Wednesday, February 22, 2012

just when we thought we were getting over our AZ trip

More photos and videos make their way to the foreground.

The day after Dejay's 'race' we slept in a little bit and had breakfast at Bobo's.

I filled my stomach with a bacon chocolate chip pancake.

We then did some other stuff and later on in the afternoon George, Ginger and I went to west tuscon to ride the 'Sweetwater' trails like we did last year.

It was a Metal kind of day that day.
(Photo: Ginger)
George and I kept talking this place up to Ginger for months so we just had to do a nice casual two hour ride out here before we headed back east. It was what she thought and more. Smiles galore for the entire two hours. Photos by either Ginger, George and myself unless noted.

Which way?
Follow the saguaro cacti!

Ridin' on into the sunset...

I took some more video that day as well. Enjoy!

(editing by Ginger)

When we arrived back at the Tydirium, George had a few messages from Dejay asking where we were. The Super Bowl was about to start and everyone that is typically late was on time and the ones that are typically on time (us) were late.

Once we were cleaned up proper we headed over to the local watering hole where we had a few drinks, some good food and celebrated Dejay and his Father's birthdays.

Happy Birthday guys!

The next day Ginger and I checked out the Pima Air & Space Museum which turned out to be pretty much an all day trip. They have a few WWII bombers on display within the hangars as well as an F/A-18 and SR-71 Blackbird. Outside there's a bunch of cargo planes, select commercial planes (JFK's Air Force 1), helicopters, Russian fighter jets and US fighter jets.
F-15 with P&W F100 engines

Next time we need to see the AMARG BoneYard
(Photo: Pima Air & Space)

Did you know.... the SR-71's P&W J58 engines were started with a starter comprised of two piggie-backed Chevy Corvette 454cu engines? They had a starter on display. That plane amazes me everytime I look at it and everytime I read more about it. Wish I was on a test stand when that engine was operating. I've heard many stories but never got to witness it firsthand. Absolutely amazing for 1950s/1960s technology.

The next day we flew home to the northeast...

Monday, February 20, 2012

singlespeed arizona

Our second day in Arizona was the main attraction; Singlespeed Arizona. A long and challenging ride with a bunch of really nice people. This is Dejay's main attraction if you will.

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!
Pretty tired after many hours of riding in the desert in February.

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!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

the calm before the storm

After a flight from Hartford to Baltimore to San Diego and finally Phoenix we arrived in Arizona and with all of our luggage. There was no Executor this year but rather we found a Tydirium in the Phoenix airport rental garage.

After a good night's rest in Phoenix we "saw what this piece of junk could do" and high-tailed it down rt10 to Dejay's house in Tuscon. There, we were greeted in open arms by the Black Sheep Bikes guys, Dejay's father, Dejay himself, George, Devon, Michelle, Kramer and a few others. Shortly thereafter we picked Mandy up from the Tuscon airport, built her bike, and then gathered a posse to ride Fantasy Island in the afternoon.

Leave it to the Engineer to pack the Tydirium..
After struggling for a few long minutes, I got it all secured and we were on our way across town (missing a few key right turns).

Across town for this:

(editing by Ginger)

That was fun!

Got more video to edit from the trip. Check back soon!

Monday, February 13, 2012

home from the desert physically, not mentally

The hardest part about going to Arizona in February (deep New England winter or mild) is the transition upon returning home.

We made our transition via two days in Vermont snowboarding and I then went out on a bike ride in 35F weather with soggy ground (thanks to a mild thaw). Probably should have waited a day (Sunday was frozen) but would have dealt with even colder temperatures. Still struggling....

I highly recommend going to Tuscon in February to ride your singlespeed with a bunch of great people and celebrate our friend Dejay's birthday (and his father). I have half the 'race' on film which will make for quite a bit of editing work to do once we finish our chores around the house.

In the meantime I suggest you watch this video from Devon Balet and read a few words he wrote over at Mountain Flyer Magazine.
Video by Devon Balet