1.24.2015

AES: Gila 100

There's been a recurring theme here lately. Attempt a really, really difficult ride - FAIL. Come back determined the following year and conquer it. It happened on my S.Mtn Sawtooth70, Pickepost Pulverizer, AZT300 and now this: AES: Gila 100.

First off, the Gila 100 is a point-to-point ride exclusively on the Arizona Trail, AZT, from Picketpost trailhead south to Tiger Mine trailhead. Ok, so it's not exactly 100 miles, but the Gila 93 just doesn't have the same ring to it. Besides, based on what I learned, it feels like 150 miles.

My shuttle logistics started last month when Rick ran into Arturo and I up on our Highline adventure inquiring about dropping a vehicle for this event. We met up Friday evening down in Oracle, then bolted north for hopefully a good nights rest. That didn't really happen as I tossed & turned most of the night. 3:00a came way too quick and we arrived at Picketpost just after 4:30a for the 5a start.

Ten brave riders toed the line for this monster, 9 were present as Neil took off 2 hours earlier. Chad was generous enough to drive a few riders north and return the vehicle to Tiger Mine. The fast guys took off, then the three stragglers followed suit a couple minutes later.

It wasn't cold to start, but it sure was windy!! The forecast was calling for a stiff easterly breeze all day and it held true. Luckily for us the first 21 miles are mostly southbound (as is the entire route) with a considerable amount of climbing. The wind really helped to regulate my body temp early on.

I really wanted to conserve energy early on, ride safe (read: don't crash like last year!) and get to daylight. Rick caught up to me about four miles into the ride. I then watched his light gradually pull away from me. I last saw Rick about the 10 mile mark as daybreak began to take hold.

I flipped off my lights at the 10 mile overlook and descended into the small valley below. I came to the second minor wash crossing and saw a large gray rock on the right, I figured I'd just ride up & over it. NOT!! It was a tiered angle wedge and I was carrying too much speed without enough time to avoid it. I rammed the upper lip hard sending my chest into my handlebars as I slowly went to the ground. That was close. No damage done. Bike was fine, I was fine. Onto Martinez Canyon.
First rays of light over Martinez Canyon.
I was excited to see what trail work had recently been done through here as it was a mess during the Pulverizer back in November. Everything that was eroded had been taking care of. I even managed to clean a few switchbacks for the first time.

I was feeling good, enjoying the views on the long descent to the river when Jason caught up to me. It was somewhere around mile 17, maybe 8a? He was going at a pretty good clip and soon was out of sight as I made the final approach to the Gila.
Dale's Butte aglow.
I was pleased with my progress so far, less than 4 hours to the river. I wanted to be in Kelvin before noon. I made a quick pizza stop at a nice river overlook when a Blackhawk came whizzing down the canyon barely 50 feet above the river!! What a sight! I was now on the eastbound portion of the route, in direct aim of the wind. The next 16 miles were mostly into a headwind with the trail undulating along the river.
Pizza break!
It must have been an hour later when I saw a rider coming my way. It was Jason!! He asked me if I was going the wrong way?!?! Huh? Uh, no, but you're going the wrong way!! He clearly looked a bit puzzled by his position, but perhaps he got turned around on one of the jeep road crossings. We straightened things out and rode nearby for a few miles before he finally pulled out of sight for good. I'd say it was around 10:30a when I last saw Jason.

I was on top of the final climb along the river and noticed some early season poppies had sprung up. It's should be a fantastic wildflower season in the desert this year. I can't wait to ride down here in March!! I made it to Kelvin just after 11:30a, skipped the trailer court water hose & river filter in favor of continuing on up to the Kelvin trailhead water cache for lunch.
Crossing the muddy Gila River.
I was more than ready for a burrito (tuna, black beans, barley, avocado & guacamole and lettuce topped with key lime juice! Yum!!) before the strenuous and looming ascent up Ripsey. I'll admit, I took a long break, about 30 minutes. Water topped off, burrito & Mtn. Dew devoured, I was ready to improve on my effort up Ripsey from last year when the wheels kind of came off.
The goal? The distant peak just right of center. A long ways up.
The lower portion of the climb went by fairly easy. I arrived at the gate essentially marking the beginning of the steep push up the switchback attack section. I vowed to at least attempt to ride some of it this year. I did. I actually cleaned a few switchbacks going up on the lower bit, but then things became really steep and loose. I simply don't have the necessary power to ride that stuff. HAB ensued. This would become a more frequent theme as the ride wore on.
A quick break on the way up.
Still have to climb that ridge.
I finished off the steep section on foot. From there the climb gives in a bit, offering some short downhill sections as reward. There were still a few bits of HAB, but it was mostly rideable. The big drawback was the higher I went, the windier it became. So much so, that by the time I could see the famed Ripsey ridgeline I was in the throws of a 20mph crosswind!! It definitely took concentration to stay on the trail up there. It was still worth it. One of the best desert views anywhere.
Backside of Ripsey ridge, the Big Hill & Mt. Lemmon in the distance.
One last good view of the Gila River Canyons.
The postcard ridgeline shot that everyone knows.
Starting the descent into Ripsey wash.
The upper switchbacks on The Big Hill have been getting the best of me, well, forever. I was determined to clean at least one of them on the descent!! I'm happy to say I was able to negotiate 2 of 6 successfully, thought I was going to get 4 of them, but noooo.

I was flying down the sandy wash at the bottom so much that I blew by the turnoff!! The sand was packed down, almost like it had been dredged for use. No complaints.here.

My attention soon turned to reaching the gate at the top of the wash segment. It signals the end of Ripsey and the beginning of some generally fast, easy spinning through the Boulders into the Freeman rd. trailhead.
One of the many wash crossings climbing up & out of Ripsey wash.
I was really hoping to reach the gate by 4p. That would give me at least two hours to get to Freeman rd. before dark, some 17 miles away. I reached the gate at 3:50p - win!!
A very welcomed sight. (The Big Hill is center, looks bald)
As soon as I turned onto the jeep roads the wind hit once again. 6-7 mph was all I seemed to muster. It was work. I slowly ticked off the miles, but as they ticked down the sun fell low on the horizon. I knew I wasn't going to make Freeman rd by dark. Instead, I made it to the gravity gate by the boulders where I transitioned back to night riding mode.
Is it me or does that rock look like the backside of an elephant?
Sunsets are always better from the trail.
A couple a fast moving day hikers passed through while I was putting on my lights, We chatted a bit about the trail and the route I was doing. They said the last rider passed by them around 4:30p, I'm guessing it was Jason. It seemed like I only gave the hikers a five minute head start down the trail, but it took a while to catch up to them, they were really hoofin' it.

The nighttime sky began to fill with stars and only a sliver of moon was visible. It's a dark place out there, only the glow of Tucson & Phoenix seem to break up the complete emptiness.

I arrived at Freeman rd. just after 7p, ready to devour another burrito & Mtn. Dew. Gotta lug some luxuries around!! 14 hours in, 66 miles down with 27 to go over very unforgiving terrain. My legs were really feeling the effects from the wind. The Boulders segment failed to rejuvenate me like last year. Deep down I was wishing the ride was over. I had a slight inkling of calling it quits. Should I give Chad a call & get picked up? No way. I have to finish this. The Voodoo was riding great, I had plenty of food, water, etc. Just push through this mental block and get moving south on the trail.

I was finishing up my meal and getting steadily colder by the minute as the wind was relentless. I did begin to wonder if I'd be warm enough. Legs had been covered all day, I had my wool base layer under my jersey & thankfully my wind jacket. The area around Freeman rd. is rather exposed and I knew the trail would drop down into the hilly valleys almost immediately.

Time to go...but wait, here come the hikers!! I could see their LED's not too far off. They soon approached and asked how I was doing and if I needed anything. I did ask for one favor, to sit in their truck for a few minutes with the heater on! That really helped and as I readied myself for the trail, the guy says to me, 'I have a bike rack if there's anywhere I can take you.' Was this a sign? By then my mind had been set, FINISH. I thanked him for the offer and headed off towards the faint outline of Antelope Peak. It was now 8p. **Program note: the next few daytime pics were taken a few years ago!!**
Antelope Peak surrounded by the extra prickly desert.
By now my GPS's internal battery had died, this was expected since it typically lasts around 14 hours or so. I began running my auxiliary power, which is really nice for night riding as the backlight stays illuminated. I also was running both my handlebar & helmet lights on low power, still plenty bright, but my overall night vision isn't the greatest.

The first few miles were really nice, swooping through the infamous cholla forest with nary a chollaball on the trail. A special thank you to all the people who came out for the trailwork event the weekend prior, it was much appreciated.

I had barely been back on the trail for an hour when I lost my external power, batteries were dead!! Wtf?!?! They were brand new except for a couple hours of use at the end of the McBrown 100. I had absolutely no reason to think I couldn't get a full nights ride out of this set of batteries. FAIL. I was now without a GPS, no track to follow or elevation profile to assist my wandering thoughts. The good news, the entire route is on the AZT and is marked...for the most part. But this area is seldom used and obviously it was dark. I overshot a few turns here and there and began walking more uphills as the night went along.

My first real trail miss was down at Beehive Well. I knew the route dumped into a sandy wash and followed it near a windmill and water tank. I was expecting to clearly see the turn onto a jeep road that climbs away from the ranch, but I must've been a bit too far to the outside of the wash and overshot the turn by a quarter mile. The GPS had enough juice to power up, display the course so I could see which direction I needed to go, then I powered it off for any later occurrences. There would be many.
I was riding down the wash behind the windmill, missing the turn into the clearing.
I was now up on a series of fast jeep roads that led down into Bloodsucker Wash. I had planned on a pizza break in the wash, but the downhill kept going on and on. The temperature started to plummet as well. By the time I neared the wash it was a solid 15º colder than a mile before, no pizza break down here!! Plus, I missed another turn into the wash crossing and had to consult the GPS once more.

The ensuing climb out of Bloodsucker was a concern of mine as I knew I'd be walking most of it. How long would it take? I took a peek at my phone and was surprised to see it took me almost 3 hours to reach the wash from Freeman rd. - it's only 11 miles!! I didn't think I HAB'd all that much, but perhaps I did.
Bloodsucker Wash.
It was 10:50p when I started pushing up Bloodsucker. My first goal was to get to a warmer location and grab some pizza! The snack was much needed and I switched out my helmet light in favor of my camping light for conservation. I was in full HAB mode now anyway, but I realized almost immediately that the camping light wasn't going to cut it through here. The 'trail' looks just like the rest of the desert, loose and rocky. It was very difficult in low light to distinguish the AZT from the surrounding terrain. Helmet light went back on.
1/2 way gate. Kinda glad I couldn't see the upcoming ridge climb.
About two miles up the terrain begins to show signs of mercy. I was riding again!! While still generally ascending there are a few downhills mixed in similar to the Ripsey climb. I couldn't wait to arrive at the upper gate.
Some fine trail near the top.
One final push to the gate.
The end of Bloodsucker!! Antelope Peak now far to the north.
I checked my phone at the gate: 2a!! Roughly 11 more miles to go, but the next 5 or 6 should go by quickly I thought. Wrong. I had a little bit of HAB mixed in to begin with, then as the trail got really good I kept blowing by turns. The tread was vague in certain areas and I'd ride for a hundred feet or so before realizing I was no longer on the trail!! Part of this was the lack of tire tracks or the well trampled cattle paths. The GPS was consulted on a few more instances and one time I started going back north on the AZT!! I quickly realized my error when the lights of Oracle turned and were going behind me.

I have to admit, through all this I held it together really well. Training for solo endurance in April!! The desert was eerily quiet out there, the wind had died down considerably, I wasn't cold, still had a burrito & plenty of water. I thought if I get too turned around out here I'll just lie down and wait for sunrise to finish. Each time I was able to regain my bearings and keep moving towards the finish line. I was surprised by the lack of wildlife out there. I only heard one pack of coyotes yipping near Antelope Peak, then came near three cattle sometime around 3a. That was it.

All my route blunders were eating time, I was actually looking forward to reaching the six drainage crossings that lead into Tiger Mine. I think I was on the second one when I felt the need for the third burrito, always the right decision. My handlebar light had finally started to konk out and I checked my helmet light and it was showing a red indicator. Hmmm, not much life left. I swapped out for the camping light once more while I ate.
One, in a series of up & down crossings.
 I tried to pick up my pace after eating, i.e. walk faster. I felt ok considering I had been awake now for over 24 hours. Ride down, hike up, ride down, hike up...then my helmet light began to strobe. I waited until it became really annoying, then flipped my handlebar light back on until it died for good. I was on my way up drainage 4 of 6 when the helmet light also went kaput. It was now 5:15a and I swapped out for my camping light once more...no bueno. It wouldn't turn on!! Again, wtf?!? New set of batteries too. I tried taking them out and rearranging positions, but it just wouldn't fire up. I did recall it being flaky one time in the past, oh well. I kind of welcomed the break, but when I checked my phone I was less than 3 miles from the end!!

I stopped on the trail, made myself as comfortable as I could and hunkered down until daybreak. I was hoping to catch a little nap at the least, but I began to shiver in the 40º weather. It was cold, especially now since I wasn't moving, yet somehow I did manage to doze off for a few minutes. Next thing I knew it was 6:30a and I could begin to make out the rocks on the trail. Guess what? My camping light decided to start working!! Stupid light. I gathered up my things and began HAB'ing out.
Did not expect to see a second sunrise on this ride.
 The last couple of miles were still slow going, but I finally rounded a corner and could see the AZT sign at Tiger Mine!! Almost there.
Finish line almost in sight. A bit of snow up on Mt. Lemmon.
At long last, the end!!
I rode up the final series of switchbacks and crossed the line at 8:11a, over 27 hours later. Jeebus. I still can't believe it took me that long. I really thought I could finish around midnight going into this. It just goes to show how difficult this route really is and how strong some of the other riders are. Amazing effort by those select few.

Rick was camped out next to his truck and it's a good thing he was driving us back to Picketpost. I passed out barely five minutes into the return trip. Rick finished at 12:30a and Jason at 12:51a, well done gents. I'm not sure I have a desire to try this one again, once may have been enough. I'm sure the pain & suffering will subside over time and I may just be dumb enough to give it another crack.

1.10.2015

AZT Jamboree '15 OnB

It's January, time to kick off the annual Arizona Trail fundraiser - the AZT Jamboree!! This was my 5th year riding the shuttled event, you would think I knew how long it takes to drive to the trailhead by now. Nope. For some reason I had '2 hours' forged in my melon. It takes 3 with prep time. So, as I stopped for gas in Vail I waved as the two Southwest Trekking buses drove past going the opposite direction.

No need to fret as this section of the AZT is primo and I had yet to ride south from this particular area. Chad was hanging out with his furry friend waiting for people to arrive for the later shuttle. My buddies, Rob & Scott were living large in a huge RV cooking up gobs of bacon. Don't mind if I have a slice or two while I chowed down on a bagel.
Windy, but fast trail to start.
I rolled out around 9a into a stiff chilly headwind. A couple of miles later the wind died down as I hugged the hillside approaching the Colossal Cave area. A few people were stirring at the campground, but I rolled through as I didn't need water so early in the ride.
La Posta Quemada Ranch, good place for a burrito if needed!!
The ensuing climb away from the ranch quickly warmed me up. It's a well contoured section of trail weaving it's way back and forth up the mountainside. A couple of the upper pitches had me off the bike briefly, but soon I was bouncing down the trail through one of the more technical stretches.

The three bridges area came and went and I saw the AZT folks out setting up for the days other trail event at the Gabe Zimmerman trailhead. Before I knew it I was crossing under I-10 and snaking my way over to SR83.
Fast trail near I-10.
Crossing the Old Sonoita Hwy.
I thought I may begin to see the shuttled riders approaching any time. So far I had only seen a handful of day riders. My intent was to at least ride south to the wonderful aid station and maybe push on a few more miles to The Lakes rd. I couldn't have been more than 1/4 mile away from the aid station when the flurry of late shuttlers began approaching. I reached the aid station a few minutes later and decided it would be best to turn around there instead of surprising the 40-50 riders who had yet to come blasting down this awesome portion of the AZT.

Mark and Daniel showed up shortly after my arrival, then Rob and Scott came rolling up a bit surprised to see me there. After indulging in a beer and mini-pizza the five of us turned north.

Back at the I-10 culvert, I talked the fellas into jumping into the sandy drainage, but it had been filled in with a ton of sand. Not quite the large drop that Seron did a few years ago!!
The Gabe Zimmerman festivities were well under way now and we stopped to chat with Sirena & Matt for a few minutes. Then we decided to skip the easy road crossing and venture down to Cienega Creek and stay with the AZT.
Approaching the dropoff.
Of course old habits die hard, I veered left at the 2-track split and we dumped back onto the road by the railroad tracks, not down at the creek! We didn't feel like riding back up the hill, so we followed the tracks briefly to the bridge where the landscape drops quickly to the creek below. We poked around a bit, then found a relatively easy passage down, but we had to duck under the bridge to do so.
Daniel diggin' the mini-excursion.
Back on the AZT.
There has been significant trailwork completed down at the creek since Seron and I last attempted to follow the trail down here. That was an early lesson in bushwhacking up a canyon wall!! Not today. The AZT follows a small side canyon up & out of the riparian area, well built and fully rideable. I just need to remember to veer right at the jeep road split up top for next time.

The rest of the ride back to Pistol Hill went by rather quickly. I had a nice run through the techy bits cleaning everything on the return to La Posta Quemada. A few of the bigger hits caught me by the campground, but otherwise I had my tech game going rather well.

Back at Pistol Hill the brats were cooking and brews flowing. Always a good time catching up with my Tucson riding friends I don't see nearly enough.
Get the grill!!
I was getting ready to head out when Rob & Michele finished up their ride...on their Klunkers! Singlespeed coaster braking it. This is of particular mention, since Rob was recently featured in Mountain Flyer Magazine (Issue #40). Rob is such a down to earth cool dude, it's nice to see a fella like him get some big time recognition. On a side note, I managed to get one of my photos published in the article, look for this one in the mag:
Rob klunking around the Sedona BFL this past March.
If you haven't made it to an AZT Jamboree, put it on your list. It's a great ride, fun times and it benefits the best trail in the state!!
Arizona has a seemingly endless supply of these.

1.09.2015

Gold Canyon: Fantastic 4

There's been some recent activity out on the Gold Canyon trails. New dirt!! Four trails now link the Lost Goldmine east end down to the Snowbird area. I thought I'd make special mention of  these since they seem to capture the feel of the Gold Canyon standard: K-Trail.

So check 'em out, put some tracks down on: TD, Coyote, Outer Limits & Don't Fence Me In.

Here's a cool map widget courtesy of Trailforks:

A few recent pics:
Looking north on TD.
West end of Outer Limits.
East end of Outer Limits.
Junction of Snowbird & TD.
Coyote split off TD.
Northbound on TD.
East view on Coyote.
Coyote meets Don't Fence Me In.
D.F.M.I. turning south off Lost Goldmine.
There's now a solid days worth of riding available on the Gold Canyon trails. Time to get creative with the routes!

1.02.2015

McBrown 100

Here's what happens when you lob a softball at Jeff asking for a 100 mile route on his backyard trails: a day later (minus some minor tweaking) the McBrown100, CraZie100, Curmudgeon100, etc was born. Call it what you want, I'll call it awesome.

How does a 100 mile mountain bike ride with 99% of it being on trail sound to you? The only pavement involved was getting from the driveway to the trailhead all within the same neighborhood!! That's one helluva design. A few other perks on the route: The toughest part was over by mile 42, we rolled through two official trailheads with water available, one at mile 31 & one at mile 62. Perfect. We also dropped a cooler full of cold drinks and lunch at mile 54, then passed through the same area at mile 86. Did I mention the route finished with a mostly downhill final 25 miles?? Winner indeed.

This is how 2015 got started. Go big. We rounded up a hearty half dozen and left the warm confines at 6am with temps hovering around freezing.
First light on Escondido trail.
There were a few sections of new-to-me trail, including a bunch over the first 10 miles. We ditched the lights while finishing up Escondido trail. Jeff and I did a quick detour down the McPump jumpline & pumptrack, it was right there - had to do it!!
Ahh, sunrise and hopefully warmer temps!!
We regrouped briefly in the comp parking area before Ray & Yuri took off ahead on a more angry pace. Jeff, Nancy, Joe and I followed suit a few minutes later. We caught a glimpse of the other two one more time as the route doubled back near itself between the Tech & Long loops.
McDowell Mtns. cast in golden morning rays.
These trails were built for speed.
I was anxious to put miles 20-40 behind us as they would take the most effort and longest time. We exited McDowell Mtn Regional Park and connected over to the notoriously rugged Sonoran trail. This was my second, and recent, time riding Sonoran in this particular direction. This day, my legs were fresh and I almost cleaned the initial climb - two dabs kept it imperfect, but there was no HAB!! The next highlight for me, yes, a highlight on Sonoran, was making a clean descent through all the tight switchbacks. A few were a bit sketchy, but no dabs, no hopping, no balance checks. It's really too bad my hardtail 29er doesn't corner better!! :p
Jeff descending on Sonoran.
We finished off Sonoran without a hitch and connected up to the Andrews-Kinsey trail via the lower, more rideable, entrance to the Western Loop. I started to feel a bit sluggish going up Andrews-Kinsey. I was ready for a break, but we were still a few miles away from the Lost Dog TH.

I found Jeff & Joe at the top and we started our long rocky bomb down the Sunrise trail. Down at the Lost Dog TH we found out the other two fellas were only 30 minutes ahead of us. We chowed down on some snacks and at the time it felt great, but as soon as we hit the dirt my legs simply felt like concrete.
Nice view from the Andrews-Kinsey trail.
Well contoured dirt sidewalk, the rocks are coming!!
Snack time at Lost Dog TH.
View from the frontside of the McDowell Mtn's
It was still chilly and now past 11a. I hadn't shed my down jacket yet, but could finally feel my toes. The others quickly left me in the dust while I plodded along trying to work through a mild bonk. I reached Paradise trail and finally got comfortable with my layers. I caught up to the others and we made our way over to the big effort of the day: Windgate.

It's been years since I last went up Windgate Pass and for good reason. This trail blows. Some claim it used to be rideable; perhaps, but now it's a glorified scree field. I didn't have much desire to even attempt to ride the steep bits, just assume the HAB position and get to the top.
Up Windgate we go. Joe gave it his all!!
Gateway area.
Sunrays kinda wash it out, but there's snow still clinging to the shady side of the McDowell's.
We reached Windgate Pass around 1:15p, a little over 7 hours in and 42 miles down. We were staring at another 60 miles to go, but I knew they'd be faster miles, much easier too. The thought of cruising through the crushed granite over hardpack trails of the Regional Park had my mind & stomach craving my lunchtime burrito.
Heading down the backside of Windgate we were treated to this jaw dropping vista.
What's that? Snow?!? Sure is. Rare sight for these parts.
I was following Jeff down Windmill, caught a soft shoulder, and in one fell swoop unclipped from my pedals and leaped over the handlebars for a safe landing. Whoa. Perhaps it was the adrenaline rush from that, but I felt back to normal on our cruise down Coachwhip, Pemberton, Rock Knob and out Gooseneck to the lunch cooler.
Making the turn onto Rock Knob.
Finally, burrito time!!
Jeff & Nancy still bundled up, it's rare to be this chilly all day in Phoenix.
We were now 54 miles in, it was sometime around 2:30p and I'm certain the others were questioning our ability to complete such an ambitious ride in a reasonable amount of time. I mentioned I thought we'd finish around 15 hours, the others didn't think it would take that long. We all knew it would be getting cold once again after sunset, but how far along would we be? I was hoping to be through most of the Brown's Ranch stuff and on our way towards or at the final 25 mile downhill section.

After lunch we rode a steady pace over to the Brown's Ranch trailhead, this time I remembered to check my water as I neglected to do so at Lost Dog TH. We all topped off a bit and got back after it, now 62 miles down.
Somewhere on the northern end of the Brown's Ranch trails.
Our route bypassed the Brown's Mtn. climb, so it was a very fun fast bunch of miles. Jeff did a nice job routing through the network, hitting all the familiar trails, but sometimes approaching them from a direction I wasn't anticipating. We finally exited the trail system in favor of some remnants of years past on the Pima/Dynamite moto trails. There are still a bunch of older trails/routes out there on the northern fringes.
Was this a new(er) trail? Not sure, but it sure was fun!
The sun was now getting low on the horizon and we happened to meet back up with Joe, who had skipped the cooler stop. The four of us kept our pedals cranking to the northern terminus of the day, where we switched over to night riding mode. It was also the perfect time to break out the additional layers from the morning.
We also had a large moon for night riding assistance.
Grantie Mtn. still a few miles to the south.
All set for some cold night riding.
We made quick work heading south towards Granite Mtn. We were now past the 75 mile mark which meant a whole lot of downhill was coming our way!! One long gradual climb remained and I began to feel sluggish again. By now, my lunch burrito had long been gone and I was ready for another. By the time I met up with the others at the top, I told them to go on without me. There was no sense in me holding everyone up at this point.
Light, legs & warmth fading.
We made a light train around the south side of Granite Mtn. and as I approached a small set of switchbacks it hit me...a full-on bonk. I had to stop and grab a quick snack to tide me over until I reached the cooler a second time. Twenty minutes later as I cruised down 136th St. Express I felt fine.

I was now fully on my own to finish this thing. Back at the cooler I downed my second burrito and a Mountain Dew left by Ray. Thanks dude, that really did the job. Back on Gooseneck, then over to Redbird where I overshot turn after turn on the seldom ridden trail. My nighttime riding vision isn't the greatest, but sheesh, I was off in the desert way too often!
One final energy boost.
Back inside the Regional park I knew I could really let things fly. These trails are fast and well maintained, practically racing trails. I never did see the others lights ahead of me. A few turns onto some random inner park trails to up the mileage: Lariat, Granite, Bluff and Pemberton once more. I was approaching the 15 hour mark and was set on finishing ahead of it. I turned onto Chuparosa which signaled my exit of the park a few miles away. Time was ticking down, 20, 15, 10 minutes until 15 hours and I was still on singletrack!! I kept thinking when the hell is this trail going to end?!? I didn't recall our entrance being so long, plus my mileage was now up to 103. I dumped onto the neighborhood streets at 14:59 and finished up a few minutes later.

Jeff, Nancy & Joe were already chowing down on some slow cooked chili that had been simmering all day waiting for our arrival. A quick change of clothes to warm up my now frozen feet, a piping hot bowl of chili and a brew among friends really brought a nice close to a tremendous day.

In hindsight, I should've lugged three burritos with me and eaten one early on at the Lost Dog TH. I think only having snacks there put me in a caloric deficit I had a hard time digging out of.We also learned that both Ray & Yuri cut the ride short for various reasons, better luck next time fellas.

I look forward to doing this one again, perhaps when it's a few degrees warmer and maybe a bit more daylight to play with.

I can't thank Jeff enough for this gem, well done amigo. Until the next one. Cheers!