I just signed up to race the Arizona Trail 800. In exactly one month I will attempt to ride from the Mexican border all the way north to the Utah border. 836 miles of Arizona trails and roads, so much desert, so many mountains, millions of rocks and cactus. I am super excited, this has been on my bucket list for at least 11 years and it feels really good to be on track to make it happen. I am also equally terrified, this ride is huge, very hard, very hot, and includes taking apart my bike and carrying down and out of the Grand Canyon, then putting it back together and riding it the rest of the way!
On top of this being one of the hardest rides of my life, I am not in the best shape, there are so many things that have priority over training, riding, hiking, etc. So this is going to be very hard, especially since I am still a bike racer in my mind at least so I want to do it as fast as I can. It is going to hurt! It is going to be glorious!
While I have been trying to get prepared all summer, I suddenly have a lot to do in the next month. Rebuilding everything on my bike so it has a chance of smashing all them rocks and still roll the whole way. Finalizing the gear will take me from 95 degrees to sub-freezing somewhat comfortably, plus getting my system for carrying my bike and all that gear 21 miles down and up out of the Big Ditch. There is always the dilemma of how to keep the lights burning for all the night riding, how much water to carry, where can I get food, and how long is this actually going to take me? Plus how to make sure my family is all good while I am gone for almost 2 weeks is a big part of my planning as well. So Much To Do!
All the unknowns are exciting too. Most of my recent ultra’s have been the CTR and the Gunny Loopy Loop, both are so familiar and local that it is pretty easy getting dialed. While the first 300 miles of the AZT800, are somewhat known, the rest is 100% new, that feels fun and fresh. Plus I know a whole crew of fantastic folks that are planning on being at the Group Start, October 20th, it is going to be a party at the start! In fact I am still not sure how I am getting from Gunny to the Border for the start, yikes! Let’s all hope the next month is productive.