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  1. #1
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    My Flight of the Pigs (long w/Pics)

    The day after Thanksgiving, “Black Friday”, fabled kickoff to the holiday shopping season. The day every red-blooded American is expected to head to the mall, en masse, to spend, spend, spend. Well even on a normal day I hate the mall, and on an overcrowded day like this I’d rather do anything else. Heck, I’d rather spend the entire day riding 70 miles through the hot, barren desert. So, Friday morning I awoke at 5:15 AM to join 90+ other folks who also would rather spend the day flogging than go to the mall.

    This was the 10th annual “Flight of the Pigs”, a daylong circumnavigation of Phoenix, traversing singletrack, canal roads and city streets. Check-in was at 6:30 AM in the parking lot for Cactus Jacks, a local Ahwatukee bar and our eventual destination. All riders must weigh in (self, bike and all gear weighed together) and are given a cool FOTP ID card with mini route map. Also all riders are given a curly pink pipe cleaner “pig tail” to hang from their saddle rails, which aids in discerning a pig from a normal rider out on the trails.



    After lining up for a group photo…


    …we headed off towards South Mountain Park’s Pima Canyon.

    From Pima Canyon riders have a choice of heading up National or taking Mormon up and intersecting with National. The FOTP is not a race, but there are cutoff times and points along the route. About one hour is allowed to climb from Pima to the Buena Vista parking lot.



    No time to rest here though as the first official regroup is at the San Juan Rd. parking lot, at the very end of the National trail. This was my first time past Telegraph Pass on National and boy, what a difference. What the eastern side of National is to hard packed trail and solid rock technical features, the western end is to steep, loose rock of all shapes and sizes. From gravel, to cookies, to dinner plates it’s an exercise in bike surfing.



    Piggies all stop and regroup at San Juan Rd. parking lot.

    (larger version of stich here: https://www.pbase.com/blackbart/imag...1/original.jpg )

    After the group was all back together (minus one poor fella who broke his arm on the lower climb on National) we headed down the last bit of singletrack to hit the pavement.



    We rode a mixture of surface streets and dirt canal maintenance roads to 7th Ave. and
    headed north.


    I was figuring the road sections would be nice and mellow, after all we had SS ers and a couple of fixies in the group… I guessed wrong. Our peloton moved rather quickly up 7th, splintering into a few smaller groups. Along the way people cheered our group and/or gave quizzical looks to our rag tag squad. The point of riding across Phoenix on 7th was to get to the North Mountain Preserve and Trail 100, but first we stopped at Zoë’s, a restaurant just off 7th near downtown. Zoë’s was closed to the public and had a buffet laid out just for us piggies. Salad, potato salad, rice (can’t have too many carbs on this ride) grilled chicken breasts, caramelized onions, and brownies. Every epic should have a lunch stop like this!

    After resting and pigging out we all refilled our camelbaks and bottles with ice and water and hit the road again. A few more miles of pavement took us to the start of Trail 100.

    Looking back across Phoenix, South Mountain is barely visible through the haze.

    Compared to National T100 is normally a cakewalk, but 45 miles into a ride nothing is too easy. The group quickly spread out along the trail, which has many intersections and side trails. At one point I could feel my hamstring starting to cramp, so I stopped on the side of the trail to stretch. One fellow rider asked if I was ok, “Oh yeah, doin fine! Just need to get in a little stretch” was my reply. What I was thinking was, “S#!T, I’ve still got 25 miles to go to get back to my truck!” So I downed a Cliff Shot, drank some water, stretched and gobbled some electrolyte caps like Rush Limbaugh powering down the Oxycontin. All of this seemed to do the trick and the rest of T100 was a fun, fast ride, minus a few wrong turns (first time on T100 in 10 years) and backtracking. I went for 20-30 minutes without seeing another piggy and due to my rest break and wrong turns was starting to get worried that I may miss the group and cutoff at the end of T100/Tatum Blvd. Much to my relief the group was still there, sprawled out on the grass looking like a tired band of refugees.




    In fact there were still quite a few riders still behind me, so I got to enjoy a nice rest in the grass while we waited.



    Someone had secured permission from a homeowner across the street to use his water spigot, so most of us took one last opportunity to refill our water. I ate another Cliff Bar, had some orange slices and we all hit the road once again. Now heading south on Tatum, destination: the buttes at Papago Park.



    Papago is a small park with no big hills to speak of. We stopped once to regroup on a saddle overlooking Tempe.



    Then rode up to Hunt’s Tomb for the traditional lap around the late Governor’s pyramid.



    Blinkys attached and, well, blinking (you did remember your blinky, right?) we head off for the final stretch. Over the Mill Ave. Bridge into downtown Tempe and the post ASU game traffic and crowds.



    Rolling up Mill feels like a victory, even though we still have a few miles left to go it is mostly flat pavement. The crowds of people are cheering us and I have my bear bell wrapped around ring and middle fingers, shaking it in a dorky, festive fashion. Heading single file down a side street from Mill, an SUV tries to turn right into a parking lot, through our group and starts honking his horn while doing it. I let go a profanity laced version of, “Pardon me, we have the right of way, kindly wait your turn. Perhaps you are in need of a refresher course on the rules of the road” which I think may have startled the girl riding behind be. (Sorry ‘bout that…) Guess I’ve got a bit more energy left than I thought!

    The turns and traffic splinter the group up again as we make our way through Tempe and Guadalupe. One small climb over the 10 FWY back into Ahwatukee and now we really are in the home stretch. I can taste the burger and beer already as we head down 48th St. across Elliot and back to the Cactus Jack’s parking lot. I ride to the end of the lot, over the curb and across the small grassy knoll where we took the group photo that morning, just to make sure the loop was done. Absolutely tired, yet totally elated, buzzed in fact over completing such a great ride.

    Before taking a wet wipe sponge bath and changing into clean clothes I took a pic of my sweet helmet hair/dirt cornrows.




    Don’t look the least bit tired, do I?

    After the ride, most of us found our way into the bar for much deserved beer, burgers and an awards ceremony. Flight founder, rider and organizer Jim Wilcox gave out sterling silver flying pig pins made by local artist and flight rider Hoss Rogers.



    Due to the sudden influx of burger ordering piggies, it took some of us a couple of hours to get our food. I really didn’t mind though, I had a huge stein of Fat Tire Ale, a comfy seat and good company. After the awards ceremony we were treated to the sweet sound of “Sylence”, a local 80’s rock cover band. (screaming) “Yeah, METAAAAAAAAAL!”

    OK, so having a couple steins of beer after a daylong ride and before having anything to eat may not be the best idea. I may have had a little buzz going on. I may have yelled a little bit. I may have made fun of the band. I know I had a great time, drank great beer, chatted the night away with some great riders, danced with a pretty girl, (the wet wipes must have worked, she didn’t run away right away) and went home one happy, tired boy.

    Thanks to all my fellow Piggies for making it such an awesome day, if I’m in town for Turkey Day next year I’ll definitely be turning in my Flight Training Permit for a Veteran card.

    Veni
    Ridi
    Piggi

    I came.
    I rode.
    I squealed.

    Souie!
    Black Bart
    Last edited by Black Bart; 12-02-2005 at 02:35 AM. Reason: not everyone has a monitor a country mile wide...

  2. #2
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    Reputation: CDtofer's Avatar
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    That looks awesome!!!

    All the things I never knew about Phoneix before I left! Bart, thanks for posting and sharing those pics. I recognized almost every place but haven been to any for at least three years. the pic of ridin back over the Mill Avenue bridge brings back memories! Used to ride from my home to Papago park all the time for a short loop or two. Have to get back and do this sometime! Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
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    Great post about what looks like a great ride! I wish we had something like that around my parts.

    thanks for sharing
    "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

    My cycling photos. Enjoy!

  4. #4
    Te mortuo heres tibi sim?
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    Wow! Sweet post/pics/ride experience!
    Florence Nightingale's Stormtrooper

  5. #5
    Basura Blanca
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    Brings back memories.... I did FOTP 2 years ago and had a blast. The pics looked very familiar, and I can remember taking a nice snooze in that grass after T100. Jim throws a nice day-long party, God bless him, and those Valley folk are great hosts. And you're right, w/ all the SS'ers (and Alex on his BMX bike that year), I was surprised that the ride up 7th became a hammerfest. Hurry up and wait, I guess. I still have my pig pin from Hoss, and wish I could figure out an elegant way to turn it into a headbadge. Thanks for the ride report!
    - Joe

  6. #6
    Occidental Tourist
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    Nice post.
    It was indeed a great day on the bike.
    This is just need to know information: Am i supposed to enjoy the irony or pity the sincerity?

  7. #7
    I throw poo
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    That was an absolutly great ride report, thanks for sharing.
    Dang it, now I'm running a coolness deficit for sure.

  8. #8
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    Great report BB! It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again next year. My pal Jim talked me into it at the last minute and I'm so glad he did. Even though we got seperated from the group on the way to Papago and were freakin' out, we still had a blast. We didn't make Papago but caught up with everyone at the Tomb. We took surface streets and I think added a few miles but all was well when we saw everyone at the top of the Tomb. That was such a relief.

    Anyway, again great report and I was the fella on the Airborne. We talked a bit on the streets and I'm actually in the grass knoll shot after T100. The fella with the yellow/red/blue jersey on. Pretty cool stuff.
    Why would I need more than one gear?
    @A_SingleSpeeder
    EPA = crooks!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by striker
    Great post about what looks like a great ride! I wish we had something like that around my parts.

    thanks for sharing
    Well gather up some ride buddies and plan one out!

    This ride started out as two friends and one crazy idea. The next year it was a half dozen or so riders and one crazy idea. And so on, and so on. It's a true grassroots event.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash_FLMB
    Great report BB! It was so much fun and I can't wait to do it again next year. My pal Jim talked me into it at the last minute and I'm so glad he did. Even though we got seperated from the group on the way to Papago and were freakin' out, we still had a blast. We didn't make Papago but caught up with everyone at the Tomb. We took surface streets and I think added a few miles but all was well when we saw everyone at the top of the Tomb. That was such a relief.

    Anyway, again great report and I was the fella on the Airborne. We talked a bit on the streets and I'm actually in the grass knoll shot after T100. The fella with the yellow/red/blue jersey on. Pretty cool stuff.
    Thanks all!

    NIce to meet you, Crash. Heck, it was nice to meet everyone! (Yay, endorphins rule!)
    Maybe next year all the MTBRers should sport a second, different color pigtail so we can pick each other out.

    Yeah, I DID NOT want to fall off the back of the group. I moved out of AZ 15 years ago, so from Telegraph Pass to Papago I pretty much had no idea where I was.

    The last thing I wanted to do was to get lost and have to call my mom to pick me up.

  11. #11
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    Wow!

    What a great write up. That looks like something i'd love to do.
    Nice passion hit!
    the - E - dog

  12. #12
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    Nothing like riding 70 miles through the desert in the south west heat and finishing the ride by picking a fight with metal 3,000 % larger than you, with complete confidence and conviction. LSD, PCP and 'roids' don't hold a candle! Only a mountain bike has this side effect. "If you see this pin on an individual, back away slowly. Do not panic, call police or tease the animal wearing the pin. In some instances, acting as if you've been dead for a number of days may help."

  13. #13
    Just Joshin' ya!
    Reputation: PrincipalRider's Avatar
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    Wow! I sure miss Phoenix. Were else can you finds such great trails so close to a major metropolitan area?
    Getting a dropper post is like getting a bidet. I didn't know I needed one until I get one and boy, does my ass thank me.

  14. #14
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    Great post.

    I'm very tempted to go next year.

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