Sunday, April 29, 2012

Arizona Trail Race Fail......

Wow, where do I start. I've been training for 3 months for the Arizona Trail Race, managed to get myself in pretty near the best shape of the past 5 years or so and was really dialed in to put the hurt on myself in this race.
We had taken 2 weeks off of work, a big deal for me, and had a really nice time getting to Tucson with a trip up the central coast and stops with friends and family. We started our trip off with a trip to Monterey and the Aquarium. From Monterey we headed down coast to Cambria for the night at a great little 50's motel in the heart of town.
Mary and Sasha in Cambria
 We had a great couple of days at our friend Johns house in Los Osos. He treated us to some spectacular rides and of course was his warm and lovely self which made for a great visit.
Mary riding in Los Osos

The views and riding are really good here.
  We headed from Los Osos down to Ventura to Mary's uncles house for a nice dinner and a sleep over. Ben and Lani are really wonderful folks and I wish they lived closer as Ben was a great inspiration to Mary.
 Ben and Lani have a beautiful home overlooking the Catalina Islands, Ben is a surfer and he told us how happy he was that he never has to call in for surf conditions, he just looks out the window!
Surf's up!
From Ventura we headed to Tucson for Tuesday night before heading to Sonoita for a couple of days before the race. When I woke up in Ventura I didn't quite feel right, I had a bit of a cough and a definite fever. As we progressed across Arizona, so did my flu symptoms. By the time I woke up on Wed. morn. I had a 102 degree fever, not good......
We pressed on to Sonoita but I knew at that point my race was over if the fever didn't break that day. It didn't, in fact it was 5 days before it got below 100 degrees which necessitated a visit to the urgent care for some antibiotics and some cough medicine(for what had become a horrendous, nasty cough) so I could sleep, something I hadn't done for 3 days.

The race was officially over before it began.

In between feeling really bad we did some nice tourist things. We hit up Karchner Caverns which was incredible(no pictures as it's a living cave) as well as our second trip to the Sonoran Desert Museum which is always a very cool experience and something I highly recommend.
Blooming Yucca plant
River Otter

We made the Raptor show which was really cool, 4 of these guys diving and flying inches over your head!
Beauty everywhere!
Mary had considered going on a horseback ride after taking me to the start of the race and I was glad she kept her appointment even as our plans had fallen apart. She had a great time and I was really glad she was able to go, she hadn't been on a horse in years after growing up on a 1500 acre ranch as a kid.
I guess it's like riding a bike, once you learn.....
From Sonoita we had a couple of days in Tucson, I would have been racing so Mary was just looking for a place where she could hang out for a while before picking me up. I felt really awful and spent most of these couple of days in bed, lovely.....
We didn't have any plans for Sunday or Monday so we decided to head up to Payson and camp a bit and to get out of the heat of Tucson. We hit up a couple of spots where the race gets close to the road so I could feel even more disappointed, not really, it was cool to see where I would be racing next year.
At the Gila River in Kelvin
Wonderfully built trail here
Still a lot of flowers out
Massive Copper mines dominate the landscape in this part of Az.
 We had a lovely time in Payson although I was felling pretty bad still, the antibiotics were helping and I finally got a good nights sleep with the hydrocodone cough medicine, that was some strong stuff....
We stayed at a Forest Service campground that was immaculate and had showers. It was also empty on a Sunday so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. I tried to ride but got about an hour in and imploded, barely made it back to camp, ugly it was.
Sasha looking for something to chase
Candlelight dinner!
From Payson we were off to Cottonwood to Deadhorse State Park to stay in the camping cabins for 3 days. We did a day hike in Sedona that I thought might kill me but managed to have a nice lunch at the Brewery none the less.
I was now a week and half out on being sick and my patience was running out, I was trying to be a good sport, but sometimes it was difficult to say the least. My cough had continued to be a problem, I was certain I had pneumonia but the chest x-ray in Tucson didn't show it so I just had to be patient and know that the huge case of bronchitis I had would eventually go away(3 weeks out and I still have it...).

Sedona, amazing as always
Remnants of the snow and rain of the previous week.

Yucca plant.

Beauty in the desert.
We spent a couple of days in Sedona and one day in Flagstaff trying to ride our bikes and going to the observatory, this is the first time I've been to Sedona and not ridden a single day. Although I had felt as bad as I could remember in recent memory, our vacation had gone along pretty well.
 I was ready to go home though, two weeks of feeling really sick away from home is tough and I was ready to be done with it. We decided to head home a day early by way of the Grand Canyon, the Eastern Sierras and Lake Tahoe, a great choice as the weather was perfect and the recent snows in the Sierras made for a beautiful backdrop on our drive.
I might be hiking that with my bike strapped to my back next year....
Not a bad lunch spot!
14,000' Mt Whitney
Arkansas Hills
Mono Lake
What a strange couple of weeks. I am glad I didn't get sick before we left as I think we are both glad we made the trip. I always look forward to time with my wife, it makes me happy and it's something that I cherish and have great memories of, for that I am thankful.

 Totals for the 14 day trip:
4000 miles driven.
18 miles ridden on my bike.
Memories to last a lifetime, too many to count....
4 days feeling well. 

Missing the race is nothing in the grand scheme of things, I am hugely disappointed that I missed the adventure, these things get harder to manage the older you get and my time is running out on doing these sorts of things. I'll move on and hopefully be in a position to do it next year. For this year I'll try and set my sights on the Colorado Trail Race, not sure I can make it happen but I'll keep it in the background and go for it if the opportunity presents itself.