Having ridden it last year I knew now what I was getting into and could better pace myself throughout. The weather was also much warmer; probably in the lower 70s and sunny this year.
My plan was to just ride at my pace and try to get up Redington Road and then somehow get through the first loop while leaving myself with a lot more energy to do the second/final loop (AZ Trail and la milagrosa) without 'hitting the wall' kind of what happened last year. Ginger was going to drive the Tydirium up to the aid station and watch people go by, then ride the first section of singletrack and come back to the truck.
at the aid station eating some pretzels and cookies
I started out Redington Road a little too fast but backed off my pace and was able to recover slightly. Last year it seemed to go on forever but this year, same distance, the aid station came up quite quickly. It was a relief. Filled a bottle up and grabbed some food before I left out for the first loop knowing I'd be out in the middle of nowhere for a while.
The first loop was uneventful for half of the ride. When met with the steep punchy climbs I was off and walking a bunch telling myself that my 61.6 gear inches was too big. Then Carey Lowery rode by me up the climb like it was nothing. That changed my game mentally and I hopped back on the bike and was able to ride the climbs. Down the plinko board descent and was met with a caravan of Jeeps off-roading and coming up the plinko board. This made things interesting and changed up the scenery some. After meandering in and out of this long line of Jeeps I made it to the next turn.
This year Dejay sent us through some more double and singletrack before dumping us back onto Redington Road which I preferred. That meant we had less miles to slog up Redington Road after doing the first loop.
Back at the aid station and I heard Ginger was out riding the singletrack. I stopped for a few minutes for a PBR and some food. Filled my bottles up and rummaged through the Tydirium for my GoPro. PBR finished and the GoPro mounted up I set off for the AZ Trail in chase of Cloe Woodruff whom was just ahead of me shaking down her new Ibis for this season.
I felt pretty good on the AZ Trail once I remembered how to get around the loose corners without sliding out of the turns. I would yo-yo a little bit as I was trying to conserve energy for La Miligrosa. Probably 3hrs in by this time. Cloe would pull away from me like I was standing still and then I'd catch back up later on. This was alright in my book. Kind of kept things interesting.
La Miligrosa was so much fun. I rode as much as I could and still can't believe some of the stuff I rode. My quads starting tensing up at one point so much that I had to hop off the bike and walk a short section while I put more food and water in me. Shortly thereafter was the tequilla tree which was a much needed rest so I had a shot and another PBR while I hung out with everyone for a few minutes. Then it was off to find the finish.
Here's the video we put together of the AZ Trail and La Miligrosa. Enjoy!
Edited by Ginger
Finished somewhere around 4.5hours even with a few stops to hang out with people along the way. Dejay showed up at the finish line not that long after I arrived. He said Ginger rode the whole first loop! Last I heard she was just going to ride the short section of singletrack but the whole, challenging, first loop? Wow. I was beyond impressed. She later told me that the singletrack was too short so she kept on going. Had some tire issues but a few kind bicyclists put some extra Stan's sealant into her tires and she was on her way without a hitch. Next year she'll do the AZ trail and perhaps parts of Miligrosa. Sweet!
George, Mandy and Emily finished a little while later with giant smiles across their faces. That is what it was all about, smiles and lots of fun riding bikes far away from our New England homes in February. Thank You Dejay!