Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Double Ripsey Trouble

Fellow endurance addict Mark Allen and myself had been planning some long rides in preparation for the upcoming Gila100.  We’d planned a big ride last Sunday out on the AZT but thanks to me getting sick, I had to bail.  Thus, plans got shifted to this weekend (1/22/2013) but luckily I talked Mark out of our original, uber long ride plan (Picket Post to Kelvin and back, 72 miles, ~15kft of climb) in favor of what seemed to be a bit more reasonable, Kelvin to Freeman Rd and back(all AZT both ways => Ripsey x2).  I felt like I was still on the mend from being sick and 55 miles + 8kft seemed a bit more palatable.  I can’t believe I could have been so wrong.
Bottom line…it wrecked both of us… I’d never suffered that bad before and Mark said it’d been a long time since he had as well.  55 miles and 8kft is a tough day, but both of us had done longer before… But, as I keep having to remind myself, AZT miles south of Superior aren’t easy AZT miles…you work hard for them, in return, they work you hard.  It’s rough, it’s rubbly, it’s steep, it’s off-camber, it’s narrow… it’s beautiful, it’s breathtaking, it’s just plain awesome.  
If you love rolling Pemberton at 15 mph average speeds and smooth double-track is your idea of mountain biking, heed this warning – DO NOT ride this stuff.  It will eat you, your tires, your carbon wonder bike, and your spandex team kit for lunch.  What’s left will get snacked on by coyotes and free range cattle.
Enough words, pictures now, nearly all courtesy of Mark…
Looking off to the east at the top of the ridgeline
Mark in the distance

Me riding over the ridge

Mark just after cleaning nearly every switchback on our way south

Me disappearing over the hill

Mark(right) and Me(left) at Freeman Rd, our 1/2 way pt.

Approaching the big hill...aka Ripsey

I'm out there somewhere on the ridge...with my 2nd wind

me, having to get out of the saddle for the slightest of grade I was so beat

Friday, January 4, 2013

Labels and Monkeys

Our society has a thing about labels.  Some people spend their whole life and significant mental and physical energy trying to OBTAIN labels.  Labels like CEO, CFO, President, Dad, Champion and KOM(lol).  There are then those labels we spend significant mental and physical energy trying to AVOID.  Labels like criminal, bum, loser, and quitter.   Being a quitter in the endurance mountain biking world even has an acronym…DNF.  These three little letters may as well be the worst label for competitive perfectionist freaks like me.  The bad part getting this label of DNF, means along with that, you also get a small mammal….a monkey of sorts, figuratively speaking. 
On a very cold and damp, December 15th, some 30 or so endurance junkies showed up to race the McDowell 60.  Only 12 people finished and I wasn’t one of them.  I pulled the plug at the base of Toms Thumb, giving myself that DNF label and attaching the monkey to my back.  Over the past several weeks, that monkey laughed at me…mocked me for being so weak.  Sometimes, the monkey looked a lot like one of my fellow single speeder friends who actually did finish that day.
Well, today I did some money flinging.  On a brisk and breezy morning, I set out to fling the monkey off my back and set the universe in order (for me anyways).   I rode the McDowell 60 course today; did it in just over 6 hours and had a blast.   
I hope you can do some monkey flinging as well…