Colossal Cave Stage Race and Hiking

Last week Joey and I hiked to the highest peak in southern Arizona: Mt. Wrightson. Mt. Wrightson formed at least 10,000 years ago as part of the Santa Rita mountain chain when the dinosaurs decided to build a big mountain so they could see the Sea of Cortez without having to walk 200 miles. Although back then it was the Sea of our Conquering Warlord Littlefoot.

But really it was a volcano or something like that back in the day. Anyway we decided to do this hike on our ‘easy’ day, however it turns out a 5 hour hike up to 10,000 feet isn’t too easy. The trail started out pretty sheltered at 5,400 feet hiking through the big Pondorosa Pine forest, then it cleared out for final few miles into pretty open rock faces scared by a forest fire.
The trail was wickedly steep for nearly all of it’s 5 miles. It only leveled out at two saddles that connected a few of the peaks.

It was a pretty cool hike getting to the top. Once at the top there was a whole congregation of people chilling, we sat down with our Subway BLT and had lunch and talked to some of the other hikers. One of the guys was really, I mean really into watching the crows flying around the mountaintop (not making any of this up)
“Man it’s like watching an airshow up here.”
“What I wouldn’t give to trade places with a Crow for half an hour.”
“Look Bill, I found two more flying around”
I told him about some sparrows I saw flying around horseshoe bend and his head just about exploded.
“What? Sparrows! Bill this kid said he saw Sparrows, that’s awesome”
Joey had to show some skin for all the nice retired ladies on the trail.
Anyway since Redlands was all filled up and too good for the Trek-Landis team I stayed local and did the Colossal Cave Stage Race here in Tucson. Pretty much your typical 2 day three stage race. TT Saturday morning, which I sucked it up in as ususal, Go-Kart track crit Sunday afternoon. Then 80 mile RR Sunday. The only downside was there were only 12 guys registered to race.
The upside was I won 2/3 races plus the overall. In the Go-Kart track crit I broke away and soloed for most of the race by out-cornering the field.
By Sunday I was one point out of the overall. I attacked a few times but mostly spent the race chasing down the other two guys in the top three. By the end of the race only three of us were left at the front of the race after 3 hours of some pretty brutal 20 mph winds. It came down to a sprint where I edged out Nick from Landis (who was leading in the points by 2) by just a wheel length. It was the first ride on all the new equipment: Zipp Wheels and Canyon bike. It all performed really well and I’m looking forward to putting it to some good use in bigger races.

It’s Hard to Rest in the Sun

This Monday marked the beginning of my first rest week in sunny Tucson, my last rest week being in South Korea. After only a few days I’m finding it pretty difficult to take it easy when every day is is 70 degrees and sunny. So far I’ve spent my ‘rest’ days either Mountain Biking or hiking in local Tucson Mountain park which is located 5 miles west of our house in Tucson. It’s a little hard to resist, hiking in the south west is no longer just a walk through the woods. Today in 3 hours I parked at a pull-off just past the Gate’s pass decent at about 2900 ft and hiked up what I think is Bren mt. at 3988 ft. There was also a good amount of getting lost as there is a network of trails criss crossing the Tucson Mountain Park. Anyway I eventually navigated myself to the top and had some lunch and took some panoramas:
Looking West out Ajo Hwy toward Kitt Peak.
Back east looking at Tucson, Mt. Lemmon in mid-left

This weekend was not without racing either. I kitted up for a one hour crit up in Phoenix. The Sun Devil crit was a pretty small race with ~20 riders but well run by the ASU cycling/tri club. I missed the winning break but broke away with a Landis rider from the ten man field.
This weekend is the Callville Bay Classic. The race is pretty unique in that every day starts and finishes in Callville Bay, a marina of Lake Mead (reservoir of the Hoover Dam). Even the crit is held within the marina, albeit in a parking lot. It should be a pretty cool race as it’ll draw riders from both Arizona, So-Cal, a few pro guys, and the very interesting Alexi Grewal.