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This place needs an enema
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A few mornings ago I hastily packed for a spur-of-the-moment roadtrip. While schlepping necessities from the house to the car I noticed the wind: Softly gusting at first, then briskly increasing in humidity as well as intensity. Pellets of driven graupel stung my cheek as I closed the tailgate and climbed in.

This late in the year a storm usually means the end of the 'riding season', as any precip that falls is frozen, and the low sun can't get at the northern exposures to melt it away. At best the trails get buried, allowing (mostly) foot and (limited) bike traffic to pack them in to a semblance of their summer flavor. At worst these trails become sodden goopy messes incapable of any sort of travel. Although many of us do pedal right through the winter, we end up cruising mostly road, on black ice and packed snow, which lacks a lot when it comes to scratching my preferred itches. Technical? It certainly can be, but not really in a tickle-your-funny-bone sort of way. Winter riding, here, is usually more about time spent spinning solo, thinkering on projects both professional and personal.

I drove down to Greg's and plucked him from his apartment. As we motored west to meet Skippy the sky opened and fat, wet flakes splattered the road and the windshield. Inside I felt the heaviness of an oaken door closing down our season, but there was cause for levity as well: We were headed south, to southern Arizona, to squeeze in a last fling with dirt.

We danced with the impending storm all the way through Utah, flitting between 'hyperspace' snow and merely heavy overcast.


A brief geek-out interlude was included in the price of admission.




All's quiet at the 'red' turquoise booth.


On the ascent into Flagstaff the road went to hell as the sky came down upon it.


Or so I'm told. Comfortably ensconced in the back seat of Skippy's Chevy Carnivore made the storm seem distant and entertaining--like watching it all happen on a big-screen TV. Greg and I snapped pics and swapped yuks while Skippy white knuckled and strained to see. Occasionally Greg or I would offer him a cookie to keep critical systems functioning.


Despite the road conditions and closures, we made it down to warmer (NOT drier) environs before crashing out for the night.

On tap: 5 days of Arizona chunk.

Stay tuned.

MC
 

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carpe mañana
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7,297 Posts
Perfect timing! I'm heading there soon. Looking forward to the stoke.

_MK
 

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Ride to the ride.
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360 Posts
MikeSee's Riding Hat

Luckily I had almost nothing else going on. (Um... except the Girl I Ride With who happened to have a birthday celebration during my absence... Foul or Fair?) So when the invitation came, I filled a bag with not-quite-enough bike clothes and tagged along with my bike.

MikeSee and I live a few short blocks away from each other, but in the near ten years I've been acquainted with him, we've somehow managed to ride together about 4 times.

Each time, I'm amazed that a guy who made something of a name for himself by riding over ridiculous distances in ridiculous amounts of time under ridiculous conditions is more than just a mileage machine. He's got burst strength and tech skill that many can happily envy. Plus, he's a genuinely nice guy, knowledgeable, cheerful, handsome...

I write this, not because anyone here really needs to know. But because I'm a suck-up and I hope to be invited on another trip like this sometime in the future.

It was a brilliant trip. Lots of laughs. Mike and Mr. Skippy pushed me into rough-and-gnarly terrain that I'm only beginning to appreciate. And that I was only able to survive due to the saving grace of a recently acquired bike and some protective pads.

Mike definitely had on his Arizona Riding Hat (see pic) and was riding things that I could only stare at aghast.

I'll have a few more pics as I get them sorted.

--Greg
 

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This place needs an enema
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
LOL at the pic and the suck-up quotes!

Looking forward to seeing some (many!) of your most excellent pics when you get around to it...

MC
 

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Ride to the ride.
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360 Posts
Land of the Pricks

Home, in Western Colorado, we have small prickly pear cactus and goathead thorns. The goathead thorns are almost never on trails. Barrel cactus are small and rare, and yucca almost never cause any problems.

So it was somewhat of a shock to arrive for my first ever ride in Southern Arizona and realize that nearly EVERYTHING along the trail was pointy, sharp, spined, or otherwise generally full of pricks.

Mike had asked me if my tubeless tire sealant was full and up-to-date. It was, but if I'd known how it would look down there, I'd have probably dumped in twice the recommended amount. He forgot to mention that I might want to ride in full armor.

Our first ride was in the White Tank Mountains, leading up to and then down on the Goat Camp Trail. Within about 15 seconds of hitting the singletrack at the bottom, I'd managed to flip a teddy bear cholla off my tire and into my achilles tendon. I didn't get a photo, because I was busy trying to figure out what to grab it by to get it out. But I did learn a lesson, and for the rest of the trip I was able to limit my cactus encounters to random scrapes, slashes, rips, tears, pokes, and abrasions.

Pics from the ride below.

--Greg
 

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I am Doctor Remulak
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Bikeabout said:
Within about 15 seconds of hitting the singletrack at the bottom, I'd managed to flip a teddy bear cholla off my tire and into my achilles tendon. I didn't get a photo, because I was busy trying to figure out what to grab it by to get it out.
Carry a comb in your pack to remove cactus, or use a couple rocks. Nice pics, looking forward to seeing more (I have a source who claims MANY photos were taken on SoMo).
 

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Scott in Tucson
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AZ Mikey said:
Carry a comb in your pack to remove cactus, or use a couple rocks. Nice pics, looking forward to seeing more (I have a source who claims MANY photos were taken on SoMo).
Said source would be correct. Most documented ride I have ever participated in!

Keep 'em coming MC and crew. I'll have a few of my own to contribute once the thread gets rollin'.
 

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This place needs an enema
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16,198 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Goodness.

I've seen uglier ways to start a day.


The climb started mellow enough.




But before we even had our heart rates elevated the pitch and chunk level increased so substantially that we had no choice with what happened next.


Walking is a good way to get acquainted with the local flora. If indeed it can be called that.


Back home we have a few sharp rocks and very few cactus. Here it seems that what isn't sharp rock is cactus, and vice versa. Everything is pointy, and all of it will be painful to fall on. Note to self: don't!




After the initial push the climb was very friendly, offering mellow grades and moderate tech challenges over it's ~9 mile length.






With crisp blue skies, low 50's temps, and the trail to ourselves, we fell into an easy rhythm of climbing at our own preferred paces. Only when one of us stopped for a pic would the others pass, which worked out well as we all seemed interested in photogeeking on the new-to-us scenery. Skippy coined the term 'pictopaceline' and it seemed to fit.






Someone felt the spirit of the season so acutely they lugged tinsel and balls many miles to decorate this palo verde.


And then, we climbed some more.




I could see no point in dwelling on the fact that back home they were digging out from a fresh foot of snow, after which the temps had dropped below zero. What good would guilt do me here, now? I decided to embrace the moment and simply enjoy the sun, the sky, and the alien vegetation--I'd be back home soon enough.






Soon after, the trail stopped climbing. We lounged in the sun, ate a bit, then added a layer (or armor, or both) for the descent.


Then down we went. I find myself at a loss for words in trying to describe the difficulty of cleaning this trail. It's not the steepest and it's far from the chunkiest that I've ridden, but somehow it combines the two in such a way that you've gotta be a solid tech rider *and* having a pretty good day to even come close to cleaning every move.


None of us cleaned it--not by a longshot. But we had fun trying certain sections a second or third time to see if we could contort ourselves enough to punch a wheel past a stopper or squeak one through a gap. Lots of laughing, lots of smiling, lots of concentration.


It *is* supposed to be fun, right?


The sun hovered along a western ridgeline, dropping about as fast as we were and giving us stunning warm light to navigate down by.




After ~3 miles of on-the-edge-of-our-seats fun we hit the wash and swooped back to the truck.


In the parking lot big grins and high fives were shared, partly from the goodness of the day, partly from the knowledge that there were 4 more days of it to go.

MC
 

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Powered by ice cream.
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6,356 Posts
The new (camera) gear suits you.

Methinks you turning the corner from a rider who loves to take photos, into a photographer who loves to ride?
 

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Brit on a trip
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453 Posts
Nice report, thanks for taking the time - look forward to the rest:cool:

Yep, phoenix is a real winter tonic. I would spend at least a month or two there every year if I could!:p

Armour is definitely the way to go - nowhere soft to land:eek:

 

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Registered
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I suck at this.

Well that didn't go well. Sorry Mikesee and Bikeabout. Looks like no pics from me.
 
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