Zen On Dirt

Durango: Resting, retooling, and riding

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Sometime circa mid New Mexico, we got an email from the woman who we housesat for in Durango last summer. She was going on a trip from June 11th through the 23rd and was wondering if we could provider our services (?) as housesitters again. At first we weren’t sure how the timing would work out, and then we got a glimpse of the snow up high and found the idea absolutely brilliant.

Hang out for 12 days in Durango while waiting for the snow to melt? C’mon, twist our arms.

We arrived 30 days after leaving the Mexican border. I think we did the state at a pretty sustainable pace, but we were pretty stoked to have a home base for a little while to really kick the legs up, get some stuff replaced, and recover.


And by recover, I mean keep our rides under three hours, because when in Durango…well, I wasn’t about to sit around doing nothing. Well, nothing aside from Blue-dot stalk the Tour Divide, where it looks like my pink EH dot will live to race another year as women’s record. It’s actually really fun reliving the memories as the dot makes its way across the country.


Team photo

We rode some Horse Gulch, we rode some Animas Mountain, we rode some Dry Fork and CT, we rode some Test Tracks (do you know where we’re going? No, do you? No.) We rode laps to Zia Taqueria and Bread. And then yesterday, we rode big and high, and today we’re tired, but that’s a story for another day.


But there were a handful of maintenance goals for the trip. I needed new shoes. Apparently after the AZT and NM, the soles of mine had had enough. Scott’s were fine, and we got them at the same time. He either hikes a lot less than me, or our working theory, he has super-duper flexible Achilles’ tendons letting him walk flatfooted up all but the steepest inclines while I always walk on my toes, tearing my shoes to shreds. Either way, I needed new shoes.


My suspension was blown but luckily Diaz Suspension Designs happens to reside in Durango, and Diaz happens to be teammates with Krista. Same-day front and rear shock rebuild for my bike (I don’t ride in the wet much. That’s not what your rear shock told me. and How many miles does the shock have on it since the last service? 5,000? Yeah, you need a rebuild.) Diaz got it, double seals on the front for the gal who rides a lot and is the master of deferred maintenance.

It completely changed the ride of the bike. I went so fast down Animas that afternoon I sliced my tire open. Tube it. Take it home. Re-Stans it. Hope it holds.

New brake pads for the rear. We were down to metal on metal.


Took it in to Velorution where Joey installed a new 20 tooth chain ring, complete with having to file down the chainring bolt posts. New derailleur cable for the gal who did a half-assed job installing one before the trip and had a frayed cable to deal with. D’oh. Bought a new Velorution Cycles t-shirt. Softest thing ever, can’t wait to put it back on in Salida.


We re-upped on fuel and chain lube. I got a new shirt as my AZT/NM shirt was more stained with dirt than not. It had a good, if short life. A new pair of baggy shorts to replace the pair that I’ve been rocking since at least Vapor Trail 2009. The side velcro straps were giving up and coming undone during every hike a bike. So my pants would fall down a lot. Plus, there were more seams with my stitching than factory stitching. They were a good pair of shorts.


Cushla, aka Gumball aka Crazy dog assisted yoga. This time housesitting came with a dog. We’re going to miss her, even though she’s only slept through the night without going nuts over something four times.

A new bivy now that it’s actually going to be cold out at night. I’m tres excited.

New socks. Old ones had been stitched once with two holes and heels about to blow. They had an Iditarod, and AZT, and NM in them. Good life, again.


Getting the axe is the GoPro. It was a fun, failed experiment. I’m sending it to my brother. Here’s to hoping that his 23 year old self doesn’t do anything stupid with it.

We’ll do new chains and maybe new tires in Salida, but as it is, I think the bikes are pretty trail worthy. We’ve got a good weather window, so we’re hoping to make it to Salida and beyond before the monsoons hit.

As much as I was digging the big bed and sleeping until 9 every day, it’s going to be good to get back on the cycle of the sun.


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