Tuesday, February 08, 2011

ssaz '11 - days zero & one

Tuesday and Wednesday were met with snow. By Wednesday night I was pretty beat from shoveling and throwing snow 15-20ft from my driveway. Late Wednesday night I somehow managed to throw a bunch of clothing into one of my travel bags. The intent was to pack light while not really knowing what the weekend's plan was beyond riding bicycles. Normally I would not be comfortable with going on a trip not knowing any logistics but lately this has added to the adventure of my bicycling trips away from home.

Thursday was a loong day. Up at 5am to go to work. Work for half a day or a little more. Grab a ride to the airport. Cross my fingers my packing worked well and the airline would accept my bags. Get out of Hartford before another storm rolls in. Arrive in Tuscon with all my gear.


A quick phone call to George and I had a ride from the Tuscon airport. At least I thought I did.. The catch was that the crew was on 'dejay time' and would show up when they showed up. After some amount of time passed, Dicky called me to say they were on their way and wanted to know where I was. A few minutes later I was walking out of the airport terminal and the Executor was rolling by with Dejay hanging out the window yelling. Moments later I was in a bear hug by Dejay whilst toppling over onto my bike box in the middle of the airport arrival lane. The rest I don't recall too correctly as Dejay was hanging onto my beard and it hurt really bad (guess that's better than someone kicking me in the nuts). Somehow all my stuff made it into the Executor as did I. Picture a Nascar pit stop. I think that's at least what happened (everyone spilling out and grabbing myself and my gear and piling back in). The rest of the night was a bit of a blur except I do recall Mandy arriving at some point and a southwest dinner making its way all over the outside of the Executor (it was not me).

I knew quite a few people coming out to Dejay's race on Saturday but I wound up staying with the Bike29 Contingent (George, Mandy, Emily, Dicky, Keller and myself) as George was graceful enough to square up enough space for our gear, sleeping arrangements and transportation for the weekend. This was one of the big highlights of the weekend. Call it a 'gang'. Call it a 'posse'. Call it the 'Unofficial Bike29 Winter Training Camp'. Whichever way you look at it I was, and continue to be, super stoked to be a part of. George has put together a great group of individuals that have a common love for bicycling. This year is going to be FUN.

Friday morning 'Team Bike29' piled into the Suburban and we made our way over to Bobo's for breakfast. I got word that they will do a bacon chocolate chip pancake and immediately had to have one. When I saw the prices I thought it would be prudent to get two of them but George warned me that one pancake was enough. He was right. It was also very tasty. Definitely have to make these at home one morning.

After breakfast we were looking for a carwash to clean the Executor but due to the sudden cold spell in Tuscon most of the car washes were closed due to frozen pipes (yeah, it got that cold on Thursday). We eventually found one and after multiple passes through the carwash the truck got clean.

With a hearty breakfast digesting we got our bikes together and headed out for my first bike ride in Arizona. Destination: Southeast Tuscon to ride the 'Fantasy Island' trails. Some fast and twisty trails on the outskirts of Davis-Monthan AFB. It was mid-day and the sun was out which helped bring the temps up slightly. I think they were in the 50s (kind of cool for this time in AZ).

The first thing I noticed is how loose the trails are. We're riding in a mixture of sand and stone so yeah... its loose. I traditionally let the tires (in this case WTB Wolverines) carry me through a turn and I lean heavily on the wheels. You can't really do that out in AZ. I found myself sliding out a lot. In a panic from potentially falling I wound up getting too heavy on the brakes and slowing down too much before coming into a turn. By the end of the day I was getting better and was gradually pushing the corners a little at a time. I still never did comfortable with carrying a decent amount of speed through the turns.

Without really knowing the location, you could assume this is the Mexico border.... but, alas, I believe it was the border with the Air Force Base as we were still quite away from Mexico.

Fast, Sweeping turns.

Check out the inside of that turn. Cactus. Yup. This place is riddled with them. Most of them were far enough from the trail where you don't get pricked. It was the shrubbery that would get you. While the shrubbery doesn't have needles it still is kind of rough. Since I have a tendency to lean into turns my arms and legs are now shredded from the shrubbery. More on that tomorrow.

I was playing around with the 8mm camera I have on my iPhone. Enjoy..

Check out that bad boy!

Photo: Emily

The trails are directional here. To maximize the 'fun' factor.

Relatively flat, with mountains in the background. We would see those mountains on Saturday when Dejay put us to his little test.

Photo: Mandy

Later on we grabbed some food for dinner (I forget where) and headed over to the Sky Bar to meet up with Dejay, Mike@Niner and a few other people. We should have recalled 'dejay time' but forgot and arrived almost an hour early. That hour was quite interesting as we saw a gathering of meteorite collectors having some gathering and internet (live) awards ceremony within the bar. Someone else in the bar was hanging out on the couch knitting hats. And a few other people gathered to see stars out on the patio. A very eclectic mix so to speak.

Tomorrow we'll get into the pinnacle of this trip: Singlespeed Arizona. Dejay's pet project through the winter months.

All photos taken by myself unless specified. My photo album from the trip is here.


Blogger CB2 said...

Had I known we'd have an actual Winter i would have planned better!

2/09/2011 8:19 AM  

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