Feb 16, 2010

Comb-Over Yards and Angry Plants.


As much as my generous guide, Dejay, tries to convince me that Arizona is the place to live, I've got to admit it scares me a little.
Everywhere I turn some plant is trying to jab me. If it wasn't for the dry air, serrated mountains in the back ground and an abundance of something called tex/mex I'd assume I was in Florida. It's a place that is flat, hot and dirty like a mangy dog. Charming. Still I can't say enough nice things about the people who are surviving here.

I mean I flew in from a town that was just shut down under 40" of snow. Philadelphia tried to hold me tight by closing the airport the day I was supposed to leave. If I had stayed I'd probably be dead, crushed underneath a snow laden limb in the Wissahickon while skiing.

Instead I was suckered into the desert to be on a 24hr 5 person coed team with Dejay and the Stan's NoTubes team.

Now I have a tan.

I haven't done a 24hr race in 7 years. Ever since I took a nap in the middle of a lap in Whistler in 2003. Since then, I've had an allergy to staying up past 1am to ride my bike.
Still, the coolest thing about the race was hanging out with the Stan's crew.
Getting there was a cluster. After a one day delay out of Philly I showed in Tucson without a bike. Andrew was a doll and picked me up, wondering where my bike was. After calling around for a few hours we put together one of Dejay's bikes. Fortunately my new, never ridden, SS Superfly came in at about one in the AM.

We had fun and managed to win while dethroning the Topeak/Ergon team. Sorry Jeff, Dave, Sonya, Yuki and Rebecca!

The hardest thing about riding in the desert is the number (all) of plants that want to stab me and leave their prickers behind.

After totally crushing the day and practicing our 1000 yard stares into the wee hours, I have had the pleasure of playing in Tucson with Dejay.

There isn't much green here, but the weather at this time of year makes riding a pretty comfortable activity. We rode up Lemmon Mtn, on Monday and touched snow on our hike-a-bike to the top of Bug Spring trail. The hour spin across Tucson on the single speeds was a little tedious after racing for 5 hours the day before, but the tequila stash on the trail and multiple flats on the way down gave us plenty of breaks, for me to silently cry in my thoughts.

The trails down the mountain were a bit more exciting than the 24hr race course with multiple chest-to-saddle drops, some cliff riding and Suarez cactus all around.

video
Yesterday we rode out of town to the Tucson Mountain Park. Another flat, across town ride resulted with us in the basin of a collapsed cauldron. We ran across Geoff Kabush getting handled by five men with shock pumps and some measuring devices. It pays to be a world cup racer.
Dejay and I took turns doing each others hair and riding down rock features.

Yeah AZ!