Single Speed Arizona - A Ride with Friends
We left in a snow storm. Knowing what was coming we had to face it down. Or at least Todd had to face it down as he piloted his sweet Mother's super hot Subaru down I-25, headlong into the blizzard. Pauly and I tried to keep morale high as we nodded in and out of sleep. Finally we punched through Snowmaggedon south of Pueblo and safely across the border. Through the night we drove, in search of the desert sun. 13 (or something like that) hours later we rolled into beautiful Tucson. Never having been to Tucson I took in the cinder block houses with dirty front yards, abundant Mexican restaurants, and, come to find out, ripping single track. First stop was Dejay's house. Dejay was the host of the event, as he has been for the past 7 years. Something of an icon in this single speed community, Dejay welcomed us with open arms and stocked coolers. As we mingled and caught up folks started to show up at the house from all over the country. Hugs and high fives were exchanged as many hadn't seen each other since the last dirt bag event.
It's important to note that dirt bag is a relative term. There are IT dirt bags, doctor dirt bags, professional ski instructor dirt bags, school teacher dirt bags, server dirt bags, architect dirt bags and, of course, dirt bag dirt bags. Never though did we discuss medical procedures, curriculums, IP addresses, or soffits, etc., but mostly conversations about and for the love of the bike. The simplest of bicycles, the single speed.
A big ride in the desert was planned for the next day but talk about bikes usually leads to riding them, so our small group loaded up for a dusk ride on Starr Pass. We watched the desert sun set (which is like no other). After the ride a meet up at The Irish Pub for packet pick up and some karaoke produced fireballs and an intoxicated skinny kid, apparently a contendor, from Phoenix.
Rise and shine to an overcast chilly race day. A Uhaul was loaded with bicycles and racers were shoehorned into a bus. The start line was a drive away up Mount Lemon. Come to find out the start line was a pull off on the way up the mountain pass. Unexpected. Dejay took his podium and proceeded to punish those who chose their beds over the pub the previous evening with mandatory push ups. Then after some words of encouragement and inspiration Dejay, somewhat unceremoniously, started the race. We all threw on our front wheels and climbed up the road to begin, what I think was, our 45 mile journey for the day. A few miles up the road we pulled onto some single track that quickly changed into a bunch of hike a bike. The trail, Bug, then had us heading down hill in a hurry. That's when the smiles turned up and really didn't leave faces, if maybe from exhaustion, until the finish line. I heart La Milagrosa, I'll never forget you. Until we meet again.
Saguaro forests are amazing. I'd never ridden terrain like this before. Here at home you can lose your line and fall off trail with little to no consequence. Not so much in Tucson. Off trail aims to hurt you. At certain points in the race, mostly foggy and depleted in the middle section, I felt like I was in opposition to that which was off trail. Cactus were aiming to hurt me and I did everything I could to not let that happen. Bless Todd and Pauly's hearts for putting the fear in me with their commitment to race jeans (coming soon - Moonmen Action Jeans®).
I fell into the finish line, which doubled as our campsite, 4 hours and 17 minutes later. Stacks of pizzas and cold beer were ready at the site and they tasted the very best. Kurt Refsnider won the whole thing in something ridiculous like 2.5 hours. And I'm pretty sure his partner Kaitlyn was the first lady across the line. But I'm not really sure about either of the above facts so don't tell me otherwise, this is my story. Partying commenced as folks trailed in well after dark. DFL goes to Back of the Pack Racing's, Jolly. I don't recall going to sleep that night but it was a celebration to end all.
After breaking camp the next day we all headed back over to Dejay's for some bike polo. Robin, your enthusiasm for bike polo blows me away, especially after crushing the course like you did. Super Bowl parties were planned and our crew is somewhat apathetic about such things so we hugged it up and split for the snowy North. We pulled away from Tucson in a blissful state.
Foremost I want to thank Dejay. This event was his baby and he a proud, supportive father. We are stoked to have you in the Fort, Dejay. Randy, thank you for hosting all of us at your home, the locale couldn't have been any more ideal. Thanks, Sam, your energy is rad and your tolerance for whiskey is admirable. Sugar, the captain, it was great to ride with you and check out your wearable art. Wasatch Wookie forever.
Donna, thanks for getting us home safely on Friday night. Hunter, you're faded. Dax, you destroyed despite getting lost. Shanna, you're rad and I'm stoked to have met you. Sean, you're a boy scout and a true creative. Thad, you're filthy and from Kansas City (what a stereotype). Jake, you own the coolest bong in the land and your hair is spectacular. Nate, you are the dirtiest of dirt bags, nice to have met you. Bus Driver, thank you for getting us safely home Saturday night and for your reckless abandon. Kaolin, thanks for facilitating the comfort, I'm looking forward to what you do next year. Finally, thanks Todd and Pauly for being. And then there's the rest of you, way to go.