I’m very excited and quite nervous!
Cat Morrison and I are doing an ITT on The Grand Loop starting 5am on Wednesday. We hope to ride and finish it together but will be self supported and will finish it out solo if it comes to that!
The Grand Loop is 360 miles linking up Kokopelli Trail, Paradox and Tabeguache. We have elected to start at Dewey Bridge and ride it counter-clockwize. This puts our first resupply some 3 days down the road at Grand Junction. I have packed a lot of food including some bacon Mmmm…
Here is our tracker
I just put in a big order for some Kep’s Balls. That means an adventure is imminent that I will need balls for.
I love this AZT sign!
After Scott posted this pic I had to go there to see and smell for myself…our spring break bikepack destination was sealed. The new Antelope Peak section trail that bypasses the gas line and Gila River Canyons sections needed my tracks. Click on the links for photos because Scott’s pics are far, far better than any of mine.
We parked at Picket Post, rode 65 miles on the road to the trailhead at Tiger Mine Road, then 100 miles of sweet AZT back to the car. We took 4 days – very casual pace :-)
I was lucky to have my fave ride partner DH come along too. The flowers were wowzers!
Carpets of flowers.
We camped at Freeman Rd water cache and were treated to a spectacular Sonoran sunset
Riding the Boulders section the next day I had intense flashbacks to racing through there at sunrise/moon-set in the AZT300 race last year. It is such a flowy section.
Then onto Ripsey. Thumbs up from DH as we both had a perfect score on the big hill switchbacks.
The flowers were busting out on Ripsey too.
We camped that night near Kelvin Bridge. Unfortunately DH’s rear tire was in the process of decomposing and he made the wise but disappointing decision to bail on the AZT and ride the road back to Picket Post. He nicely took my sleep kit and I got to ride the Gila River Canyons section from Kelvin Bridge to Picket Post only partially loaded.
The first thing I ran into was a trail crew turning a jeep road into a trail – how cool is that ?!?!
Brand new trail made from a jeep road
Trail slightly more mature trail with a few landscaping touches. It was like a bike path for a while!
The section along the Gila river on the “bike path” was fast and fun. Then the trail heads north and climbs skirting the border of the spectacular White Canyon wilderness area. So beautiful.
I was back at Picket Post before I knew it and before I was ready to be over with my ride. I’m hungry for more bikepack adventures now.
Camp this year was the best ever yet . I know, I know, I say that every year, but it was!! It was AWESOME. I used that word a lot this weekend then this morning (Tuesday) I randomly came across a TED talk on awesome and it got me thinking more about that word and the volume of awesome experiences in my life. Camp is deffo one of them.
How much awesome is in this pic? I could write an entire blog on the awesome in this pic.
Camp for me was very different this year. I have been dealing with a knee issue and do not have the ability to hammer right now (I’ll be back ;-) All previous camps for me have all been about going big and going fast. It was definitely tough short-cutting the routes taking photos instead of being up in the pack sweating.
Saturday we pre-rode TrueGrit 50 race course. Hammering and smiling were both witnessed.
I do however have the ability to ride all day now (which I couldn’t do 4 months ago) which is awesome!! I had a whole different camp experience and it was still overflowing with awesome.
I saw Jared do the whole True Grit course on his squishy which was pretty awesome.
I had time to stop and session rocks on Jem instead of drilling it non-stop.
I had time to learn new things from other campers. Such a great group of people with a huge knowledge base come to camp.
Camp Lynda V4 last year was the year of the ladies. This year Camp Lynda V5 was the year of the couples. Lots of hubby and wife teams.
Dad and son.
Camp was awesome this year because we had non-stop bluebird, ride perfect weather.
BUT what makes Camp so superbly awesome every year is the people that come and give camp heart.
Thanks everybody for coming and bringing your AWESOME to camp to share with me and everybody else.
With any luck there will be some dots on this map today. A harbinger of things to come in the race scene!
Awesome 40 mile trail hook up yesterday with DH, Kenny and Heather.
To download the gpx of this file plug this http://app.strava.com/rides/3379510 into this handy tool http://cosmocatalano.com/strava-gpx-export/ and click export
Here is the route visual:
Leeds Reef Trail looking at Red Cliffs
This is not a recommended way to see a mine shaft
This is a recommended way to see the view at the top. It was nice out!
All smiles on the road section to the top of Icehouse single-track
All whoops and yippees on the Icehouse descent
Then on to Dino Cliffs Trail
A few challenges near the end to keep us honest
The “L” cairn. I liked this cairn. I didn’t make it.
I can ride again :-) I can’t ride fast yet but if I keep the power down I can ride all day. I rode for 6 hours yesterday and my average power was 98 watts! Those 98 watts propelled me and my bike 51 miles tho! Riding in whatever format makes me happy :-)
It was snowing on me as I pedalled along West Mesa (on the east side of Seegmillar mountain). It was windy and wild feeling. I hear a rumbling sound behind me and turn my head to see five wild horses galloping up towards me. Still moving, I whip my camera out of its holster like the Sundance Kid.
DH and I watched the original True Grit then Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid last week! I was so there with the sound of the galloping hoofs thundering on the dirt and the wild feel of the mesa!
They galloped ahead of me, rounded around in front of me then slowed up.
I stopped and they stopped too. The dark faced horse was clearly the boss and in charge. The other horses followed Boss Hoss.
After a moment checking me out from a distance they walked towards me led by Boss Hoss. At this point I wasn’t sure if they were curious, wanted a snack or wanted to eat me. I was by myself.
They stopped about 30 feet from me and we stared at each other for a while. Then Boss Hoss started pawing the ground and snorting at me! I don’t speak horsey language but got the vibe that boss hoss wasn’t feeling friendly today! Google search later at home said:
Dominance – A horse will often paw when showing dominance. This is different from striking out. The horse will strike the ground with his front hoof. The leg will usually be straight and the neck will usually be arched. Sometimes they may vocalize or snort while exhibiting this behavior.
We had a bit of a stand off until the white faced horse moved out of the road to stand behind the other horses and I pedaled on past with them watching and Boss Hoss snorting and pawing.
Then they started galloping beside me again and ran beside me for a few minutes before veering away and thundering off with their hoofs rumbling on the dirt.
So cool. Made my day.
Here is a map of my ride: