Nice.

Gary from Del Norte and his friend Andy needed some dirt too, so we cruised over there together. Nice to ride outside and not risk frostbite.

Gary rockin' it.

Andy rockin' it.

Gary and Andy under blue skies with Pikes Peak in the background.

Good day, worth the drive.

Friday, January 9, 2009


So OK, it's been a while since I've posted. Just, uh, not much going on. I already posted a picture of myself on the rollers. I could get more of those! Also posted a pic of my ride through a winter-ish landscape. More of that has been happening. Also work is progressing on Salida Mountain Trails issues.

But my bikey news for right now is that I'm planning to roll out to Oracle, AZ for the Antelope Peak Challenge

Arizona, here I come!