Monday, February 21, 2011

The 'nix Is Out

It's not really been discussed at great length but it's become clear to me that we will not be headed back to Phoenix for the next stage of our life.  I'm feeling rather torn about this.  When I first found out we were headed to the 'nix back in the winter of 2005 I was relieved that it wasn't Cleveland but still not exactly happy.  I'd never been to Phoenix at that point aside from the random layover and my impression of the city was not one that paints the city in a positive light.  Funny thing is that many of my preconceived notions of the place held true yet Phoenix has something amazing that makes up for all of it's shortcomings, mountain biking and loads of it.

Before we moved to Phoenix I though myself a pretty good mountain biker with a solid set of technical skills.  Turns out I didn't know shit.  What natives were referring to as cross country was gnarlier than nearly anything I'd ever seen before and light tech seemed completely unrideable.  I rode alone a lot at first working on my skills and endurance getting a little better.  I soon found people to ride with, seemingly more every day and every time out I would get pushed a little more.  Eventually what was unrideable became mundane and bigger and more technical challenges were coming my way on a regular basis.  I got myself into a few races, performed poorly, but for me it was epic.  WOR, TOWM, 24ITOP, they all felt right.  I rode myself silly in the 'nix and the surrounding areas, it was fucking great.

Two years after we swept into town we blew out again like we were never there. When we moved, the time was right, I was itching to get to Seattle and away from the desert.  Much of that had to do with my hatred of my shitty 'nix job, the start of another brutal summer, and the longing for green and gray (it's a PNW thing). I knew I would miss the riding (and Matt's Big Breakfast, of course) but I didn't realize how much.  Don't get me wrong, there's some seriously epic riding around Seattle including what is among my all time favorites, the Snoqualmie Middle Fork, but the catch is that it's all around Seattle, not in or actually near exactly.  Every good ride destination is a day trip, not an afternoon away from the house or an after work excursion.  Those kinds of bike activities exist in town but cater more to the fixie hipsters or the 8" monster travel no pedal bikes that I'm a bit scared of even if I could afford one.

As we move into the next stage of our life, and the first one in a while that's going to be considerably more stable if not completely permanent, I'm feeling wistful for the life we had carved out in Phoenix. I know however that it wouldn't quite be the same even if were headed back.  I'm a little sad about it but I know that even though we won't be going, I can always visit and might just have to start doing that on a more regular basis, my parents are now living there after all.  Now I just need to get a S&S frame built...

Porter's gonna think on it.


JMH said...

Wow, awesome pic of your son.

I felt the same way about leaving Portland years ago, but have found that I am riding way more now than I ever did in Oregon.

I've never ridden in AZ, but have been following the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race online, and am seriously thinking about it for next February. Looks like fun, except for the parts that don't.

Sean said...

I'd love to make a trip back for Old Pueblo. In fact I've been thinking about whether or not Porter will be ready for it next year or the year after, with a rental RV of course.

I'm also thinking a lot about Whiskey Off Road which was amazing for me in so many ways both years that I did it. That would be a lot easier to coordinate and is a definite option for next year.

Old Fat and Slow said...

I'm sure your mother will be more than happy to sit Porter while you (we) ride.