Arizona postcard

Sunrise ray gun into purple grey, fading chilly and windy through the tears in the sky. The tarp kept me dry even if the setup was unambiguously unsound, the 2-9 and Cass’s Krampus front wheels side apex points. Disappointment of needing an overhead sheet at all, yet another layer with clouds between voice and moon.

Breakfast, short jokes, packing in a silence of our ascending optimism that the day will be blue sky heat. We turn out to be right about that. Body lamentably out of shape for this, but not just that, all those tiny compiled synchronicities of when to brake aim lean twist pull, just where to hover your hips over the saddle for traction, all garbled bits of an obscured ledger, and exacerbated by bags that throw just a little different. But and so? Ride with the simple cadence of a Saturday club run, with the flat out exquisite detachment that leads to wondering how the hours evaporated. An amiable guy in a jeep ends our chat by warning us to be careful of, but he hesitates because really he can’t think of anything, it’s just a habitual way of ending such encounters in the backcountry.

Train tracks, crossbrace lattice iron bridge, lunch next to the Gila that in euphoria seems like radiant flux, more sinuate singletrack. We aim for a source, always cognizant of the limits of our water, surprise each other when we run into an ultra runner training in fat late in the day air. He’s relishing the chance to tell us about how to find our destination, but it’s offered like a manic pirate’s treasure story with ornamentation and fractalated detail, more or less useless as my mind wanders distracted by his zebra print gaiters.

Turn up the wash that narrows to a canyon and lifting bikes over boulders saddle noses on shoulders splashing through pools pushing through tangles. Stumble tired, at the end an artesian well, “reliable water” the waypoint says. We fill our bottles, pedal short away and untorque the day.