Number one out the gates is the end of Lou Reed. Number two out of the gate will be the Brown’s ranch Sub24. First, let’s recall Lou for a moment. The news came across the waves today. It was a big deal, but I’m only a part of the age range so I missed the moments that truly made Lou, Lou. I certainly know of the Velvet Underground and all that, and of course, it’s recorded like any run on sentence, so I can go back and listen up here in a bit, but it just wont be the same. Still, in essence, Lou Reed has been a part of the background music of life for millions including me. But this was mostly about the Walk on the Wild Side issue. It didn’t delve into his folk roots. That just wasn’t top 40 fodder. Regardless, when news arrived through the tubes, the amount of shivers I sensed oscillated for a moment. I stood there for a moment reminding myself that “oh yea, we’re all in for it too.” I shook the stunned sensation off with the logic of his situation: 72 years old, owner of a used kidney to replace his own, and got back to the Campy Centaur bearing problem I’d been focusing on. As I thought about him, I realized that Lou didn’t so much have a hard life to account for, but rather, he lived on his own terms which is awesome. He also pedaled a bicycle during those later years which is quietly profound. So Here’s to Lou Reed. Damn.
So reflecting on Lou we have the undeniable fact that he lived his life by his own accord. That is an awesome and all too often forgotten purpose for all of us. This inspiration to get off the duff and set sail as it pertains what I do, which is to wander on a bike. Last weekends effort is being defined as a Sub24 – a short overnighter lasting less than 24 hours. If Lou’s life can show us, if there is an accord being maintained here, the Brown’s Ranch Sub24 was a good way to live.
Brown’s Ranch Sub24
Gordon has dialed in these “Sub24” overnight rides pretty well, as they are a cursory requirement for cycing that allows one to remain in the constraints of full time job status and high quality family life. The essence is basic – Leave for the outreaches after work on a friday, and return sometime mid day the following for the family aspect. Go as long as you want into the night, and get up with dawn for a little more. And so we did.
The Brown’s Ranch Sub24 left the nearing station by 5pm which definitely falls on the side of macho efficiency. We’d ride into the night. The glooming had us shrouded by what must have been a version of the Phoenix valley, pre-white-man-history. This area was the east end of Reach 11, and if not for all the paranoia, it was a bit too luscious in that area. A pond… palo verde (or whatever) as thick as night 30 feet in all directions. No sky exposed to see without a fingering branch across the void? Or, at least that is what I made of it. And it was bordered by the 101 fwy to the north, scottsdale to the east, and North Phoenix to the west and south which is confusing. Ultimately, there was no going back. We would trudge on through the slivers of dirt and path to Brown’s Ranch where camp would be made. This was 45 miles into the evening. As far as middle aged men running away from home goes, it was macho for that while. We had contempt for everything behind us. We had hope for the unknown. And we had beer. Then the truth also spoke. The flames of want were dying. There wasn’t going to be any fire. That is an overstatement. We had grown sleepy. The instance arrived to call it good and that would be that. The sleeping pad fix was a failure so like last time, morning arrived expeditiously via Leaving one’s wallet in El Sugundo.
From that, we packed, and pedaled. The moring brought on another half-day of riding as well, no sub24 is without a little extra kick in the teeth in the morning. The value of the Brown’s Ranch Sub24 came via the connection of the new Brown’s Ranch trails (Pima & Dynamite/100 Miles of Single Track) to the adjacent Pemberton Trail on the eastern side of the McDowell’s. This required some wrong turns and little surreptitious neighborhood wandering, but before we knew it, Pemberton was welcomed to us by wide open fences. From then we climbed. Constrained by a return ETA of noon, we were up though Windmill trail (awesome) and up and over Windgate pass from the east (not awesome). Windgate is a beater ride perfect for dual squish of the 5-6 inch variety whether your climbing or descending. It’s was a bit of hellish tedium on the dual-rigid, but yes, the scenery was valid. There’s a few images pertaining to it on the instagram, and Gordon has his account of the then vs now of the area: what was once an ever-expansive area (100 miles of single track) is now a condensed & optimized selection of trails for the many (Brown’s Ranch).
I think that not all riding needs to be so documented, but the recent longer rides are the foundation of what I can do that provide a deeper interest in life which is to say again – as Lou seemed to have been aware – better do your thing. I can sense from the day’s route, that my next path will entail them again, and then I will want to wander upwards to the East and Four Peaks. But for now, the Brown’s Ranch Sub24 was just what the doctor ordered for a life to be lived.
As an epilogue or a conclusion (if you must), make note of Mike Rust, whose story was brought to my attention by Steve Garro. It is a fable’esque drama of a variable not far removed from you or I. Mike disappeared one day. Complete with beat down living inspired by contempt of that which employs us all to one degree or another, Mike’s story begins with a bicycle and vanishes around a home built of a truck camper and a Bicycle Hall of Fame type of ingenuity. For your next motion past this, read up on what might have happened to Mike Rust. It’s worth your time. It’s a story rought of choices.