December 31, 2017

2017: Highs & Lows

Another year in the books. It sure seems like each one flies by faster than the previous year. I tend to relate that to how busy I am. If I plan a lot of activities, there's always something going on. I honestly can't recall the last time I was bored.

2017 had some big shoes to fill in regards to mountain biking. I wasn't trying to outdo 2016, rather keep the momentum going. The year got going with the now annual Curmudgeon 100...but was promptly delayed due to rain. (That would be an overriding theme in 2017)

The year kicked off with a series of big rides leading into the Spring bikepacking season in the desert.
It was pure Madness in the McDowell's to kick start 2017.
The annual AZT Jamboree fundraiser is always a hoot!!
Team Loco was at it again too, breaking in a new Ripsey route.
The Voodoo lives on as a singlespeed!! The Curmudgeon 100 finally went off and was still soggy.
Shannon & I braved a cold morning to help open gates for the Oracle Rumble runners. Even cheered on a few friends.
Watch out, Team Loco led a group ride on the AZT!!
Evan popped over from San Diego and we rode the BCT from Orme Rd to Emery Henderson in a day.
Third time was NOT the charm as I attempted another Sedona BFL modified ride.
The annual Queen's Ransom bikepack went off with another great group of riders.
The following week, Team Loco headed west to Tour the Stagecoach 400 route. Oh my.
Spring was in full force, many rides with friends ensued.

After many years of talking about it, I finally convinced the RRC to a full Picketpost to Kelvin ride. We're still friends!!
Finally! AES Sedona BFL modified loop complete after four tries. Photo by RRC.
I was humbled on the AZT300 in April.
After the AZT fiasco, I went in search of new trails and new-to-me dirt. Some local, some across state lines as I began to narrow my focus on the Colorado Trail Race in July.
Hoo Doo trail in Gold Canyon is a fantastic new double black addition.
The Goldfield Mtns. kept slipping under the radar, but some friends wanted to explore. Some trail gold was found.
I headed north to Prescott to sample the newly minted Ranch trail extension.
I couldn't get any takers, so I solo'd it all around SW Utah over Memorial weekend.
I had a tough go of it up in Rim country on a failed loop attempt.
K & I headed east to North Carolina and I squeezed in a ride at W. Kerr Scott
The Burrito Brothers were back at it on a new trail at Hawes.
Team Loco has a new member, Beto!! Let's go ride Oracle Ridge.
Summer was finding its desert stride and I needed to head north, not just for cool weather, but elevation. Colorado bound!!
Rounded up some friends for a train ride, with bikes, followed by a 3-day bikepack from Silverton to Durango.
I tried to keep my rides elevated back home, checking out new trail near Flagstaff.
July 23rd, 2017. The shit hit the fan. The Colorado Trail Race kicked off and I was pushed to my limits on a few occasions. Yet, somehow through all the rain, mud and frustration at times I found myself completing my toughest event to date. I arrived at Waterton Canyon near Denver all the way from Durango, some 551 miles & 71,000' of gain in 12 days 16 hours & 24 minutes.
I needed both a mental & physical break after the CTR. The Great American Eclipse provided a perfect getaway opportunity! Photo by Mountain Flyer Magazine.
Back in AZ, I did one warm, dry ride before forgetting my rain gear heading to Rim country. I forgot AZ was still in monsoon season.
A month and a half after the CTR, Colorado came calling again. I couldn't stay away. This time I drug my bike to the summit of Mt. Elbert, CO's highest peak at 14,433'
Took my new riding bud on an ATOM Loop in Flagstaff
Things slowly began to cool off in the desert and a steady dose of solid rides followed to round out the year.
Tried my luck at a Sedona Triple H ride, but settled for a double H.
In October, I had the opportunity to give back to the AZT via my full-time job. Fun day killing catclaw out on Ripsey.
I met up with a long time digital friend from Canada for some Sedona & Flagstaff riding. 
Sam and I took a long weekend up to Moab.

AES season kicked off with Kentucky Camp.
Took another roadtrip to SW Utah, this time with friends.
The AES Picketpost Punisher was waiting back in AZ.
Evan was back in town, ready for some Goldfield Mtns. exploration.
Fun day shredding the trails with an All-Star crew.
December ushered in a new AES event: Pleasantville.

The final big ride of the year: Curmudgeon 100 brought the year to a close, but my legs weren't up to it.
Here are a few other yearly snapshots I like to see:
MY #bestnine2017 from Instagram.
Strava year in review video

Strava ride stats via VeloViewer.
That's a wrap for 2017, on to 2018!! I've had many people ask me what big ride plans I have for the new year. I have a few, but nothing quite on par with the AZTR750 or CTR. Another run at the AZT300 for sure, perhaps finishing off the back half of the Stagecoach400 in tour mode and a tour of the new Bones to Blue route up near Lake Tahoe are a few things I'd like to do in 2018. We'll see. Either way, I'm sure there will be plenty of adventuring and perhaps I'll see you out on the trail.

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