My history with the Arizona trail runs deep, as I grew up spending weekends with my dad and other trail builders carving the hills of Tiger Mine at a young age. While I didn’t begin riding any of the Arizona Trail until moving to Tucson, I became fond of it immediately. About 3 years ago I began doing “recon rides” with my dad on winter days for cross country races I was training for at the time. After hearing about the race, I knew I wanted to participate some day. However, every year something in my schedule would come up, but secretly I didn’t think I was mentally or physically ready. As 2016 exited, lining up at Parker Canyon lake was the only goal I had for the year. Here I am! Today, I will pedal north with one goal, Picketpost.
One of the things I have enjoyed the most about the preparation has been seeing the different setups everyone uses which has helped me decide what I needed to be self-supported over the entire adventure. With a few overnighters under my belt, I quickly figured out what I would like to use for the adventure and settled on this set up:
Trek Topfuel 9.8 2-9er. I opted for front and rear Fox suspension, as I prefer it over Rockshox. For tires, my go-to rubber for the rough terrain along the trail is a Maxxis Ardent 2.2 filled with orange seal mounted on DT Swiss wheels. To handle the variety of terrain I rely on the Sram Eagle drive 1×12 drivetrain with 30T front ring, and XT SPD pedals. Stopping is left up to my Sram Guide brakes mounted to Bontrager carbon bars, with ESI Chunky grips, and a set of BIKE TOGS. Ive never been particular about saddles, but I do enjoy the Bontrager RXL saddle.
It looks like we’re expecting a relatively warm weather year for the southern portion of the race course. This made packing my clothing selection rather easy, as I prefer warm weather and am used to riding in high temps. I’ll be wearing a Bontrager jersey and bibs, cycling cap, sun sleeves, HandUP Gloves, Kitsbow socks, Scott shoes, and 100% percent glasses with clear lenses for after hours riding. Extra clothing will include a base layer, knickers, a bandana, and Patagonia down jacket.
My sleep system contains a SOL E-bivy, combined with the warmth of my down jacket and other cold weather clothes should do the trick. While plans don’t always work out, I do hope to not sleep very high on Mt.Lemmon, but if I do end having to do so, I may be searching for the warmth of some of the public bathrooms.
These consist of an Osprey Raptor 10 backpack with an 100 oz bladder, Oveja Negra top-tube bag, Bedrock Tap-eats, handlebar bag, Banjo Brothers frame bag, Rogue Panda seat bag and tool roll, as well as a Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks Silo bag.
Here’s what I thought deserved the cut! First aid kit, basic repair kit, Spot Gen 3, Sawyer water filter, Action Wipes & hygiene kit, and Lipzipz lip balm. For electronics, my light system is a Petzl hiking lamp on my helmet that runs off AAA batteries, combined with a nightrider 750 on my bars. Navigation will be done on a Garmin Etrex 20. I tend to listen to music while riding so I packed an iPod equipped with about every genre possible, and Far-end gear Headphones. All of this will be charged with a few small external battery packs.
I think this about sums up my pack list! All there is to do now is pedal my bike! Check out trackleaders.com to see the race progress. Also, getting everything together hasn’t been a solo effort so I would like to give a shoutout to the people who have helped me get here. First off my parents and Coach Brian Matter, I wouldn’t be riding today without them. Heidi & Zander from Cyclist Menu have been a huge help over with my final prep and I really appreciate them. Kurt from Action Wipes supplied me a AZTR hygiene survival kit that is going to be killer, and Lipzipz has me covered with amazing lip balm. The rest of the rad help comes from Drink Maple, RBar Energy, Bike Togs, ESI Grips, Overthrow Clothing, Handup Gloves, and Far End Gear, and Cadence Promotions.
Thanks for reading!