Picture from Scott's blog... for more pictures, visit him here.
Scott, Dave, Max and I rode out from the Madera/Box Canyon intersection at 6:35am as planned yesterday with the intent of riding around the Santa Rita Mountains. Scott's post highlights most of the trip: Elephant Head, Bull Springs, Josephine Canyon, Temporal, the highway, AZT, Box Canyon, Madera Canyon road.
The weather was a little cold, but as we rode up Box Canyon, at each passing bend, more sunlight began to warm up the weather. I managed to change my glasses (from regular to prescription sunglasses), but not before dropping my headset into my back cassette. The group moved on, unaware of the incident. I stopped and untangled the headset and miraculously they still played music, sort of. I had to listen to background voices and music (no singing) during most of trip.
We rolled to the first section of AZT, awaiting the first section of singletrack and climbing (my feet and hands are a little cold from the Box Canyon ride up). The sun combined with the relentless uphill was perfect. Before I knew it, we were passing Kentucky Camp and riding more singletrack. A little after Kentucky Camp, Max jokingly asserted that my back skewer was loose from a barbed wire that I had hit. I thought he was joking, so I did not take heed to the comment. A little later, my bike popped out and I immediately hit the brakes, which forced my hydraulic pads to lock. Nice, very nice. Good thing it was on a hike-a-bike section. Max helped me push the pads apart and continued to descend and climb.
Later, Scott commented on the 2,000 foot, rocky climb that awaited us. I am going to have to say that I for one am not a very solid rider when it comes to ascending rocky, steep trail and the fact that it was abnormally hot did not help. Scott and Max managed to fair the best on this section, while Dave had a quick bout with his chain. For most of the ride, we had been joking and laughing, although when it came time to ride strong, I think we focused and rode. The entire was a combination of the typical fun group ride combined with a fast pace, the kind of pace to get the job done in time.
We filtered some water at the end of the trail and rerouted to sections of the AZT 300 Race. I knew most of the trail from here to the car, so it seemed like we would finish roughly at 7ish. My HEED in the water bottle and a few Hammer Gels every hour helped me survive up to this point in the ride, but my stomach was starting to get very hungry. I downed 2 gels and the rest of my HEED to quickly solve that problem. I am amazed at how such "nutrition" during a ride can add resilience to my mood and ability to pedal.
The sections of Elephant Head we did in the fading light, by far, it was the best time to be on a bike. We rode onto Madera Canyon with headlamps (I flatted once on the doubletrack near Madera and Dave helped me change the tire). As planned we sped down to the cars, although it was a little later than planned, 7:30.
As always, it was great to host Dave and the fam. Good luck next week.
Approx mileage: 70
Time: a little under 13 hours
Elevation Gain: 12-13k