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Dealing with many of the social issues in El Paso can bring you down, but every now and then something gives you hope. Lots of things gave me hope this weekend. The first was when I took some students to an academic competition at another high school. In the parking lot was this bad boy!
Check out the sissy bar on the back. How often do you see one of those?
A couple of other things I saw at the competition was another teacher wearing a Frank Zappa for President shirt. It looked brand new, but of course that’s been over 20 years now. Does anyone even remember any of the songs 2 Live Crew did? I don’t. Were they bad? Must not have been very good or else I’d remember something from one of them. Poor Tipper Gore. She made a big fool herself on that one.
One of the students taking the test was a cute little girl sporting jeans, running shoes, and a super rad tee with a beach cruiser on the front. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was in Colorado, but she was surrounded by other students wearing skinny jeans, or cheap clothes that didn’t quite fit.
Another student had a HUGE eraser. He came prepared. That thing was about the size of an iPhone with one of those big tactical cases. That kid came to do work!
After getting home I headed out to bag North Franklin peak. At almost 7,200′, it’s quite the haul. I was able to ride more than I thought. Of course, riding to the turn off for Mundy’s Gap is what I consider moderate and can be cleaned usually in the middle ring. I ended up in the granny and spun out in one of the crux sections. I actually was able to ride quite a bit to here.
This is about the half way point for the top half (from Mundy’s to the summit) Just above this point it is GNARLY! After the 2006 storms it was really deep where it washed out. It’s more ledgy now, but I had to carry my bike a bit to get over stuff. No big deal, that’s good training.
The views were really great and my camera does nothing to portray the incredible views I had up there. It was like I was doing remote sensing with satellite imagery that was instant. No uploading or waiting on the server required!
The pic above is one of the good ones. I was kind of crunched for time as the sun was going down, but it made for some killer contrasts down below.
The two above are of the west side of the range looking north.
These two above are looking to the south. The second one shows the mountains that are behind our house. Not a bad location if you like long walks and rides in the desert on some very difficult terrain.
I was able to ride most of it back down except for the GNARLY section just above the UXO/No Trespassing sign. Not bad considering I’m running a 6 year old Small Block 8 on the front. Yeah….crazy huh?
Today was hot and we went on a short family ride around lunch time. We stopped by a house that was for sale and I just rode right into the back yard Weehoo and all. While looking inside, this guy looked around from the side of the house.
I know, not a great pic. But he had a HUGE rack. I counted 8 points and he probably had about at 28″ spread if not more. Not bad for a creature who’s seen less than 6″ of rain in the past year. He was hanging out in the arroyo behind a bunch of homes.
I got out for a few hours with a ride over Mundy’s…dabbing in a normally easy section. I got a few good doses of HEAT…the kind that makes your head feel like it’s going to explode. If temps get into the 90’s at AZT, I’ll be having some siestas in the middle of the day. With 24 hours of battery life, I’ll be more than happy to vamp a bit.
It seems that everything is starting to pile up a bit, but I keep plugging away and try to keep things manageable. Work has been fairly easy, but I always feel rushed. I’m on the Campus Improvement Team and they keep trying to get me to do stuff unrelated to my job assignment. Coming up with good ideas is pointless because I’ll be the only one that will want to do something and I don’t want to do more stuff.
With AZT 300 right around the corner, I can officially say I’m not totally ready to “race” my bike for 300 miles. I am ready to do a fast tour and with the rides I’ve had this spring, I think I can still go under 3 days. Worries? Yes. Especially with my feet, ass, and eyes. Eyes you ask? My left eye has been giving me issues with being real weepy, especially when I’m fatigued. It got really bad with our massive dust/wind storm last weekend. I’m really looking forward to getting out on the AZT, especially the section on Mt. Lemon. I’ve yet to go up there and I hear it’s some burly riding. The burliness of the trail seems to be the biggest issue for most. As you can assume, it doesn’t really bother me. It’s all we’ve got here in El Paso, and ALL of my long mtb rides have been with my bike loaded up to about 45 lbs. I’ll probably be slightly heavier than that with a full load of water. If it doesn’t get too hot, I should be ok with carrying the amount of water I’m able to carry. My filter checks out and I’ve got tablets as well. It would be nice to not have to pump, but if it get’s hot, it may be unavoidable.
I’m pretty much set on my personal gear. I just ordered my sleeping pad. I went long and luxurious with a full size Thermarest NeoAir. All I need to make is a Tyvek bivy with the scrap Tyvek I found on a construction site. Debating whether to build it with a bug net and zippers with a cover for rain, or just go with the bug net only. I’m trying to get my sleeping kit to under 3.5 lbs. Not bad for someone as long as I am.
I just finished up a set of sweet bags/harness for my buddy Don. He’s got a Yeti 29er and needs some motivation to hit the road for a night or two. He’s been eyeballing the same route I’ve been checking out for a few years behind the Guadalupes. Water was a huge concern out there, but Don’s scouting drive from the edge of El Paso to Dell City, TX passed plenty of guzzlers and pump fed tanks. That’s only the first 60 miles or so. I’ll get to that eventually.