The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 21, Headwind, Sidewind and No Tailwind


April 20, 2017

Sleeping at high elevation in Arizona is cold. We decided to get up a bit later and enjoy the warmth of our sleeping bags and let the sun crest over the nearby peak before really starting the day. We all slowly moseyed out of the tents, with me first to appear, and got packed up and said goodbye to our beautiful little pond and gorgeous views at about 8AM

The tents were frost free, but the tricking water down to the pond was icy. One nice thing about the cold was that it froze the snow, making it easier to walk over it instead of squishing down inside the snow and getting our shoes wet. At least, that worked until about 10, when things softened up again. 

The trail was hard to ride due to the snow and fallen trees. There weren’t as many trees as yesterday, but it still slowed down the pace of our first few miles. Rebekka joked that we will be really prepared for the cyclecross races at the next UNICON. 

Then the trail obstacles almost all disappeared as we got to slightly lower elevation and we enjoyed some nice flowy, easy to ride single track. Green circle type of runs on MTB Biker; perfect for unipacking, but boring for normal muni riding. We loved being able to simply ride and we pushed through the miles. 

We relied on public water stashes, but didn’t need too much as we had gotten extra water before we left the pond. The second stash was after about 23 miles; we used a gallon between the three of us and there were a few more free public water gallons still left in the stash. There is a great Arizona Trail app that lets you comment on water spots, and Jamey has been updating it as we go along with what is where and how good the water is. We also rely on the app for directions and GPS; it works awesome and the trail would be so much harder without it. 

The single track had previously turned into dirt roads, but they were all really ridable. The hard part was the wind. It was picking up to some strong constant winds and high peak gusts that would almost blow me right off the unicycle. The headwind was so strong that the flat ground felt like a 10% grade hill climb. But at least the headwind was fairly ridable; the sidewinds made us ride cock eyed, and we had to occasionally stop for breaks. Still, we rolled on, needing to make it to the next available and reliable water source. 

After battling the winds, we finally hit a dirt stock tank after 36 miles of the trail. Horrible views, dirty vegetation-less dirt, and right by some huge power lines. But the water wasn’t too bad, so we setup our tents at the base hoping the higher edges would block some wind. 

The wind was still crazy strong. I had picked a spot for my tent, and then Rebekka went downwind of it, and Jamey downwind of her. I guess there is such a thing as tent drafting! 

I decided to make dinner and eat in my tent. It is like the Taj Mahal in size compared to my friend’s tents, so I invited them over to dine with me. All three of us could fairly easily fit in my two person Big Agnus Copper Spur tent, and it was great to be out of the wind. 

All the mileage and strong winds left my upper quads sore. My upper left foot also is rather sore. I would think I would be adjusted to riding by now, but we have been doing a lot of hiking. 



Today: 34.2 miles
Total: 505.1 miles  





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