Zen On Dirt


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A Day on White Rim with Geologists

I think the conversation with Alexis went something like this this spring:

Me: What do you mean you and Denny have never been around the White Rim?! You’re bike riding geologists! We’re going this spring. When are you free in April or May? We’ll do it in a day!

Alexis: Umm. Never. The semester ends on May 1. Field camp starts May 6.

Me: Perfect. I’ll see you in Moab on May 3.

Alexis and Denny are both hardworking profs at Utah State University up in Logan, and while I got to see them both several times over the winter in Tucson, I was committed to making sure I got a few more days of Alexis and Denny time in the spring. And the 100-mile White Rim was the perfect excuse.

By the time I’d come back from the final ride of the Annual Girls’ Trip to the Desert, they were there, and defying all logic, I agreed to go on a second ride. Because, well, why not.

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It’s not like the White Rim is a long ride or anything.

We set the alarms for dark:30, hoping to get an early start to the day and avoid finishing in the dark like Scott and I had done back at the end of October.

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We made short work of Mineral Bottom road, finding ourselves dropping into the Horsethief switchbacks with cold toes and jackets still on. Cool mornings mean not-so-hot days, I wasn’t going to complain.

The colors were absolutely vibrant, the new spring growth coming up from every angle. It was such a contrast to the cloudy day fall trip we’d done before.

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Scott and I learned plenty about the geology of the area. We pointed to a tower of rock in the distance, “Denny, what’s that?”

“That? That’s a pile of rock.”

But all kidding aside, it was neat to learn about the different layers and how the intricate canyons of the area had formed. Geologic time seems impossible to think about.

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Through the Candlestick campground, snack break before the Murphy’s climb, lunch at the top. It felt like we had endless daylight, which, with an added three hours over the trip last fall, plus no mud to speak of (we’d gotten stuck in the quagmire of Potato Bottom last time, leading to plenty of bike carrying), we were making fantastic time.

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“It was getting late by the time we got here!” Scott and I kept exclaiming. It was still early afternoon when the La Sals came into view and the sun was high and bright, but not hot. The winds stayed favorable as we turned north, playing the game of giving each of the rock formations names.

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Life long and prosper was my favorite, even though I wasn’t a Star Trek watcher growing up. This led to a handful of miles discussing if it was easier to make the LLAP sigh with our right or left hands, and to why my family never got into the show even though all signs point to it being something that my parents would have watched.

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And then the wheels began to fall off the bus. For all of us, but especially for Denny who hadn’t done a long ride since Camp Tucson back in March. And of course, Schaffers switchbacks loomed.

As they came into sight, Denny’s reaction was, “There’s no way I’m getting up that!”

But since we’re all bike riders, and really, there’s no alternative to pedaling up the switchbacks, we all made it out.

Alexis blasted music on her phone and put her head down to hammer. It was all I could do to hold her wheel and keep the music audible. It was a fantastic way to gain altitude.

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And the final eight miles back to the car on the highway. What can I say, that’s always rough.

We finished with ample daylight. Enough daylight, in fact, to make it down to Milts, wait nearly an hour for food, and still have plenty of time to eat and make it back to camp before dark.

The more and more trips I do with my friends, the more and more impressed I am by the people who I get to surround myself with. Alexis and Denny may work harder than I ever want to, but the fact that they made the time to take several trips to Tucson this winter and to come down to Moab for two nights is pretty damn awesome. Work hard, play hard. Or something like that.


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Annual Girls’ Trip to the Desert

It was eight years ago that my new ski buddy, Megan, had invited me on my first Girls’ Trip to Fruita. It was their second annual trip, and I had no clue what to expect.

Eight years ago, I was in the Ph.D. program at CU in Boulder studying air quality. Since then, I’ve dropped out of the grad program with a Masters, I’ve moved to Crested Butte, I’ve gotten married, I’ve gotten un-married, I’ve left Crested Butte, I banged my head against a wall trying to be a freelance writer, I’ve worked as a lift-op, nordic center staff member, mountain bike camp kids counselor, collegiate mountain bike coach, physics teaching assistant, middle and high school tutor, and a copy writer. I’ve moved to Tucson in the winters with Scott and traveled the west with him in the summers, I’ve raced the Colorado Trail Race twice, Tour Divide, Arizona Trail Race, Iditarod, Stagecoach, Arrowhead 135, single-speed world championships, 24-hour national and world championships, and I’ve retired from racing and toured the Continental Divide Trail.

And through all this, every April or May, four of my favorite women and I meet up in the deserts of Fruita or Moab to ride bikes and drink mojitos, or margaritas, or wine, or beer. Or all of the above.

Nothing has had the longevity of this sacred weekend every spring.

This year wasn’t looking great for me. While I was already in Moab, I was sick. Real sick. And it had rained, and we couldn’t get the van out of Willow Springs Road so that I could get my camping gear to the Girls Only – No Boys Allowed campsite.

I bailed on Day 1 of riding, citing a head that ached and energy levels that ranked barely above empty, instead, moping in the Scamp feeling sorry for myself and telling my immune system to get it together and cursing the disaster of a road that we were camped on.

Scott and I had just walked out our side road to do a road assessment (fail, the van wasn’t going anywhere) when I got a text from Megan. “Want us to come get you? The truck should make it down the road.”

Yes, please! Sickness be damned, I just wouldn’t touch anything.

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And in 15 minutes, I was packed and ready to go. Still feeling not awesome, I figured I’d ride a day, just so that streak of Girls’ Trip wouldn’t be broken, and then retire back to the Scamp to work on health.

Yeah, right.

As it turns out, meals at Girls’ Trip are a notch above what I motivate to cook for Scott and I.

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In the past, we’ve done our best to hammer ourselves on at least one ride during the annual spring pilgrimage, often riding as much each day as we felt we could pull off.

Now, we’ve relaxed a little bit, placing much more of a focus on laughing, eating, and being than the actual act of riding bikes. But that doesn’t mean we don’t ride.

First was the classic Hymasa and Ahab.

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Megan and I, stuffed up heads, plugged up ears, and no sense of balance, hung out in the back watching the gals ride all sorts of scary stuff. We laughed as we brought up the rear, happy to have each other to wallow in sicky-ness.

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I vowed to call it good and head back, but after a magic burger and malt at Milts, I felt good enough to fight another day.

Klondike!

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For our first 6 years of desert trips, we’d planted ourselves firmly in Fruita, both because it was closer to the Front Range, and at the time, the trails were simply better than what Moab had to offer. Two years ago, we split our time between the two, last year, we’d planning on splitting our time but ended up staying in Moab, and this year, we set ourselves up a nice little campsite outside of Moab for the full five days of the trip.

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People change. Places change.

Our motivation to make the most of a long weekend doesn’t change. On the final morning, we packed up camp and set out for one last ride on Bar M.

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Every year, the last ride of the trip makes me sad. My legs tell me that it’s good to be done, but my heart is never ready for the weekend to be over.

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Its always a weekend full of laughing, book recommendations, talking bikes, inspiration, and feeling amazingly humbled and lucky to be able to ride with an amazing group of women. Never for a second do I take for granted that our trips are drama-free, easy, and damn, the food is good.

Next year will mark a decade of visits to the desert. I do believe something special should be done to commemorate that one. Never have I felt more appreciative for the friendships that have spanned time and space and continue to give me a trip to look forward to throughout the year.

 

 


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The Spaces Between the Plans

When we first got the Scamp back in December, one of the first Bucket List items was to spend as much time in Moab this spring as possible. Moab has always been one of those places where I never have enough time, where I show up for a 3-7 day stint, ride all of the classics because they’re, well, classics, and then have to leave before I get to branch out at all. I was determined to spend a solid chunk of time in the red-walled desert this time where I not only had time to ride the good stuff, but could really start to look more closely at maps of the area and visit places that I’d never seen.

With Megan in tow, we pointed north from the Grand Canyon, after the appropriate amount of touristing on the South Rim, and headed to the canyon country of Utah.

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We were sore. We were tired. But the draw of Moab was strong. It was hard to get to Moab and not be able to go out and play right away, at least not play to the level I wanted to. But there always has to be down time, thems the rules.

Megan, the master planner, had constructed our R2R2R trip to coincide with the Annual Girls Trip to the Desert. But we had a week between play dates, and she’d convinced Steve and her little boy with the reddest hair on the face of the earth, to come down from Bozeman in their new van to spend the week playing in the sand. Watching a 2-year old first see a spider, then examine it more closely, then run in fear screaming made me laugh until I nearly fell off my chair.

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48-hours post R2R2R, I was feeling okay enough to ride, so Scott and I took Steve out on Sovereign, just a short pedal from our Scamp-site. Surprisingly, while my motivation to try anything technician wasn’t really there, the legs were almost okay. I guess actually training for something has some recovery benefits…

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We came back to camp to Townes learning the fine art of riding bikes on dirt.

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And then a new bike showed up for me! Salsa had just released the Redpoint, their new trail bike, and after riding it on the Salsa pre-launch bikepack back in AZ, I knew I really wanted to get my hands on one. 27.5 wheels, 150mm of travel, this bike was begging to get ridden in Moab.

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The Klondike trails were not only close, but silly fun.

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I made it exactly one ride before I got sick again. Megan, also sick, compared symptoms with me. Based on our various sore throats, runny noses, feverishness, and general ickyness, we determined that we’d swapped the sicknesses that we’d both had before the run. Doh!

So much for riding. The poor new bike sat by the Scamp wondering what it had done wrong to be ridden exactly once and then put away.

And then it rained and the road got so muddy that we couldn’t get the van out to the highway, leaving us stuck. But really, we had food, we had water, we had power, shelter, and Internet. And the rainbows after each dousing of rain weren’t too bad either.

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But still, as we sat there, both Scott and I fighting some nasty bug, van covered in mud, neither of us having ridden for a few days, we had to wonder, ‘Are we screwing this up?’

And then we looked up. Nah. Downtime. Everyone needs downtime.

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Big Ditch R2R2R: Doing Stupid

It was last April during a 3-mile run at Arches National Park that I offhandedly said to Megan, ‘We should run Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon sometime.’ We were mid Girls Trip to the Desert, where we ride bikes, not run, so the idea was quickly forgotten over discussions of where to ride the next day.

When I got a text from Megan back in November asking if I was still game for a R2R2R in the spring, I’d been running some, and figured, ‘Why not?’ Megan and I have a history of doing Stupid together, and this was right up our alley of biting off more than we could most likely chew.

I started training. I got shin splints. I rested. I trained again. I got hurt again. Which brings me to the 4am alarm clock going off the morning of our run.

Oh boy.

Megan had trained well for a flat 50-miler on the roads of Bozeman. I’d trained decently well for a steep 20-miler in the Tucson Mountains. Megan was ready for the cold of he morning, I was ready for the heat of the day. Together, we decided, we were perfectly ready to try to cover the 44 miles and 11,000-ish feet of elevation gain and loss.

After hardboiled eggs and cinnamon rolls for breakfast (Breakfast of Champions!), the 4:30 shuttle bus dropped us off in the darkness at the trailhead. What we were attempting all of a sudden got real.

So we did what we always do, we dove straight in. Down. The moon was well on its way down to the west.

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The sun started to make its presence known in the east.

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Headlamps were soon ditched and we stared in wide-eyed wonder at the magic place that we were in.

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Approaching the ‘run’ as rationally as we could, we tried not to push the pace on the way down. We found ourselves at the black bridge and Phantom Ranch just in time for them to serve second breakfast at 6:30.

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‘Where did you girls come from?’ was the common question as we filled water in front of the cantina. ‘Based on the sweat on your backs, it wasn’t just the campsite.’

I made a quick note that the cantina closed for snacks at 4:00 and looked at my watch. 9.5 hours to make it to the north rim and back if we wanted lemonade, which really was one of my main motivators in the run.

Temperatures stayed cool as we made our way up the Box towards Cottonwood, slowing to a power-walk whenever the trail kicked up, discussing the sage advice that we’d gathered from various runners about this trek, which seems to be a rite of passage for ultra runners. Maybe if I finished this, I could consider myself a faux ultra runner instead of just a faux runner.

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We filled up all of our water capacity at Cottonwood, thinking that the water would have to last us the seven miles to the rim and the seven miles back.

We ran into a trail crew a few miles later. ‘Have you seen a guy carrying a bike this morning?’ I asked. I’d checked the tracker before we started down and knew that Joe was only a few miles past Phantom Ranch as of 4am.

‘Yep. He passed by here about 10 minutes ago.’

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We go up!

It took us the better part of an hour to close that 10 minute gap. As the miles passed, I started to think that maybe he’d hold us off, but as it turns out, legs with 600 miles of hard pedaling and carrying a bike and bikepacking gear are no match for fresh legs with a liter of water of extra weight.

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It was great motivation to see Joe still walking strong. No matter how much we were suffering, he was probably suffering more.

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In the end, we put less than 20 minutes on him in the final few miles to the rim. I recognized the look of absolute relief from when Scott and I had schlepped bikes across the Canyon two years ago. That trip has made all trips into the Canyon seem relatively easy.

We ate. Chatted with the three other runners who were there. Rejoiced in the fact that the water spigot at the rim had been turned on in the past 12 hours. After the appropriate amount of sitting, Megan said, ‘Eszter, I think it’s time to go home.’

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‘You’re going to make it back to Phantom by 4, no problem,’ the three other runners said. They were going out to do some extra credit running on the rim before heading back.

‘It’s easy running all the way back to Phantom,’ Joe told us. ‘Just be sure to take care of your bodies on the way down. And then fuel up big for the climb out.’

We hobbled down the first couple of big steps from the rim laughing. ‘The running is going to be easy, Joe Grant said so,’ was our frequently repeated joke as we lost the elevation that we’d just gained.

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While I wouldn’t call it easy, we made great time to Cottonwood, where we stopped to re-lube feet (lubing feet, who’d have thunk?), douse all of our clothing in water, and fill up with what we thought was enough water for the seven miles to Phantom.

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Then the heat hit.

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The breeze saved us for a while, but once in the Box, we started to roast. Thank goodness that it wasn’t going to be a hot day, because any warmer would have been truly miserable. Water ran out, the heat increased. Shade was savored.

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We trotted into Phantom at 3 and ordered up two lemonades and two apples. Megan declared it the best lemonade ever, and I wasn’t going to disagree with her. We sat for a while, cooling our core temperatures and eating whatever we could stomach. I’ve yet to crack the code of eating while running, and I spent most of the run clutching a bag of candies that I could never quite eat with glee.

Then it was time to face the facts. A 4,700 foot, 7 mile climb out. Rule #1 of the Canyon: If you go in, you have to get yourself out. As we left the Phantom, I did a quick assessment of legs, energy, and psyche. ‘I think I’m probably done running for the day,’ I declared.

‘I think that’s a great idea,’ Megan agreed.

And so, with absolutely zero intention of pushing the pace on the way up, we marched away from the river.

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We met up the Maurizio Doro, the Italian, just a few hundred feet up from the river. He was in amazing spirits for being so far into the AZTR and about to be facing a long walk through the night.

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We ran into Sam a few more miles up. He seemed slightly more concerned about the night ahead, but moving strongly. I have to admit, that even with as tired as I was, I was a little jealous of the adventure they were about to have.

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We made it through the Redwall and did the short flat traverse to the next steep pitch. I had to laugh a little at how effortless running the flat had been in the morning. Now, we savored the view at walking pace.

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A mile from the top, we heard a holler from above. Scott! We’d been carrying SPOT Traces as a test run for some Trackleaders.com events this summer, and Scott had come down to celebrate the last mile with us.

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His presence definitely turned the final switchbacks into a party instead of a slog.

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I can see the top!

We reached the rim, and as we’d been plotting since the bottom, ran the final little paved section to the shuttle bus stop. It was one of the more pathetic jogs I’ve ever partaken in, and we laughed the whole way.

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We’d done it! Gracefully! And the best part was, there was never a doubt in my mind that we’d do it. We’d been on so many silly adventures together in the past that we had complete trust in each other to hold it together, at least enough to finish, if not gracefully. There are very few people in this world who I have such faith in.

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Scott took over care duties that night, feeding us quesadillas (best quesadillas ever!), making sure that we drank water, and putting quarters in our hands so that we could go to the pay showers and rinse 44 miles of Grand Canyon dirt off of our legs.

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What a Grand adventure. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.


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Forced Rest in Flagstaff

Back in November, I agreed to a seemingly impossible running play date in the Big Ditch with my best Suffer-buddy, Megan. We’d set the date for April 21. I remember having a conversation about it with Scott sometime early March and declaring that as long as I didn’t get injured and stayed healthy, I thought I could pull it off.

Things did not go as planned. I pulled my Tucson Mountains Traverse off with only a slightly ouchy shin, but then decided that I was Superwoman and did a 13-mile run on Mt Wrightson two days later. Compensating for a sore right shin, I jacked up my left knee. Then my left foot started to hurt.

No worries, I had some bike riding and packing plans.

Only, I picked up a nasty-ass cold from one of the people on the bikepack. A nasty-ass cold that quickly turned into a sinus infection. I never get sinus infections. I was on my back for a few days and then blowing neon yellow snot for days afterwards.

And then I ordered the wrong running shoes off of REI and couldn’t find the right ones anywhere.

I had exactly one week to get my shit together.

So we went to Flagstaff. Because everything would be okay in Flagstaff. And at least it wouldn’t be hot.

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We parked in among the pines, right next to the AZT coincidentally, where our neighbors were funny little squirrels.

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And Red Crossbeaks.

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In an attempt to let my foot (left)/shin (right)/knee (left) heal, we did some bike riding. Luckily, the AZT near our camp was some of the smoothest around.

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Camping near the AZT had definitely become a motif for us with many campsites within half a mile of it.

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This was great, because since the race was going on, it gave me the excuse to dot-stalk racers, something I’ve never really had the chance to do since we normally send them off at Parker Lake and then stay in Tucson until the race is over.

This time, I got to run down Holly, who I’d raced road bikes with back when we were both in college. Her, at the Air Force Academy, and me at CU. She’d ridden the Colorado Trail last summer, and we’d run into her randomly on a trail outside of Leadville last fall.

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It was great fun to share a few trail miles with her and hear about what she’d seen so far on her south-bound run.

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Feeling a bit adventurous, and still unable to really walk pain-free, we went on a loop around the trails north of Flag. There were a few moments where our straightforward afternoon ride could have turned into quite a deal, but we made it home slightly before dark. Always a plus. Especially since Neil, who was leading the AZTR had dropped his SPOT and was hoping to meet us to pick up a new one.

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We ran him down at the Golden Arches (McDonalds) and got to listen to a few of his trail stories. He was surprisingly upbeat for being about to head out into the night on one of the colder sections of trail.

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And then it was go-time for my little running adventure. I went into the running store in Flag and bought the closest match to my old shoes that I could find, ran two miles in them to make sure that there weren’t any obvious issues, and apologized in advance to my feet for making such poor life decisions. The foot (left) felt 70%, the shin (right) felt 90%, and the knee (left) felt 95%. My snot was only neon in the mornings and would turn clear by by the afternoon. G2G. Good to go. Something was going to happen.

We picked Megan up at the AmTrack and pointed the Scamp north to the Big Ditch, where we happened to run into a wide-eyed and semi-crazed looking Joe Grant, getting ready to drop into the Ditch on one of the final legs of his AZTR ride.

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Looking at the late afternoon hour that Joe was set to head down, Megan and I joked that we might see him the next day in the Ditch on our first traversal of it. Joe said, ‘Hopefully not!’

Our own personal race within a race was on. We were scared out of our minds. Or at least I was.


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Leaving Tucson

Leaving Tucson is always hard. Honestly, leaving any place is hard, but since Tucson (and the surrounding areas) is the single place where we spend the most time, it’s exceptionally hard to leave behind. We have friends, we have the city figured out, and it’s the most beautiful desert there is.

But it was getting hot, and we had play dates in the north. So, after day of errands in town, we towed the Scamp up to Picacho Peak State Park, just south of Phoenix where we were able to sneak in a quick hike up the peak (Trails closed at sunset, 6:59, and we finished at 6:57) and grab a shower before calling it an early night for an early departure the next day.

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I like to use the arrival and departure from Tucson as an event that involves reflection on the past summer/winter. A chance to look back on the things I did, the goals I accomplished, and the things that I didn’t get around to.

This year, winter in Tucson flew by much faster than past. We did arrive 19 days after our usual arrival time of November 1st. We did leave 13 days early from our usual departure date of May 1, and I did spend 10 days in Boulder over Christmas, a week there to take Sparkles up there, and another 2.5 weeks there dog sitting, but still, mid-April came up so fast it felt like it smacked me in the face.

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So first I think back to what I didn’t get a chance to do. The running traverse of the Catalinas. Hiking the Huachuca Crest. A silly trip up Tumomoc Hill. I didn’t ride Bugs/Prison Camp/Millie, or at Sweetwater, or Ridgeline. I also didn’t ride Fantasy Island, but I haven’t ridden Fantasy Island since moving to Tucson.

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And then I think about the things that I did get around to. I got to run Agua Caliente twice. I ran Wasson countless times. I bikepacked in the Gila. I showed many people from out of town around Starr Pass. I went running on the Starr Pass trails that I have no interest in taking a bike on. I ran my Tucson Mountains Traverse and didn’t die.  I learned many of the common birds in Southern Arizona, got to see three Elegant Trogons, a Green Kingfisher, and can now identify a handful of birds by their song alone.

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We bought the Scamp. This was a lifelong dream come true. And we pared down our belongings to fit into said 13-foot Scamp and our minivan.

And I found a stray dog and found her a new home. If I think back to what I’ll remember the winter of 2015/16 for, it’ll be the Sparkles dog, and all of the stress, heartbreak, and eventual happiness that she caused.

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We rolled out of Picacho at sunrise the next morning, hoping to beat the heat to the big hills leading up to Flagstaff. We were leaving the Sonoran Desert behind, and while I was sad to bid farewell to the final saguaros north of PHX, I was unbelievably excited about what lay ahead.

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Sending off the AZTR

I love the Arizona Trail Race.

I loved racing it in 2013, I’ve loved sending it off every year since. While it’s entirely Scott’s baby, I feel like I get to be some sort of step-parent to it. I don’t actually do any work to get it off the ground, but I feel like I give people good pep talks at the start line. That’s got to be worth something.

Plus, it’s the second time in the year (the first being 24-Hours of Old Pueblo) that all of my friends come to see me in the desert.

It’s such a unique route that showcases so much of what is awesome about Southern Arizona, I love to see people roll down into the Canelo Hills, ready to see so much. And experience so much. Nobody gets out of the AZT 300/750 without an adventure of some sort.

After our weekend with Salsa (post about that one coming at a later date), we headed back to Gilbert Ray for a night. We call these layover nights, they are mostly used for getting reorganized and running town errands. Living in a Scamp still requires life-maintenance days…we just don’t have to clean bathrooms. IMG_3479

But we did have to get new tires for the Scamp and grease for the bearings, Scott needed to pick up a re-laced wheel, I had to make returns at REI and Radioshack, and groceries. We always need groceries. And Seis. There’s never a bad time for Seis burritos.

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We did get out for a sunset ride.

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I’m going to miss this place.

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And Shannon was having a pre-AZTR BBQ and pool party (which devolved into a bike-building party), which was the main motivation for staying in Tucson. It’s always fun to see pre-race puttering and bike maintenance. Shannon puts batteries in a SPOT, Alexis builds a bike last minute, Elliot danced with a bag of chips…

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Alexis’ pile of bike protection from unpacking…

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Scott’s half of the job…

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Leaving late, we took another layover night in the Rincon Valley before heading down to Parker Lake before the heat hit.

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We knew we had a few hours before nervous racers started to show up, so we took the chance to ride some new-to-me AZT south of Parker up to the Wilderness Boundary. While the AZT segments beyond, the Huachuca Crest, called, I was now nursing a sore shin and a cold. No running for me. Drat.

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We’ve never camped out the night before the AZT, but I think it’s going to become a new tradition. Talking about riding bikes is always a good way to spend the evening. Nerves seemed to be relatively under control, and for those who were nervous, I reminded them that they’d done all the work, the racing was just the reward so they might as well enjoy it.

Scott has built quite the event. 74 racers total this year, split evenly between the 300 and 750.

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The leaders of the 750 came through with barely a hi-five. The Schilling crew decided to stop for a picnic 15 miles into the race.

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The unicyclist stole the show.

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As of this writing, he’s trucking along Oracle Ridge.

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Within an hour, the parking lot cleared out and we were left with just our thoughts, and a nasty cold each. So much for big riding plans.

Though I can’t complain…Parker Lake isn’t a half-bad place to hang out and nurse a bug. As it turned out, the lake was home to all sort of neat birds.

We saw a flock of White-faced Ibises who are mere migrants in the area.

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A handful of Ospreys soared through the skies.

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And the Belted Kingfisher. He flew from a tree on one side of the bay to the other and back, over and over and over. He was my favorite.

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I could have stayed longer. The grasslands of the borderlands definitely have my heart. But, as with every year, forecasted temperatures looked to be in the 90’s for the foreseeable future. It was time to go north. And that, that made me a little bit sad.

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