Posts Tagged ‘arizona trail race’

When I first saw a fat bike, I thought wtf? A year later I rode one in a parking lot and thought about the possibilities. Then I bought one and haven’t picked up my skate skis since. Well, I have moved then around a bit, but that doesn’t count. I rode that bike though the winter and decided to race it in my first multi-day bike race, the 300 mile AZT300. Then I rode my Blacksheep custom Singlespeed fatbike in every race that year. I was addicted. After a fusion of 2 Cervical disks, I decided it would be best to leave the rigid SS community. Summers are spent on one of my full suspension bikes and winters are reserved for my fat bike. It’s a lonely time when the ground is still dry and the temps are cold. I really prefer the ground to be covered in snow before I put the fat tires out. Plus it just feels weird now. I’m blessed to have, IMO, one of the best fat biking areas around at the Pole Mountain / Happy Jack trail system.

I think often about how Fat Biking has changed how I look at the Wyoming winters. I used to sit on an indoor trainer, now I hit the trails as much as possible.

It’s strange now that I have 2 ‘I dislike to ride’ seasons. One after October-ish and another when the temps warm and the snow is soft.

For now, I’m happy to be riding on cold snow. I’ll hit the dirt north of Tucson next month at 24HOP (not racing this year) but will be back on snow again the next week.

Indoor training with Zwift may or may not be needed depending on trail conditions before racing in May. I can only hope the snow continues.

Arizona Trail Race, 300 miles of fun and suffering on 4″ tires
Let me preface this by stating this was my first ever bikepacking race. I have only
Parker Canyon lake, 0700 I awoke from my bivy with the others and slowly started the repacking of the bags. 2 hours prior to go time. Tony, Josh, and I had been dropped off the day prior by Steve Osborn. A cyclist, like many, that delighted in watching the blue dots of the riders on trackleaders.com with the desire to one day compete in the race itself. Bags packed, water loaded we made our way from the campground to the start a few uphill miles away. By the time we arrived, the faster ‘alien class’ 750 mile riders were already rolling through having started earlier from the Mexican border. A few good morning greetings and before long race director Scott Morrison was giving last minute instructions.
The descent down “Gear Check” hill seemed smoother than the first time I rode it and I settled into a good pace. The first 30 miles are a seemingly endless mix of rocky steep hills and washes. Following my belief that you can’t finish if your body and bike break, I practiced good judgment by walking down the nasty stuff. Watching El Freako launch over the bars on one downhill only reinforced that thinking. 4.5 hours in I rolled into Patagonia and grabbed a coke and headed to Sonoita for ‘real’ food and a break. I had to stop a few times on the hwy to stretch my cramping legs. Something I heard quite a few riders had to do. I Grabbed some food at the Sonoita market and put my legs up for a bit and discovered a clean 2.5″ cut in the outer casing of my front Husker Du. Visual inspection showed no cords cut, and tubeless integrity intact. This slight issue would weigh heavily on my mind over the next 270 miles. I was determined to finish and rode more cautiously and slower than I would have had this been a normal trail ride. Onto the Kentucky Camp section. A bunch of gravel roads and up/down singletrack lead to KC and some great tasting water. I didn’t waste much time topping off and shortly after nightfall I passed Elliot, a 750 rider on the trail enjoying a dinner break. It was a good idea because after that the trail got fun and fast. All the way to the I-10 underpass. After crossing under I expected more of the same all the way to the Sevilla picnic area and a water fill-up. Wrong expectations as the trail would be rough, not so flowy, and much slower than hoped. I made it there around 1am and went looking for the spigot in the rock. Having found the spigot, I sat, ate, and contemplated pushing on to an area 10-15 miles further. While I was sitting there trying to decide if it was worth it, the El Freako express with Dan, Josh, and Jen in tow rolled in. Liking the suggestion of sleeping a few hours before pressing on to the Rincon Market, we bedded down. I slept on the edge of a shelter that everyone was under and woke up to rain on my face just in time to see Tony come rolling in. According to him, I shooshed him pretty loudly for making noise and he rolled on and I fell back to sleep encased in my SOL bivy.