A little rest for Christmas

big, strong, group

Ready, set, go! Time to wrap up the year and roll into the holidays. It can be a stressful time, but luckily for me, December is a down time in the tracking world. Turns out most of the world is cold and there isn’t much daylight. So there just aren’t that many backcountry endurance events going on. It was a needed break for me, and I’ve been enjoying taking the time to finish odd projects, and to write back to people in more detail. I’m never a fan of the way smaller things that you care about get brushed aside when you get ‘busy’ — prioritize and something has to give. It’s nice to try to balance out some of the busyness with relative, umm, idleness? Sit in the sun, hang out with Eszter, wrench on bikes, take a nap or two — that sort of thing.

And of course, lots of bike rides. We’ve had a good number of house guests, all with their unique perspective on how to life the good (bike) life. It’s been fun to gain insight from them all, and ride a little too.

We got to take four of them out on our from-the-house tour of the Tucson Mountains. For a group so large and a loop so big, things went ever so smoothly.

ez knocks out a steepie!

The loop never gets old, and seems to almost rejuvenate more than exhaust. Except maybe the gasline, which Kurt insisted we continue on, even though he was pushing a singlespeed.

It was a classic westside Tucson day:

Wake up, eat breakfast, mill about on computers while the sun warms the desert, chill and chat, ride from noon to sunset, hop on commuters, pedal to the local taco joint to fill the void in the stomach.

Doing it right.

Big Tucson Mountains loops may be rejuvenating for the mind and soul, but they actually do have a cost in the legs, especially if you’re tired going in. We were fixated on riding Lemmon trails while the weather was holding. I faltered on one ride, and would have cashed out for a couple days of rest if not for the impending Christmas trip. I’ll rest then…

go Krista!

Or even better, a shuttle ride! Those are easy, right?

I finally got to ride with my old training buddy Krista again, and she has completely morphed into a big bike shredding machine. I struggled to keep up both in energy and in skill set. It was awesome to see how far she has come in such a short time.

It’s even more awesome to see Eszter gaining all sorts of confidence on rocks and riding new and gnarly sections left and right. A big fork is helping, but skills and confidence are the biggies.

Do you know where the milagrosa unicorns live?


Coasting and braking hard into a sublime milagrosa sunset. Oh yeah.

It may be mostly downhill, but I was worked by the bottom, and starting to look forward to Christmas break. It was the only way we were going to take anything resembling rest. Have to remove the addict from the temptation.

There’s always energy to ride rocks, right?

The upper 50 has a very high bang/buck ratio. You don’t pedal much, and get to ride all sorts of fun terrain. Reilly and Kimberly were camping out there anyway, so we figured we’d join them.

go Ez!

Reilly followed me down all the steep “B” lines, much to my surprise and delight. I don’t think they’ve been ridden too many times on a bike with 1″ of rear elastomer travel.

Even more awesome was Eszter rolling a few of them, and seeing the look on her face as she rolled safely out of them. Can you say adrenaline rush and great relief? That was so inspiring to see.

We went for one last ride, from the house, to close out pre-Christmas riding. I could barely keep my eyes open and steer straight. OK, I yield. Let’s go to Colorado. Because there’s no riding in Colorado, right?

Oh yeah, we have fatties that are begging to be ridden. We tried to keep things reasonable on an out-and-back Sourdough ride. I’d like to think we showed some self-restraint, but to be honest, trail conditions deteriorated the further we got from the trailhead, so it was an easy call to turn around.

A whole day without riding or driving, spent hanging out with Eszter’s hilarious and sweet family, and we were already jonzing for a real ride.

Eszter had an idea, and I could tell it was going to be a good one.

Good, in the sense of having a nice adventure, and going somewhere few people do. We may have pushed bikes in varying levels of deep snow for more than hour, but what fun would it have been if there had been packed trail the entire time? The unknown ahead, the hope that things would improve, the concern that we’d make it out before dark — those things drew us in.

I wonder if the wind ever blows up here?

And we completed a loop that really only makes sense on a fatbike. We climbed up high, saw big views above treeline. Stayed comfy warm, rode smooth snowy trail. Ate peanut butter cups. It was glorious.

There’s something to riding on snow. There’s no question that dirt and rock are better, given the choice — but when you’re in Boulder for the holidays, snow rides sure are fun.

And just like that, we were back in the blazing desert sun, riding in short sleeves and on hard packed trail. OK, there might have been an entire day spent driving, but that went quickly. Now to try to resist riding just enough that we don’t wreck ourselves this winter. Why does it have to be so fun?

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