Month: May 2007

Arizona Adventure Day3: Fountain Hills

We arrived at around 9pm to the Fountain Hills recreation area and headed towards the infill camping since all the main sites were full. We started to set up our tent in a clearing as the hyenas howled nearby. Then the sweet camp host cruised over in his golf cart and told us that we could pitch our tent on the Ramada for that night and then head the site across from the race track which was significantly cheaper per night, but no fancy bathrooms. We threw down our tent on the freshly groomed Ramada and were stoked that it was a clear night- and not too cold.

We woke early the next morning to the sun rising and looked out on a hot day in the desert. Fountain Hills was the real deal- massive barrel cacti everywhere, no trees, dry sandy soil, clear starry nights, and hot sunny days. I was pretty amazed by the terrain as I’d never really seen the desert before, and pretty intimidated by all of the massive, spiny, cacti.

We checked in at reg and scoped out the pros cruising around in their brand new team kits on shiny bikes. We headed out for our pre-ride fairly early to scope the course. The XC was definitely different than anything I’d raced for. It’s mostly flat and very fast. The course winds and dips through the desert with a series of swervy turns at the beginning. Then you hot the back side of the course where there are some short climbs followed by a rocky descent. The entire course (more or less) is lined with evil, menacing barrel cacti and jumping choya cacti- which break off by the handful onto the trail and will destroy your tubes and your skin. I could tell it was going to be a race like no other.

We also checked out the Time Trial course, which was significantly more interesting than the XC. You do the same twisty, flatish start, but you then make a tun off and head over the drop-off, which doesn’t look very intimidating, but I never conjured up the guts to do it. You then climb a rocky technical climb, descent some more, and head home up a quick hill. It was pretty taxing so I decided to rename it the TITT (Technical Individual Time Trial).

After all of our pre-rides, we headed into the town of Fountain Hills. The town itself is really creepy. Obviously, the whole area is very fabricated (it is in the middle of the desert), but Fountain Hills took it to the extreme with their 250 foot waterfall in the middle of town. This thing was so massive that you could see it from our campsite 5 miles away! Keep in mind, it’s the middle of the freakin desert! Not to mention the only people we saw the entire time were old white people- I guess it really is a retirement community! And the Safeway- out of control! There was a Jamba Juice, Sushi bar, and a nut bar inside this place. It probably took up 1 square mile! We grabbed some camp food and high tailed it back to the solitude of our new campsite.

Arizona Adventure! Day2: Sedona

Maureen Kunz, Emma Worldpeace, and Tsering Alleyne: the Arizona Crew!

After our very cold day in Flagstaff, we headed off towards Sedona where the weather was supposed to be significantly wamer. The drive from Flag to Sedona was crazy- you drop down this ragged ravine with crazy switchbacks. We stopped at the overlook to take some pictures. While posing and reading the interpretive signs, we over-heard a bratty kid complain “It’s not nearly as cool as the Grand Canyon” to his mom. Whatver kid, it’s still pretty amazing!
We drove into Sedona and it was indeed a lovely day! A little chilly, but less windy, and the sun was even shining a little bit. We ate lunch in the parking lot (yeah PBJ!) and Maureen discovered the wonders of tubeless (by janking my new WTB tires :). We then took off for a beautiful ride! Lots of fun but do-able singletrack and some exciting slick rock sections. We even ran into an entertaining OHV tour guide who was explaining the story behind this crazy sink hole in the middle of nowhere. The tour guide was dressed in a full-on cowboy suit with chaps, a brimmed hat, a pistol, and a western accent. I was so entertained by his get up that I missed the explanation, but I think it had something to do with an earthquake. And then, towards the end of our ride, it started SNOWING again! No photographic evidence, but it was pretty nuts! We cruised back to the parking lot, warmed up, and headed into town for some grub. Sedona is a beautiful, artsy high desert town with sculptures and gorgeous buildings. But it’s a little bit too bourguise and touristy, as evidenced by the delicious, but expensive burritos we ate a local taqueria. $15 for a burrito is a little bit out of control, but we fully exploited the free refills on chips.

Our initial plan was to camp in Sedona that night, but it was snowing and cold, so we drove to Fountain Hills, just outside of Phoenix where the weather report sounded more promising…

Arizona Adventure! Day1: Flagstaff

Spring Break 2007 was sweet! Me (emma), Tsering, and our travel buddy/ fellow racer Maureen all took off from Berkeley crammed into our Subaru to spend a week riding, racing, and exploring in Arizona. The drive was pretty long, but not too bad (save the horrendous gas prices!). We got to smell some delicious and amazing orange tree blossoms heading towards AZ from SoCal– it was heavenly! We had planned on driving straight through to Flagstaff, but ending up crashing out for a couple hours at a truck stop and rolling into Flag early tues morning. Tsering and I had a friend, Linden, who raced with us in the collegiate series who we knew had moved to Flagstaff. We quickly called up the shop she worked at, found she was working that day, and stopped by to surprise her. She was definitely shocked to see us out of no where! It was an incredibly windy, blustery day in Flagstaff, and quite cold as well. We were determined to go on a ride though and Linden hooked us up with a deal on a map and routed out a sweet ride for us. We headed off into the hills and changed in the parking lot while the winds picked it. It was so windy that there were massive clouds of dust swirling the car and getting stuck in my chapstick. Regardless, we took off and the riding was insane! Very technical, with lots of climbs, rocky descents, and elevation gain! We were all low on sleep and un-acclimated to the high elevation, so the ride that was supposed to take us 2 hours, took a LOT longer. We ended up turning around, worried that it would get dark on us, and on our way home, it started SNOWING! Light gusts of powdery snow were rapidly covering the mountain. It was soo beautiful! Being from Ca, seeing snow is a special treat, so we stopped to take some pictures before hurrying to the car. Please note that Tsering was wearing full street clothes for this ride- that’s because we thought AZ was supposed to be sunny, so none of us brought warm cycling gear- silly us!

Our plan was to camp the whole time we were on our spring break road trip, but once we got back into town and the temperature continued to drop and the snow kept on falling, it became clear that we would have to get a hotel that night. We found a sweet deal on a place, cranked the heater on full blast, and slept like babies.

Back from the DEAD!

Hello everyone!
Sorry for the utter lack of blog updates over the past couple of months! Tsering and I have both been soo busy of late- racing every weekend (literally) since Keyseville and studying hard for midterms, which quickly became finals. Racing full time and going to Cal full time is a potentially toxic combo- massive lack of sleep due to late night studying, combined with not enough time to cook healthy complete meals, topped off with all of your free time spent trying to train and race = total exaustion and a sadly outdated blog. Here’s the visual representation:
But now are officially done with another semester of school (yes!) and we will be gradually catching the blog up to date with all of the exciting racing we’ve been doing.
Apologies for the slackerness, we promise we will be more on top of it over summer.
And for the hideous pictures 🙂