Monday, August 22, 2016

Just one of those days...

I was planning on a Humboldt run on Saturday but Marcus texted and said he was going to be on the west side so I suggested a full PSP tour. He hasn't been out there for a while and is in fabulous shape compared to the last time we were out there.

Started bright (ok not so bright) and early at 5:15. We didn't want to take lights for 15 minutes so we just took it slow to start. Almost immediately I knew it was going to be a hard day. Marcus has a higher pace that me so I wasn't being lazy, but wasn't super pushing or anything but I knew right off the bat that my legs had nothing - even on the flat CAP road that goes from Deem over to Sonoran.

We hit up the grunt of an entry climb from the trailhead and got started. I was trying to not slow Marcus down too much, so I kept the pace decent but I was already feeling like I was in the red on everything. Not good.

Stopped at some of the intersections to explain what things were and where they went (and to rest haha). I told Marcus I had to slow up a bit. I felt bad, because I knew I was holding him up. I told him that today was going to be a bad day for me. But I didn't want to waste the early start and hey... sometimes you just have to HTFU.


Got up to Dixie loop and I knew I was in trouble. I had to freaking walk significant parts of the climb. I haven't had to do that in years. What the  hell is going on?

Mercifully, the climb ended and it's a fast decent back down to Bobcat where Marcus was waiting for me. From there, it's flat through the neighborhood over to the North Sonoran section on the other side of Dove Valley. Marcus asked how I was doing and I said shitty but let's keep going. Mental game.

The climb heading towards Carefree Highway is milder in grade but it was still kicking my ass. Didn't walk at least. Before we started the climb, I told Marcus I'd just meet him at the new TH. I met up with him and he was sitting in front of the big fan they have installed. It's cool, but how about some potable water? Not sure what they were thinking there...

Now on to the pain game. It's a decent climb to the towers, but not too bad. But I knew what was coming, and it was going to be ugly. The north climb from central. I started walking pretty early and alternated between pushing and riding the whole time. Like I said earlier, it's been years since I've had to walk anything here... other than if I dabbed and had to push the bike to an easier starting place. Made it to the top finally and Marcus was not there... no biggie. Fast decent down and there were a lot of riders out today. Cool! I even came across Jeff and Nancy. I didn't say anything to Nancy, but as Jeff passed I said "Is that Jeff?" proceeded by a 3 second pause then finally he skidded to a stop. He looked like he was struggling a bit and they had a beefy climb that was just starting. Told him sorry for interrupting the flow, just wanted to say "hi".

The rest of the trail back to apache wash TH is mild and fairly easy, so I made it to there and I said we have two options... one are the flats back to SoSo, or the rest of NoSo to where we started. I was kinda hoping he would say flats, but he said that will be boring to which I agreed, so we ate a bit and finished up the rest of the full NoSo loop. A couple of painful spots, but nothing like the climbs on the other side.

Back through the neighborhood and to the Bobcat trail. This is deceptively uphill and is shitty when you are just ready to be done. There are a few short punchy climbs through a couple of washes as you make your way to the cholla forest and then it's a sweet downhill to another steep wash transition. Then it's the last major nut punch of the day. Strava segment called "nice climb". We today it should have been called "nice hike" because as soon as it pitched up I hiked the whole damn thing. Ugh. Finally that was over and did the fast decent back down to the trailhead where this all started.

Now just six miles back home. I always dread this part after a big ride. It's boring with a couple of hills thrown in and the final kick to the teeth to get back up to the gate. Done. Felt really good to be done with this ride. Dropped back down really fast, and then took a little dirt jump. I told Marcus that that 1.3 seconds of the jump was the only fun I've had in the last three hours haha.

Eff me what a day. Good mental training. I'm pretty sure this was due mostly to a very bad week schedule wise - lot's of late nights and early mornings. I'm pretty sure I was dehydrated at the start too and just was never able to overcome that. Good lessons. Hopefully I'll be back on track this week.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Flagstaff Weekend

The last couple years I have been able to get up to Flag to do the flag2gc ride. Both years Marcus and I have been able to go up the day before the event to get a ride in on Friday. Last year, even though we got up north early enough (usually the Monsoon storms brew a little later in the day), we got caught in some nasty conditions, but luckily came out unscathed.

This year, we ended up leaving N. Phx a touch before 5AM and were on the bikes off of Schultz Pass Rd at 7:15. We had pulled up a Schultz Trail loop that started on Lower Moto and decided to take that and then break off on the AZT heading North toward the snowbowl area... until we felt like we had done enough or the weather started to look iffy. We got about 6 miles in on the AZT section and then the clouds started to roll in a bit. Since we knew that we had about 16 miles back to the truck if we turned around right then, we decided better to be safe than sorry, so we turned back. 16 miles of awesomeness all the way back to the truck, with a phenomenal downhill run at the end. So much fun, and so beautiful!

As we finished up and were getting the bikes into the truck, the rain started. Perfect timing! Time to get the eff out and go get lunch. 

The next day we got up bright and early for the depart of the flag to GC ride. It went off pretty well, they added a bunch of AZT singletrack north of FR 418 which was a blast to ride. I hadn't ridden the section north of FR 418, but had ridden it south of there. Amazing trail. 

After that, there was a bunch of gravel grinding to be had. The sag stops were great, and overall it was a quiet peaceful day on the bike for me. I ended up helping Travis a bit and sticking around at the sags waiting for him to make sure he was doing OK mechanically. I don't think I'll do that next year. Marcus crushed it as usual. I don't have any pics of this day - I regret that a bit, but maybe next time.