Over the last couple of years I decided I'd like do some bikepacking. I read blogs and forums posts, reviewed gear lists and photographs and started collecting the necessary gear.
I had seen the Salty Gila Tour route posted last year but wasn't ready to tackle it at that time. When I saw that it was happening again, I knew I wanted to give it a try. It was close home and would allow plenty of places to bail if things went wrong. Two-hundred miles of dirt roads, mountain bike trails and pavement over three days. What could go wrong?
In preparation for this trip, I replaced my worn-out tires and brake pads, and got the bike tuned up. I had my bags packed with plenty of food and water. I was ready to go.
|Loaded up and ready to go.|
Now would be a good time to explain that I replaced my tires because the old rear tire had a slice in the sidewall that I repaired by sewing with dental floss and supergluing. With no other options at seven in the morning, I installed the tire. It went on without complaint.
With the old tire of questionable durability installed, I headed out. I knew I could shave off a mile or two from the route by following the road instead of the canal, so I took the shortcut. I kept a decent pace in my attempt to catch up. After forty-five minutes of not seeing them, I stopped to check the SPOT tracker page on my phone. Somehow, I was ahead of them! I backed off my pace and stopped at a grocery store to get a sandwich.
I continued riding and soon hit the TRW trail. Finally, some singletrack.
|Red Mountain in the distance.|
|Living free and in the wild.|
|John leading the way.|
I had to borrow Larry's chain tool to take off the chain, since my brand tool was neatly hung on the pegboard at home. After making sure I was OK to make out, I wished John and Larry good luck as they continued on with the tour.
With my chain removed, I had to push the bike uphill, but at least I could at least ride the downhills. I figured it was less than a mile to the road.
|Salt River in the distance.|
|Water in the desert.|
|It's only a flesh wound.|