Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shaw Butte

I began my 30 days of biking by fixing a flat tire. But the rest of day was better. I installed some new fatty tires on my touring bike and rode to the top of Shaw Butte.

Parked at the top amidst the radio towers.

I had never before been up Shaw Butte on a bike, mostly owing to the fact that I've never owned a mountain bike. As I pedaled up the steep grades, with my drop handlebars and my knob-less tires, I thought I was doing something heroic and maybe foolish. But after arriving at the top and striking up a conversation with a hiker, I was told a guy once rode to the top on a unicycle. So never mind on the heroism.

View on the way down. The radio towers of North Mountain, the finish of the LMI last weekend, are visible in the center background.

The descent didn't prove as technically challenging as I anticipated. The hardest part was preventing my hands from cramping, for I braked hard nearly the whole way down. You can't tell from the photo, but parts of the trail reach grades around 20%, and the terrain is sandy with largish, jagged rocks.

Once back on the desert floor, I rode to the North Mountain Visitor Center to refill my water bottle; then I rode trail 100 back to the safety and comfort of asphalt and rode home uneventfully.

4 comments:

Bobby and the Presidents said...

First post is a good one, thank you -- now, I must ask, are you putting qualifiers on your "bike every day" quest? Like, do you have to bike outdoors? Or at least 500 feet, or just do one pedal revolution? I mean, you could accomplish this without leaving your home, technically...and that may actually require technical riding, depending on furniture configuraton etc. Day one involved off road biking...if you did THAT every day for 30 days it would be incredible wouldn't it? Again, I can't imagine doing any biking, even the minimal indoor effort, every day for 30 days, so I remain impressed and looking forward to the posts...just thought I'd ask for a little help in framing the context so that I can visualize more easily (though the photos do help, thank you).

Craig M. Brandenburg said...

Bobby et al.— If we put on our philosopher's hat and delve into the problem of demarcation, then we would come up with some qualifiers for 30 days of biking. But the purpose of this streak isn't to the challenge. Instead, it's to get on a bike and have fun and maybe explore a little. On the afore-linked website, the creators of the streak say it's as OK to ride around the block as it is to bike 20 miles to work. I foresee myself doing some of both—though my commute to work is shorter than that.

Diamond Girl said...

Actually, there are two guys who ride Shaw Butte on unicycles. One of the strangest things I've seen. I chatted with one of the guys once. He was descending on the south side of the mountain which, as you get closer to the bottom, is really quite impressive. He never fell off.

This is not to take away from how heroic it is for you to have biked up the summit. Sometimes I can barely walk it.

Craig M. Brandenburg said...

Diamond Girl— I should have known you know the unicycle guy(s). It's easier to count the people in Phoenix you don't know.