15 February, 2010

Arizona Round Up

It's taken me a couple days to decompress, and the girl was here for the Valentine's Day thing, so i'm just getting around to some Arizona pics. My memory is foggy at best, but then again, it was foggy at best from time I landed. So here goes.

I left friday afternoon, flew through ATL, ran in to Thom Parsons in the airport (one of those...is your name Thom? Is your name Robb? moments) and we both hopped the same flight to Tucson. We arrived, Thom got his bags, I did not. There was some yelling and screaming at innocent people, and we hopped in Thom's arranged vehicle. Thom, as it stands, has a friend who lives in a Honda Element, who happened be traveling, so said Element was parked at the airport for our use. Great. Except it was very full of stuff, and about to get fuller. We crammed in and made the party the Surly Wench around 11.

There was some very loosely structured race sign-ups and registration, and a contest to bring Dejay the biggest bar tab. One schlitz at a time, but we made it with the help of some late tequilla shots and a pack of smokes, though no one smoked. It was a group effort consisting of just about everyone I know from last year's SSAZ; Jake, Andrew, Nick, Chewey, Kramer, Tim, and the heavy drinking Dax. The Ohio boys Rich and David made the scene late, I got charged with getting the Big Dummy home, dinked a co-ed with only a few disastrous wrecks, and then was escorted home by a less drunk and better navigating Ohioan. Bed time 3:30 or so.

Race Day
Wakey Wakey. Dejay was up at 7 like he went to bed at 10. Too much energy. The rest of us picked ourselves up and headed to the start. I was borrowing everything because Delta still didn't have my bag. The roll out was the same as last year, 7 miles of flat road and Dales Pale's Ale. Big thanks to the Dale's crew for bringing their RV and never ending supply of Oskar Blues beer, though at this time in the morning, it was going down a little rough. Dejay had us start with our bikes 100 yards up the hill, and us holding our front wheels on the start line. Chaos ensued with a nonchalant "go," and the quick find-bike-attach-wheel-game began.

From the start, its 1300 feet over 9 miles to get to the first turn, and a nicely stocked aid station. More beer, Red Vine licorice, and some pretzels. There's a short reprieve from climbing, and some fun dessert singletrack to negotiate; a few tight turns but pretty wide open. Next up, the often photographed barbed wire fence climb, the wash riding (think loose babies...not baby heads...rocks the size of whole babies), and then more climbing. I rode a lot of this stuff with Mike Stanley, and we pushed each other over some steep stuff, and walked just as much of it together. I'd get away in the flats, we'd see saw the wide downhills, inadvertently cutting each other off. Saw a lot of sun, some dust, some cows, and thankfully much less jeep traffic than last year.

Back out to Reddington road, and on up to the aid station again. More food, more hanging out with a few folks. I had left Mike at this point, and quite a few others. A nice flat front tire saw to it that everyone caught up. Everything was going fine, I inflated it partially, bumped it around, and then hit it with more air. Something went wrong. I quickly aborted, got air out of it before it blew up, and tried again. Off we go. I wasn't really racing, but now I was stuck behind some people on the fast rolling stuff leading to the Millagrosa climb. Oh well. I got to look around, take some pictures of other racers, and enjoy the first sunny ride I've had in a while.

Millagrossa felt great. Pushed up the first climb, but then with some resting on each mini summit, was able to ride all the rolling stuff. The desert is beautiful along this steep ridge, so I stopped to hang out on top of everything. The descent off Millagrossa went better than last year. All this time off the bike didn't have me feeling as one with it, so I walked the really nasty stuff, but did manage to slide and squeeze myself down and through most of it. Millagrossa is a fun section of trail, especially leading up to the decsent, a must ride if you are in Tucson. I got back to our start finish area around 3:20....6:18 total ride time after leaving at 9:05. That includes the roll out and goofing around at the start, but its all I was looking for. Why go hard when its your first day in the sun since October.

GPS for SSUSA 2010
Krista and Dax win the race-and the SSAZ paintings this year

Just when you forget how trendy SS riding is; footdown gets going
Bailey getting chased by Flagstaff's team Hobo, who didn't even ride the race

Bailey raises his new belt, which will raise his old pants

Fire riding. It made sense at the time
This years fastest man
The party was the party. If you weren't there, come next year. A ninja skilled game of foot down determined the SSUSA champs, John Bailey and Mandy Wisell. Krista Park and Dax actually won the race part. Rumor has it Krista was mad she wasn't champ (ha!) and Dax got drunk enough to sleep under an RV. Hats off to Dax for winning the pre-party tab award, the rockstar award, and the damn race, and then the post race rockstar award. christ. The most unfair game of Tug-O-War was used to determine next years host, culminating in my perhaps bad idea of doing the final in the middle of the street. Jake Kirkpatrick is taking us to Boulder next year. I think New Belgium will be involved, don't you?
The Aftermath
The rest of the week we celebrated the superbowl in style, enjoyed sport legs, played a lot of shuffleboard, drank till we wrestled, licked our wounds, laid low, and did a little riding. We did two days worth of riding at Starr Pass/TMP, and then went for a long cold wet hike from Prison Camp, and through Sabino Canyon.
Sunny skies at Tucson Mountain Park

Andrew, Heart Rate Charles, and Dejay at TMP

Dr. Dejay pulls Andrew's Cholla out while I wait somewhat patiently

Arizona Trail trailhead above Sycamore damn

When riders walk they still look like riders. Kate, Bike29 George, Andrew and Dejay

Admiring the views in Sabino CanyonRaining and cold. Not the desert I was thinking ofDesert - Fog - Snow parfait

Prison Camp to Sabino Canyon Hike


dougyfresh said...

I should have went.

I'm going to try and make it next year. We'll see if us Northeasterners can get the 2012 race up here.. in the snow.

Big Bikes said...

Completely forgot that you wound up sleeping under an RV in the rain...brutal.

Made my Honda-Element accommodations look like The Westin.


Ohio Robb said...

that was actually Dax under the RV. I didn't sleep because my bag wasn't warm enough to leave the fire...so i stood by the fire all night in a rain shell. Awesome party bivy.