Our final day of riding. It was a whirlwind of a week with lots of laughs, good times, and great miles under our tires. The final ride was from Apache Junction to Tortilla Flat, which meant piling into the vans for a 90 minute drive to the starting point. The drive was oddly quiet, perhaps because all of us were reaching point of exhaustion, and with the return home in sight, our thoughts had started to drift to real life again.
Arriving in Apache Junction we parked, unloaded the bikes and got ready to roll out… but not before fixing a flat I’d suffered at the end of yesterdays ride. New tube in and ready to go, except for the flat new tube for me. Another quick change and ready to go! We rolled out in a single pace line keeping a steady 28km/h speed. It was quite enjoyable rolling along as a group. Rolling hills gave way to a few steep kickers, before transitioning into a terrific descent. And that’s when the group pulled away from me as I stopped to check my headset. Loose. And while I was attempting to tighten it I noticed my front tire was going flat. Again. Again. Boo. I tried to fix the headset but it wasn’t to be, and my day, and week, of riding was over. The sag wagon picked me up and I was officially a spectator.
As we drove I took in the sights but was terribly disappointed in missing out on the final ride of the camp. At the bottom of the descent, in the “town” of Tortilla Flat (population 6) we reviewed the rest of the ride plan before the group set off for what was later referred to as “an amazingly awesome climb and descent. Just perfect.” Not what I wanted to hear but I was happy for the other to have experienced it.
The “town” is really just a few buildings in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea why so many people make the trek to visit it, but the three parking lots were overflowing, and the lineups in each business were huge. One of the many mysteries of life I suppose.
After experiencing all that the town had to offer we retraced our route back to Apache Junction. Bjug and Katie headed off first, while Miriam, Chris and Ryan left a couple of minutes later. This proved to be a great motivator for Chris as he put his head down and set a blistering pace as he chased down the two lead riders. I called out the time gaps at each stop we made which really seemed to spur him on.
Arriving back in Apache Junction we found a table at The Hitching Post restaurant. A real cowboy bar, complete with a hitching post out front to tie up horses. At least three cowboys rode up and tied up while we were there, complete with hats and spurs. Very authentic, and very cool.
With a few hours before dinner we retired to our room to start packing up, disassembling our bikes, etc. Hard to believe that the trip is almost over.
For dinner we headed to Buffalo Chip. We’d be warned that “you only go to Buffalo Chip for the entertainment; no one goes for the food.” But happily the food was pretty good. But the entertainment was definitely the highlight. Live amateur bull riding, and a country band playing covers, with a lively crowd dancing on the large dance floor. Good times were had by all.
Eventually dinner, drinks and bull riding came to an end and we headed back to the resort for bed.
It’s been fun. Tiring but great fun.