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That freeskier guy is such a freak isn't he? :)

I would attempt the P-MX but I will be representing Intel tomorrow very poorly at the Tour de Mesa along with the other 100+ of us.

Kick some ass Ray! (as if you didn't already)
 

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Good Race or rather ride. I found myself hating the race and telling myself i would never do another AES ride on that last climb up 299. Then once i finished, i found myself dreaming of next years race and where i went wrong in this one.

The more of these AES races i do and see Ray's time, the more i start to realize that Ray is super human.
 

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d-town's going big, me on the other hand, going small. Freeskier isn't interested since it's not a billion miles. What about the rest of you slackers?
Went big and failed big.

Nancy was toying with doing the mini, but she figured if Ray was doing the mini it is probably too easy. :)

Anyhow, Nancy and I ended up riding together. First sign of danger was when we got to the water stop at Granite mountain. There was NO water coming from the spigot. A guy sitting there said "it just started doing that". Since I had started with less that two water bottles worth of water and we had a HUGE stretch before White Spar, this was a problem. We took a gamble that the horse trough off of trail 251 would still be pumping out water and continued on the course. Fortunately that gamble payed off, but it required a little bit of an off-course diversion.

After Granite basin was a good bit of climbing, but the trails were pretty good. Took us way up high to some really nice views. Then a long downhill on trail #619. It appears that motorcycles have been using as a "track" it was a little sandy, but all bermed and such from the motos. Pretty fun to rip down. Eventually we made it down to Dosie Pit road for a slight downhill spin for a couple of miles.

At this point we were both feeling pretty good and our time looked good. All signs pointed positive. We sorta knew what was next since we had done this route, in the other direction, at Wandeschlautt in it's first year. We knew that turning on to trail #264 meant a lot of climbing and a lot of hike a bike. However, my memory buried some of the worst of it. The first few miles were not bad. Some hike a bike, some riding. Then we dumped out onto a jeep trail and it started to just get ugly. Steep and rubble strewn. Hike a bike time. Each time you'd come to a section where you though it would level out, there was just more, and often steeper, climbing. It just kept going and going. Even when we got to the top there would be some decent sections of riding and then another section of steep rubbly jeep road. It was rather demoralizing. By the time we finally dumped out onto Thumb Butte road I was pretty much done for the day.

Nancy knew there was an issue when she saw me sitting on the side of the road. We generally don't ever "stop" on these big rides. We talked a bit and decided to continue to the Sierra Prieta overlook. I was thinking about taking the road back into town from there, but Nancy suggested we hit the single track since it was "mostly" downhill for a while. Good choice. That section was super fun and really helped to raise my spirits. When we finally hit Copper Basin road it was time to evaluate the options. We were something like 8 hours in - so no way we'd be finishing in the 10 hours we had estimated. I suggested that we just call it a day and take the road back into town. It was not like we were "training" for anything. Didn't get much argument.

We got back to the start a little before 5 and were there when Steve Reynolds rolled in. First place on the long loop - on a full rigid fat bike - still grinning from the roll down 305. Then 5 minutes later Neal Helfman finished the big loop. These guys are obviously in a different class than us.

While it was interesting to see the west side of Prescott, and there were some pretty *****in' views up there, I kept thinking "should have done the mini". Next year...
 

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parenting for gnarness
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Well, damn. After hearing about the water issues on the PMC I'm really glad I opted for this instead:
http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/474388608
^nuts!

The mini was about as perfect as you can get imo. Hard but not leave-you-wrecked hard, so much good singletrack, great weather. Really like the new Ranch trail, old Ranch trail was interesting esp. at that point in the ride.

@Jeff - yeah that water issue...props to those of you who pushed on.

Was the Dells different this year? I remember it being a little more ridable from a few yrs ago, this seems like a lot of HAB and fewer descents i felt good about.
 

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^nuts!

The mini was about as perfect as you can get imo. Hard but not leave-you-wrecked hard, so much good singletrack, great weather. Really like the new Ranch trail, old Ranch trail was interesting esp. at that point in the ride.

@Jeff - yeah that water issue...props to those of you who pushed on.

Was the Dells different this year? I remember it being a little more ridable from a few yrs ago, this seems like a lot of HAB and fewer descents i felt good about.
The water thing was odd. Apparently the fast folks had water, but us in the back did not. Fortunately I'm familiar with that area and knew of a backup source.

The Dells track was new as of last year. To me the new route was an improvement over the old one. I found it more rideable.

The mini route would be perfect if it could end on 305 - without climbing Spruce Mountain. But, you gotta pay to play.
 

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The water thing was odd. Apparently the fast folks had water, but us in the back did not. Fortunately I'm familiar with that area and knew of a backup source.

The Dells track was new as of last year. To me the new route was an improvement over the old one. I found it more rideable.

The mini route would be perfect if it could end on 305 - without climbing Spruce Mountain. But, you gotta pay to play.
my memory is a few yrs ago, and i might have been feeling the dh's in the Dells more in '11. who knows... Love the Dells regardless.

A guy i yo-yo'd with all day was in the same spot w. water, he wound up begging some from a jeeper i think. I brought a full tank so was fine, but on a hot day that would have sucked even for the 50.

I remember in '11 the dirt road climb up Spruce being awful, the DH fun, the part through the campgrounds longer and harder than I wanted at that point in the ride. Ranch's climb after 396 was great, hard but awesome reminded me a lot of BCT just beauty ST and off camber wooded stuff. the top was manzanitas and scratcy, the dh was fun & fast but very rubbly and there were about 3 awful short HABs that just made the final "oomph" in the day. 396 to the top or Ranch and back down i think would be a fun ~2-3hr ride. I really liked the Ranch trail finish, 2 very different feeling sections from everything else we'd done so far in the day. Just an all-around great slice of Prescott.

turns out the family rode Watson Lake trail about 30 min after we went through there.
 

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Weee!! After a day of recuperating, I am still smiling from ear to ear from that ride! That final descent was a real blast and the new climb up 299 was definitely better than having to push the bike up Spruce Mtn (?).
 
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