A place to share words and pics. Mostly bikes, but my photog eye does wander.

Bikes let the good times roll. In solitude or with friends. For a half hour or 8 hours. Pedals become the gears that turn the earth as the sun seems to track their motion, day after day. Miles become food, and you're hungry. The bike stops being a vehicle, or toy, or transportation and becomes an extension of will, allowing you to journey beyond the pain of self into the realm of almighty, joyous nature, she that feeds our souls. Pedal yourself into the maw of creation. Pedal yourself silly.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jamboree of AZT Commenceth!

 With the new year comes a new set of some of last year's rides. There were a lot of firsts last year, and this year there will be a lot of seconds, and one of them is the AZT Jamboree. This event is put on by Mr. Chad Brown, mountain biker/promotor extraordinaire, and also benefits the ATA, the Arizona Trail Association. For the privilege of joining in on the AZTJamboree, each rider pays for a membership to the ATA which is $35, and you get a shuttle ride up to East Greaterville Rd off of the 83 which puts you at the north end of the Santa Ritas and Mt. Wrightson, and then ride north back to Pistol Hill Rd a 38 miles and 6300ft of descent later along the Las Cienegas Passage of the AZT. (There's also 4600ft of climbing too, just to keep the route honest.)

Last year I did it on the Monocog, rolling 32x20 and rigid. It was fun, I survived, but this year, I was happy to be 1x9 and have some squish. The extra fitness from a year of strong riding and the luxury of gears and bounce took the edge off the ride and I was left with a smooth, enjoyable day on the bike, which made me consider my sense of scale, currently. Last year, this was a ride to think about, plan out, even consider for considerations's sake. This year the tone was different in my prep. Lackadasical, whimsical, confident. This ride? Gonna be pretty easy. Will finish before dark. Not even 40 miles. This ride became.....smaller. I guess this means my appetite has become .....bigger.

We started out on the early shuttle, at 8am. This necessitates a 4:30am wake-up time, and two hours of driving, then a 25 minute shuttle. Sometimes it takes a long time to ride your bike. Then you start pedaling, and you forget about it all.
The singletrack that rolls downhill towards Rosemont Junction is fantabulous. It's even a great climb, which we did last November during the AES Kentucky Camp loop.

We moved further and further away form Mt. Wrightson in the Santa Ritas. She even had some snow up high. Last year during this ride, we found snow in the shady north-facing spots.

Mt. Wrightson.

Here we're just about out of the most climby part of the ride. We're about to hit a good 15 miles of easy breezy riding. Ah, the Jamboree. The AZT. Seems built, just for me. Sometimes you can't ask for more.
The grass is a bit dead here. Spring will bring the green.

Bikes and biker, taking a break. Lunch was along a new stretch of AZT which cut out some jeep road. Excellent. The new section of a few miles, was a bit rolly, twisty and fun.

With an eye for color accent now, sharp contrasts catch my eye often.

A change from Lee's excellent support from last year, SDMB stepped up and did a full on aid station, a-la Tour of the White Mountains grade. Fruit, snacks, drinks, water, and best of all - mini pizzas! Its true. And they were good. Thanks all!

After the refuel, its time to hit the road again. Or cross it, at least.
The I-10 Culvert approaching three bridges. John caught this shot as I made my way into the far entrance.

I took another attempt at rolling out of the culvert, but the sand was alas, too sandy. I rolled it out well, though. Last year I didn't expect sand and I launched it. This year morphed into intentional tradition, with the help of John, egging me on. I suppose one year, I'll roll it out and be awesome.

We also passed the newly dedicated Gabe Zimmerman trailhead along the AZT. Nice honor, but I wish there weren't a need for the sign at all.

One of three bridges. We played it smart this year and stayed up high. No trekking by the river this year! Time saved, ~ one hour.

The Voodoo busy getting some street cred.
In a short six hours and some minutes later, we rolled into camp at Pistol Hill Rd and found free beer and warm coals. Kudos to Chad for getting the free drink.

One of the rare rides where we finished mid pack. Maybe this will be our year.

It's all downhill except for the uphill parts. 6k down, but still about 4k up. Great section of trail, Las Cienegas passage.

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