Tracking the Baja

For a week or so, my monitor looked like this. The biggest event in trackleaders history rolled out last weekend. There were nearly 300 SPOTs in play, and as many supplemental data loggers. Hundreds of thousands of pageviews. A brand new full screen interface developed and put to the test. Late nights that ended at 3am. New penalty and speed monitoring code implemented and subjected to a trial by fire post-race, ultimately deciding the winner in several big classes. Getting the server ready for a slamming, and hoping good programming would save us.

There were some hiccups along the way, but overall, it was awesome. It’s one of the most challenging events anyone has ever tracked, and I think we nailed it.

proof that I did ride with Scott Taylor while he was here

It was a rough week, though. I appreciate the patience of those around me, who are not used to me being glued to the computer and showing signs of stress, too. We had house guests in the days leading up to it, and I was only able to get out to ride with them once. They had some good adventures around Tucson without me, of course.

solo sunset, much better than a computer screen

I got out to ride almost every day, even if it was only on the local trails and only for an hour at sunset. What a relief, and what a fortune to have beautiful weather and dirt right out the door.

A few rides were longer, like this afternoon when we went for Golden Gate.

Eszter claims she threw a techy tantrum. I knew she was riding well, and is getting the hang of Tucson riding very quickly.

I was just happy to be doing something besides Baja. Outside, in the sun, on trails, with my love, even if she isn’t having the best day. Soon I’d be back in the fray of emails and trying to do the work of multiple people at the same time.

And at long last, the event was over, the penalty software had been tweaked to suit, and awards were held. Matthew finally got some sleep in Mexico.

The afternoon was perfect, so we headed for the Arizona Trail.

Much of it was new-in-daylight to Eszter, and it’s one of my favorite pieces of trail anywhere.

After riding in the Tucson mountains for a week+, the AZT seems downright smooth and easy. It was so nice.

Except for the odd challenging sections. Just below this is a big rock I’ve ridden a few times and goaded others into attempting, too. I couldn’t get myself to do more than put my front wheel on it today though. It just looked all sorts of wrong — like a terrible idea to attempt. Next time.

ran into Aaron T. out there

The only downside to riding out there is you pretty much have to ride out/back.

Very minor downside, especially if you’re lucky enough to be there for the golden hour.

We were in the right place at the right time. Right where we were supposed to be. The evening unfolded sublimely in front of us.

I had the brilliant idea to turn my Leviathan into a singlespeed. I always knew that at some point in my life singlespeeding would make a lot of sense. I think that time may be now.

I have a bike available for the first time, and it sure makes the local riding a lot more challenging, serving as a good equalizer.

We had a brilliantly technical ride on Stonehouse and Cat Mountain, where Ez cleared a bunch of new lines, and I shocked myself at what would ‘go’ on the single. Lots of it took multiple tries and an adjustment of attitude (I am a sit/spin granny gear type of rider, so SS and momentum are the antithesis of my style).

It was big fun. We were both riding huge waves of rock-fueled crack as we pedaled back home and the cloud blanket was highlighted by the sky painters. We changed clothes, hopped on the basket bikes and finished the day off with carne asada at the Ranchito. Livin’.

I’ve been reviving the Behemoth, and with big rain coming on the weekend, we thought it wise to ride something higher. We busted out the knee pads, climbing Prison and the highway, then hit Bugs. What a seriously fun trail. Eszter scared herself pretty good on one set of steep water bars. I floundered on the uphill steps, claiming singlespeed torched legs or some other lame excuse.

One thing is for sure, those trails are silly fun to ride on bikes with lots of suspension. Also for certain, we needed some rest, so the two days of solid rain that have followed are a blessing. We wouldn’t have been able to resist riding otherwise. It’s just too much fun here, and I have a lot of computer time to try to balance out.

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