The Pettit~Files, the mad diaries of a rookie rep #3
Lend me eyes and allow the story and your imagination to make noise for your ears, disconnect from your appliances and give yourself adequate time to allow earnest thought and appreciation for what you and others do to propel the globe turning on our axis, because these truly are the days of our lives.
Of all that’s been written and what’s been said, we are all the movement we need to be in this life, there is no damned outside forces, only circumstances and time. Everyone should find a plain, an equal zone to realize all that we’ve accomplished, what’s still on the plate and the dates, times and action for the rest to be realized, achieved and earned, both within ourselves and those we need in our lives.
In the last two weeks I’ve been spread across the great state of Arizona, from the Mexican border, to Tucson, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, back to Prescott twice and randomness in between. Back to my house for a night or two and shared time bike packing with friends on the Arizona trail 300, to new people on the trail and road.
The Arizona trail race spans from the Mexican border to the Utah line, with a portage of 20 plus miles through the Grand Canyon. I was signed up for the 300, which spits you out on US 60, just west of Superior. The route is front heavy, and just getting to Tucson is good, then up over Reddington Pass, then the slog to nearly 9,000 feet to Lemmon. After that you have a beyond technical descent to Oracle, after that you get a smoothness of sorts to the highway. I’m not new, I’ve been beaten, bruised, baptized and completed the tour divide. But this is a different beast all together, it’s the longest single track race in the world (the 750), its rocky, technical, slow and fucks with your body and mind.
I only made it to the half-way point, as a pully bolt backed out of its proper location causing some grief, slow, slow miles and more damn pushing than I care to think back on. The boys did well and trying to tackle this event for your first bike packing effort is a heavy task, it’s a straight up beautiful bitch. We looked for my pully for a while but in the dry earth burnt black from the sun and fires it wasn’t going to be found in this game of hide and seek. There is a lot for your eyes to take in, one of my reasons for bike packing is the pace, effort and new towns to roll into, allow it to cover you in mutual praise and look around while reconfiguring yourself, mind, body and give a brief rundown on the mass social media sights,” hey, look at me I’m going something cool, this is where I am”
The run to Patagonia wasn’t too bad I didn’t think a little walking and a flat tire but we made a good pace, after though, heading towards highway 83 it gets rocky, technical and slow. We rode till nearly midnight and I had a feeling of dread realizing the mileage to next stop ratio. We got a late start, and I knew that it was going to get funky soon. The last section to Tucson has plenty of get offs, I don’t mind hike-a-bike but the constant starting and stopping is a pain in the ass and makes my left knee pissed off.
After the great pully debacle of ’13 we broke the chain, mounted xx1 and cut 10 gears off the bike and made her a single speed, which it didn’t appreciate, at all. We chatted with some hikers not too far off the trail, said they may give me a lift to town, but after making such a slow pace I lost my patience and rode on, managing a meager 3-5 mph average, if I had a loaded gun the trigger may have been pulled.
Baking in the sun, my legs turning over like a rotisserie I was becoming a well done bird ready for a thanksgiving feast for any passerby or woodland creature to consume me. I was pissed off, aggravated and thought the whole bike was going to snap in half from the pressure, but I limped into a gas station, saw Taylor walked in, cracked a beer, grab food and paid. To the reply of the lady,
“did you see the sign no open containers on patio” I said I’d conceal it and we bid adieu till the next wave of food had to be ordered. Taylor called Mary and the rescue mission began, I recovered from my heat stroke and sat on the wooden planks of the store and thought about the world, slow fucking miles, the idea of a god damn DNF, my bike, and all the other ideas and thoughts that flutter in the grey matter of my head.
I got home not too late tore apart another rear derailleur, patched up the bike, fixed some of its ailments and got up to go pre-ride the whiskey 50 course in Prescott with friends. Out on the berm’d single track my frustrations ironed out, the easiness of the idea itself made me relaxed, I thought about the bike, what its allowed me to do and how its allowed me to become who I am. Forget the falseness, find the realness, be who you are and who you want to be. I’m frustrated by my lack of physical affection, my hands and body want a place to land, explore, pleasure and download, have my lips speak the sweetness of someone’s name in a affectionate way, but that right now is my only gripe so I said fuck it and rode some hi desert flowy trail.
I had a heavy work week, shop visits owners and managers that I had to see, take their pain away and ride bikes. I packed up the SRAM wagon with a weeks’ worth of riding clothes, samples, sleeping gear, food and all the other rep accoutimon that we need. I rolled into Flagstaff at sunset, streaking colors lit up the sky and I was at peace in the laid back attitude of the town. I met up the Patrick Kell of IMBA for a beer and some chatting, along with a guide from Sedona and another IMBA supporter from Tucson. Good to catch up, see what I can do to help/promote, and try not to get in the way.
In the morning I rode some of the AZ trail and other connecting ripping single-track. I found large patches of snow, plenty of downed trees and thought about the dichotomy of the state, two hours south it’s saguaro cactus, hot and dusty. Packed up the rig and hit a handful of shops, the attitude and shops are completely different, and I dig it. Some food, and point the rig south by south west towards Prescott and the Whiskey 50. I got the Rockshox ride experience to come out, my first event as a rep with some company support and I was stoked, let the public see the company show them some local support and fan the stoke.
Camped out in the van, I had a 7 am conference call with World Bicycle Relief, if you don’t know much about it check it out, amazing to see what a bike does for a country mired in conflict. Sitting in a cool coffee shop in Prescott the locals chatted, I took some notes on WBR and was met by some new friends from Colorado. Finish up the conference call, chow some food, fix a quick flat then take some people up on the race course for a little recon. Turning around I passed all the greyhound pro’s some I know from back in the day and those I’ve drank and wrestled with.
Meet up with Andy and his girl Karle from the Rockshox ride experience, get set up and get people on our new stuff, help out some racers and get ready for the pro men’s and woman’s crit in the downtown square that zoomed right in front of us. Great crew at SRAM the more I get to know the company and the people the more I feel like I am in the exact place where I supposed to be. The festivities kicked off, bikes where ridden and beers drank. Friday night was fairly chill, all the people racing Saturday so the town wasn’t flooded yet. I was a little bummed I wasn’t lining up as I’m fitter than last year but I was happy running the booth, getting people on our products and changing the way they thought about us.
All my friends had a good race and I was happy for them, no major issues. Spent a good nearly 12 hours in the booth on Saturday, then the party kicks off. Epic rides does it right and it was great to see the tension on everyone’s face be relieved of its stress by having the race over and done with and they can now focus on fun and good times had. Tunes and beer gardens take over the town, I met up with the crew and those from Washington state.
Sunday back at it up and early, in the booth helping the pros get ready for any last minute checks and tweaking, people coming out to demo some bikes. Amazing to see how fast the pro’s charge the course and make us all feel mortal and give us the attitude check we need from time to time. All the other vendors begin the break down, Andy was kind enough to let me get out of town a little early. Scoop up Hunter who needed a ride back south. Out on the patio of the liquor deli was a plethora of mountain bikers having a chill beer on a patio, all laughing, joking and smiling it’s a good life.
A couple hour drive south, joined this time by someone else’s voice, the miles went quick and all I could think about was my home, showers, hammocks pools and the idea of the attainable girl who drives me crazy in good ways. I dropped of my co-pilot, got to my house, hit the garage door clicker and it opened the envelope that is my life as bikes and gear revealed themselves too me as it got higher. I was comforted by the fact that I’m creating all that I’ve ever wanted, missing a piece or two but I’m allowing myself to experience the truth in places, people and the times.
I walked into my backyard, stripped myself of nearly a weeks’ worth of road trip miles, exhibition/demo days, and riding clothes jumped in my pool and was washed by my week, the new faces met, new experiences conquered and miles driven and ridden. I’m back at it this weekend for the Sedona single track fest, then Tucson, Vegas and all points between. If you see the SRAM wagon holler at your boy, lets ride some bikes, laugh at ourselves and find what G-Love says, “Peace, love and happiness”