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.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shultz to 418. A Mountain Biker's Delight.

This ride was the impetus in my mind for getting to Flag. We did it last year and both the climbing and descending were stellar. The AZT from Snowbowl road, up and past Aspen Corner and down to 418 is a great section of trail, one that I'll always want to come back to. The climb up is relentless, but attainable, and rolling through fern laden Aspen groves at 20mph down the backside is severely grin inducing. We planned to start at Shultz and make it an out-n-back. After the 56 miles the day before, we'd only need 44 more for a century weekend. How would it play out?

I was feeling a bit tight at the start of the ride, since I had only been off the bike for about 18 hours after the big ride the day before, but I worked through the morning aches quickly as we wound our way through the Fort Valley goods on our way to the AZT. Soon enough we were starting our ascent up to 9k ft.

The red hues make me think of Sedona, down on the bottom of the Kaibab. The speckled shade tickled my otherwise sun tattooed skin. I really like a good climb. Mabye more than a good downhill. The skill is more zen, more mindful, less reactive - its narrative is of will power and resource management, where blasting downhill is guts and glory, balls to the wall, blind faith in your assessment of your own stupidity to skillful ratio. Well, I do enjoy that too, but climbing makes me dig. It makes me breathe uncontrollably. I have to relinquish control for a few moments, at the summit. Slow can be cool.

Freeskier getting some EL. (-avation, that is.)

A little ways up the climb is this nice lookout. Be sure to stop and take it in.

Pano-attack with Wing Mountain in the background.

Getting geared back up for the 1400ft left to the top.
We start to crest and the ride evens out after about 2.5 hours of climbing from 7200 to 9000ft. Great workout. Now come the aspens.

CW clips a pedal and takes a digger! Could have been ugly, but a fat lip will allow him to say, "You should have seen the other guy!"

Freeskier exiting fern gulley.

Is it a cow? It made me think of some prehistoric predatory worm-fish.

Rolling off the back-side of the San Fran Peaks to 418 is easy rolling hold on a holler old fashioned good times. You'll feel like a kid, you'll feel like a sprite of the forest.

Gazing to the skies.

Freeskier ahead! Caught him by chance.
FS was nice enough to catch me in action.

Stopping at mile 19 for a belly refuel of PBnJ and some Gu, shadows seemed crisp to me, my awareness slightly heightened by the impassioned communion with nature.

The area begs for some bikepacking, and Utah isn't even that far away.
Mexico is a bit further though. We were down there for the AZT300 in April. Boy I sure would like to give either AZT race a go. The 750 sounds like a great vacation.
Back down at Snowbowl Road. What good trail!
 I was a bit pooped at the turn around point, but still feeling plenty of reserves inside. The worst part was the saddle rub I was getting form my seat that apparently had a seam cutting right across the cheeky part of the seat. Great design. The 19 miles back were a bit painful. It didn't help that my belly went belly up about 10 feet from the summit on the way back. It settled, but had made its self known. Heading back down the south side was done at mach 7, or as close to it as I could get. I was relishing the non-control/control of bouncing off of everything and dodging half of everything else, it was a blur, and to be spit out at the bottom was a relief - because my ass was done, literally. Back down through Fort Valley. FS takes the AZT to Shultz to get the 44 miles needed for the century. I just want to quit sitting on my bike. My jump stop spins around, hits my rear tire. Don't want to fix. Hit with rock. Fixed. Poorly. Chain keeps jumping. One more drainage. One more drainage. Last one. Shultz. CW's truck. Finally. Store. Choco milk. Ruh-roh. Don't upchuck in Chuck's truck! Fades in a minute. More Choco milk consumed. Dinner. Fire. 94 mile weekend. I'm pleased.

The profile. Up down. Up down. That easy. 38 miles total. I was thinking about 25. Oops. I was happy to work on the difference though.

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