Colin's Journal

6 January, 2006
Chandler-->Sonoran Desert
50 miles
9 miles run, 41 biked

Woke up to more bike troubles this morning, left over from last night. We had tried to replace the rear tire on the kokopelli, only to pinch the tube, repeatedly. Stephen had been working mostly alone on the bikes for over an hour and was extremely frustrated, since it was not cooperating, so we sent him to bed. I got the tube on finally, after a lot of help from Bill, and we decided that the tire was rediculous and we needed a new one. The problem was that the wheel was slightly larger than the tire, and designed for a tubeless setup, so it would cost about $300 for a new set of rims, not just $40 for a new set of tires. As a compromise, we decided to just buy a lot of spare tubes before we hit the desert section coming up.
Unfortunately, the bike store didn't open until 10am (we thought it'd be 9), so we would get a very late start. Instead, after a hearty oatmeal breakfast, and profusely thanking our hosts, Rogo, Bill, Corey and I got the relay started towards Maricopa and the grocery store, while Stephen and Grant waited for the bike store, then rode after us. We arrived at the store about 5 minutes before a tailwind aided Stephen and Grant did, a remarkably smooth recovery from our bike problems. We all bought lunch there (pizza and a cherry fritter), and loaded up on enough food to get to Yuma.
We rode on through a highway (rt. 238) that was pretty lightly travelled, but there were no shoulders, and half the vehicles on it are large trucks, so everyone who went by was nearly killing us. Yesterday in Chandler, Bill had seen boxes of Pop-Tarts on sale for $1.70 a piece, so he bought 10, and we were all snacking on those through the day. We hit the entrance to the Sonoran Desert National Monument (National Monuments are designated by presidents, National Parks by congress), then took a desert two-track about two miles later. We switched runners a little while in, and I was taking the last leg of the day (which is always tough, and I always tried to avoid), and as I started on, we met a lot of people (for the middle of the desert): one guy drove by in a pickup truck, and said he saw us in Tucson three days ago. Another guy we asked for directions was leading a Mormon youth group trip to a section of trail (the same as Anza used) used by Brigham Young. Pretty soon it was all desert though, and I figured out why everyone else looked so blasted when they had finished their run that day. It was so hot, and I tried to just keep running, let the miles slide by, but the sun beat down mercilessly. Stephen went into beast mode as the trail got rocky and rolling, and pretty soon it was just me trailing him on his BOB trailer.
We got to a very sandy section around 5pm, and I suggested we stop, since I was very tired, and sand biking is no fun for the rest of them. Rogo and Grant soon joined us, but Bill had taken a big fall on his bike, flatted a tire, and put a hole in the 2.5 gallon water tank we bought in Maricopa. He carried the tank to our camp, but left the bike a half mile back. So Corey and I walked out there, he shouldered the panniers, and I carried the bike, and we got to camp a little after 6, right as it got dark.
Beautiful spot to camp, a little off the trail, surrounded by rocky hills. Stars are all above, and there is a bright moon. Also, there is a boy scout troop camping nearby who were nice enough to supply us with a brand new 2.5 gallon tank (they are so resourceful!), so we have enough for breakfast. We had instant teryaki noodles for dinner, and peanut butter on chocolate for dessert before turning in pretty early for another big day tomorrow.
Line of the day- Bill, to Stephen on his run: "Isn't this nice? A cool windy breeze, a nice shady area... Oh wait. You're running in a desolate wasteland."

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