Sunday, May 15, 2016

Learning Things

Some new stuff for the bike and time to go on a ride. Thought I would go over to Sonoita and either hang out at Kentucky Camp or checkout Empire Ranch.

I just recently got a full frame bag for my Pivot. And yesterday picked up an MSR Dromedary water bag, thinking that it would be the thing for the dry spots on the Divide.

Box Canyon Road
Did a ride up Mt Lemmon on Friday, all the way to the top, for about 60 miles and 7700 ft of climbing on the road bike and then slept in a little bit on Saturday. Bad idea because it was getting hot already, but started down the Loop to Valencia and then was going to go down Mission to Green Valley, take Box Canyon Road over to 83 and on to Sonoita.

Didn't rain, but looked like it

So a few miles into the trip, I discovered that just a couple of fills and empties on the MSR bag didn't quite get rid of the plastic taste ... my water tasted like dishwater.  Kept on going and then I almost got ran over when a car was going in the opposite direction and one was overtaking me. Somehow the idiot overtaking me managed to lock his brakes and he turned sideways in the road !  Fortunately I was ok, and he was ok and he drove off.  Jackass was going way too fast and I'd bet his brakes were out of whack.  Enough of that, on to Mama's Place in GV for some breakfast.

Las Cienegas NCA

Beautiful Old Cottonwoods

Got myself filled up and went to the Chevron to get some water. Made the mistake of buying only one 32 oz bottle and as I got up Box Canyon Road it was getting hotter and I didn't want to drink dishwater ...  glad to get to the top and roll over to 83.

Pony near the corral
Ranch House
El Toro

Stopped at the Steakout in Sonoita, got a steak, got more water and headed for Empire Ranch.  Empire Ranch is on part of the Las Cienegas NCA administered by BLM, and a lot of restoration has been done on the ranch headquarters buildings.  Fun to look at everything and it's all open.  It was near sundown, so went up a little hill and bedded down for the night.

Now is where it gets interesting. I have a Mountain Laurel bivy, a Thermarest pad and a sleeping bag liner. The daytime temp was pretty warm, so figured I would be good. About two or three hours later, around 10 pm I was freezing.  Condensation from my breath and the temp differential between the outside air and the ground and whatever was making my legs wet and then ice cold.  I got up and dug out the SOL emergency bivy that I have and added that to the mix. Nice and cozy warm, I drifted off and then woke up with wind blowing and freezing again !  Same condensation and wet cold legs, I am shivering in this thing wondering how to make it through the night. Finally said screw it and packed everything up and went back to the ranch headquarters. Thought of sleeping in the head, but mosquitoes in there, so found a spot in the breezeway of the ranch buildings and got to sleep. Woke up about 5:30 am freezing again !  Fortunately the sun was up, so packed up and headed home.

Nice hot warm and windy ride home.

Well, the bivy is what I was going to use for the AZT as I thought it was lighter and thought I had my bases covered, but it just didn't work at all. So we are back to the EZ Pack Hexamid Solo Plus tent which worked pretty nicely last year.  Being cold and wet in the middle of the night is seriously uncomfortable.

So lessons are, get the MSR bag cleaned up to get rid of the rubber hose taste and pack my tent.
Three weeks or so to go, Yikes !


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Time to Get Real

Last posting I had a bunch of possibilities for this coming year.  Didn't make the lottery for Leadville, and thought I would do the AZ Trail 750.  I practiced hiking up Tumamoc hill here with 40 lbs of bricks in a backpack and thought I might have a chance at actually being able to do the carry the bike on your back through the Grand Canyon piece ( yeah really ! ).

Automatic Closing Gate - AZ Trail Ripsey Segment
AZ Trail at Freeman Road looking North

Then I got out and started riding some more pieces of the AZ Trail.  The AZ Trail is pretty hard, there are sections that have a lot of hike-a-bike in it and a few sections that are pretty rideable. I rode Passage 2 ( more walked than rode ) down in the Canelo Hills and got my butt kicked that day with lots of walking and pushing the bike ... something like 5.5 hours to go 15 miles.  I rode Passage 15 from Freeman Road up to Kelvin and that went a lot better. The piece from Reddington Road over to Molino Basin was fun until you get to West Tank and then it's one big hike fest up the side of a mountain and then walking down the other side, because I suck at real mountain biking and was afraid of dying.

Looking off toward Kearney 
Above West Tank close to Molino Basin
West Tank
After all of that, I decided to leave my full suspension BMC at home and take my trusty Pivot hardtail and was signed up on the tracker to do the 300 mile version. Finally signed up on a Saturday before the race start on Friday and on Monday ended up with a light version of the flu that kept me asleep with a fever for about 3 days. Went out into the garage on Thursday, looked at the bike and said "this ain't gonna happen".

I think I have most of my strength "whatever there is" back from that little episode, and so here it is with less than a month to go and I am looking forward to getting back to Antelope Wells the morning of June 10 and heading back north for TD.  Hoping that the knowledge that I got from last year will allow me to do it a little bit quicker, I would love to knock 5 days off.  The main thing is to finish and get to Banff.

Off to Sonoita on Saturday morning for a single night out and in two weeks do a 2 night out trip and declare myself ready for this.

So