Some meddling kids and their dog worked all summer on a connecting segment that ties together Westworld TH and Gateway in the Lower McDs. Its built onto an unmaintained-yet-marked system trail and some social trails that had fallen into disrepair. We’ve been using it for a dog-walk route for years; and now its flat(ish), beginner(minus the rocks) trail my kids can grow on.
It wiggles and squirms, dodging the nearest creosote or boulder. It dashes through stupid, stoopid lines trying to go up going up, pouncing on 5 yards of hardpack and a short shot onto high ground before recycling the tinyEffort and shooting down again into rocky washes. We followed Dia with a chalk line.
G has ridden it uphill a few times, not without whining through the ugliest parts. I’m doing my best. Its DirtbagDad’s rock to push uphill, or maybe my bright shiny object to stay sane. But I’ve got company.
oh hey, so, as you know, i’m a herdy dog. Would you mind keeping that mcleod away from me as I stay glued to you? Is this bothering you, cause I’m sensing some frustration? that’s an awesome handsaw – cut cut cut! Let’s build something together!
When we don’t ride Dingo, or the golf course, we ride to Tequila Tree. Dia digs it now, loving the long mild climb and the rushing downhill, so many runs removed from her PTSD first-ride-back in March. She has it paced, goes off the front to slow me down, cheers for me to fail since the few dabs lead to water breaks. We sit at the tree and hear rattlesnakes gushing out like a puncture in a tire; after a minute dreading a flat we realize the bike is unhearable 100yds away, and as the sheering sound slows to a tick-tick-tick it raises new concerns. We defilade a little downhill, keep drinking. The towers at Somo are cloudy but the silhouettes of Camelback all the way to the White Tanks are clear. The Sprawl corners at the junction of Paradise & Levee trails, where the ambient grey glow from the city just…*pow*…stops. Sometimes we wedge against the edge of a storm for an entire ride.
pic courtesy of Kathleen Kingma
I needed a new weapon in the war for trail supremacy.
A nasty grabby palo verde got its comeuppance, lines were cleaned, and G rode Dingo a little better the next time.
We’ve been riding trail 2x/week, sometimes with a great team of kids and adults. Lots of good folks heading out for a Friday night Phoenix Mountain Preserve ride.
G was overcome with upgradeits, and I can’t blame her when some of those kids were riding $4,000 Pivots. We bought her a pair of PI X-Alps and set her up her up on clipless pedals. I installed the cleats but she set the tension, took the flat pedals off and put the new spds on, and made it a few times around the block practicing clipping in and out while wearing every piece of protective gear she owns.
The next night we got some saddle time at Reach 11. G with new spds, ‘lana with a new jersey that magnificently allowed her to carry her own water while looking fabulous. Both helped her have some more autonomy and ride a little stronger, I can definitely appreciate that. bout 6 miles in the dark, from the Scottsdale Rd entrance in Reach 11 to the lake near Tatum. G ate shit standing still near the end of the ride, after much complaining about wearing pads and how easy clipless were, and me subsequently guaranteeing her she would eat shit at least once for no good reason and to quit whining about her pads. hehehehe, safe crashes and proof of my omniscience always put a smile on my face.
G agreed to ride her first race in early October, so we pre-rode the course at McDowell Mountain Preserve with the kids’ team. Alana had so much fun she did some singletrack on her own.
TinyShredder and 11 miles of dirt-roadieing across Reach 11. Its like a ThNR! We came on a pack of javelinas, a flock of geese, an owl, and a rattlesnake stretched across the trail. G got the hook for night riding now.