We rolled out from Costco in a neutral start before heading on the railroad grade warm-up to the Dells. Having never ridden the Dells, I was anxious to see all the hyped singletrack…
Photo by Eric Nelson
…and let me say, all the hype is justified. The slickrock lines matched up perfectly to form a rideable line. In many sections, a nice fit rock wedged between a gap made for a perfect line. Eric, Scott, and Dan were off the front and disappeared.
Aaron and I would fend for ourselves, following the white lines to the first stream crossing, where we found Eric again giving us cues on where to go next. Eric snapped a few pictures of us as we rode by, giving us specific directions on where to go next. Not only did he have the idea to add this singletrack, he singlehandedly coached us through the area.
Photos by Eric Nelson
After the Dells, Aaron (riding a singlespeed) and I found ourselves alone again. I realized he was without a GPS. I suggested he either catch Scott or take the slower approach to the route, ride with me. He choose the later, smart guy. We descended into Granite Basin flying over water bars and enjoying every turn. A figure appeared on the road crossing. It was Scott, he had twisted his ankle on a slickrock section of the Dells and was pulling the plug. We stopped for a second only to get energized by his encouragement, “Go catch Dan!”
We sped off and had a good run. Our undoing was a gun-like, Stan’s explosion. I was chatting with a local as we rode neared the turn to ride down to White Spar and Aaron was about a few turns back. We waited for about 20 minutes before he rode up. A few feet behind him were Steve Becker and Nino. Shoot, while waiting for Aaron to change his flat, Steve and Nino had caught us.
I rode ahead until the start of Spruce Mountain, where Steve eventually caught up to me. I still thought I could beat him up Spruce Mountain. Oh man was I wrong. My legs did not want to catch him. He dropped me, never to be seen again until the finish line. I blame the lack of big rides on my inability to stay with Steve. I need to start riding bigger rides.
Trail 305 is a brilliant way to end a race, add in some Dells at the beginning and you have a race that will soon become a classic. At the finish line, we enjoyed some PBR and Costco pizza. Scott’s ankle was getting worse. We chatted about the route and future endeavors. A few more riders came in before we started heading back to Tucson.
After a rest day, I headed out to the Tuesday Ride. More exploration in order followed by what could be the last ride with wildflowers. It is starting to get warmer here in Tucson. With the warmth comes two things: less flowers and later start times. I think next week we will be starting at 3:50 at Rubio’s.
Adding the normal route at a “fast” pace made things interesting
Nearly 3 hours of riding and we never had to ride the same trail more than once.
The “fast” pace also meant I took less pictures until we got to the flower paradise.
This really is the best time of year here in Tucson, perfect weather, crisp mornings for commuting followed by a nice cool temperature for a late, after work ride.
And to the many times that we just skipped cleaning a section in favor of speed, we will be back next week to re-session. The picture above has a move that I have yet to do…perhaps next week.
Rocks… they are what make singletrack interesting. I love to ride them. I might not be the fastest person, but I can ride the rockiest of trails with a grace that is hard to find in these parts. Perhaps it is me rationalizing my failure to ride up Spruce Mountain with the speed required to take 2nd place, but man it feels so good to ride what once was thought to be undoable.
The only remaining question now is how to balance technical rides with the longer, all-day endurance rides.