Bikes. What could make a girl happier. Then through 24 hours into the mix along with a full cast of gnarly characters, camping in the middle of nowhere Arizona and a LOT of pickle juice with Tequila. Sounds like my kind of place. This is 24 Hours in Old Pueblo.
I first was introduced to the bike culture of Arizona last year when I took part in SSAZ (Single Speed Arizona). My good buddy Nebraska Scott (bike friend from, yes, my home state of Nebraska) asked....no....more or less told me to get my ass outta LA to indulge in a weekend of unique singletrack with some of the best peeps around. He was right.
After spending 11hours riding with the Back of the Pack and coming in Women's DFL I was hooked on these MTBers. After getting a taste I knew I needed more. So when 24HOP came up I knew couldn't miss it.
Let It Begin
We rolled into 24HOP late night style, ninja-ing our way through some pretty intense terrain. If I hadn't just spend time on Joshua Tree's roads (which put this boulder infested, gaping dirt to shame) I would have for sure gotta Jone's stuck. After getting a bit lost we found our camp. The fire was blazing in a custom DC fire pit which was surrounded by comfy padded seats just waiting for my ass to settle in.....oh but wait...where's a beer?
The rest of the night was filled with getting caught up with old faces and meeting new even more outrageous members of this ever growing group of heart warmingly sloppy Evel Knievels. Oh, this weekend is gonna be good!!!
In the morning I woke to the beautiful sound of beers cracking, coffee brewing and bacon sizzling. Man, this AZ crew does it right. But the morning wouldn't be the best part of the day, you'd think....but....oh no! In the afternoon our camp became full of the rest of the late arriving crew. It was so great to see everyone. Back of the Pack, Drunk Cyclists, a bike fairy, derby girl....who else!?!?!? Now that we were all back together again it was game on!! The recon ride at high heat bout killed me. I was still getting my Arizona legs which takes me a few days but by the time of the beer crit at the infamous Whiskey Tree I was back on course and ready for a night of complete wonder of bike magic.
During last years SSAZ I had to rely on the BPR crew (Joey, Jolly, Rhino, Frog) to get me through. They were my support and guides. I completely bonded with them and I am forever grateful. The highlight of any event or adventure, for me, is the connection with others.
Now as I sat, reunited with these gentle giants we talked bout life, philosophy, music, bikes and everything else shallow and deep. I found myself in ahhhh of this amazing gift I was experiencing. Hours later I crawled into Jones with my heart floating and even though the music was raging with high octane I slipped into the most blissful nights sleep.
Hold on to your Panties....It's Race Day!!!
The day of the race I found myself quite jealous of the riders. I had race day nerves, yet I wasn't gonna race. Damn it!!! The only way to feed that beast is to race. As I tried to figure out how to make this happen I realized it wasn't. Next year, I told myself. Next year you can totally annihilate yourself but today your on the sidelines, supporting your slew of friends.
At noon the race began and won't end for 24 hours. Time to break out the bacon, fishing pool, penis signs, beer and tweezers. 24 HOP was on!!! Nothing feeds the soul like cheering on a bunch of jackasses riding in the desert for 24 hours straight. Everyone was pumped, the energy was flowing faster than the beer.
(1) Krazy Karl cheering 'em on!!! (2) Whorechata picking out Cacti.
Pickle Juice & Tequila......smooooooth......
Race day shenanigans always includes beer, bacon and a 6 foot long Japanese fishing pool
Til We Meet Again.....
Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay for the entire race. This was such a bummer but I had to head north and the road was calling. Driving away I once again became filled with grace. Yes, the weekend was full of crazy drunken fun but it goes deeper than that. It's about bikes and the ones who love them.
It's been about 15+ years since I've visited the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo Texas so when I rolled up a few months past I was totally taken by how they have changed. Layer upon layer of electrifyingly sprayed paint covered every inch of the Cadillacs. As I walked through the Ranch I noticed paint chunks on the ground, not thin pieces but bout inch thick chunks. So like any artist, I filled my pockets full. This brooch is made outta black paper with white ink, a rhinestone (given to me by ECU grad student Kayla Staigvil, please check out her super badass work, it's damn impressive) and spray painted chunks.
Wanna learn how to take ordinary PVC pipe and make it into some badass jewelry/wearable art? Then sign up for one of my workshops, space is still open but limited, so get on it!!!
Flux Metal Arts
Touchstone Center for Crafts