The AZT 300 dished out some tough blows and beautiful vistas. Here are a few highlights from the trip while I prepare more thoughts for a future post.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt
This quote has hung above my desk for several months now. It holds meaning both personally and professionally for me. If I never fail, if I never push myself to the point of failure, I fail to learn. I must fail to learn, but I cannot fail to learn from my failures. I'm still comiing to terms with and sorting out what happened that caused me to quit the AZT 300. Maybe I'm looking for deeper meaning, maybe I'm worried about what others think, perhaps my head is hung a bit low because I've disappointed myself and more importantly those closest to me. I despise failure, but I also know that it is an important part of growth and learning. Until I'm ready to share more, and I will, here are a few photo highlights from my time on the Arizona Trail.
Early on day 1. The Canelo Hills dished out some technical riding that occasionally reduced us to hiking. It's good to know that Salsa sponsored rider, Kurt Refsnider is still human.
Early in the evening on day 1 as the sun was beginning to get low in the sky and the moon was beginning its climb. Riding solo as the temps cooled down gave me time to think and just enjoy being on the bike.
Still Day 1, Kurt and I stopped for a break as the sun came up after riding through the night on the approach to Mount Lemmon through Molino Canyon.
I'm proud of parts of my performance in Arizona. First and foremost I took the risk and accepted the challenge. I felt great on the bike on the technical terrain of the Canelo hills and singletrack, despite it being my first off-road ride of 2011. I went into the race with a 24-hour plan that included riding through the first night and stopping only if my body couldn't handle it. Riding at night was a smart move. I felt great and we were able to cover pavement and non-technical terrain without other trail users or the heat of the day. I would definitely do this again and feel that it had little to do with my overall failure.
Where I failed logistically was in knowing the course and how long it takes to cover the terrain north of Mt. Lemmon. With 5000+ calories in my pack for the 140 miles I had half of what I needed to get to Superior. I realized it and decided that going back to Oracle was my only choice. This is where I became unglued and made the decision to call it quits.
Spearfish was the perfect bike for this race. It soaked up the rough rocky trail and carried my kit and I with ease. On the few easy miles of the AZT 300, as I stood on the pedals, I felt as if I was floating over the terrain.
My Spearfish and I have unfinished business in Arizona. We'll be back.