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The sky was ominous in its portent of the days events as I left my house under the pall of fog, darkness, too little sleep and too long of a drive. After dawn broke and I approached the Mcdowell mountains north east of Phoenix the clouds hung over them like some Lord of the Rings Mt. Doom. With a slight lump in my throat I drove on to our rendezvous point, a nondescript Bashas at the end of Bell road in close proximity to Frank Lloyd Wrights, Taliesin West.

Upon arrival I was joined by 30-40 serious souls, 3 of which chose to attack this on their single speeds (including myself).



Chattering expectantly, somewhat fearful we mounted up and headed into the hills for what would be our first bypass of these mountains.



The climbing starts immediately. Painfully. Extended and technical. The only solace is that many hours from now we will conquer this hill as we descend it back home after 3 more passes.



We climbed, oh how we climbed:



Speed 2: walking



The sky was intense, humidity was off the charts, the desert dry and brown through out the years was peppered with a soft patina of green, little grasses everywhere trying hard to take in the moisture and eke out a short lifespan here.



Windgate Pass in the distance, beckoning me to it, humidity drenching me threatening me with the upcoming downhill. Wish I had gears and I am only 2 miles in so far.



We press on, sky hanging low, enveloping the surrounding mountains as our hearts pound in our ears heads, hung low, breathing labored.



Still the pass is far, farther than it looks and more elevation is gained as is pain.



Exhausted from the ride, or should I say the hike, I sit and snap a shot. Wind is prevalent here and soaked with sweat, core temperatures begin to drop. The descent, a twisty hardpacked rip is ahead and it beckons us.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Bypass 2 and 3

Sun, giver of life, adds color to the ride, pulling greens and blues and yellows from the landscape. Pushes the humidity to even greater levels, sweat flows like rivers, cameras and sunglasses fog. Singlespeeders kness ache, lungs burn and visions of the next descent well up in their heads, pushing them onwards and upward for that sweet reward.



Hill after hill we push up. Against the pull of gravity, each dismount belabored by our choice of gearing or choice of bicycle or choice of activity this day.



But oh the reward: high speed, technical descending into the valley, first on ridges, then valleys then washes then in peoples' backyard all on tacky, rocky and rough terrain. Nirvana for the those that made the climb.



and descend we must.



descending once again makes way to climbing, 33% of the ride over and we are on our way to our 3rd bypass.





The trail teases with rolling hills and rocky descents. We keep our grins on, although grin becomes grimace quite easily.



Looking back from a false summit in dismay the trail snakes down into the valley, hikers pass me and I can just barely catch them again before the 3rd pass.



The 3rd speed: fast coasting. It is on!



 

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Bypass 4

Stopping to enjoy the view, sun dappled peaks in the distance, Mcdowell Mountain park spread before us, we contemplate the final path to ascend to the 4th bypass.



Dixie Mine trail brings a diversion to ascending and descending with a beautiful trail, etched through natural lines in the desert. Bounded by wash and hills, rocks and foliage we cut and carve our way through, for a time focused on the now not on the final ascent







digging deep we ride, walk, push and finally remount to take the last ascent and pass. Our band of 40 has become a band of 5, some faster have finished long ago, some took shorter paths, some behind waiting for those behind them.





Reflection on where we came from leads to reflection on the ultimate goal, that final descent and returning to our cars, spent, tired, worn down and humbled but happy and content. Let's go boys!

 

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Rock - you never fail to impress with your wit and your imagery! Very nice write up and love your pano's. Great job. A few of us from Preskitt and 2 from Phx did BCT that day, 27 miles is not as far as 33, but my azz was cooked after that ride! Started off nice, but once the sun popped out it was humidity on!

Thanks for the write up.
 

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I thought 2nd "gear" on a SS was stand. (Sit, Stand, Push, Coast).

Great write up and beautiful pics. I've been following the planning and report thread over on the AZ board and wishing I could be there. I will make it down one day to do the Quadruple Bypass with you guys. It looks like a great ride and stellar achievement. It seems that the super chunk always prevails when I'm in that neck of the woods, though.

I particularly liked these two. Very nice.
 

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Great write up RC! Looking forward to riding with you again. And I suggest 1x9 next time. It really helped me finish. I did a double weeks before on the SS and I was more tired than after the Quad.

Hopefully we'll run into each other at the OP and drink beers together.
 

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KRob said:
I particularly liked these two. Very nice.
Yep, those two are my favs, too.

Thanks for the post. Looks like a fun, challenging ride. I'd love to try that sometime, but I will definitely be using gears. Lots of gears. Probably 20 different gears.
:p

Good job with your accomplishment, and with the pics.
 

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scorpionwoman said:
Yep, those two are my favs, too.

Thanks for the post. Looks like a fun, challenging ride. I'd love to try that sometime, but I will definitely be using gears. Lots of gears. Probably 20 different gears.
:p

Good job with your accomplishment, and with the pics.
Actually, I rode with gears, but you still pretty much ride with one, the single granny gear. Single speed, bi-modal. pedal, walk - hahahaaa!

Those are some great pics.
 
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