Thursday, February 22, 2007

Arizona 07 The Final Conflict





I do have to mention our state of the art fire pit, it was made from the inside of an old washing machine, just the metal basket set on the ground, plenty of holes for oxygen and the fire was kept in a contained area which also generated a surprising amount of heat without building a huge wood eating fire, (wood is not plentiful in the desert). It’s a great idea, just don’t let your wife catch you taking apart your washing machine, sometimes the women folk are not understanding about great ideas…Where was I? Aha day four, we split up into two smaller groups and the group I was with headed up to some of the enduro trails from the previous Saturdays race. The trail was well marked we rode about 38 miles then back to camp for sandwich’s and back out for a nice long afternoon loop of single track in a smaller group, I had forgotten I was bone tired and sore, what a nice ride. We made it back to say goodbye to three more of our group, which brought our team down to nine riders.
A bit about the fauna. The tall cactus saguaro Carnegiea gigantea can reach 50 feet in height, it is the cactus the reminds you of the cowboy movies, towering ancient giants, at about 80 years old they begin to grow arms, they make for a impressive landscape and one does not want to wander off trail and duel with one of these giants, you are not David but these are Goliath’s. Another more menacing cactus is the Cholla, it is pronounced "choya" it is also know as the jumping Cholla. The jumping Cholla spines will penetrate the toughest hide at the least touch. My boots, bark busters, chest protector, kneepads, all of my equipment has been host to the jumping Cholla. The cactus is not large maybe two to three feet tall, but it is like a bushy bundle of balls of fish hook spines, waiting for man or beast to brush against it so as to spread its seed. Last year Frank fell into a bush crotch first, his middle area was covered with the little needle balls, we all feared from seeing him that they had penetrated his pants and found purchase in his daddy parts, he was lucky they only covered his thighs and hips. He pulled off his pants to reach the spines with his needle nose pliers and then finally just hopped on his bike sans pants and found Highway 74 to bee line for camp, a police officer was by the side of the road and Frank pulled up to him and yelled Cholla, the police officer shook his head and waved him on, he understood why there was a man in his underwear riding a non-licensed motorcycle down a well traveled public highway, Cholla.
Our last day of riding we headed out for a short easy ride (Plane to catch that evening) to the Wildhorse Saloon for Burgers and chips, this time all most of it single track at a great pace other than my flat, then Adams flat, then Franks Flat and finally on the ride home John had a flat. We were out of tubes (Short ride and all) so with some bike juggling we were able to get myself and company back to camp just in time to clean up and head into Phoenix for our flight, leaving the group of four to pick up the pieces and camp, thanks guys…
I suppose I could ramble on for hours about all the little things that happened and tell you about more about the meals, cobbler recipes and such, (a dietician’s nightmare) this was vacation and we were riding off our sins! The fact is we meet every year, this year I believe 15 riders showed their helmets and we came from all over the states. Indiana, Ohio, Colorado, California, Utah, Idaho and of course Arizona…Maybe some other states in the union but I dismiss the states I cannot spell. Seven flats and five days ago our group gathered and dispersed. Men from ages twenty-four to fifty seven. We all laughed, we all rode, some slow, some fast, some with grace, some like spodes but we all shared the same passion and by some miracle we all came home aliv

10 Comments:

At 8:55 PM , Blogger ing said...

"Spodes"?

I have encountered the jumping cholla myself, and ouch! I'll have to try out that washing machine trick. I used to have a barbecue that was just a hole in the ground lined with bricks, and an oven grate for the grill. It was never blazing hot, but it was hot enough, yes sir.

 
At 3:54 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

ing: Spode is in the OED but not defined as it should be, the OED is wrong. Spode is a rider that is slow an amatuer, me.My garage is under my house and I have a brick lined hole at the bottom of the drive to catch all the water, it alread has a cast iron grill on top, so now you gave me the idea for a multi purpose car hole, hole!

 
At 8:10 AM , Blogger Barnes said...

Another fine tale, Josh. I could smell the gas and feel the heat of the desert in this one.

Your poor friend Frank. I hope he was able to remove all the spines without too much angst.

 
At 12:47 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

barnes: thanks, it was all based on fact.The cholla has fishook like spines, I pulled four out of my thigh Frank had hundreds,I cried like a little puppy, he did not, hes made of tougher stuff than I is, uhuh.

 
At 8:19 AM , Blogger Toby said...

Wonderful account. You made me feel like I was there, especially at the end with all the flats. When I was a teenager I raced BMX and flats occured more than not.

I love the washing machine bit too. Now I'm sad I gave my old one to the guy who brought my new one.

 
At 7:21 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

toby: The washing machine innards was a great idea and if used properly will save lives..

 
At 4:05 PM , Blogger ~d said...

once when I went off road 4 wheeling or something fancy sounding like that I had a wondermous time.
♥♥♥
~d

 
At 3:42 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

`d: Wondermous is a many splintered thing...

 
At 8:12 PM , Blogger Me said...

This was one of those posts that made me crazy with envy. I could smell the dust and sweat in the air (not to mention the heady sense of testosterone!). The pictures were fantastic.

 
At 4:12 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

me: Thanks, for dropping in and for the kind words.

 

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