3.15.2015

BCT: Something's Not Quite Right

My quest to continue riding as my wrist healed continued. There are a few trails around town that don't pulverize you completely. The Black Canyon Trail is one of them. A couple of friends from Tucson were coming up for a bikepacking overnighter, so I decided to join them for the return portion on Sunday. I would ride the old AES route, up the dirt roads to either the Hidden Treasure crossing or all the way up to Antelope Creek. It would depend on where our paths crossed and how I was feeling.

Somehow I managed to wake up at my 3:30a alarm & be out at the trailhead by 6:30a. It was a late night on Sat. after fellow AES'er and riding bud, Mark, got hitched!! He had one of the coolest groom's cake any of us had ever seen:
Mark's AZT300 groom's cake! He completed the race in 2013.
I was rolling north at my planned departure of 7a. I made quick work of the first handful of miles through Black Canyon City. The road soon turns to dirt and begins to climb. It's a good warmup on a chilly morning as the road tilts up for a bit over a mile. The subsequent downhill was an immediate reminder of why I was staying off technical trails. The dirt road isn't exactly smooth grading, it's bumpy, rutted and littered with rocks. A prescription for pain. There were a couple of times when things got squirrelly as I tried to lighten up my grip on downhill stretches only to have my bars practically slip out of my hands!! No wrecks, but my heart rate quickened on those occasions.

By the time I reached the Hidden Treasure crossover, some 18 miles in, Shannon & Jerry were making their exit from Antelope Creek. I wasn't in much of a mood for more climbing, so I was more than ready to hit the singletrack heading south.

The next 6 miles are a blast!! High desert flowy singletrack contouring the lay of the land followed by an extended downhill cruiser between boulder fields. Awesome.
Shannon's bright colors made her easy to spot along the way.
Jerry carving a slice of BCT goodness.
Hard to believe sometimes that a major US interstate parallels this trail only a couple miles to the east.
Yes.
We stopped for an early lunch before reaching the tiny outpost of Bumble Bee. I had a surprise for my Old Pueblo friends...I mixed up a flask of margaritas!! Afterall, this was the first time I actually met them face to face, we had only been digital friends to this point. Needless to say, it was a hit.
Cheers! To new riding partners.
The trail kicks up for a mile after it crosses over Maggie Mine rd on a chunky jeep connector. At the top it begins another super fun contouring section down to the Glorianna TH (Bumble Bee exit off I-17).
Shannon on one of the many hillside contours.
Jerry dodging the cacti under bluebird skies.
Nearing the Glorianna TH.
Jerry was starting to get tired from their 2-day trek, so we hatched a plan to cut out the last 10 miles of trail for an easier return to the Black Canyon City TH. Both Shannon & Jerry peeled off onto Maggie Mine rd near the top of the my early morning climb.

I continued onto the Stagecoach section of the BCT and walked down a fair amount of the chunky sections. I never do that here. I was rapidly coming to terms that my wrist my be more seriously injured than initially thought. It really hadn't improved over the prior couple of weeks. I'd end up making an appointment with a hand/wrist specialist the following Thursday.
I love this vantage point above Black Canyon Creek and the impending switchback.
The creek was flowing pretty good on this day.
I was really enjoying my time out on the trail. It was warm, no one was around, only a few miles remained and I couldn't help but think how lucky we are to have these kind of trails at our doorstep. People travel from all over the US just to ride here. Here. Arizona. It's that good. If you want further proof, check out this recently released video from Rocky Mountain Bicycles:

The Black Canyon Trail from Rocky Mountain Bicycles on Vimeo.
Time for a finishing kick.
Two Boots junction is one boot short.
Shouldn't there be a biker on this sign too?
Agua Fria River crossing brought back some memories so I looked for an easier way across.
Head downstream 100' for ankle deep waters.
Hedgehogs were starting to pop.
An 8 switchback final approach, one of my favorites bits, even if I sucked at cleaning them today. 
The trail continues southward. 
All downhill from here.
Bright yellow hues of Brittlebush cover the desert.
I finished up well after Shannon & Jerry began their trek south to Tucson. It was great riding with them and I plan on more Tucson rides in the fall.

Thursday came, I met with the doctor and a 2nd x-ray came back positive. Fracture of the Scaphoid bone. Drat. I was scheduled for surgery the following Wednesday to have a screw put in.
Post-op for two weeks.
The screw is almost the size of the bone!
Removable brace. At least I can use my hand, fingers not affected.
One of the tougher physical therapy tools.
As of this writing it's been 5 weeks off the bike and counting. No real timetable. I'll be patient and do all my physical therapy and ride when it's ready to do so. Hopefully sometime this summer. In the meantime, the 'B' will become an 'H", as in Hiking. Plenty of incredible places to go on foot here too.
Here's to a healthy & speedy recovery. Cheers!

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