Bike Adventures & Playing in the Snow

Arizona Snow 2019

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.

McDowell Snow
The view from behind our house.
Group RIde
The roads were clear on the morning group ride.
Four Peaks Snow
The view from Scottsdale.

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.

Sheep Bridge
Sheep Bridge way out in the middle of nowhere.
Sheep Bridge
Crossing the Verde River.
Horseshoe Dam
Horseshoe Dam flood gates closed this time.

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.

Havasu Podium
3rd place for me at Lake Havasu.
Taliesin West
Nestled in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains right near our house is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West.
El Oso Rd
The road less traveled on the back side of Four Peaks.
The poppies be poppin’

New Kitchen, New Year, Same Fun!

Back at it

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.

A few more random pictures. Until next time…

Off-Season House Projects

The new lawn

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!

Some photos from the summer and the backyard.

The Before
The Before.

The After!
The After!

Paver work.
Paver work.

Removing the pantry to put more cabinets.
Removing the pantry to put more cabinets.

Evie in Poncha State Park this past July.
Evie in Poncha State Park this past July.

Riding in Breckenridge for our anniversary.
Riding in Breckenridge for our anniversary.

Lizard I saw while out riding
Lizard I saw while out riding.

Yep, still Arizona
Yep, still Arizona!