The extended part of this ride compared to last year afforded us the opportunity to ride some more of the AZT. This is always a good thing. As we made our way southbound over some jeep roads we heard the rumbling of some 4x4 behind us. We were a bit surprised at how long we kept in front of them, the road was extremely rugged by 4x4 standards, but perfect for some techy mtb climbing! The 4x's finally caught us and we pulled over to watch all 6 of them navigate the obstacle strewn incline.
About halfway through the ride we found ourselves at the high point of the day, fantastic views to the south and into Mexico could be seen. As we left on the long downhill my bike started making a weird noise on the back end. I stopped a few times to pinpoint the source, but couldn't nail it down. I started back up and it went away. A few miles down the trail after some on and off again noise episodes I finally saw my dilemma. My freewheel was not so free, causing my chain to move back and forth jumping all over the place - hub was shot. My rear wheel had a significant amount of side to side play, the disc brakes were rubbing a bit, but the bike was still functioning. It had to. We were still about 18 miles from the finish line out in the middle of nowhere. Don't fail me now!
|We were surprised to see so much color lingering in the canyons|
|The Link Tr. was the only significant HAB section of the day|
|Looking south from the high point|
|We were also scouting water sources along the route for the upcoming AZT300|
|Another wildlife first, tarantula munching on a grasshopper!|
|It's hard to fathom sometimes that views like this are in AZ!|
We finished the ride in just under 8 hours, very pleased with our effort & pace on the day. My bike made it to the finish line mostly in one piece. I then proceeded to seek out rear wheel availability from my fellow riders. James came through with an offer I couldn't refuse, bike parts for beer! SOLD! We stayed around a bit for some post ride BS, then made our way back to Tucson for dinner. On to the next AES event, the McDowell 60.
I found these next two shots very interesting, both taken near the same spot only one year apart. Amazing what difference a year makes.