1.14.2017

Curmudgeon 100 SS

We had postponed the Curmudgeon 100 due to weather a couple weeks ago and now it was under the threat of rain once again!! WTH!?! The Valley of the Sun has been caught in a rainy weekend pattern for over a month or at least it seems that way.

The forecast looked mostly promising until mid-afternoon anyway. We figured we could get most, if not all, of the ride completed before the rains picked up. The trails over the back end of the route hold up well in wet weather and if things got really nasty there was always the road bailout.

Jeff & Nancy were kind enough to host the ride once again and a few of us took them up on their offer to crash at the casa since we were starting the ride at 5:30a. (it doesn't get light until around 7a this time of year)

I had debated a bit on which bike to ride for this, but in the end the singlespeed (SS) won out. Shannon twisted my arm a bit and I thought it would be funny for me to ride a SS, while Jeff was on a geared bike since his SS is currently busted. Plus, I knew the 'ol Voodoo could handle any rough weather thrown its way.

The next morning came quickly, more riders appeared and just like that we were rolling through the neighborhood towards 100 miles of singletrack!! I think I counted 15 riders at the start.
A bit blurry, but the pack heads towards the trail.
A few of the fast guys took off, never to be seen by me! I just wanted to get through the night riding portion without crashing into a cactus! Mission accomplished.

Jason and I started on Escondido trail together, and I asked him to lead it out. I watched as he pulled away into the darkness, occasionally catching a glimpse of his light warning me of any uphills approaching.

A light rain began to fall during this stretch, but we could still see the moon. I figured it would pass over quickly and it did. There are a few short climbs on Escondido, enough to remind me how hard this day was going to be on the SS. We turned north onto Cinch and I was sort of hoping we wouldn't be doing the Scenic climb, but then I saw a few headlights begin to elevate around the mountain. Scenic, here we come.

About halfway up I had to walk a bit and a few others passed by. We hopped on Pemberton for a short bit, then down Shallmo Wash to the Comp loop staging area where a MBAA event was being held later that morning. We knew about the race and our route overlapped the course for a bit. We figured we'd be very close to being off of it by the time the racers came around.

In the meantime, Jeff had asked me if I had any BB7 brake pads with me since he lost one of his rear pads early on. Nope. He ended up riding over 90 miles with only front brakes, nice. To make matters worse, his chain snapped barely a half mile into the Long loop. Gah!! Nancy and I hung out while he got things figured out. We got rolling again and I could feel my legs had tightened up a bit from standing around. I made a conscious effort to keep my breaks short for the rest of the day.
Trailside chain maintenance.
Hints of blue sky & sun in the early morning hours.
The clouds stayed thick all day towards Four Peaks.


Joe caught up to us as we were leaving the comp loop area and the four of us would stay close to each other most of the day. I was feeling good as the miles ticked by and we reached the west end of the Regional park to rejoin Pemberton once more. I took a short snack break as the others rode on.

I started up Coachwhip trail keeping a keen eye out for racers. Sure enought the two frontrunners came flying down the trail. I stepped off the side of the trail as they flew by, ridiculously fast!! Of course I had to be told by a rider that 'there's a race going on today??' Yeah, no kidding. That's why I'm off the trail standing next to my bike. It was cool to see a bunch of friends tearing it up, all of them saying 'hey' as they flew by. I ended up walking most of the Coachwhip climb to the Windmill split, it was just easier to stay out of the racers way by walking. Once on Windmill we were off course for a while as the route climbed to the top of Prospector trail. I pushed a lot of the way over the final 1/2 mile or so.
Top of Prospector and the hardest part of the day over. Only 60+ miles to go!!
I rolled down Prospector and to my surprise cleaned the short Dixie Mine climb. I thought I'd see more racers since I was back on course, but they only rode through this section once. I was really looking forward to getting up Boulder trail and onto Gooseneck. It's downhill-to-level most of the way to where we had some coolers stashed near the Rio Verde rd crossing.
Cool rock formations along Gooseneck.
Dark clouds hang over Four Peaks.
Mesquite tunnel near a stock pond.
Caught up to the gang at the cooler!!


I made quick work of my Los Hermanos bean burrito and left the cooler a few minutes before the others. My legs were feeling good and we were now about to hit the fast groomed dirt of Brown's Ranch.

I stopped to top off water at the trailhead and I had almost gone through 2L. I took off once again just as the others rolled up. The next few miles were a blur, rippin' down Hackamore trail then Jeff had the route peel off onto some of the old Pima/Dynamite 'Legacy' trails. Mostly cut-in by motos, there are plenty of whoop-de-doos. This particular section winds its way through a massive boulder field. I found myself pushing up many of the short steep inclimes. Heck, I had my only fall of the day here when I lost my footing on the pebble covered rocks while in HAB mode.
P&D Legacy trail.
This will be part of the new Brown's Ranch expansion soon enough. I just hope they retain most of the character out there. These trails were fun, but they took a toll on me with the SS and arriving at mile 60 or so on the day. Oof.

I was glad when we rejoined the Brown's Ranch stuff north of Cone Mtn.
Cholla Mtn.
I took another snack break as I merged onto Hawknest trail. We were riding it eastbound, which meant a gradual 4+ mile upslope. Jeff, Nancy & Joe all rode by me while I snacked.
The trusted Voodoo in SS glory.
I think I was about halfway across Hawknest when I noticed the clouds to the south were looking grim. The flow of moisture was coming from that direction and a few miles later I knew we'd be getting wet, but when?

I was really hoping to make it to Gooseneck before the rains came, but conditions were deteriorating rapidly as I turned west onto Renegade. This was my first time riding Renegade westbound, the uphill direction. I wasn't exactly looking forward to grunting up the climbs, but it turned out to be pretty good. I was a bit surprised to hear the clap of thunder and a few lightning flashes - it's January!! One particular flash was a bit close as I was up on a short ridgeline, need to get off of this pronto!! The rain began to lightly fall as I wrapped up Renegade and I knew the heavy stuff was imminent. The rain jacket came out when I reached the turn for High Desert trail and not 2 minutes later the skies opened up!!
Here comes the rain!!
The trail instantly turned into a river, but still rode great! My feet were soaked so there was no sense in trying to dodge puddles. I blasted through all of them like a little kid. The deluge lasted 10-15 minutes and had pretty much stopped by the time I exited The Divide trail. It took a while for my braking power to resume, but all was good.

The route zigzagged around Granite Mtn then made a beeline back towards Gooseneck. I found Jeff & Nancy at the cooler once again and I think Jeff was surprised when I mentioned how awesome I thought it was riding through the downpour.

I chugged a Mountain Dew and the three of us began the mostly downhill final miles.
The Sun made its presence known for a bit.
A double rainbow showed up too on a few instances.


It was looking like we'd finish under sunny skies, but that wasn't the case. It began raining on & off over the final few miles, nothing too hard though.

My GPS decided to die at mile 98 and the connection had gotten wet therefore I couldn't use my cache battery to top it off for the last 3 miles. Oh well. That's another reason why I run both a GPS and the Strava app. I like to have my ride data, kind of a ride data geek!!

I finished up shortly after 5p, sky still light. 101 miles complete on a singlespeed, my biggest to date. I was pleased with the ride overall, but I still like my gears. There's a place for both bikes in the stable.

There were only a few of us hanging around at the end which was a bit of a bummer. What really hit the spot were the two crockpots of chili that had been cooking all day and a hot shower!!

A huge thank you to Jeff & Nancy for hosting the event once again and thanks to Joe for more chili & cornbread. Perfect ending to a great day on the trails. Until next year, cheers!

Route flyover:

Route:


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1.13.2017

Ripsey!! Team Loco Edition

Once again weather was threatening to alter ride plans for the weekend. The forecast was indicating showers arriving late on Friday. We had a small group ride planned for a Ripsey loop, but as the time grew near only Shannon and I ended up going.

No problem there. We both had huge ride plans for the following day so this would be a super chill picnic pace type of ride. Plus, there was a short connector I wanted to check out that omitted some sandy jeep roads & powerline riding.

We agreed on a 10a start time and I was thrilled to sleep in a bit...then sleep some more!! Oops. I arrived about 20 minutes late and we saddled up for the ever exciting climb up the Florence-Kelvin hwy. (4 1/2 miles of graded dirt road that tends to drag on) It went by quickly having someone to talk to on the way up!! Too bad we didn't have a donut stop at the top like last time.
The flat top section of the F-K Hwy. Photo by Shannon.
Our route took us farther west on the F-K Hwy, out to Tecolote rd. A seldom used dirt ranch road. It rides well, but does have some sandy sections.
Mtb multi-tasker.
Tecolote rd.
A few miles later I began looking for my 'shortcut' to the Arizona Trail (AZT). It looked like a fairly obvious 2-track on satellite, but as I have found over the years, this isn't always the case on the ground. Today was no exception as we rolled right passed the turn. We went back to where my track had us turning and all we could see was desert. There was a patch of ground that had less vegetation so we started riding that way. Sure enough, that was our 2-track which eventually began to resemble one. A half mile or so later we arrived at the AZT where it splits off the powerline and begins the Ripsey segment heading north. Win!!
Well defined 2-track!! Photo by Shannon.
I don't think I had realized that Shannon had only been on the Ripsey segment once and that was during the AZT300 last year!! She was looking forward to checking it out on fresh legs & a light bike!!
Shannon putting me to work for the ATA. Photo by Shannon.
The powerline road runs left to right, my bike is on the AZT and our vague 2-track fades off into the desert.
Dropping down into the Ripsey drainage.
I was thrilled to see this road has finally been fixed. It was extremely eroded making it tough to walk up in the past.
A 'pedal position tip' (inside pedal to the rear, i.e. right-hand turn, right pedal farther back) helped Shannon clean a ton of switchbacks today!!
Grinding the SS up The Big Hill.
Up we go!! The Hill always looks more daunting from afar, but it actually rides pretty well. Photo by Shannon.
The upper 6 switchbacks always give me fits, but I managed to clean 2 of them today. Photo by Shannon.
The top of the climb gives way to one the best views along the entire AZT. I always stop here for a few minutes to soak it all in, it's an amazing place even on a overcast day. We had joked about there being a bar atop the ridge and today I made sure we at least had a beer. The Ripsey Roadhouse was open for business.
First pours and what a view!! Photo by Shannon.
The upper 6 switchbacks of The Big Hill and view of Mt. Lemmon. Photo by Shannon.
Best ridgeline in AZ?? 
Top of the World.
So many colors. Photo by Shannon.
Wheelie practice. Photo by Shannon.
Starting the 5 mile descent to the Kelvin trailhead. Photo by Shannon.
Little bit-o-tech on the way down.
One ridgeline leads to another.
The entire Gila River Valley makes you feel so small.
Steer clear of these guys!! Plenty of chollaballs on the trail today.
This downhill is part of the switchback attack section, some 13 or so of them. Photo by Shannon.
Shannon demonstrating the awkward switchback approach, yet she still cleaned it!!
A perfect 30 mile loop on a cloudy day. Thank you AZT.
We decided the AZT is the perfect location for all future Team Loco (#locorides) board meetings!! Which passage to ride next?

Route flyover:

Route:

1.07.2017

AZT Jamboree '17

 I love me some Arizona Trail!! I wasn't about to miss the 9th edition of the AZT Jamboree. This is an annual charity event for our beloved state trail where a small donation gets you shuttled south for a 40 mile ride back to the post ride party. (There's also a 25 mile version).

Last year weather forced a venue change and the year before I didn't give myself enough time to drive south and missed the shuttle!! I didn't want a repeat of that, so I met Arturo at his place at 5am for the 2+ hour drive south.

I'd be riding the singlespeed (SS) Voodoo on this one because I dropped off the rear wheel from the Motobecane to get rebuilt. While trending downhill, there are plenty of climbs on the Jamboree route and I was curious to see how it would go.

Arturo's getting his riding legs back and we agreed to go at our own pace. Jeff & Nancy made the trek south too, but ironically Jeff was on a geared bike since his SS Ti bike broke!! Shannon was also doing the ride, but sans shuttle. I'd meet up with her as she rode the opposite direction, then we'd return to the staging area.
A short spin up an unusually washboard free Box Canyon rd.
 We turned onto the AZT and not 100 feet up the short hill Arturo's shifter broke!! While he figured out which gear(s) he still had we pedaled on. I had a short bit of HAB on an ensuing incline, but otherwise rode all the early hills.
Tall grass, sweet singletrack & blue skies. Ahhh.
Jeff & Nancy carving down an early hillside.
SS power!!
One of my favorite sections of the AZT.


We crossed over Helvetia rd. into the more rugged hills of Las Colinas. I rode some, walked some, but overall it wasn't too bad.
Nancy following my lead.
Find the bikers!!
It was a perfect morning to be out on the trail.
Old trail marker at the top of the second climb.
Had to get at least one geared HAB pic of Jeff for all the years of crap he gave me for pushing mine up hills!!
That's more like it.
These trailside rocks signal the beginning of the long gradual descent down to I-10, the 'magic' green gate is just around the corner. It's the more popular landmark.
Jeff flying along a super fun downhill stretch. 


We had thought we would've crossed paths with Shannon by now. I figured if I didn't see her by Sahaurita rd, she'd gone off to ride somewhere else. As soon as I rounded the final corner to the road, I could see a multitude of bright colors...she made it!! This was a perfect snack stop since the regular SAG station wasn't here this year.
We found Carlos & Tasha doing some tread work on the east side of SR83.
Caught in the act!! Snagging a beer from Carlos's truck. Photo by Shannon.
Did you know that if you ride with an ATA employee, they will open ALL the AZT gates for you? (It's part of their job)
Did someone say 'empanadas ahead?' She's gone!!


By the time we left Carlos & Tasha, Jeff & Nancy were long gone. Shannon & I were now heavily focused on the empanada stop at the Gabe Zimmerman trailhead. We were having a good 'ol time on the downhill cruise. There's a dumb gate at the I-10 underpass that I swear I have to re-learn everytime I go through it. There's a hidden latch that prevents the bar from opening and it always takes a try or two before remembering it's there. Ahh, yes, the gates of the AZT.

Tamara was holding down the fort at the trailhead and there were tons of empanadas left. Apparently not all the riders knew to go under the canopy for the treats.
Tamara & Shannon blinded by the light.
Mmmmm.
Synchronized drinkin'.


We must've hung out with Tamara for a good 30 minutes. There was another fella waiting for a few riders to roll through, they had been having a multitude of tire issues. We did get word that they spotted Arturo not too far back. I was ready for a brat, so we pedaled on to the end.
Goofing around near Colossal Cave. Photo by Shannon.
This giant saguaro was twice as tall as the photo.
Just beyond the La Selvilla CG.


 We came up to a big rock in the trail that Shannon had tried to ride earlier in the day, but couldn't quite get it. Let's session it!! I gave it a stab on the SS & somehow got my momentum just right on the awkward approach to roll up & over it. Shannon went for it and got so close on the first try I knew she'd get it. Sure enough, on the second attempt she made it look stupid easy. Boom!!
A couple of easy miles to round out the day. Photo by Shannon.
We finished up around 3:30p, lots of people hanging out enjoying the January sunshine. Perfect day for a trail ride. Arturo rolled in shortly after, sun still high in the sky!! Nice riding dude!!
Brats devoured, chillin' with friends at the end of a fun day.
Voodoo & Yuengling suds?
Will ride for chocolate...


Mark your calendars, typically the first Saturday in January. Next year will be the 10th edition, don't miss out. A special thanks to Southwest Trekking for providing the shuttles!!

Route flyover:

Long shuttle route: