Saturday, June 23, 2018

2018 Arizona Trail Race 750 - Day 9

For the first time in over a week I didn’t wake to a beeping watch. I just woke naturally (admittedly it was still early-ish) checked the race flow on Trackleaders and leisurely ate some breakfast. I did feel a need to get going but I told myself to remain calm as I couldn’t go anywhere until I had visited REI.
Heading outside on my bike the day looked nice but as soon as I left the wind shelter of the motel I discovered it was bitterly cold. It made me pedal hard for the few blocks that I needed to cover to the REI store. The forecast top of 5 Celcius and 50mph winds seemed accurate!

Once there I took my bike inside and had a look at shoes. They didn’t have anything I liked the look of so I checked out helmets. I liked the look of a new Giro Hex so grabbed one while I waited for an attendant. It took about 20 minutes before anyone was free as it was a very busy store.

8 days usage on the AZT!!

When I showed the guy my shoes and asked if he had some more Pearl Izumi X Alp IIs, he said no. Then he remembered they had a piar that had been returned by a customer who didn’t like them. They were the X Alp Elevate, not the X Alp IIs and one size larger. I decided to try them and luckily they were perfect! They looked so new and shiny compared to my old ones. Better still they felt so soft and plush underfoot. Something I would no doubt appreciate on the Canyon crossing!
I had him fit some new cleats and bin my old shoes (but not before I removed my orthotic insoles) along with the new insoles. I should have kept the new insoles but more on that in a later post.
My trusty old helmet that saw me through thousands of miles of training and the Tour Divide Race was also consigned to the skip bin with the old shoes.
I pedalled out about $280USD (about $800AU Pesos! ;) lighter. I was glad I wasn’t buying warm clothing as well to head out on the trail today as I may have needed to sell a kidney!

New kicks, same old legs. Non ventilated too- perfect! Not the legs. They have clearly been ventilated...

Nearing my motel I bumped into Beth about to head into Starbucks. She had been to REI as well to buy more layers and was about to press on toward The Canyon. She didn’t look very enthusiastic and I didn’t envy her. As much as I felt a bit soft at sitting today out, I knew it was the right decision for me. I wished her well and knew I wouldn’t see her again. She is a very strong bikepacker.

Back in the motel I proceeded to carry out some bike maintenance,

Checking brake pads. They were actually ok!

some body maintenance

Blister on right ball of foot from Highline and the Mogollon Rim. Black nails from the dye I used to dye my grey Ground effect socks to black. Scratches courtesy of Southern Arizona desert!

and some resting. (sorry,no pics - think of the children!!)

I headed out to the Fry’s again for another shop, then headed to the Agave Mexican Restaurant at the motel next door. I bought a burrito meal for dinner and also one to go for tomorrow.

Retiring to my room I discovered this was by far the best burrito of the whole AZTR for me! I almost went back to get another but it was too cold to venture out now and I eyed the one I had bought for tomorrow longingly......

Checking Trackleaders before I went to bed I could see that Beth and Dean had made it about half way to Tusyan, so about 80km for the day. I intended to do the whole 160km in one hit and was reassured that my decision to stay in a warm motel for a second night was a sound one. I had a soft, warm bed versus their (very) cold hard ground.
160 AZTR kilometres is always going to be tough but I would be strong after my lay day.

Bring it on!!


Agave Mexican magicians on Route 66. The AZT runs through the lights at the intersection from right to left.


  1. Sounds like a good plan, why punish yourself in the harsh elements it's only going to lead down a bad path which may ultimately lead you to quit the race if its bad enough. Good call I say.


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