Friday, November 10, 2006

Southern AZ

It was just too hot to ride after I dropped Sarah off at the airport on Tuesday morning, so I wussed out and got a hotel room in Tucson. They did have laundry though so it wasn't a total waste. I got up early on Wednesday to beat the heat. I had a wake up call for six, and I was out the door and breakfested by 7:15. I got to the trail head of the Fifty Year Trail and had myself suited up and ready to go by eight. I was expecting a 1.5 to 2 hour ride. It turned into a little more. The trail started off awesome. Fast, flowing singletrack. I just started to think what a cool trail this was when it got hard. I would reckon that I walked a good mile or so in the middle. It was some technical shit I will tell you that. I also had a couple of firsts on the mountain bike trail:
1: cows...I rode up on a bull eating a cactus right along the trail. He didn’t have a care in the world, and he even let me take his picture.
2: heat....When I started at 8:oo it was 57 degrees out. When I finished (after a four or five mile detour) it was 87. I drank a big bottle and my whole wing nut pack in just shy of three hours. Needless to say, it was a longer ride than I had been expecting.
3: snakes.....I almost ran over a snake. I don’t know what kind it was, and I wasn’t about to stop and try and figure it out. However, I met up with a dude at the car after I was done and got to talking. He was just heading out, and he mentioned in passing, “the rattlers should be coming out just about now.” Combined with the bull it was more threatening wildlife than I’m used to back home.
4: cactus....I saved the best for last. Prickly looking cacti lined the trail in almost all parts. And at first I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. But then, about halfway through the ride I took a little digger around a corner in some sand.. Normally it would have been nothing to write home about. But I landed (not hard at all) on top of a cactus. They are an amazing plant. I got cacti prong (or whatever the fuck they’re called) in my hands, arms, ankles, legs, and oh yes tires. This is where you can thank the bike gods for tubeless tires. The cacti in my body most certainly hurt; and when you pulled them out, the holes bled. But when I pulled them out of my front tire, I heard a brief hissing noise and then nothing. Problem solved, and I didn’t even have to pump them up again. It was my first time actually reaping the benefits of the tubeless set up in the real world, and they rock. That totally made up for the walking, and the increased time out in the heat.
Overall, I’d say that Tucson kind of sucks, but the Fifty Year Trail is more than worth checking out. You’ll have to walk a little in spots, and I’d probable opt for the geared bike if I were to ride it again. But all in all, not a bad little trail.

So to sum it up: Tucson is a sprawling beheamouth of a city. The 50 year trail is pretty cool, but get a good map (I did after I rode it). After I made a run for the border (not across the border, just to Patagonia Lake) things got much better. I'll report back with news and photos from the Kentucky Camp.

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