Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bike Karma and the TdC

Karma, what comes around goes around. Two days ago I scored a set of Planet Bike fenders from Mark. They will certainly come in handy in Seattle, so thanks Mark. Yesterday I got a call that a friend of a friend had a freebie Vanilla RLC to replace the POS Manitou Splice that lives on Michele's bike. Much better fork, I'm sure she'll like it. Got it mounted up this morning. The bike might be a little too slacked out at it's current 130 setting so I'm actually going to get it out on the dirt and see if it needs to come down to 100.

On to the main event. The Tour de Canals went down today with a field of one. I started thinking about this ride a week ago right after I got the bike, a good long ride with a minimum of interacting with cars. I headed out the door to some nasty looking clouds coming out of the West so I went back inside and put on a jacket and once in the garage I mounted the new fenders on the bike. Not ten minutes passed on the road before I realized that I had not only forgotten my Gatoradesque water bottle but I also didn't eat before leaving the house. Well once I pass the 51 there's no turning back. Always moving forward, that's me.

So I stopped at LGO to get me some breakfast of champions. Mmmm, better cookie.

Not long after that I made it to the Arizona Canal. It started out hard and smooth but quickly turned soft, if the whole ride was going to be like this I was gonna be in trouble.

Lucky for me it didn't last long and things were all gravy again.

Now here's where it gets fun. Right before the reservation I was thinking about how the North side of the canal looked nicer than the South side that I'd been riding on. I switched sides at Pima, seemed like a good idea at the time. The path quickly turned to shit on me. A reservation cop rolled up on me in his Explorer and asked what I was doing. I assumed that this must not be an OK place for me to be and started thinking about reroutes as I replied that I was just out for a ride. He responded,"You know, the path is much nicer on the other side." Damn, no trouble, but I had chosen wrong. At the next bridge I switched sides.

North side.

South side.

Little owls were out also.

I case your wondering about the legality of the ride, the sign says no motorized vehicles, use at your own risk. I'm cool with that.

What ever you do, don't leave the road below the Granite Basin Dam. Central Arizona Project on one side.

Salt River Rez on the other.

I lost the right canal somewhere along the way on the way back and once I was heading Southeast I knew for sure I was on the wrong path so I ejected at Brown and headed straight West until I found this very welcome sign.

What I had done was turn off of South Canal and onto Eastern rather than continue on. I have no idea where I made the mistake, but this is where I should have ended up had I stayed on South.

Now on the Tempe Canal I was doing OK until the whole thing came to and abrupt end just past Country Club.

A quick run through a parking lot and onto 8th and I was good all the way to Tempe Beach Park. This is where I finally took a break to eat something.


Across the river to the Grand Canal until I started to see sure signs of home.

57 miles and 900 feet in 5.5 hours total, I think if you subtract the time I spent sitting and taking pictures it works out to maybe 4.5 hours of saddle time.

Holy crap am I tired.

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