Whew, it’s been a while. Summer has been going strong. We spend 4th of July in Watertown, SD which is always a great time of year to be in South Dakota! On the way we drove through Spearfish and rode some of the Dakota Five-O course that we’ll be racing Labor Day weekend. Lots of changes this year and a ton of reroutes. Good stuff!
We spent a good part of our summer in Winter Park, CO which also happened to be where the Mountain Bike National Championships were being held. Probably our favorite place in Colorado. So many hikes and mountain town exploring to be had, and great riding.
Before heading back to AZ we made trip up to Bozeman, MT to visit our friend’s Harry & Diane. Evie did the Big Sky BME race as well.
Right as we got back to AZ the Colorado Rockies came to town and played the Diamondbacks. So we went to watch our next door neighbor Tony play. Since the Diamonbacks aren’t doing so how we got great seats at a good price!
In other sad news, the trusty Honda Pilot transmission started to slip in 3rd gear while we were up in Montana. It held up for the drive back to AZ, but got progressively worse as the miles went on. We decided 290k was good enough and decided to retire her.
After much research, car shopping, and debate over what our next vehicle would be, we settled on a 2013 VW Touareg TDI. The turbo diesel engine should get us a good 300-400k miles and it’s an absolute hoot to drive. Plus it has incredible torque and can tow 7000-lbs. Of course, I had to keep the emblem off the Pilot.
Next up, Evie, Lucy and I head to Spearfish, SD for our annual Dakota Five-O Labor Day trip!
Well, we’ve made our migration to Colorado for the summer. As I sit here on this May the 21st and look out the window, there are about 8″ of snow on the ground that fell last night… so, I guess it’s not quite summer yet.
A lot of house projects happened this spring. I finished the front and back yard which involved spreading rock and adding a brick apron along the edges of the driveway. Finally got my kitchen (base) trim finished, will do the crown molding in the fall along with the backsplash and live edge shelf that we’re going to finish and stain.
Our orange tree is doing super well and is surprisingly bustling with fruit so we should have full blown oranges come next fall.
I finished the MBAA season strong with wins at White Tanks and Prescott and won the series overall for the 2nd time. May was pretty busy with races. I tried my hand at gravel racing with the Chino Grinder and placed 4th. It was a really, really fun day (albeit 115 miles), but the riding company was good and the pace not too terrible (until the end :).
The Epic Rides Whiskey Off Road and Grand Junction Off Road events were my big two for the spring. Whiskey had some rider traffic issues that put a bit of a sour end to what started as a good ride, I finished 11th.
The Grand Junction trails are the most technical and fun anywhere. I had a really strong race and finished 4th.
Lots of summer trips planned including a few of the Big Mountain Enduro races and then Mountain Bike Nationals right here in Winter Park, CO before heading back to Arizona. Until then…
There’s something magical about the desert in the winter time, especially after a good rain (which we’ve had plenty of this year). The flowers pop, the mountainside is covered in bright green grass, not what you’d expect in Arizona, and snow!
We had a massive winter system come through AZ this past week that dumped record snow up north in places like Flagstaff, something like 36 inches in 24-hrs. The snow made it all the way down as low as Scottsdale which is pretty rare to see, let alone have inches of standing snow for a few days.
At the end of January I did a big two week block of training, one of my favorite two weeks of the year where I map out new (and some old fun) routes to explore by bike. This year I went to all 6 major dams in the area including 4 on the Salt River Canyon where Arizona gets it’s drinking water. Some new higher tech gates prevent you from getting quite as close as in years past, but I was able to walk out onto the spillway of Horseshoe Dam because water wasn’t flowing.
Race wise, I knocked off Estrella and Havasu, races 2 and 3 in the MBAA series. It’s fun to be able to jump into some early season low pressure races with good competition to prime the engine for the bigger races to come. Next up is Cactus Cup in March, then the big races start in April with the Whiskey Off-Road.
This is the time of year for visitors. Ryan and Cole stayed the weekend to race Estrella. Evie’s mom Connie came out to escape the cold of South Dakota and our friends Chloe and Rose stayed with us for a training camp they were doing here in the valley. Then my sister and brother in-law paid us a visit. We had a great time hiking, playing Top Golf, and enjoying the sunshine.
Another overdue update coming up. Let’s see, In October my dad and I hike the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, it’s about a 2000′ descent down to the river and really, really steep. The weather was perfect and the park was empty. Then, we spent the next two weeks remodeling the kitchen.
Prior to our hiking trip, I got things prepped and painted, took out a pantry so that we could install more cupboards and counter space. Cabinets were set to be delivered and countertop installer was on standby. All in all things worked out great. We had a few issues with some of the cabinets going missing, but they showed up just in time to finish the job.
Evie wanted a farmhouse sink which involved opening up the wall and lowering the drain. We also got a Delta touch faucet and put in an over the range exhaust hood. New cabinets, flooring, swapped out a bedroom window, can lights in the garage, new water heater, we packed a lot into just a few weeks and had a great time.
I still have to finish up the trim, but it’s quite a transformation.
After a couple week break from the kitchen I went ahead and finished the circle patio in the back yard. The last piece before we add the rock to fill things in. Evie picked out the patio furniture on Wayfair and now our backyard is nearly complete!
We spent Thanksgiving in Colorado Springs and the weather was mild. When we got back to Arizona, with the weather near perfect it was time to shift gears and start riding again. I love this time of year because of the ability to go on long exploration rides and call it base training. I found a cool geocache on one of my rides to the highest point in Scottsdale.
Christmas we spent in Antioch, the weather wasn’t too bad. We also had great luck with flights on Allegiant yet again as they started flying right into Milwaukee from Mesa which makes things super easy. After Christmas Evie’s parents and our nieces and nephews came for a visit. They had a blast riding bikes and learning about the desert. We took them to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, the model train exhibit was out of this world.
Last weekend kicked off the first race of the MBAA series and my first race of the year, McDowell Meltdown. We had a record turnout of 984 racers and a lot of horsepower in the elite fields. I jumped in the marathon race between helping run the event which makes for a long, but super fun and rewarding day. Always great to see so many familiar faces and catch up with good friends.
Mid August Evie, Lucy and I returned home to Arizona. Evie started teaching and we broke ground on our long list of house projects. The first two of which are the back yard and kitchen (the two places we spend most of our time).
On Labor Day we made our annual trip to the Dakota Five-O. Trevor and I drove out with the bikes and Evie & Karlene flew. It was a shorter trip with a long drive on each end, but fun camping and hanging out with friends nonetheless. The race is always fast and long, I finished 9th.
The MBAA puts on a fall enduro series so as executive director it’s my job to map out the logistics and organize the events. The first one was up at Sunrise Ski Resort and this weekend we head to Kingman, followed by Prescott in two weeks.
Last weekend I extended our patio out back with some pavers, just in time to have the turf installed today. It took 5 guys to move the 15′ rolls from the front yard to the back, they’re heavy!
Next is the kitchen. We’ll be removing the existing pantry and putting cabinets there instead, plus replacing all the existing cabinets, flooring and a new lighting configuration. We’ll be busy these next few months!
My sister got married April 14th, so Evie and I traveled back to Milwaukee for a long weekend. The wedding was awesome, the weather not so much. 30s, snow, sleet, rain, 30+ mph winds, ya know the goods.
I’ve been riding again, quite a bit. I did my first race a few weekends ago, Whiskey 50 in Prescott, just 3-1/2 months post injury, finished 7th about 2 minutes back from 3rd after 3+ hours of racing, I’ll take it. I didn’t feel great, but kept the pressure on the pedals and had a few good passes on the downhills.
Next weekend is the MBAA series finale in Flagstaff. The course is great, a good mix of everything. Then we head to Colorado for the Grand Junction Off-Road, my favorite course of any. Then after that is the Carson City Off-Road another Epic race. Now that I’m back to ~85% I’m looking to put together a few good race results, and hopefully gain some more fitness in the process.
I didn’t get much time to do my usual exploratory riding this year with the hip and all, but leading up to Whiskey I did a sweet ride out the Bartlett Lake Dam. A route I’ve ridden plenty, but the dam is a few miles off the pavement in what feels like the middle of the desert.
Oh it get’s even better! On the one other “adventuring” ride I did I found a $100 bill, No joke! I had parked in this random pull off on the side of the road to head out to Mt. Ord for a big ride and when I returned to the car I walked around the back of the car and right there on the ground was a $100 Benjamin! I would’ve been stoked on finding a $10 bill, ha. I proceeded to stop at Subway on the way home and cashed it with no questions asked. A big payday, just for training!
Oh yeah, and that other thing that happened over the course of the last few months, Evie and I bought a house just north of where we were living. The location is superb in McDowell Mountain Ranch, 90 seconds from the trails with access to all kinds of other trail heads and fun outdoor activities. We have plans to remodel, so begins the process of idea curating and putting together a road map. Some pictures below. Until next time!
Two weeks ago on Saturday I was heading out on a training/exploring ride on my mountain bike when I fell and broke my hip. It sounds worse than it is. Yes, I have a broken bone, but the doc is expecting a full recovery, no surgery needed.
The actual diagnosis is a fracture of the Greater Trochanter which is the part of the bone furthest away from the joint itself. It’s not all the way through the femur, just cracked like an egg at the top.
This type of fracture is apparently super rare. As you’d expect, the elderly are most at risk for hip fractures and when they fall, since their bones are more brittle, the break typically goes all the way through and they would need metal pins put in to hold it together.
Luckily, I’m not in that boat. It’s quite unlucky that I fell in such a way that created a direct impact to the hip, as apposed to the usual slide out where you’re sliding along the ground. My fall was less sliding, more brute force of impact. I likely hit a rock just right to cause the break – see exhibit A 🙂
Bones typically take 6-8 weeks to heal, so in the meantime I’m on crutches and have to keep weight off it. I have a follow up xray scheduled in two weeks. I’d like to think that with the kind of eating I do and being a young athlete that it will speed up the healing process. No pain really, and I have good range of motion, but if I were to put full weight on it or go out and hammer on the bike it would be at risk of widening the crack (at least that’s what they tell me).
Technology is fascinating. Below is a CT scan of my hip.
The body really is quite incredible. The bone will heal on its own, first by forming a blood clot, then a soft callus over the break, and then forming new bone that is as strong as the old stuff. In time, the body will close the crack on its own and heal itself, pretty neat stuff!
So, hopefully only a couple more weeks until I can start doing some PT and light spinning on the bike. I expect it will take me a bit to get into race shape so I anticipate having to go into the first half of the season with no expectations, just have fun and enjoy the process. Hopefully it sets me up for a strong end of season.
The MBAA season has started, next Saturday will be race #2 in the series. It’s tough getting around on crutches when you’ve got boxes to carry and lots of walking to do, but Evie’s been a really great help, as have our friends to do things like walk Lucy, send me some meals, and simply show their support.
First serious injury in 12 years of riding and racing. So given the kind of riding I like to do, those are pretty good odds!
Christmas will be here before we know it! My parents came to town the weekend before Thanksgiving, so we stayed put for Thanksgiving itself sharing the day with friends who didn’t have family nearby.
A few weeks earlier Evie, Lucy and I went for a hike on a section of the AZT. Lucy tree’d a whole posse of these critters called Coati or Coatimundi. Similar to a racoon, just a little bigger with a bushier tail. They are very rare in Arizona and are said to only travel as far north as Tucson. We were northeast of Phoenix!
On another adventure this past weekend, we headed up towards the town of Young with some friends of ours to cut down a Christmas tree. We found a good one, along with some spectacular canyons and overlooks. Arizona, you’re pretty awesome!