January 12, 2019

AZT Jamboree '19

The annual AZT Jamboree is one of those rides I refuse to miss. It's a charitable ride for the Arizona Trail and covers some of the finest sections of the AZT in southern Arizona. The fine folks at Southwest Trekking continue to offer shuttles for the event, there's an 8am & 10am shuttle. The early shuttle drops riders a bit farther south for a 40 mile ride back to Pistol Hill trailhead, the later shuttle gives riders a 25 mile ride experience back to the party.

I was running my normal late-ish, but arrived with a few minutes to spare. Once again I was rolling the Voodoo singlespeed and was curious to see how I'd fare through the Las Colinas segment.

I linked up with Jeff & Nancy and we got to spinning down the dirt road. The very first pitch of AZT had me off and walking a bit. Some more pushing on the ensuing hills, but I was getting warmed up fast!!
Jeff & Nancy on the early undulations.
We soon reached Helvetia Rd. and the first in a series of punchy climbs. I walked some, but rode more than I thought I would. I figured I'd get through Las Colinas ok after all.
A few riders take off after the first crest of Las Colinas.
More ups & downs followed and I was enjoying the cool morning rolling along the trail. Another buddy from Phoenix, Rob, caught up and we rode a few miles together for the first time in a while.
Rob doing his version of singlespeed hike-a-bike.

Nancy, always the masher.

Rob & Nancy putting the finishing touches on the third climb of Las Colinas.

There's a few steep hike-a-bike sections before the hills release their grip. Jeff is up there...pedaling!!
Shannon & Beto were going to head out from their home and meet me along the way. I thought I may find them at the Cloud 9 gate or down at the next road crossing by an open meadow, but they were nowhere to be seen...
Jeff cruising. Mt. Wrightson capped with snow in the distance.

What do we have here...

Can you find Rob rippin' the descent? Tucson's sky islands stand guard.
I was looking forward to the upcoming SAG stop at Sahuarita Rd. Carlos and pals were manning the aid station, but along the smooth, tame trail my tire sprung a leak. I took quick inventory of the situation and decided to put in a tire plug. A few minutes later I was ticking off the final miles to the aid stop where the others were loading up to head out.

I grabbed some drinks and snacks from Carlos and caught up a bit. Back on the trail I was finally able to ride the new bike ramp bypassing a gate at the Rte83 underpass. If you ride the AZT and like the idea of more rollover cattleguards instead of gates, feel free to make a directed donation to the ATA!! Each rollover costs about $1000.

As I rode toward I-10 a buddy, Mike, came up the trail. He asked where Shannon & Beto were. I hadn't seen or heard from them yet. I thought I would've crossed paths with them by now. We each checked our phones and found out that Shannon had sliced her sidewall and Beto was riding home to fetch a vehicle. Drat. They'd meet up at the finish.
These gates on the other hand are super!!

Entering the I-10 underpass.

Jim catches up at the coolest exit around.

The I-10 Rattlesnake may be one of the most photographed bits of the AZT now.

The MAN, Matt Nelson (ATA Executive Director), serving up espressos and good cheer at Gabe Zimmerman trailhead.

High above Cienega Creek at Three Bridges.
The trail gradually climbs away from Three Bridges with one particular section being a bit of a technical challenge. I made it about halfway through the rocky area before having to walk the rest.
La Posta Quemada Ranch
The final miles ticked by as I made my way beyond La Selvilla CG. I arrived at the finish to a rather large crowd hanging out, tipping back cold ones and grilling. Jeff & Nancy were already in chill mode and Shannon was waiting on Beto's arrival.

Another Jamboree in the books. A huge thanks to Chad for keeping this alive and well. I know the ATA appreciates the support. Thanks again to Southwest Trekking for the shuttle service. See you all again next year!!




  1. Thanks for this writeup. Sorry I missed this year. This is probably my favorite ride of the year, along with Kentucky Camp.