I'm not prone to cramping, but they hit full force on Friday out on the Black Canyon Trail (BCT). Having the capacity to go on, but the sheer lack of energy in your legs because of debilitating cramps in your toes, calfs, quads and......gasp.....horror...your hamstrings is downright rude. Having your body fail on so many levels as to leave you no option but to dismount from your bike and walk uphill defies common decency. Damn you magnesium imbalance!
With that being said, it was not all bad, take this picture as an example. It was shot after I started cramping but was still managing. The photog credit goes to Monkeybutt....proving that "you don't have to be having fun, to have fun." There were signs along the way that my body was not right. I did not uber-hydrate the night before or the morning pre-ride, I conserved my electrolyte drink during the 1st half of the ride....and I was trying to impress folks. There....I've said it, now I'm stickin' with it.
Having joined up with 4 folks off of the MTBR Arizona forum, I proceeded to hammer myself on the 1st half of the ride. Stupid is as stupid does. I am left humbled by the experience, wanting more....I will return. In hindsight, I'll start hydrating for the long rides like I hydrate for backcountry days. I'll drink more fluids early in the day rather than sipping to conserve early. Once the cramps start....all the fluids, electrolytes, saliditos in the world will not get you out of the cramp zone anytime soon. Sure, they'll subside faster with the remedies in hand....but to quote Walter Sobchak, "you're about to enter a world of pain".....guaranteed. Lesson learned....moving on.
The BCT was absolutely stunning. Most of the trail system is pretty new, but the portion we started out on was very new...as in unconsolidated, soft dirt new. Of course, there were some rock gardens where things had yet to fill in from the rains; but overall, this was one sweet piece of singletrack. The amount of work going into these sections is amazing, well thought out, graded appropriately and with a strong eye to sustainability. I can't say enough good things about this trail. As for the scenery, it too was stunning. Flanked by the Bradshaw Mountains on the west and the Agua Fria river on the east; we traversed and crossed several mountain ridges, dropping down to the river twice to cross and in general having a flowy good time. There were some sustained climbs, but the grade was very reasonable. This grade was made possible by quite a few switchbacks which required some finesse to navigate. Lets just say I had more finesse for the first 70% of the ride. The last 30% of the ride the finesse was replaced by desires to be at Rock Springs drinking a cold one.
Last, but certainly not least; my riding companions for the day started out as strangers and ended up all being great folks with whom I look forward to riding with again soon. Overall, we rode 25.6 miles with 4108 ft vertical gained on the day. I neglected to start my GPS until we had rolled down the trail a bit, so the profile is incomplete.
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