The Pettitfiles

The Pettit files~The most excellent miss adventures of Jonny P~Globe and beyond

Load up the wagons and point the horsepower east for the good ole Globe grind, pit stop number five on the MBAA race list. Globe is a mining town turned rough neck since the lack of natural elements are no longer in demand as when the towns structures where first built. I’ve ridden through it, over it, but never in it, until last Saturday.

This time 24 hour u-23 world champ and my divide companion Taylor Lideen was to race the marathon class with me, so along with Clint “Daaang” Sparks we packed up Shamu, loaded up bikes, coolers, tents, beers and number plates and began our journey to the outer reaches of civilization. The drive was comical, the conversations lewd, crass and funny as shit. We meet up with Mike Melley of hub productions and his bride Sage at the Safeway before the venue, to further stock up on beer, morning food and to follow the man responsible for our timing.

The “Venue” as it turns out was right alongside two highways, and by right by I mean I threw a rock and hit one, threw another and nailed the other. The near empty parking lot meant most would come up the morning of, something I hate doing, not just from a shops perspective, but I don’t like to wake up at 3, but the way I’ve been racing lately maybe I should try it. It was dark and rutted by the time we found suitable terrain for the sprinter benz, popped up the tents, got everything organized for the other’s tomorrow. Taylor brought his divide bike and I brought all my stuff to hitch up to mine once the racing concluded, our plan was to ride home, mostly dirt and open the shop by 11 on Sunday a hundred and forty or so mile trek to be done in two days, ambitious but doable.

Melley and the boys came over and chatted, drank a couple beers and checked out the rigs while the girls huddled around a fire next site over, he forgot his jacket and had to borrow the now infamous coat of mine. At the 24 hours of old pueblo, I awaited teammate and bud Robert LaRoche, once we swapped batons in the dark hours I game him my newly acquired Marmot synthetic down jacket. An hour and five minutes later after my lap, I returned to the “lair” to the sounds that my new, fuzzy warm coat had been torched by mister heater.  I rocked the jacket with fuzz hanging out of it for a long time, until the weekend of the Whiskey 50 in Prescott when our friends Candy and Tom housed us I asked Tom if he had any black duct tape, he being a MAN, not only had duct tape, but black gorilla tape, the patch authentic, the coat highly usable and even though my good friend papa roche has offered to buy me a new one, this one I can’t seem to let go, its part of stories and every time I pull it out I smile and forget whatever hell I’m in and think of my friends, and on this night, it kept one warm.

Taylor and Clint set up their tents and I as usual laid in the belly of Shamu, the doors open I gazed up at the stairs, but my night was bothered by street lights and the loud sounds of jake brakes on the highways, so I turned my head towards the front and focused on sleep. My alarm buzzed at 4:30, I of course hit snooze until 5, then without the warmth of Marmot I put on some rain gear and made my way to the sweetness of my jetboil, within minutes I had some fake Starbucks Via in my cup with some sugar awakening the morning, the skies a baby blue, the boys still in slumber I sat and drank the goodness then made another. The sounds of synthetics, sleeping pads, and tent zippers meant the boys were rolling awake, I sat in a plastic chair and watched the sunrise, cars rolling in, and the MBAA folks setting up registration.

Taylor and I decided to roll a lap on what we’ve heard a less than stellar course, and every voice we’ve heard was correct. I’ve had absolutely no anaerobic work since I broke my hand and have very little miles in. I took two weeks off completely then rolled up to Prescott to hang with friends and watch the Whiskey 50, an easy 120 miles with my divide bike, since then not a whole lot really.

The course starts out on a bland jeep road, notches up with two climbs, then rolls for four plus miles of bs forest road, a gradual climb with a stank headwind with absolutely zero shade, at the 8:30 marathon start most of the greyhounds all ready had the jerseys unzipped and hitting the water. The four mile gradual climb comes to an end and shoots you down some short but fast service roads, then you take a left up a little climb to begin a nice off camber technical descent that pours out into over a mile of pure sand, yup, volleyball court sand for longer than I care to think about. I chose a skinnier tire for the roads and the ride home, but didn’t plane for this at all and as soon as I hit the sand it felt like an anchor had been thrown out and I was left to tow it, either by running or ridding portions I could.

After that a good little climb up to get you closer to the ridge then the mother of all short and nasty’s a 28% grade sucker, I rode it twice and ran the other 3 times. I was already way out of contention, Taylor and the boys were long gone, I passed him in the sand and he said his foot was cramping up, I could relate because both of my legs were on the verge, and once they did, it didn’t stop me. My garmin had died and I had no idea about time so I just rode the monotonous course in an effort to get some fitness. But on this mothers day weekend, in full view of the sun and a shit hole course, I cursed Mother Nature herself, a cruel bitch that formed Globe into her armpit, I suffered, and I suffered not well at all. Aided by Craig and Dan who for reasons was waaaaay out on course, upon his return his beet red face was ready to find the shade and AC of a car.

After the race we sat under the shade of the South Mountain Cycle’s tents, I hacked like I have been since February and when I tried to move the mother of all leg cramps crippled me to the ground in both legs, wearing only bibs and shoes I rolled in the mud I poured on myself and was left sucking water out of my pack, lying in a fine dust and watching clouds puff every time I exhaled, of course in good fashion my friends took pics of my misfortune, sprawled out in the dirt, shirtless and prideless, soon after I prepared my divide bike to ride out. Josh Maule had crushed it, followed by a dude I don’t know and my friend Papa Roche got his first podium of the year, a hobbled, humbled Jonny P got fourth.

We hopped in Shamu and headed out for a ceremonial farewell beer. We chose a good looking dive called the Liquor store, although we should have know better once I asked if they have PBR, the bartender looked at me and asked what is PBR? stunned and befuddled, I drew out my words long and slow, Pabst-Blue-Ribbon, “oh” she said, no we aint got none of that, alrighty then I didn’t see any taps so I peered into the old wooden framed cooler and spotted a Coors original, Clint was his usual funny self and I was still recuperating from my cramps and thinking about the miles ahead, Taylor was just happy to be riding and camping out.

Yeah, yeah McMaster showed up and joined us for a beer then it was off to subway to load up on some calories and some to go, then we all bided farewell, my friends headed west, Taylor and I pointed North, our two wheels to their four.

Out on the highway it wound down for awhile, a road I’ve never been on, we stopped at a gas station and loaded up with some junk food and continued climbing towards the lake.  The mountains tried to out do each other off in the distance, each one folding higher behind the other as the spine descended from one, another picked up where one ended and continued to rise.

We kept hounding upwards until the lake gave way to two great watersheds, the source of Roosevelt dam and our turn off to dirt roads. My legs we tired and my body beat down, the road to Apache Lake Marina was rough for me, it continued upwards and around it felt seemingly never ending, I was quickly running out of gas, after nearly 50 miles of racing and another 70 or so afterwards my reservoirs were drying up, my motivation nearly gone, I stopped on a climb and told Taylor if the marina isn’t within sight of the next bend I’m camping where I stop. Sure enough after we crested yet another hill in the dark I saw light a few miles away.

The long descent down to food and shelter felt good, although knowing we’d have to climb this monstrosity first thing in the a.m. wasn’t exactly comforting, the idea that my day was nearly over, after awakening at 4:30, and racing and riding in the unsheltered sun all day was a relief, I felt fairly good considering I’ve done well over a hundred in the heat, with out of shape legs, and a packed bike.

We had a bacon cheeseburger and some beers paid for by a bunch of rowdy bar patrons who quizzically asked us about our steeds, my mind was toast and my ability to chat with drunks gone, these are however my kind of people, but my body was too tired to keep up with their gibberish tonight. After our second beer the alkaline taste too much for my buds, we found a campsite near the water and boat ramp. I again slept on top of a picnic table off the floor of bugs, Taylor chose a spot in front of me to set up his tent. In bits of sleep I dozed while some launched boats and others partied into the night.

In the morning my blackberry ringing me awake, I hit snooze on the alarm, looked over to make sure Taylor was still there. I fumbled in my pack for the awesomeness of the jetboil, I cranked it up and readied some star bucks Via coffee and some raw sugar packets.  With the vale of a new day being lifted before me exposing the water and rocky formations, I laid in the warmth of my bivy and sleeping bag taking in the sights. Taylor is slow to rise so I readied another cup of coffee and downed some food, walked to the waters edge while everyone else was still deep in slumber I stretched and laid out in the first sunlight, gaining motivation through photosynthesis I recharged my cells and awoke my youngen to start a new day. We loaded up with grub from the store at the Marina, pop tarts, cokes, oatmeal cookies- the real breakfast of champions. The climb was brutal, but the road there after rolled nicely, gravity is my friend and I flew past Taylor on the flats and false downhill’s, soon I was out of sight and flying, up ahead was Fish Creek and another big climb.

We had called Mary, Taylor’s girlfriend to pick us up near Tortilla flats, a small town not far from the end of pavement so we wouldn’t be late to work. We loaded our rigs in Tot’s moms car and made our way to Ahwatukee and the shop, we laid on the cool concrete behind the store waiting for a key, our trip was over and a work day ahead. The bikes feel divide ready, I hope my allergies will come around. I’m still massively stressed about money and the logistics, but I know once we roll out on noon June 10th I’ll be fine. It’s hard to focus on racing, my training is different now, my motivation to stomp people and win is more focused on survival and grinding for nearly a solid month and 3,000 miles. Although I continue to support the MBAA and the racers that come into the shop, its hard to fight for only 4 hours when I know what’s ahead.

I appreciate all the support we’ve received lately, I apologize I’ve yet to step on the top of the podium yet, but knowing my challenges and being realistic my greatest adventure less than a month away, the excitement to race for only a day is hard to get my head around, and I haven’t had any snap in my legs since February. But the love I get from Amber, friends, the shop and customers is pretty amazing and only makes the days go by until we get to Banff and the great divide, hope you all enjoy, and I promise only bigger and better adventures to come.


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