|Nice overview of the starting area. Photo by Scott.|
I was trying to hold off the fast riders from the short course, but that didn't last too long. About 3 miles in on one of the longer climbs I heard them coming, I think I was passed by 5 riders. I spun out on two sections, but otherwise had a well paced ride out to the dirt road turnoff. From there it was time to settle in for the 9 miles or so of quick dirt roads leading to the Kentucky Camp turnoff. This is the spot on route where the 46 milers head south & the 29 milers continue straight.
|Making my way up towards the Kentucky Camp turnoff. Full album here.|
Soon the southern lollipop turns off the singletrack and switches to jeep roads on its way to the halfway point. There was this one particular section of jeep road last year that had super ugly ruts, but this year the road had been rebuilt, graded, whatever but it was of no consequence.
|Last year these 4x4's had difficulty getting up this stretch.|
Steve and I made it to the top and met up with a couple from California who came in for the race. We turned our wheels to the left and the 4 of us blasted down the jeep road on the long descent into Gardner Canyon. Eventually the tunoff for the AZT appears and begins the fantastic Flume Trail section. The Flume Trail twists and turns through tall grass and sporadic rock outcroppings, simply amazing flow. Unfortunately, this was the time when my left hamstring decided to turn itself inside-out! I couldn't get my foot out of my pedal so I just stopped in the trail gritting my teeth waiting out the cramp. Steve and the Cali couple rode past and I still couldn't get going. Finally, after what seemed like 10 minutes I was able to resume riding.
|Some of the sweetest singletrack around.|
|I try to take this same picture each time I pass through.|
i bottomed out from the long rocky descent and made my way towards Box Canyon Rd. This would bring me back to the out-n-back portion of the route with 6 miles to go. My goal for the day was 6 1/2 hours, I was still on pace as long as I kept pushing as my legs would allow. I kept a keen eye on my race clock and as I crested the last short climb I had less than 10 minutes to my cutoff. Back on the entry road I pushed hard through the sandy washboarding & finished with a time of 6:26. Time to relax and have a chocolate milk!
|Tucson really has something here!|