The 2012 Kit

The 2012 Kit

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Hard Day in the Saddle

And I'm only saying that because my saddle made my fanny hurt like the wooden spoon did years ago (in actuality, I was never spanked).

I have to spit this out quickly so that those who chainsmoke and bite their fingernails until the next post comes out can live until January 2. In all honesty, it was one of the days I'll remember for the rest of my...shall I say...days?

I went out today in search of a loop around Mt. Lemmon. Oh, I found it alright. The online map told me there might not be a water/food stop for 45 miles - okay, I can deal with that. I rode the first 45 minutes and filled up at a Circle K gas station in preparation for this potential 2.5hr drought depending on the climbing. And speaking of climbing, I should've made sure to check the elevation profile of this ride because there were about 3,000ft to cover up, then down and then some more before this next stop. Did I mention the riding surface? I was just on the phone with Joe. You know Joe. He's Joe. My words went something like this (earmuffs for the younglings), "Dude, it was so fucking epic. I was basically Mtn biking for 50 miles. I couldn't understand how it kept going...I started up the paved road and passed Phil Zajicek and his wife and coach or something and they looked at me all weird for some reason. 'Happy New Year,' I huffed, and went on... I found out what the heck that look was for! I was riding faster than the pickups and SUV's (some were towing ATV's and had lots of guns in them) up this rutty, washed out rocky climb. I went over ice and snow and mud and everything you can imagine. And I was using my brand new Colnago M10 that the team has just given me. I christened it, you could say. I got it nice and dirty and had a great day of training on it. But I stopped at the 9th mile marker and asked some folks with a timid looking dog how much further the road was dirt. Pause. "It goes on forever." "Oh, I continued, maybe 10 miles or so?" "Probably, maybe more. It's pretty nasty up that way." PSH! What do people know!? NOTHING! MUAHHAHAHAHA. I pressed on and saw a hunter with a healthy looking compound bow at mile 14. "Hey man..." I asked the same question. "It's been years since I went that way around the Mtn, but I'd say you might be about half way. I'm not sure, though." Ok, well 15 more miles, I guess I could handle that. No. It was closer to 35 more miles. I climbed and descended and went slower down than up because of ice and all sorts of insanity and bumps and berms and such and at MILE 52 - NO JOKE - 52!!! I hit a paved road. My ass, excuse me. But, my ASS was so sore and brutalized from the washboards for the 15 flat miles I had been riding (gosh I was hoping the flats would be my saving grace, here, but God isn't so forgiving), that I was practically praying for the end. I hadn't seen anyone for miles at this point. I couldn't understand where everyone was, and why there was a road that led me to hell in Arizona - isn't that supposed to be in Texas, somewhere? I finally found a bike parked on the side of the road and a small Mexican doing gosh knows what off the shoulder next to a cactus. Hi Amigo, he said. He wasn't Mexican. "Hi, do you know where San Manuel is (the town that was supposed to be 4 miles earlier)?" "Just keep going another 3 miles." I rode 5 miles and hit my gas station. Salt 'N Peppa!!! Wahoo. I was so freaking psyched that I let my penny-pinching self grab a tall boy of Coca Cola and 2 candy bars (Snickers and Payday). Finally, I got a second flat (oh yes, I flatted earlier, of course) at the top of another lengthy climb at mile 75 according to my map. 7,000ft of total elevation gain in 75 mi wasn't bad. I hitchiked.

I did! Yes, it was going to be dark in 1.5 hrs so I just had to. I had nothing else. F it. A small family in a small Honda SUV stopped and helped me look for a bike shop on their smartphones (oh yeah, I'm going to get one of those someday, I promise). We called and none of the numbers worked for some transcending reason. Well, they wanted to drive me to my house. A husband, wife and Kiri, the little sleepy one in the back. So I guess I let them. They wouldn't have it any other way - save their souls - no gas money or anything. They were triathletes and wanted to get into the Karma of the whole ordeal, which I decided not to quibble about. We exchanged stories and experiences. I got home, and they continued to Phoenix. They will look for me on this thing. Thank you so much for the ride. Tomorrow's another day!

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