Alas, poor Edwin….

…we knew you well, but now you ride upon the van.  Sigh….your human did so well the last couple of years on this route, but this year we blew him out and he joins you in the van.  Oh, dear reader, have no fear, Edwin’s human still has fun hanging with the crew, but Edwin?  Not so much.

And the day started out so well.  A little chilly, but today we started up the short side of Mule Pass.  Back when we were going to do the southern crossing again and I went in for an overhaul to get me in perfect shape, the wonderful mechanics at Emery’s Cycling stepped back, realized that my less-than-optimal human engine could use a boost and saw that they could give me a bigger cog on the back.  Oh, those guys are smart!  The short, steep ride up Mule Pass was a no-op.  And then…..wheeeeeeeeeee…..down the long side.  More decline today than climb.  We flew!

And  then, we lost Edwin’s human.  With the snow came a lot of sand and grit on the roads, but also the desert plants are starting to bloom and sending out pollen.  That was just too much for him so we had to ride the last 1/2 of the ride solo.  Not as much fun, but still an absolutely lovely day, all things considered.

Bisbee!

Our favorite town (although Patagonia is quickly catching up).  Tombstone is nice, but kitchy…and if it didn’t have the bestest brewery in Arizona the humans would probably just sit back at the hotel and chill with me in the parking lot  looking at the mountains.

But, Bisbee!  Ah….here the humans are happy.  Good food.  Art galleries.  People watching.  Oh, lots of people watching…..tourists, of course; artists; miners; ranchers; and cyclists.

But, best thing this year I don’t get locked up in the shed.  Traditionally, all the bikes have had to spend the night in a shed….a very, very cold shed.  But this year, I came up to the room in the Copper Queen.  And, what a room!  Enough room in here for a dozen bikes and the humans.  Oh, and apparently, Teddy Roosevelt slept here….don’t know why that is important.  He rode a horse, not a bike.

Today’s ride was warmer, but just as pretty as always.  Maybe more so because the riparian section was greener than usual due to the snow fall.  We think maybe that’s why the birds are being so vocal this year.  Heck, even the dreaded slog into Bisbee was pleasant today as we had a gentle tailwind to take off the edge.

So, why is Bisbee, *my* favorite town?  Because Bisbee has Mule Pass!  And I get to show off my climbing skills.  As a steel bike I may weigh a little bit more than those plastic bikes, but I have the gears that will let my human get up to the top of the pass just as good if not better than them!  Last year we came up the long side; this year we’ll take the short, steeper climb out of town.  Fun!  (hope the human is up for it!)

 

F…! F…! F…!

Not a good day for the tour.  What started out as a lovely day of riding ended with the depressing view of the paramedics on the road just outside of Tombstone.  Every bike and rider approaching that scene immediately fears it is “one of us.”  This time, it was and it was one of our most beloved fellow riders.  The rider is declared to be “fine” after an ambulance ride to Bisbee and a helicopter ride to Tucson.

“Fine” is, of course, a relative term for fragile human creatures.  But we’re assured that while things are broken and the human has work ahead of them to get back, really, they’re “fine”.  But, still, it is a scary site to see and empathy immediately goes out to that rider.

Hang tough, fellow rider!  You can take it!

Oh, and, of course, dear reader, you want to know how the bike is doing.  Last we saw, it was not too worse for the wear…but feeling guilty.  A bike doesn’t like to lose its rider, particularly a rider who had already been tossed by another bike (and an angry boar).

Birds!

Some bikes ask me why I keep coming down to Tucson every year.  To me that is such a “Duh!” question, but even I, a bike with an attitude, can not be quite that rude to answer like that.  So., let me explain it nicely (well….as nicely as I can).

Each year we come down it is a little bit the same and a little bit different.  Each year it is PAC Tour and many of the bikes (and their riders) are familiar frames.  But each year we get new people (and sometimes riders bring different bikes….grrr….really…those humans think they can do that — when will they learn that the important side of the pair of bike and human is the bike, not the human?!?!?!?  But, I digress….)

Each year the routes are similar, but different.  Sometimes we come down for the longer weeks, but as of late we’ve been coming down for Historic Towns (aka, ‘wussy week’….am I allowed to us that term?)  But, of all the PAC Tour routes, this one has the shortest routes.  When the humans aren’t in very good shape, this week is ideal…time enough to ride, but more time to relax.

Which then begs the question, “Again, you’re doing the same thing again?”  Well…..”duh!”  Oops…is it rude if I answer my own question like that?!?!  But, seriously…each time we come we see something different.  If it isn’t the weather bringing heat one year and snow the next; it is different riders telling different stories; it is new bikes and new people; old bikes and old friends.

I’ve already told you about the snow this year — oh, and, btw, there is snow on the ground here in Patagonia!  But, also, this is the year of the bird.  Never have we heard the birds so loud and full of song.  We were “chased” down Mission Road by a phainopepla.  At the time we called it a blue-black cardinal shaped bird, but later learned that it is a bird that has a symbiotic relationship with the misteltoe — find one, find the other.  Who knew?

So, yeah….sure it is the same, but, nope, it is different.  And the sameness allows us to relax and enjoy the new.

Snow on the Mountains….

….and snow in the desert.  In all the years we’ve been coming down to Tucson to ride with PAC Tour, this is the most snow we’ve seen.  We’ve had years when it has been cold; we’ve had years where we woke to a light dusting of snow on the palm trees; we’ve had years where we all shuttled due to cold; and last year we had snow in Tombstone, waited until it melted and then took the direct route over Mule Pass to Bisbee.

But in all those years, never have the mountains been so white and snow covered.  Unlike yesterday, most of the snow had melted and there the pavement was dry, but when we reached higher elevations there was some snow in amongst the mequite.

Ah, but the mountains….they were dressed in their finest. Sure, it was a bit nippy riding this morning, but to be out riding again (woot!), to say hi to all the catci, and to just take in the gorgeous views?!?!?!?  What was a little chill in the air?

Did you miss me?

OK…maybe that’s just a bit presumptuous, but what would you expect from a bike as beeeeeuuutttiful as me after such a long break?  Hmmmmm?   Surely you missed my wit, my unique perspective on the world?  What?  You didn’t?  Sigh….well…fine.  But, here I am and it is time to get this show back on the road.

So, when last I left you, dear reader, my human was just recovering from having its plumbing fixed.  But, we were getting some rides in Tucson….having fun with Moots and its human….and even managing at the end of the week to ride the whole day.  Yeeeehaw!

Once we got home and settled into a rhythm we even managed a weekend away (yay!) and I got me a nice new, titanium rear rack (not only light, but looked awesome).  Things were looking up….well…until June when they looked down.  Yep.  Crash.  The human was out riding with Galanas, they stopped to see a bike race and as they were leaving, the human crashed.  Yeah…you read that right…the human and Galanas were *not* racing, they were spectating and the human crashed.  What a klutz.  Dislocated elbow and a broken wrist.  Sigh……

So, yup.  That killed my summer.  Instead of riding down the road, I sat on a hook in the basement.  Blah….by the time the human could take me out, it was fall and…well….not much travelling for me.

But…today I am back in Tucson!  Woot!  I came down in the van with Susan and Beth (no horrible baggage handlers for me), but it was *cold*.  Yesterday it snowed.  4″ of snow.  But, it is Tucson so today it is mostly gone.  Lots of dripping water as the snow melts on the roof tops.  But the human brought me inside, put me back together and we went out for a stroll down the bike path.  Ahhhhh….to be riding again!

Should be a good week except…..alas, Moots will not be here.   Moots’ human is headed to the human mechanic to get a new pair of knees.  First one goes in next week.  We’re wishing all good things to Moots’ human…..just won’t be the same without them on the road, but it is good to know that after rehab and some hard work, they can be back with us next year.

We’re Baaaaccccckkkk!

After yesterday’s success up Mule Pass from the long side, the human decided it was time to just say the heck with it, let’s try to just ride.  After all, the human says that the core hasn’t rebelled in a couple of days — and we’ve been doing only the hilly segments to test things out.

So, today, we did 68 miles!  The full ride!  Woohoo!  OK, so maybe there was a teensy bit of a tailwind…ok…maybe just more than a teensy bit near the end…ok…so if you have to pedal *down* an 8% gradient, perhaps that is just a teensy bit more than a teensy tailwind, eh?  But we didn’t have that tailwind *all* day.  And it was really cold at the start (29F).

Sometimes we come to Desert Camp to play; sometimes we come to train.  But this year?  This year we definitely came to heal.  The human is now 8 weeks post surgery and it looks like we’re going to be having a busy summer, the human, Edwin (and his human) and I.  Yay!