Monday, March 20, 2017

Letter of Intent: AZT 300

I am racing the The Arizona Trail 300 on April 5th. The AZT 300 is a three-hundred mile self-supported mountain bike race. This basically means I'll be carrying food, water, shelter and whatever else I might need to my ride my bike from near Mexico to Superior, AZ mostly on the Arizona Trail.

You can follow my progress on trackleaders.com.

My bike and I at Picketpost Mountain.

Here's a map of the AZT 300 route:


AZT300 on Trailforks.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

AZT: Montana Mountain

After our unfinished ride in January, we decided to head north from Picketpost and complete Passage 18 of the Arizona Trail.

This would entail climbing around five thousand feet over eighteen miles from Picketpost up to the Rogers Trough Trailhead. Most people ride up one of the forest roads and then head back down the trail. We decided to ride up the trail to get the full experience.

We headed out from Picketpost around 3:30 pm. The trail quickly becomes serious, with rocks and wash crossings before crossing under US 60.

I think we're ready.
First gate.
Crossing under US 60.
As we climbed through the warm desert we were treated to wide open spaces and no crowds.
Wide
Open
Spaces
Trying out new fashion options.
We've had lots of precipitation and found water plentiful. I wish I packed my filter!
One of many creek crossings.
Jake riding away.
Rugged Arizona beauty.
We met a southbound thru-hiker with a campfire just after the Reavis Trailhead who confirmed the next section would be slow and require lots of pushing. Even so, we decided to keep to the trail and try to make it to the top of Montana Mountain before stopping for the night.

Nice gate.
Pose with bikes.
Green
As we climbed the mountain it became steeper and at some point we abandoned the idea of riding and settled for pushing our loaded bikes up the loose, rocky switchbacks. The full moon helped find our way - we almost didn't need lights. We finally called it quits when we came upon a semi flat grassy spot.
Ready to crash in the grass
We woke up to views of the mountains with the lights of Superior in the distance.
Direct line of sight means full cell service!
Standing on top of the world.
Take in the view a bit longer.
Time to get moving.
 After looking over my cassette I discovered the source of my poor shifting - a mangled granny gear! I used some pliers to try and bend it back and it managed to work some.

We pushed our bikes up the last half mile and crested the final peak. We were treated to views of the Superstition Mountains and parts of the Valley in the distance.
The other side of the mountain.
Almost there.
No bikes allowed.
We now had to choose between returning down the trail the way we came (slower), or taking the forest road down (faster). Since we had used up most of our water, the choice was clear - take the forest road! We headed down FR 172 since it would take us west through a different part of the area.

Jake in the distance.
More water.
The road held lots of fast, loose downhill interspersed with some climbing to keep it interesting. I kept playing with my bike but it never would shift correctly. I could only find a couple of gears where it didn't sound like it was breaking apart.
Typical section of the road.
Water tank.
Looking for Indian ruins.
Watch for caution tortoises!
After thirty-eight miles, we made it back to the car.
Time for an apple!