Tag: Mountain Bike

Arizona Trail – Day 8 on a Mountain Bike

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April 15 – Finish

12:00 am Tortilla Mountain 3249 Feet above sea-level climbing switchbacks.

2:15 flat out near Kelvin Florence Highway Trailhead – Not like I was pushing it flat out, but my back tire had a flat bad enough to break out a tube. A sidewall gash is a perfect reason to stop drop and sleep. But before sleep, I needed to do some work. After a new tube was dropped into the rear tire it was time to cook.

Oats, apple, cinnamon, quinoa was on the menu. This was the last camp meal I had with me. I heated up my water, mixed it in the bag and placed it between my ribcage and my right elbow. The alarm clock was set for 2 sleep cycles. I fluffed my hydration pack, placed my head on it as the warmth of camp meal bag added comfort as I nodded off.

3:30 am ate a few bites of my camp meal and then was on the bike Rolling to the trailhead. I had a hope of something magical being in the lock boxes at the trailhead. It was full of empty bottles of water, empty bags of chips, empty this empty that. It wasn’t that I needed anything at that point in time. I knew from now until the end of the race there was one faucet and one dirty river water opportunity and no food. I closed the boxes and moved out. Next destination, water at the public works fence faucet.

The morning was crisp and chilly. I looked for a way to cherish it the best way I could. You want to cuss the cold while being thankful it is not blazing hot like it will be in a few hours. By 7:15 the sun had broken over the mountains and it was time to bask in the sunlight and brew a cup of Coffee. I mad soup out of what was left in my camp meal packet. That was the best Quinoa colored water a boy could ask for.

I inventoried and here is what I had

  • A few baby food packets
  • Some bee pollen,
  • Chia seeds
  • Dark chocolate.
  • I was saving my nun tablets and my beat elite powder for the muddy water of the Gila River.

It looked like I might have a thousand calories for today’s efforts. My food every 15 minutes was not going to happen today. For the math folks out there I’m 6’4 and require a base of 3200 calories a day if I’m sitting at a desk resting. Today is not going to be one of those resting days.

Coffee on the Arizona Trail
The Gila section was a big surprise. I’m not sure why more people are not riding out here. It hugged the side of the hill curving back and forth.

9:30 am – Last waterhole on the Gila – Mud river fill up.
I used the cleanest shirt I had and filtered the water going into my bottles. At a few spots, there were families playing on the other side of the river. It looked like a great spot to play all day. My day was looking up…. up 2,000 feet and then down to picket post.

Gila River - muddy

Gila River

4 pm Passed on Tally Tank – Biggest mistake I made in the race. By this point I was out of food.

With 10 miles to go, I flatted out and had to put a tube in. This left one last tube in my kit.

A few miles down the trail, the replacement tube went out with a bang and left me down in the dirt where my Coast flashlight jumped off my bike and dedicated itself to the AZT.  After 2 tubes I ran out of options and just started to push a flat bike to the end. I was running low on water but thought I could get to the end of the race ok.

The last water on the mountain bike trail

I picked up a 1/2 jug of water from a very suspect pool. The thinking was to have it if I need it. A wee bit longer and I treated it and started to drink it. Even though I was taking small sips, in time the water ran out.

Along the trail, I would pray and thank God for the opportunity I had to be where I was. Three short years before I was flushing chemotherapy out of my system and growing a new head of hair. This year I was hacking at completing the goal of making it to the end of the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race. There were people God had blessed me with that helped me get to that very spot. I gave him thanks daily for them.

He was looking out for me at the end of the race. I had a small nap before jumping into the Gila section. With little rest came slow reactions. I wasn’t sure why I sliced a tire and then proceeded to run out of extra tubes, but when I came walking around a corner to see a rattlesnake across the trail I knew exactly why I needed to be pushing and not riding a bike.

Rattlesnake - AZT

6:56 – Done

Gila River - muddy
Derrick Perrin Completing the AZT 300

DONE

There is no band, no cheerleaders, and no trophy for completing the AZT. In fact, if you get there before the 750 folks get there I would imagine they might heckle you for not riding “A real distance” I wouldn’t blame them. Ahead lies more miles for them than they have just ridden and you are on your way to Waffle House while they keep trucking.

In the end, I did get a trophy.
AZT 300 Trophy
My mother had picked up rocks along the way. She had all members of my family glue them up and now I have a trophy for my efforts.
Thanks Mom!

I owe a huge thank you to my wife, Kendra, for staying back and taking it in the face. Litteral puke in the face. Our 3 little ones were very unhealthy while I was on the trail. She is a rock-star mom and wife. I don’t expect for her to understand why anyone would want to get on a bike and ride off into the wilderness, but she gives me support to do it.
From fighting cancer to raising children, to working a business together there is no one I would rather have at my side. She is amazing day in, day out.

My final thank you goes out to the Ragan Family. They have been there for me and my family for years. Their son James opened doors for me that I never thought I would need to walk through.

2018 follow-up

I just saw my aunt Tish a few days ago. She is still recovering from her illness in Arizona.  Her Texas doctor was truly surprised to see her walk into his clinic. As he put it to her, “By reading your bloodwork I just knew you were going to die in Arizona”
Well my crazy aunt is still with us and we are happy.

AZT Wood Sign

Arizona Trail – Day 7 on a mountain bike

April 13 – Day Goal – Get off the Mountain

Steve and I hit the trail and it happened to be the wrong one.

Oracle Ridge, AZ

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.

Black and white photo AZT - Passage 12: Oracle Ridge
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.

Oracle Ridge MTB

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.

Derrick Perrin resting at High Jinks RanchAfter 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.

Derrick Perrin Cactus in Leg If I was tired when I first set up camp I was definitely not tired now. But I managed to set up camp and bed down it was a decent night sleep.

11:30 North Tiger Mine Campsite


Stay with me on the next day of the AZT

MTB AZT

Arizona Trail – Day 5 on a Mountain Bike

 APRIL 11 – Post 32 hour break

Day Goal – Climb Mt LemmonBikepacking gear

Get up before 4am and have the bike packed and loaded and did my last checks in the McDonald’s parking lot. The morning coffee did its job and when the mickey-ds lights came on I was the first in line to use their facilities.

Derrick Perrin at McDonalds, AZRested and with a bike that was back to 100% I was ready to take on the day.

 

The morning was cold and I really didn’t know what or how the day was a going to turn out. I had a good idea I would be running into rider Steve today.
Redington Road
5:30 am – With a fresh body, I marched through the sand pits at the end of Broadway and onto Rredington Road. A few motorbikes came buy and I wished my mountain bike had a motor. I trucked it up and down this craphole of a road. I found the ride enjoyable as I moved on at a good pace. My friend Robert text me and told me to slow down because it would be a long day. Not an hour went by and I met Steve getting ready to close a gate.

No hug, no handshake, just work. It was as if the past year had not  With little more than a head nod we were on the trail. We started to motor on down the trail. We hit a waterhole around 2pm. At this time I noticed I was missing one of my fork bottles.

We rested longer than expected before we started packing. In an attempt to know some sense into himself, Steve headbutted a tree branch. He was fussing a bit before I broke out my nurse kit, and then he was fussing a lot.


The Woundseal worked like a champ and we were off to find this Canyon named Mediera. As the sun set the blood moon was rising. Nature must have known about it. Right before we made the saddle a pair of deer showed us how easy it was to climb mountains. As we dropped into a national park campground we scared the piss out of some campers who didn’t expect nighttime riders.

The blood moon was absolutely amazing.

Must have been about 9:30 pm when we took a break for dinner. Hot camp meal for me, power mix pemican non-food for Steve. We had some coffee and were off to find pavement. This would be the pavement (Catalina Highway) to the top of the mountain.  It kept getting cooler it got later and we were ascending Mt. Lemmon. We had a cabin waiting for us in Summer Haven and were determined to get there.