April 13 – Day Goal – Get off the Mountain
Steve and I hit the trail and it happened to be the wrong one.
Oracle Ridge would be a pain in the tail at night. Since we were rested up it was not near as bad as I thought it would be. Here is some raw video from the ridge. Passage 12: Oracle Ridge
Oracle Ridge on a Mountain Bike
There were several downed trees on the ridge trail. About an hour in I was tired of them and thought if you remove one then that is one less hurdle for someone to cross when they are on this difficult passage. I put down the bike and with all my force chunked a tree truck down the mountain. I think it sort of shocked Steve.
When you are on the Oracle Ridge section of the Arizona Trail you have to have tough clothing or tough skin. Some parts are wide open in all directions and others are narrow bushes and stunted trees that you have to force your way through. It felt like the plants were out to get you.
By noon we hit the Magic Gate. It wasn’t long and Steve needed to leave a deposit off the trail.
We continued our descent off of Mt Lemmon
The single track opened up to double track with a lot of down in it. I was riding fast and didn’t know I left the ground till I was back on it and my suspension compressed. Yep, with plenty of extra pounds on bike, I caught air coming off the mountain. I gave a big “woo” in celebration. When asked by Steve if I should go back and get it on film I quickly answered “No, I wasn’t trying to fly and wouldn’t be so lucky on the next attempt”
Brakes, please! The down was shaky and shady so I stayed on my brakes to keep me from becoming ground beef. Hard breaking turned into break squeak to all our break scream. I had to pit and pull my tools out to put in my spare pads. Where are my tools you ask? They are in by LONE PEAK saddle bag. They are the first thing I put in the bag before packing it with everything else. You can see the gray back in the photo below.
Somewhere along the trail, we found people working on the Arizona Trail Passage 13 and we’re very thankful and let them know how much we appreciated the work they put in on the trail.
4:30 High Jinks Ranch Stop
An afternoon ride. are next to the main destination would be the watering hole at the high Jinks Ranch. Ever since reading about this ranch I was really looking forward to seeing it and making it a little water stop oasis.
After arriving at the High Jinks Ranch I heard Steve talking about ditching the race. I really did not like this idea. You understand people are on the trail and pushing their bodily limits but you really want to see your fellow riders make it across the finish line. Sure you’re in competition and you want to be first place and you want to be the fastest and you want to be the most badass guy around but you also want the other people who are on the race to accomplish their goals as well.
The folks at the ranch were nice to offer hot water, coffee and a room to stay, or a place to tent. We probably hung out there for about 30 minutes cooking up a coffee and a warm camp meal. We used their facilities and then placed a small donation in the donation box and headed back out on the trail.
Steve boosted his energy level and got back on the bike. The American Flag Trail was nice to us. We seemed to make a good time as the sun was coming down.
It was 100% night as we approached 77. We heard my mom cheering for us as we came down the hill and under the highway.
At the trail’s intersection with Highway 77 I had a decision to make. The choice was to ride to picket-post with what I had on my bike or ride into Oracle for a Circle-K resupply. I chose to punch on and pass on getting food and batteries. Steve did the same.
Finding a campsite when sleep deprived is a pain. Sure you have been on a bike for 15 hours, but the term tired is relative when you are on the Arizona Trail.
We left Tiger Mine Trailhead and said goodbye to my mom who was there to cheer us on. Steve was about ready to quit and I kept prodding him on and on sometime around 9 we stopped for a hot meal and some coffee in hopes that we would ride all night.
By 11 Steve was looking to crash anywhere and I mean anywhere. Everything was looking really good to him. So we went ahead and found a spot right off of the trail. It seems that my camping spot was really close to a new cactus friend of mine. I backed into it and found a piece the size of a fist mounted on the back of my calf muscle. Steve yelled at me not to move anywhere and he came with his Leatherman tool and began to rip the spines out of my leg.
11:30 North Tiger Mine Campsite