9 May 2011 - 6:45Red Lung
That’s what you get when when you are riding in the jet wash of professional mountain bikers in Sedona.
We rallied up with the Topeak – Ergon crew for a photoshoot in the morning. I had a little bit of trouble selecting the right bike. I found out that the Stan’s Crest rims are extremely unsuitable for fat dudes like me. The A9C I had pulled out of Fuzzy’s van to play with was built up nice and light, but for a skinny guy. Fortunately the shoot was not too far from the trailhead, and I went back in search of a better choice.
After a comedy of errors that that seemed to take at least 30 minutes, I managed to find a large Jet9 with suitable rims, although they were equipped with highly unsuitable tires, and I made my way back up the trail to meet the crew. I guess that’s shame on me, seeing as I only had like 3 days to get a bike set up for myself… oh well. The shoot was wrapping up by the time I rejoined everyone, and it was time to head back to the hotel and get some lunch.
I decided I should ride back, it wasn’t that far, Dejay joined me, and along the way, we thought it might be a good idea to ride some singletrack back. It seemed like a good idea, and really it wasn’t all that bad, except for the bushwhacking. The bushes in the southwest don’t take well to being whacked, and fought back fiercely. I got some nice deep gouges in my legs for souvenirs. Eventually we were able to get on some trail that was headed in the right direction, and we made it back just in time to join the rest of the gang for lunch.
After naps/work/lounging, we gathered together for a big group ride around 4pm. It was still pretty hot out there, somewhere in the mid 80s. The terrain was absolutely fantastic, but I was having a hard time keeping up a good pace. I’d love to blame the altitude, but lets face it, I’m out of shape, and these folks are pros. Pros that all raced super hard the previous weekend, and were still kicking my ass.
I did manage to remember by helmet cam for this trip, and I even remembered to charge it this time. I got a lot of footage, about 30 minutes worth. The light was difficult to work with, we were either pointed at the sun, of in the shadow of the towering rock. About 30% of what I shot was way too dark to see anything. Then came the challenge of whittling the footage down to an amount that wouldn’t bore someone to death. All the remaining film that came out good, minus the standing around, fumbles and crashes, was still about 15 minutes long. Still way too long. So I grabbed some highlights and pared it down even further.
Like I said before, the riding there is absolutely fantastic. It has to be one of my favorite places to ride. The scenery, the terrain, the color of the dirt, it all adds up to a pretty amazing experience. I hope it isn’t another 10 years before I return.
We made a big loop around Cathedral Rock, which featured a long road section to get back to the hotel. My legs did not have it, and I played the part of tail light. I’m pretty sure Sonya and Namrita felt bad for me, and hung back with me as I tried my best to get any speed I could on the downhills. I was working as hard as I could to keep up, but at this point I think I might have been very close to bonking. I didn’t have any food with me, the cramps had come for a couple of quick visits until I eventually forced them away by draining my Camelbak. Eventually we got to the hotel, and it was time to get cleaned up and head out for dinner.
We had liquid appetizers at Oak Creek Brewery, followed by dinner at a nearby italian joint. The food was really quite good, and I ended up sitting next to Jeffrey, the US sales manager for Ergon. We had some pretty cool and interesting conversation, including ones that started out like “so who are you and why are you here again?”. It was all in good fun, and it came out that Ergon founder Frank actually like my video the best, only because I had the Ergon wall in my store, and because Seamus the dog followed me on my tour-du-store. Ha HA! See? I should have been there anyway!
We had a great night, and an interesting ride back to the hotel in Dejay’s molester van. Instead of going around the many traffic circles that stood between the restaurant and our hotel, he decided to go over them. This is called “round-a-bouting”, and Dejay is one round-a-bouting son-of-a-bitch.
Dejay and I left the next morning to get back to Tucson, as I would be leaving early the following day. A little decompression and some late night 4th St fun capped off a really great week. I have so many people to thank for helping me make this happen, including Dejay, Fuzzy, everyone involved with the Team Topeak-Ergon Base Camp for allowing me to play along. It was really good to see Eddie and Namrita again, and actually meet Jeff and Sonya face to face. Hanging out trailside with Dave Wiens was pretty awesome too. Oh, and I have to thank Dicky for being a good sport too. The little Facebook game of tagging him in every photo that was posted got a little out of hand once everyone started doing it.
Some might think it a goof off move for me to go away for a week with the impending bike season at home, but all I missed was the rain. I had the shop in good hands (thanks to Aaron), emails were answered on the road (thanks to the internets), and no animals were harmed (thanks to Dejay not driving any long distances at night). I’d do it again in a heartbeat.