Zen On Dirt

Birthdays, bikes, and imminent departure

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In a mere 24 hours, we’re going to be loading into the Sportsvan and getting a shuttle ride east to Lordsburg, NM. From there, we’re getting another ride to within 28 miles of the Mexican border where the Continental Divide Trail starts. We’ll spend the morning, and probably some of the afternoon, pedaling to the border on a rough dirt road before we start our official journey north.

Scott did a pretty job outlining the goals and the logistics of the trip here. Basically, we’re planning on riding as much of the CDT as possible (i.e. not the Tour Divide route, but the trail that thru-hikers take on their trip across the country). We’ll detour around Wilderness, we’ll detour when the trail is closed to bikes but not in Wilderness, but we’ll do our best to stay true to the trail, unless it’s a really terrible idea to do so.

Scott has the background motivation of wanting to map a viable cross country on-trail route and raise awareness that mountain bikers and hikers can coexist on long-distance trails (CDT has historically, and is currently, fairly to mostly anti-bike). I have the motivation of wanting to ride bikes all summer and take pretty pictures.

We’ll be tracking here on our very own tracker. Currently, the map has the Tour Divide route and the semi-official CDT route on it. We’ll do a combination of the two and add our own variations as we see fit. Departure time is sometime Monday.

Something is going to happen…

In other news…

Scott’s birthday and Cinco de Mayo were both this past Monday. We decided to celebrate both, so Scott got a group together for a little Starr Pass riding.


While I’m sure that there may have been some intentions of actually riding…


It didn’t take those of us who weren’t too interested in a tech-fest to pull out our roadie-sodies.


The plan was to ride until we got to a section that no one could ride. That happened about half a mile up the trail.


The beverage of choice – left by Matthieu during Camp Tucson. We’ve slowly been working our way through the seemingly endless cans of beer that have been deposited in our fridge from friends coming over to stay. This one was a win.


We did eventually ride, albeit not much. It was probably safer that way. We made it to the Stone House and then leisurely over to Genser and straight to another Mexican joint in the Barrio that apparently had good margaritas. It did. It was, after all, Cinco de Mayo.

The next morning I was left wondering how I would ever drink three Mountain Sun beers in one sitting in the past (Stout Month would work me over, but I was tough)…oh, to be young and dumb.

No matter. Onwards!


My bike was starting to fall apart.


I’d been nursing pieces knowing that I’d do an overhaul before this trip.


Sometimes I think I nurse things too far.

But the bike is up and running as smoothly as ever after having to take it to the shop to get the cranks pulled because apparently I don’t have the muscle power to get SRAM cranks undone. New chainrings, new cables and housing, new cleats, new tires…I’ve done what I can do for a mechanical-free ride.

We headed out for a test ride to see what creaks we could uncover.



We found a saguaro offering up a flower. So sweet of it.


We pedaled up to the Starr Pass overlook, well aware that this might be the final Starr Pass ride of the year.



But it wasn’t, because as 5 pm rolls around every day, I start to make myself as annoying as possible: Let’s go ride! Let’s go ride!DCIM100GOPRO

I took the GoPro out to see what it would see. This is my favorite swichback in Starr Pass. Giddy up!


I’m still mixed on GoPro photos…but it really can capture some cool moments that otherwise wouldn’t get caught on camera.


For every good photo, I have to wade through 100 bad ones.


And while I’m not a huge fan of the idea of ‘If you take enough pictures, some will turn out’, that really is all I do with my point-and-shoot anyhow.

I think the GoPro is getting the nod for the Divide. The Kindle isn’t. The iPad is still being determined.

The next day, we cruised up to A Mountain for an end-of-the-week ride. New to me trail. I’d only ever done intervals on the road.IMG_6005

At the top of the trail, Scott informed me that he didn’t really know how technical the trail was because he’d only ridden it on his Lunchbox (his big bike). What could go wrong?


Nothing really, as long as you’re gentle on the brakes and don’t make any sudden movements.


It’s a neat trail because with a little bit of road climbing at the bottom, it deposited us within 5 blocks of our house.


This guy was standing guard. Many of the saguaros on A-mountain are disfigured. It’s weird.


I’m pretty sure I’ll never stop being amazed at the things to see here.

We spent our Saturday packing up our house.


It took us a whopping three hours to move 90% of the stuff out. All that’s left to do is pack the bikes up with gear, pack the computers up to put in storage, and do a bit of scrubbing.


We gave Rufus, our neighborhood stray, the rest of the treats that we keep around. It was like Christmas in May for him (or her). Hopefully he’s still around when we come back next October. Maybe someday, he’ll even let us pet him, though I’m not holding my breath on that one.

I’ll probably go out for one more ride this afternoon, just because I can, but when it comes down to it, this wraps up my first winter of riding in Tucson. I showed up wanting to be a racer (I even had my road bike down here!), I’m leaving with Panaracer Rampages as my tire of choice, a 130 mm suspension fork, and I’m now the proud owner of both knee and elbow pads that I happily wear when needed. I’m also well versed in the Mi Ranchito menu, though if you ask me what’s good, I’ll just start reading from the top. I hope Mi Ranchito is still there when we get back, too.

Anyhows. I think I’ve found a home in Tucson and that feels good. Now it’s time to travel.




One thought on “Birthdays, bikes, and imminent departure

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