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|