12.29.2012

Recon to the Rescue!

I had Saturday Dec. 29th circled on my calendar for a few weeks. I was going to give my South Mountain sufferfest loop another crack. Looking at the profile of the route I've dubbed this ride the SoMo Sawtooth 70. Seron couldn't break away for the day & I thought Steve was out of town, so I went for it solo.

It was a chilly, ok cold, morning for Phoenix: 34ยบ in the dark pre-dawn hour of 6am. In the parking lot there were a bunch of people getting schooled by what sounded like a drill Sargent, count off!! 1-2-3-4-5!!  I readied the Voodoo and started rolling around 6:30a trying to get some feeling back in my fingers. I was surprised how many hikers were out and about on the trails, but I soon left the more popular parts and was all by my lonesome.
Almost a bikepacking setup!
C'mon sunrise, it's COLD!!
Before too long I had a couple of miles under my tires and I began to sweat, stopping to shed an article of clothing here and there. I was about 2/3 up Javelina trail when I picked a poor line going into a small step-up and burped my front tire. I was off the bike again with the hand pump, then removed my lights as they were now not necessary. The day before I had some new cabling put on the ride and my rear shifter was moved too far into the grip; all the way up Javelina I kept bumping it shifting into a gear too large for the climb. Gah! Up at the city overlook on the Mormon Loop I moved the shifter back to where I like it and started my final push up Mormon. I was in 2/3 gearing & I couldn't get down to 2/1!! I played with the shifter a bit, tried adjusting the stops, but nothing seemed to be working. Ugh. There was no way I was going to continue this route without my two lowest gears on the middle chainring and I wasn't going to do the ride in granny either. So, after another 15 minute delay I decided to call off my attempt only 5.5 miles from the start.
At the overlook on Mormon where Phoenix first comes into view.
My day ended about 20 feet up the trail.
Not the way I wanted the day to go for sure. I had planned on being out on the mountain for at least 12 hours, 70-ish miles and 10,000 feet of climbing! 1hr 35 mins into the ride I had amassed 30 minutes of stop time! Oh well, the route will still be there. Hopefully the third time's the charm.

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I was determined to get the bike fixed and be back out on the trail later that day. I made a call in to Phil, and he graciously offered to help me out. I really need to get a work-stand ! Phil worked his magic on my slightly bent derailleur and I was back in business. I was already in Gold Canyon and there was another short stretch of my Salty-Gila route that I wanted to scout. That quickly became the plan for the afternoon. I would ride from Gold Canyon out to Florence JCT on dirt avoiding the super busy US60.
Most of the route followed the powerlines, but the access road was in good shape. Picketpost Mtn peeking over the left horizon.
Nature's powerpole seemingly giving the man-made one the finger.
The Superstition Mtns. were quickly fading into the distance.
Queen Valley, AZ.
The day was growing long as I reached my turnaround point.
An abandoned gas station in Florence JCT, thankfully the two angry dogs in the back were properly fenced in!
Reluctantly, I opted for the fast track back to Gold Canyon on the shoulder of US60, bleh.
It paid off in both the views and finishing before sunset.
Another successful scouting trip (minus the dude with the rocket launcher out target shooting!!) and a nice save to the riding day. Somewhere on this ride I hit a major milestone in my riding: 3000 mountain biking miles for the calendar year! I'm really liking how the Salty-Gila Tour is shaping up and I'm beginning to get some others interested in tagging along for the initial ride.


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