A year is a long time to be working towards a goal - espcially when there’s so many individual milestones to be met along the way. In 2018, ...

Feb 20, 2020

In Search of Sunshine

Maybe the timing wasn’t the best for a week long trip. But it was past time for some sunshine, dry trails and actually getting to ride my bike! So we turned the van southward to Arizona. Come what may, it was vacation time!

First we had to get out of Colorado... Something we haven’t had to deal with since the Turtle! But when we pulled back onto the interstate just north of Walsenburg, there was a pause. Nick, staring at the dash, saying “I’m not getting any charge!” I had no clue what he was talking about, but when he told me to google part stores in Walsenburg, I knew it was serious. The O’Rielly Auto Part parking lot wasn’t our first choice for camping that night, but it worked. And after we had the new alternator installed, we were motoring again! Just a little behind schedule. Although, since we were on vacation we really didn’t have a schedule. We just wanted to get to Arizona! 

After brief stop to stretch our legs and make some turns at Angle Fire (warm, windy and slushy. I’ve never gotten muddy walking to my car at a ski area before!) we continued south. There would be one more truck stop overnight before arriving at our destination, but finally....

Just one place where I'll find this!
Sunshine. Dry trails. The ability to ride my bike outside! Our first ride was at Fantasy Island - our arrival in Tucson go-to ride. While I haven’t been riding outside much (twice in January!!) I’ve been racking up the miles going nowhere fast. But that’s been on the trainer, in the basement. There’s no body English, no positioning on the bike required inside - just pedaling. I’d noticed on my last ride outside that I felt “off” on the bike. I wasn’t comfortable getting low, pedaling with my weight off the saddle, but over the rear tire and I wasn’t fluid with postural changes. Something to do with the trainer rides and not having the core stability I’m used to... I knew that was going to be an issue so I was really happy our first ride was Fantasy Island. I was even happier when Nick suggested doing the Bunny Trail! Bunny is classic flat Arizona riding - sharp turns and dodging cacti the whole way. Lots of pedaling, but not a lot of hard tech on that loop. Perfect for an intro to outside riding again. 

Home for the night

Of course, with the one-way direction of the trails, that also meant that we hit the more technical sections of Lone Cactus and some of the other northern trails when I was getting tired. Pretty pathetic that riding outside for just over an hour was making me tired! I was fine just riding, but anything that required body mechanics was starting to get challenging. My core was tired, the ribs getting achy. And it's nearly three months post crash! Just shows that while you can gain or maintain fitness on the trainer, there's a lot more to mountain biking then just being able to pedal...

New trails and feeling good running. 

With no plans, we hadn't really thought about where to camp for the night. Luckily, there's some really cool hidden gems for camp grounds in the Tuscon area! Not gonna say which one we picked, cause then it wouldn't be a hidden gem - but it was perfect. Primitive camping, but with bathrooms at each end of the line, water available and trails running right through the site. I was able to run a bit after we got settled and Nick got in a second ride. Then it was time to watch the sunset and ponder what the goals were for the rest of the week.

Sunset over the mountains

Sunrise! Took a while for the sun to warm up our little canyon

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