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  1. #1
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    My big Arizona Trail adventure

    Last December I did an out an back ride on the Arizona Trail south for 15 miles from Picketpost and I found it some of the most intimidating riding I'd ever done. Shortly thereafter I did an out and back on the same trail north from Kelvin. I have been itching to do the entire point to point 38 mile ride from Picketpost to Kelvin and HitmenOnlyInc and his two buddies agreed to join me. Knowing I'd be slower than them I headed out while they used the restroom. At four miles I broke a spoke, but after all the time and money I had invested in this ride I decided to continue on. I could see the guys behind me so I pushed on, expecting them to catch me shortly.

    As the miles piled up I kept looking back for them, and although I could often see behind me for many miles, I never saw them again. Given that they were much faster than me I figured they turned back for some reason, and I was on my own. I told HitmenOnlyInc I'd have to be dead not to finish the ride and it occurred to me if I turned back they would not be at the trailhead anyway. It seemed I had little choice but to continue on. So I just kept plodding along at my tortoise pace.

    I was really paranoid about breaking another spoke so I rode the next 34 miles "on eggshells". Too bad because once you descend a bit after 15 miles the trail becomes really fun and potentially fast for several miles. It was my kind of trail, narrow, a bit rocky, and with good flow. I even began to take it easy on the fire roads after I kicked up some rocks and heard a loud twang from my spokes. I just couldn't risk breaking another spoke. Fortunately I loaded a GPS track of the route on my GPS because it was often confusing when fire roads crossed and/or I crossed big sand washes. I estimated the ride would take 10 hours and I was pretty concerned about finishing the ride in daylight. So I tried to limit my photo stops. However, it was just too scenic not to stop occasionally. Except for a pretty good climb near the end of the trail, I found the riding quite enjoyable, almost easy, and it took a bit over 9 hours. And the weather was pretty nice for the time of year. But the stress of riding solo in such a remote place with a broken spoke made the ride seem tougher than it should have been. I later learned the guys were just taking breaks and they finished awhile after me. Sorry guys, but thanks for the shuttle!

    More photos on my Smugmug site. Click here to see the photos on a map.





    Into the abyss!



    My role model.









































    The end is in sight!






    Last edited by Wherewolf; 04-03-2013 at 06:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    Great looking ride.

  3. #3
    Ahhh the pain....
    Reputation: Raybum's Avatar
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    Great pics Steve. I ride out there several times a year and that is one place (in Martinez Canyon where that rock spire is) where I feel very "small". Truly overwhelming and even moreso when you're out there solo. Of the entire Arizona Trail, it is arguably the best passage or at least top 3. I spend tons of time at BCT and have ridden it's full length and beyond in a day, but I find it has a characteristic very different.
    Thanks for sharing the pics...great stuff!
    Your limits are both physical and mental. Suffering will help you find and overcome both.
    http://onegear-ray.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
    pin it
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    Lovely scenery.Thanks for posting pics of your amazing riding spot
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  5. #5
    DFL>DNF>DNS
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    I have to echo Raybum's sentiments on this one!! Way to stick with it out there. I can see why you said the BCT had more wildflowers, that second to last shot is mostly void of them. Here's a shot from 2 1/2 weeks ago at nearly the same location:

    From AZSF: Picketpost to Kelvin 2013
    Ski. Ride. Hike. Be.
    My Two Schillingsworth

  6. #6
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    It was "epic" in every sense for sure!. Steve we kept expecting to see you and I kept a vigilant eye out for you. We kept a decent pace but stopped several times and probably took too long when we did. Ron also wanted to try out a new water filter he brought along when we came upon the river. So, that took a bit of time. We ended up finishing in about 10 hours. Thanks for the great shots.

  7. #7
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    Aloha! Great "Passion" post. Another one to add to the long list of rides I'd like to do. So many trails, so little time. Congratulations on the accomplishment.

  8. #8
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    Cactus spines

    So after finishing my ride today I discovered two cactus spines perhaps a half inch deep into my foot. Don't even know when I got them.

  9. #9
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    Wish I'd Been There

    Hey Wherewolf,

    Looks incredible! Wish there was a way I could have joined you.

    You saw no one else on that whole ride?

    Some day I'll do that one too.

  10. #10
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    As usual, great post with wonderful pics. The tortoise is beautiful and the terrain is daunting and inviting at the same time.
    When I look at stats on your Garmin track., I'm always amazed at the arduous and well, epic, nature of each of your rides.

    Also, link to emergency spoke replacement kit here.

  11. #11
    Closekids.com
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    Were you wearing a heart rate strap? No way you did 38 miles and only burned 2500 calories!! I would guess it would be closer to 4000.
    Me to my riding buddy, "Want to ride this afternoon?"
    Him, "I can't. I have to chop this guys foot off at 2".

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe@MBD.com View Post
    Looks incredible! Wish there was a way I could have joined you. You saw no one else on that whole ride? Some day I'll do that one too.
    You'd love this ride. We can do it next winter or spring. I saw one hiker near the end of the trail.

  13. #13
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    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by June Bug View Post
    As usual, great post with wonderful pics. The tortoise is beautiful and the terrain is daunting and inviting at the same time. When I look at stats on your Garmin track., I'm always amazed at the arduous and well, epic, nature of each of your rides. Also, link to emergency spoke replacement kit here.
    I'm not sure I'm mechanical enough to figure it out but I ordered one of those spokes a few days ago. People can ride a lot farther than they think if they just slow down to my pace. Check out the Gila Monster photo in this post. Coolest thing I've ever seen on the trail.

  14. #14
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    Meaningless

    Quote Originally Posted by BoomingSooner View Post
    Were you wearing a heart rate strap? No way you did 38 miles and only burned 2500 calories!! I would guess it would be closer to 4000.
    I was not wearing a HR monitor. But those calorie numbers are meaningless. I get wildly different numbers on the same ride from two different GPS units.

  15. #15
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    My big Arizona Trail adventure

    Wow awesome stuff. Thanks for sharing .
    Ride it again without the broken spokes and let us know how it is.

    Bill

  16. #16
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    That Gila Monster looks amazing. Great pics and info on your ride. I am jealous. Definitely taking notes for when Im able to have an adventure like that.
    Thanks
    2007 Marin East Peak.

  17. #17
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    Gila Monster

    Quote Originally Posted by morningstar View Post
    That Gila Monster looks amazing. Great pics and info on your ride. I am jealous. Definitely taking notes for when Im able to have an adventure like that.
    Thanks
    Gila Monster photo you refer to was taken a few days before on Black Canyon Trail.


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoomingSooner View Post
    Were you wearing a heart rate strap? No way you did 38 miles and only burned 2500 calories!! I would guess it would be closer to 4000.
    I was on the same ride and my hr monitor said 2502 for calories burned.

  19. #19
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    WOW that trail looks awesome!!! Live in Desert area in Cali have plenty of similar terrain...be worth the trip to tackle it...great pics

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