My inagural effort was the AZT from the Picketpost south. I know the parts, loosely. It is arguably one of the more premier segments of the AZT; Picketpost, Rypsey, The Boulders and other fine thread. The plan was pretty ideal too, you know, without so much deprivation that I’d resort to crying. I expected one or at most, two nights among the stars before arrival at the 24 Hours in Old Pueblo where I would imbibe and generally not ride with all my diddler friends. it was going to be special.
I say special, because Picket Post trailhead south is decompression Vitale so amazing I can’t even be rehtorical about it. If you want Sonoran desert in its finest duds, this is a good choice for the wear. The further you ride into the wilderness, the larger it becomes, and when it becomes large, it becomes mega. It gets so big out there, dissolution will have a man back to “el coche” in a few hours typically. The endless expanse of desert ridgeline pulls you down below safe levels of confidence. Wilderness.
But I wasn’t alone…. although I was. Esaumi was minutes back by now, and I had lost radio contact with Peppard long ago. It’s so dumb, really. Superissimo wants to gang bang into this genre of riding and they expect data updates by the minute? They really have no idea. Still, the trail was so finely trimmed, I could not stop lapping it up, so I just went with total disregard for conducte.
Much longer of course, it only got deeper. There would be no easy way out once I reached the Gila which came in only half a day’s time. I was begininng to think of sleeping on Ripsey that night. But at the end of that half a day is where the merde hit the fan. A full tubeless failure occurred which never happens, of course. And I will not name names, but I am going to say that when it came time to the repair the tubeless blowout, all the tubes in my küzette had been ruined. The only back story on this is that, for a fact, I am slighted by the team and this is entirely based on Jaque having a general disdain for any American since Lemond. Jaque never got over that like a Reb never got over the Civil War. All I can think is that his wrath has now manifested itself as a küzette full of faulty tubes. Whatever. This conspiracy works especially well now that I am in the middle of nowhere.
I hadn’t seen Esaumi since the pass, so I am unsure about him. I hope he is okay. My mind drifts to Jaque and his disdain for me. Or maybe I should damn Lemond. Whatever. I am in beautiful county, and I am at peace with this. But still, I am now out of patches. The Küzette is blown. I look around, and the Gila river has no care in the world and I walk across it with my bike on back and again, it has no remorse nor encouragement for my travails.
Upon the other side, I became hasty and pedaled a high tempo into the dark until the tire had finally waded-up into the chain stays. There, I stopped for the night including tequila and sleep. I cannot say it was bad. In fact, sleeping under the stars that night was the point, no matter how I arrived to it. I was glad to be there.
The following day started slow. It was going to suck no matter what. I pedaled the late-morning away. My mind was tossing back and forth over the lack of good tubes and a possible sabot. White People Problems. Never again, I said, over and over. The pedaling reached slow miles as I went.
It doesn’t matter about Esaumi or Peppard by now. The morning started with no rush. There was no want for the days conclusion. I would ride out to Florence, AZ which lay to the west. A guy is telling me it is still 16k to the town so I keep going and I’m not sure about the wheel. It was getting worse. As my concern revealed, the wheel collapsed on the long downhill grade into Florence, AZ. By then, I was in range of Peppard’s two way. I called in the Skoda, and layed out my bedroll for a mid day nap.
Peppard stepped from the auto happy to see me. He had put in his work that day to find me out in the nethers of Florence. I knew then, as he passed me the chianti, that he had nothing to do with the faulty tubes. For this, I am indebted and encouraged. It’s been tuff to be here on this team, but with his support, at least I feel I can be here for a bit longer. Thanks Peppard. I owe you.
To the AZT, I look forward to seeing it again as I have in the past. To the rest of what swirls in my mind, thank you for always being there like a good friend All that is left from this, is the Chianti Peppard has provided, and my thoughts.
James Degault the Third