So it begins…
- Breakfast burrito
- Strap a buncha shit to the bikes
- Check out late
- Mail shit home
- Find Bourbon
- Turn on Garmin
- Load route
After mailing 11 pounds of crap home, and an excessively long search for some whiskey, we turn off the road and into the AZT.
I take off the GoPro from my bars to get a video of us, and it dies in 12 seconds. Off to a great start I see. Apparently I recorded 2 hours of the LED blinking in my bag while flying to Phoenix. Awesome show great job.
We ride what looks like a MUP for a couple miles until we climb up a steep kicker. The trail pours out into a canyon and levels out, FINALLY we get to rip some dirt and were hootin and hollerin’ down the trail.
We wind through the forested canyon for a few miles just high on life, brapping over loose rocks and drilling the hardpack as the trail switches back and forth from single to doubletrack and back again.
Eventually we start climbing some loose rocky switchbacks, begin sufferfest.
About a mile and 500ft later on and off the bike on barely-rideable inclines to asinine even walking this shit is hard grades we get to the peak. I radio back to Dan:
This shit is rough.
Yeah, I dunno about that 95% rideable.
I was a little ahead of Dan so I stop to take a leak while he regroups, the GPS is leading us straight but the trail continues right here anyway so I figure we can make a group decision on how to proceed. A good 20 mins later and no sign of Dan. I backtrack a bunch of times and try him on the radio, nothing.
Did he die already? Fucking shit. I pick out some Hans Dampf treads in the dirt like a Navajo tracker and come to the conclusion that he had to go up some other trail and got around me. I turn on the afterburners so I can catch up. I catch some serious flow and despite the “serious” situation I repeatedly speak out loud to the trees about how awesome this trail is.
5 Miles later I finally get him on the radio so he can give me this lovely morsel of information:
My wheels are caked with mud, once you get up here get off and walk. This shit is a fucking nightmare.
And he was right, 5 minutes in and my bike must’ve doubled in weight. The sun was starting to dip below the trees and we were rapidly getting frustrated.
- ride 20ft
- get off
- scrape mud off your tires with sticks that break like balsa wood
- get back on
- ride 20ft
- repeat ∞
We stop and find a spot that isn’t full of mud or rocks, which proves to be nearly impossible, and we pig out with whiskey for dessert as we watch shooting stars and spacejunk float across the sky.
Ive never seen so many stars in my life. What an incredible night.
Little did we know…