Saturday, May 19, 2012

Final rides

It is that time of year again when Tucson is rapidly becoming less appealing. Night rides and Lemmon rides are the only things that keep Tucson on the radar for cyclists this time of year. After a few blistering rides in 50 year earlier this week, the plan was to do the cooler, more preferred rides. I can do the hot, but if you have the option, why not just do the cooler rides?

The Mi Ranchito Starr Pass Thursday ride from Scott's house is becoming a tradition (soon to break). The GV and Tucson crew united for one last ride.

Lee sums up the ride with a simple gesture. "It's good to be on the bike."

After graduation, I met Scott for a camping trip on Lemmon. Short and quick.Scott summed up the singletrack on Lemmon, "There is no singletrack that is easy on this mountain." We rode from camp to the top of Aspen and back, hoping to stop at the Cookie Cabin for cinnamon buns and coffee.

Ohhhhh, the old foot dab. Pretty impressive riding from Scott given the recent Great Race attempt last weekend.

We tried to move a few logs on the trail, only we failed miserably. We needed Duncan several times to show us how to move deadfall.

Scott was a machine on most of the climbs and technical sections.

It was a different story for me. I am still hurting from last week's beat down on CDO. I have a lot of riding to do before I can recover from 12-hour rides faster. Part of me thinks that these rides, although fun, might be impeding some growth on the bike. It's a bit of dilemma of sorts for me. Do you want to train or just ride? Harder when you see people around you training and getting stronger.

New lines and new log roles, some need some TLC.

Smack it!

Scott said it best when trying to attack this section, "it has to go eventually." And it did. I was there, on top of the last rock lip when I ran out of energy. Scott cleaned it on the next attempt.

Another move cleaned. As usual, most lines look easy when put into a picture format.

Scott was hitting everything.

As fate would have it, we forgot our credit cards for the Cookie Cabin. Might have been a good thing as I had to get back for a meeting at noon. Great ride, Scott. I hope to be stronger come CO in July.


A few weeks ago, K and I went to Mt Lemmon for some camping and riding. Unbeknownst to us, Ty and Sevan had a similar plan and found us while walking their dogs. Perfect timing. Both are moving from Tucson in less than a month and this was the last time that we were going to be able to really say goodbye.

Ty is one of those guys that you can count on for anything...borrowed bike, parts, help with something, bailing me out, homemade sushi (he is/has been a chef for years)....he is a rare breed, a renaissance man of sorts.

The first few rides we did together were unforgettable as he was always getting flats. My favorite story is when we (Scott and I) were bombing down Molino and he flatted and bent his rim a little bit. Instead of fixing it, he busted out an entire chicken leg and started eating it. Classic.

We will miss you, Ty. Arizona is losing a great cyclist and outdoors fanatic. Let's do some riding in CA soon....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Season Finale Techy Taco Ride

Scott was up doing the Coconino 250 time trial, so that left Duncan and I to finish of this seasons ride of tech. I'd like to also make a note that allergies are particular strong this year, partly due to the beautiful native trees that are blooming up a storm. Pretty to see though.

This one was partciullary challenging for Duncan today. It's a hard line, don't be fooled. It has stumped many riders.

Duncan ended up breaking his frame on the ride. Something you never want to see. These rides have claimed many parts (and now bikes) but they have made me into the rider I am today. Let's hope he can get a replacement frame soon.

As for the TTT ride, until next was great riding with everyone that came out. Perhaps we can get a few more new riders out next year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Canyon del Oro Epic

The up-and-over Lemmon ride has come to represent what an endurance ride from your house looks like. It is a tradition of sorts, done ever year for the past 4 years. There was first the Red Ridge, later the Samaniego and now we have the Canyon del Oro.

After I did the ride this past Saturday, I was talking to my Grandpa Thomas on Mother's Day about the history of Canyon del Oro. Being a native AZ and a miner, my grandfather is often a wealth of information for anything related to AZ. He was actually sent out by Magma Copper to scout out the CDO wash for a possible mine in the early in his career. He smirked as he continued to narrate the story. It seems as though he came across a lady that owned a cabin next to the perennial stream. In fact, as they approached the cabin, they were surprised to hear a piano as the cabin was pretty remote. He even remembered her name. We checked on Google Maps and found a few cabins on the lower setion of CDO. It's great to see how for generations people have been visiting areas, you will never be the first to see a particular area. That said, it can be a first for you.

No matter how you get up to CDO Trail, whether by foot or bike, it is a special place.

I had planned to wake up at 4:30am on Saturday and ride CSP and meet Max near his house on Oracle. I got what I thought was a wake up call from Max only to hear that he was out because of some vomitting. Great. Now what?
I went back to bed, not really sleeping until the phone rang again. It was Max and the ride was back on, albeit very late. I rode from my house and met Max at 7am.

 We headed up Lemmon, only to skip Prison because of the heat. I was trying to catch Max and riding as fast as I could. There is something to be said riding up Lemmon with a FS, fully loaded bag. So much so that it tends to get comments from people. A few of my favorites:

"You are insane."
"Are you doing the Tour Divide?" (haha my favorite, how did he know about TD?!)
"Wow, you going to the top? You are wickedly strong."
"I can't believe you are riding a bike on this (Marshall Gulch section)!"

If they only really knew the guy in front of me and how much shape he was in.
I rode up Biggie, down Secret, 1918, Sunset and Marshall Gulch. Not seeing any bike tracks, I knew Max had taken the road to the store. I am a sucker for singletrack, even when it is ridiculously harder.

General Store classics....Fritos, trail mix, fudge, bars...wait, no Coors Lt? I was in some serious pain and beer was not even on the menu.

We rested at the store for about 30 minutes and made the final push to the store. I was in some serious pain having sped up the mountain while trying to catch Max.

A few changes to the headset on Max's new titanium Seven. We bombed down Meadows and later Sutherland.

If you look closely you can see a guy weed-wacking in the top left corner. Bufflegrass. Work is always good on this mountain. Plenty of days to join in on the fun coming up.

The trail has been recently brushed by the Forest Service.

About 1/3 of the trail looks like this, especially for the first 2 miles (5.4 miles the turnoff to Red Ridge Trail). The trail drops down to the lower tree line and criss-crosses a perennial stream about 15 times. It is beautiful, perfect riding for the summer time. The adventure level for this trail is high, just like Samaniego and Red Ridge.

We rested for about 45 minutes next to the stream. It was one of those moments where you wish you could just take a nap to wait for the sun to set. But, we had places to be, which meant a bike out to Charleau Gap at 3pm in the 90s.

Dialing the new bike in....this guy is ready for the Tour Divide. I guarantee he will be in the top of the field.

Oracle Ridge and Red Ridge, as seen L to R. Sadly, I know next year will might have to do the Oracle Ridge Epic.

The last bit of road down Charleau was a blast (so much so that I just rode it today again, 5/15).

Max getting some sweet air on a water bar.

We bombed down Cherry and 50 year back to the house. Brilliant and painful.

The CDO Epic in numbers:

81 miles
11, 587 feet of climbing
10.5 hours moving time

What I would do differently: start the ride earlier, do prison and Catalina State Park, take a nap down by the stream at the end of CDO and ride up (see mile 68 below) to Charleau Gap as the sun is setting. Oh, and maybe leave the big camera at home. Max was too fast to really use it to its potential.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Incinerator ridge II

Mt Bigelow is the go-to place for free camping on Mt Lemmon. For the past four years, I have made it a point to camp and bike up here. Lemmon is what makes Tucson so attractive to cyclists.

The ride up on the paved highway is even a delight. So it is without surprise that when I new trail is done, that we *need* to check it out.

A few weeks ago, Scott, Aaron and I rode up to check out the newest section of the Lemmon Drop...Incinerator Ridge. You can now ride from Bigelow to Green Mountain on nearly all singletrack.

and beautiful singletrack at that.

Big tires for Aaron!

Keeping the big bike theme from the following, Scott and I headed to Starr Pass in search of some chunk. It is starting to heat up in Tucson, meaning that early/late rides are a must.

I heard some gibberish from Scott about Wormwhole Trail was we were headed up Yetman Wash. I jokingly said, "Yeah, let's ride UP wormwhole." I thought it was a joke, but Scott actually suggested it.

And we did go up. It was not that bad actually. Stunning views and steep climbs.

Cat Mountain in the background.

We made our way over to Wagonwheel for some more climbing and tech.


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