After a few days of lounging around St George, it was time to head back south to Tucson. It was an awesome stay with Scott’s parents where I got to catch up on the Facebook, the status of the missing Malaysian flight, and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Hey, when you can’t walk, the TV starts to look awfully appealing for entertainment.
We rented ourselves a nice little Chevy Malibu and drove it the whole way back on a single tank of gas. This was helped by the fact that the air conditioner was broken, which helped on gas milage but pretty much stank when we hit rush-hour traffic in Phoenix during the heat of the afternoon. It was good to be home and we had a whole two nights and a day to ourselves to return the rental car, get breakfast at Bobo’s, and look helplessly at the gear that was piled on our floor. And to admire the onion that was growing greens in our bowl.
JayP showed up the next day, getting ready to start his assault on the AZTR 750. Arriving mid-afternoon, he built up his bike and we took him out to Starr Pass for a ride. 5 minutes from the house, he got to witness firsthand the never ending battle with tires versus the AZ desert as Scott’s Stans-less tire decided that it didn’t want to hold air any more. And then we couldn’t get the valve stem out to add more Stans (which I had), so we broke the rim seal, added the Stans, and tried to air it back up with a hand pump . No dice.
Jay and I left Scott on the side of the trail to get home and either switch his tire or just switch bikes, planning on having him ride our loop backwards and meet us.
The riding was lovely, it was so good to be back in Tucson, to be fighting being too warm rather than too cold. It was good to see all my saguaro friends again and ride all the familiar rocks.
We ran back into Scott coming down the Yetman Wash trail and proceeded homewards in the dark. With temperatures in the 90’s during the day, it was definitely night riding season.
Jay took off the next day and Justin came to occupy our spare bedroom. His ride to the start of the 300 had fallen through, so we offered up some floor space and van space for the following morning. We took him out to Starr Pass as the sun was setting.
The sunset was a dud, but at least we got some pretty clouds before the light left us.
We were nearly back from our loop, heading down to the Genser trailhead when the junk-show started.
Pssssssst. Scott’s rear tire, tubed instead of tubeless, decided that it didn’t like being rallied down the final rocky descent at breakneck speeds. With no Stans and no hope of it holding tubeless, Scott went to put his tube in.
Psssssst went the tube as he tried to put a little bit of air in it.
“Here, try mine.” I gave him my spare tube.
Pssssst went my spare tube. We stood dumbfounded.
“I’ll patch it!”
I put a patch on the offending hole and gave it back.
Psssst went the tube, more slowly this time.
“I’ll put another patch on it!”
Pssssst went the tube, a third time.
“I think the tube is hosed.” Scott’s tube, leaking Stans, had no hope of being patched.
Meanwhile Justin looked on, wondering how the Scott and Ez junk-show ever fixed anything.
“I’ll ride home and go get the car.” We conceded the fight and I left Scott on the side of the trail with a flat for the second time in two days. Whoops.
In the AM, we piled into the SportsVan and went down to the AZT 300 start at Parker Lake. It was awesome to see everyone, including the AZT750 riders coming through, most stopping for a short break.
I would have loved to see Kaitlyn go after my AZT record. Stupid crashes. Cool scars.
The start was a bubbling mass of nervous energy. I thought maybe I’d be a little jealous of the racers…but I wasn’t. That’s a good feeling to have…to know that I made a correct life decision on this one.
Scott gave his motivational speech, same as last year, and we watched the riders sprint off down Gear Check hill. Suddenly, it was relatively silent with a few stragglers starting late and the drop-off drivers starting to pull out.
Time to ride for us! Having made the drive down to Parker Lake, we opted to ride the six miles around Parker Lake…because, well, when else were we going to do it?
We ended up on some questionable trails that probably saw more immigrant traffic than bike traffic, lost the trail more times than we found it, but all in all, had a lovely little two hour adventure next to the lake. The only downside was that the marina was only open on weekends, squashing our hope for an ice cream sandwich by the water.
We made our way home to watch the dots move along the AZT, spending the rest of the day in the coolness of our house, wondering how the racers were faring in the heat. Both glad we weren’t racing, it was fun to know that people were out there, having the adventure of a lifetime. Well, that, or cursing Scott’s name as they made their way through the Canelos. Oh, the lovely Canelos.
And then it was time to go again. Rest is for those who can’t think of anything fun to do.