November 24, 2011

Flight of the Turkey

Black Friday. That phrase is sure to invoke images of waking before the sunrise and wading through an endless stream of bargain hungry shoppers. It's not a scene for me. I'd rather sleep in, stay home or go for a bike ride! It just so happens that there is an underground, if you will, annual event on Black Friday dubbed The Flight of the Pigs ride. I heard about it last year, but was in no shape to attempt a 70 mile mountain bike ride, in addition I didn't know the secret handshake. What a difference a year makes. I wanted to join in on the festivities this year, but we already had plans to celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday due to my wife's work schedule. I decided it would be a cool adventure to go solo, not having to worry about keeping pace or meeting the 1 hour time cutoff early in the ride.  I dubbed my ride on Thanksgiving day The Flight of the Turkey, why not? My route for the day would have me start & finish at the Pima Canyon entrance of South Mountain Park. I would take two of the more popular urban trails from coast to coast, National & Trail 100, connected by miles of street riding through downtown Phoenix.

8am rollout from Pima Canyon. Popular place prior to the turkey feast.

In a few hours I'd be among the skyscrapers

Not all the riding was easy, National Trail will challenge you.

The South Mountain access road is a very popular hangout for roadies

I had only been as far west as the Ranger Trail on National, the last 5 miles all being new to me,  I was a bit surprised  at how many mines were out there. A glimpse back to the early 1900's.

After riding through downtown I would be traversing the mountains directly behind the buildings on T100

Uh oh. This wasn't supposed to happen with my tubeless setup. 1 mile from the end of National. As I soon found out , it was my fault for not checking my sealant for fluidity. It's good for about 2 months before a fresh coat is needed.  Then multiple issues with my tube replacement put me behind schedule by an hour! I guess I'll be needing those lights after all.

Taking a side street downtown over to Central Ave.

It was nice riding through downtown on a holiday, hardly any traffic.

Yes, this is still Central Ave. the skyscrapers make way for the golden hues of  Autumn.

TIme for a fuel break at the beginning of T100.

The fiery glow of a desert setting sun over Four Peaks. Here I'm nearing the end of T100.

One last short stretch of mtb trails through Papago Park.
All in all it was a really fun day taking a tour of Phoenix. I'm looking forward to next year and being one of the Pigs!

My GPS unit has been acting a bit silly lately. Only 7 1/2 hours into this ride the 'low battery' warning came on. I was really concerned because I wanted the entire route tracked. So when I stopped to refuel a couple of times I cycled the power down. After the second power down the warning went away & the unit lasted all the way until the final 5 miles! I was able to get another 3 1/2 hours after the initial warning?!?! I could easily draw in the last 5 miles with Topofusion to get the full track. This ride also happened to be my longest single day mountain biking ride, next up 80, 85?

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