On a Saturday afternoon, finding myself ripping vinyl albums to MP3 after five days of semi-voluntary non-riding due to severe weather, I squinted through the blinds at the outside world and glimpsed sunshine, and chided myself: dude, put down the records, it's time to get up, go ride. You can rip the old Pantera and Smiths records later. I scouted around the house until I remembered where I put the bike so many days ago, and decided to ride down to Tempe Town Lake to get some video of the Salt River running over the inflatable rubber dam after Arizona received a year's worth of rain in under a week. The original title of this post was going to be "Find a Place Fit to Laugh," from the R.E.M. lyric in the song "Laughing," which was on the vinyl album (Murmur) I was ripping at the time I peeked outside. But, after I took my fantasy commute route down the Crosscut Canal to Tempe, I ran smack into the middle of an event with people riding bicycles with numbers and wearing determined, fatigued looks on their faces. Fate was getting a little snippy with me, reminding me this is supposed to be a bicycling blog, smacking me upside the head with the 12 Hours of Pain and Purpose Mountain Bike Challenge. Here are a few of the riders, apparently about 10 hours into the race:
Number 120 wins the "Find a Place Fit to Laugh For Looking Good After Riding 10 hours" award. It's a team event, but that's still a lot of riding. I rode this fast, level part of the course on my steel single speed with the 700x30 slightly knobby tires, and started to think that the suspended mountain bikes were overkill. Then I noticed on the map that they jump over to Papago Park after this part, where I'm sure the suspension was useful, and the knobs needed on the extra-muddy trails.
Anyway, this is Onespeedgo, not exactly a competitive sports-oriented cycling site, more of a "what I saw and thought about it while riding blog," so here's a video of the river. The downstream side of this is usually dry except for a small pool and tiny outflow stream. I saw the river running a lot wilder than this the day the new bridge washed away in January of 1993, but this still is a lot of water to be running here.
Then as I turned toward home, I passed the SRP port hole of genetic diversity, which to my mind is the outlet of the Crosscut canal. This normally placid water feature was overflowing with gurgly brown water and spewing dead fish across the grass as the water ran down and mingled with the Salt River. I don't actually know what the source of the water is, but it looks like it could be from the Crosscut, and by the fish on the grass, it looks like they are not filtering out the biologics from all the different upstream rivers, at least not after the rains, with the high water levels. But I wasn't actually looking for fish or quagga muscle veligers, I was scanning for bits of foam from my fantasy break-up of Flowing Overlapping Gesture. Saw none though.
On this ride, I also improved the fantasy commute route both in time and smoothness by staying on the path through the park as apparently intended. Paul Davies, email me if you have any need of an IT-savvy apprentice to serve in a think-tank like capacity; I think the commute on a Sinner Mango is viable now. Get up. Go ride.