Thanks and inspiration
When I moved to Arizona five years ago, I immediately began exploring the mountains and trails. Besides falling in love with the deserts and sky islands, I had a recurring observation: every time I found a marker for the Arizona Trail the riding was always good. I can't say I have ever ridden a 'bad' stretch of the AZT. Eventually I found out what the Arizona Trail was all about and the obsession began. Besides trying to seek out new sections of AZT, I became involved in the construction and maintenece of the trail. It was only a matter of time before I set out to ride the entire trail.
Below are some of the people who have helped us with information, or inspired us in some way. Many of these are true pioneers with a passion for the Arizona Trail. So many things and so many people had to come together to get this trail to happen. That makes the experience of enjoying the trail even more special. Each bench cut, each switchback was the hard work of planners, gov't officials, crew leaders and everyday volunteer trail builders. If a trail can have good kharma, the AZT is number one.
AZT bike riders
Tim McCabe - Tim has been an invaluable resource to us. He set out in March 2004 to ride the AZT. Like us, he attempted to ride as much of the open trail as possible. Various mechanical and logistical problems led to him missing some sections, but Tim made it to the Utah Border (riding around the Grand Canyon!) in one piece. His experiences and vast knowledge of trail conditions, water sources, and suitability for mountain biking has been incredible. Tim's always excited to talk about the AZT for hours on end.
Andrea Lankford / Beth Overton - the first thru-riders of the AZT, true pioneers. When no one thought they could ride the whole thing they did just that. Andrea's book, Biking the Arizona Trail was a great help in planning our trip, though the route she describes is much easier and misses many sections that are open to bikes. It should be noted that though Andrea's route is much easier than the actual trail, when she and Beth first rode the trail they tried to stick with the trail as best they could.
Dave Hicks - The author of the best and most complete guide to the AZT at the time: Dave's Arizona Trail eBook Dave pays meticulous attention to detail and has helped guide dozens of thru-hikers through the many difficult to follow, unsigned or non-existant stretches of the AZT. Dave is also active in planning and constructing new sections of the AZT. His passion for the trail is very evident. He later became the executive director of the ATA.
Dale Shewalter - Originator of the Arizona Trail. His bushwack across the state led to the dream and now the reality. What an awesome vision he has.
Steve Anderson - Pima County recreation planner who has done incredible work in protecting and creating new trail access county wide. Steve has so many projects going on that no one can keep track of it all. He has been the main impetus in the Cienega Corridor construction project that I've had the pleasure of being a part of. Steve rocks.
Mark Flint - Mark is an ace trail advocate and mountain biker. He has done an incredible amount of work in Southern Arizona. New trails, existing access, trail construction, parks planning, you name it, Mark has had a large part. He rides his bike year round and loves to get out. He has taught me everything I know about trail design.
Chris Everist and Jon Shouse - Both have assumed heroic roles in the AZ trail Cienega Corridor project. Their enthusiasim for the construction of the AZT is something to behold. Because of their strong work we have miles of new singletrack to ride on in 2005.
Larry Snead - Executive director of the Arizona Trail Association. Larry works tirelessly to plan, construct and promote the trail.
Lastly, we thank all the thousands of volunteers and public employees responsible for the construction of hundreds of miles of AZT singletrack.
Mike Curiak - Mike holds so many long distance wilderness cycling records that it is hard to keep track. His ultralight style of "bikepacking" opened new doors to us. Dilligence and determination are two other words that come to mind. Self-sufficient is another.
Wayne Gorry - moutain biker from Payson, AZ who gave us excellent info on road/trail conditions in his neck of the woods.
People who helped us during the trip
Randy Williams - ride to Montezuma Pass (the start), Superstitions aerial support
Lisa Sharp - night and meals at the little outfit
Steve Anderson - night in Tucson.
Jon Shouse and Mark Flint - bike mechanic support in Tucson
Bryan Barr and Anne Taylor - night and meals in Oracle, plus riding with us.
Alice at Portal Motel - hospitality in Superior.
Shane Peltonen - delivering tubes/tire and climbing El Oso with a fractured hip
Wayne and Gail Gorry - meals and two nights in Payson. Not to mention an excellent route into and out of Payson, back to the AZT.
Troy Marino - meals and night in Flagstaff. Troy will be riding the AZT in Fall '06.
Lyman and Karen - picking us up from the stateline, all the way from Tubac!
Joan Vandenbos and Paula Morrison - the spouses, for all the support.
No matter how self sufficient you try to be, it's always nice to run into friendly and helpful folks when out on the trail. Meeting kind people is one of the cool things about bike touring.
(Contents of Scott's mp3 player during the ride)
Scott can be reached at email@example.com.