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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two days of riding - in a row! This is a big deal to me 'now-a-days'.

Family, job, life. The usual suspects that conspire to keep cycling at bay sometimes, or push the envelope schedule-wise and make for hit the pavement, rubber-down at 430AM sort of days (nights?) usually. It doesn't seem to matter though, as 90 minutes on the rollers, in the shed, in the dark, in the dead of winter at 430 AM are better than no minutes on the bike any day. I'll take what I can get - and make it worth it. After years and years of pretty serious training, racing, and riding I know what I need mentally and physically (for those that may be reading this and are not familiar with the old days - where there were many, many glenzx 'Race Reports') and enjoy the time I do get on the bike. I love cycling. All forms - at least that I have tried to date.

Cyclocross? Sure! Why not go as hard as possible for 1 hour, on and off the bike - jumping hurdles and screaming through sand/mud/grass/dirt. Fun stuff. Road? Of course! I love road riding and racing - nothing as pure, powerful, and painful. But I wouldn't recount tales from the grass or the pavement here, necessarily - as my passion does lie in off-road riding/racing - and this is what this story is about.

Months ago I lobbied for a weekend get-away where I could go ride until I dropped. Being that it was my birthday weekend, I figured I had a little leverage - and knew just where to go. With the green light at home, I scoured the Arizona board / blogs for an oppurtunity. When I saw Walt had posted the date of JAN 24 for the "Quadruple By-Pass Ride" (QBP) in Phoenix, I knew I had a start. I inquired of the Arizona Endurance Series folks when the "Antelope Peak Challenge" (APC) may be held - as in years past it was this same weekend. Well what do you know! That same weekend, on Sunday JAN 25th, Chad (co-mastermind) of the APC noted it was a go. Damn! Back-to-back desert goodness in January. A quick check in with the cycling godess of the southwest - Kathleen aka DurtGurl - netted stellar company and accomadations at her house. Hot shower, hot tub, hot damned!

So far so good. Planning was underway, maps were procured, gear was assembled. Then a bomb hit - I was given 2 weeks notice at my job. Talk about knocking the wind out of ones sails! After a day or two of self pity, and with the support of my wife - I decided to keep to the plan. It'd be good for the psyche and the soul. What's a few bucks in gas - since it's still dirt cheap - compared to a huge oppurtunity like this. Still feeling slightly guilty, I hit the road that Friday afternoon before the QBP ride. Destination - dinner with Kathleen and some other locals!

Got into town, met up with everyone, ate some food and then retreated to bed. It was late, and we'd have a big day the next day! JB/CactusJoe was set to pick us up at 7:15AM or so the next morning in his new 'Galactica', and there was a little driving to get to the trailhead / rally point. I slept like a rock, woke up all bright eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to go. Of course, there was some gear prep and bottles to mix up and gu's to organize - and then we were off.

As we rolled into the parking lot where everyone was meeting up, I was impressed to see more people getting ready for a group ride than i have seen at a number of gatherings and small races even! Phoenix is nuts - and has a hell of a cycling population to be sure. In fairly reasonable time we were all clipped in and headed for the trails. We made for a large convoy, and I was spinning with some folks up front just chatting away.

It didn't take long for the chit-chat to stop... Damn, these trails started going up pretty seriously, pretty fast. With the goal of 4 mountain passes in 1 day, covering about 35 miles and 6,900 feet of climbing - this was a serious warm-up. Rocky, steep, and beautiful. We hit the top of the first pass (Wingate), regrouped to some extent, then started bombing down to the start of the next climb. There were 12-14 of us leading a semi-fast "lead group" but we were keeping it pretty social most of the time. The problem was that as soon as the trail went up, the conversation(s) stopped, and the sweat poured. It was warm and humid - and thankfully we were getting some cloud cover for the climbs! At the top of the next pass (Bell?), we were down to 8-9 like minded hammer heads, and took off for a ripping, fast, joyous descent. These are serious trails despite there easy access and close proximity to "town". I was noticing a young lad on a tan singlespeed. Turns out Scott, who was truly a young lad at the age of 16 - was cleaning most of the sick climbs, and absolutely shredding the descents. The (high) opinion of this kid was unanimous amongst us old pharts - if he stuck with this two wheeled obsession we share - we would all be reading about him one day. He was that strong/good.

Very roughly 1/2 way through the ride, around the backside / low point of the route - we hit some fun rolling / traversing trails and jeep road to bring us around to the next climb. At this point - it's sort of a blur to me. High points were - after a screaming dirt road descent and some new subdivision navigation - this next piece of trail. Beautiful rolling scenic and felt like we were headed off towards more remote areas. I think we must have been at the western side of the McDowell Mountain Park / Preserve / Thing - and the trails were great. We meandered for a while, then hit a short steep stretch of dirt road - and then turned onto a trail called Prospector. Funny thing here was that something happened to the rest of the group as after a few minutes I heard no one and stopped. I waited, checked my map - and nervously forged on. A while later I ran into what I'd have to term a 'fred' and asked him if he knew whether or not I was headed in the right direction to end up back at Wingate Pass. He shrugged and said that he thought so....

On I went - climbing and climbing the moderate grade on fun singletrack that kept winding and unfolding and generally making me grin. A while later, I ran into a gal out trail running in the opposite direction and asked HER if she knew where we were. She pulled out a map to compare to mine, and reassured me that I was indeed headed to Wingate - but could also take Bell down, once at the top. I figured I'd better stay safe and with the plan - and as we talked a bit more I realized, had I been single - I'd be asking for her phone number! Decidedly NOT single - I moved on. It occured to me that as a happily married dude I just don't even 'think like that' anymore and likely was somewhat appealing in my non-drooling approach - despite the goofy orange and navy lycra, helmet, and pack. Or not!

Once I got to the next intersection, before the final killer ascent - I waited for the hammer group. It wasn't long before i saw them snaking up from below - and in no time we were reunited and on the way. This last climb started out moderate - and I think I even quipped about it being relatively mellow - a good way to finish such a ride - when it started getting steeper, looser, and harder! Ah well, I may not have been setting any land-speed records, but I can always claw along in 4-lo and actually felt pretty good as we approached the top. Once up on the pass, we took a quick snack / regroup break - then "dropped in" for the fast and fun descent all the way back down to the cars. Of course my clean 'street clothes' were in JB's Galactica and would be thus unavailable for a while. So it goes - beers were cracked open, food plans were laid - and off we went to a pub/restaurant across from Basha's (Temple Bar?). I explained to the hostess my predicament and promised to hide until I could put some real clothes on. Beer, burger, salad, and some cheese and bacon covered tater tots did the trick - as did the good company. We lolled about finishing off the pitchers and tots, and headed back as the rest of the gang was rolling in.

Back at the lot, the rest of the gang was packing up, drinking beer, and retelling tales from the trail. The one nasty mishap appears to have had the good fortune of ending up far better than otherwise could be expected (something about crashing and drilling a helmet into a sharp rock). Cute ladies were taking off their shirts (CoyoteKis rumor has it - I missed the potential 'good part ;-)) and Walt was handing out beers. A damned good ending to a damned fantastic ride! Imagine this was only part ONE of my two day adventure...

(part II APC - soon)

3,040 Posts
nice right up Glen. heck of a way to breat out of the NM winter.

I get to play hookie next week. but I'm a little scared. I just got this email from my soon to be house guest in regaurds to his year of prep work which include winter road rides in Boston.....

"just so you know how it goes down.
3680 mtb miles
5200 road miles
6 cyclocross races
10 pounds lighter than last years AZ trip"

I can't wait!

aka Diesel
1,249 Posts

*clearing throat* :skep:

Okay, lol, yes, but there's a diff between getting your "burlesque" on, and getting picked-off while crouching behind a car changing your shirt so that your b.o. doesn't make anyone woozy!! :prft: I was doing the latter, when somebody (no names, but C as in Chongoman) came riding around the corner. But! That said, he only saw my semi-nakie back and the look of horror on my face.

HIS look of horror was FAR more funny, however. And worth the embarrassment.

GREAT write up. :D
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