It’s Friday. Fuck yeah! Lots of exciting times coming to the desert soon. SingleSpeed Arizona is a week away. And Old Pueblo is set to party the week after. We’ve got friends coming in from at least six different states and fucking England to boot. So I figured I’d stoke the fire with some memories of another drunken tradition from the not so distant past.
It’s been a full two months since the Beer Century III went down. Work, travel, other rides, women, hangovers; they all absorb our lives. But it’s a good enough tradition to still report on. And if nothing else, it’s an ode to the big dumb ideas that we all need to experience from time to time. They keep us sane. And give us something to smirk about when that jackass by the water cooler asks how your weekend was.
Coming in to this edition we had the largest roster yet with close to 10 clowns in the ring. However just like the best laid of plans; injuries mounted, wives protested, and some were just never heard from. Krazy Karl went and broke his hip at the Cave Creek Cactus Classic. He’s all better now. Dirty was still recovering from his broken elbow and decided to go surfing instead. He’s all better now too. Ben had a long lost Grandpa resurface; and Judd from Back of the Pack just went to radio silence.
But the remaining crew soldiered on. Myself, Desert Yeti, Nebraska Scott, and BPR Frog met in the pre-dawn hours at the Yucca Tap Room. Ever faithful that joint is, open at 6am. Every. Fucking. Day. Normally we’re met by only 2-3 other folks steeled enough to pull dawn patrol at the bar. But this time there was a group of Hashers convening for some kind of an feat of strength, not too different from ours. Only theirs had more rules and chanting. Shots were had, beers emptied, and we slipped out before anything could get too weird.
Before I get too much further, quick shout out to the fine folks at LeMond. The Desert Yeti almost didn’t make this trip. He’d ordered a new bike a few months earlier with the hopes of having it for this journey. Well flash forward to the week before the ride and still no bike. The Yeti makes some calls and explains he’s got a big ride on Saturday. They track it down, get a custom paint job done, and overnight the whip to our LBS. No extra charge, just made it happen. At ride time it was the first and only Washoe in the USA. Nice folks they are.
Moving on…. we cruised down the canal path to beer stop one which was conveniently next to a cross-fit gym, or whatever they call it. Say what you will about their antics, but the view can be pretty nice. A few miles further and we picked up the Spanniard and our crew of five was complete. We ticked off miles (and beers every 10) moving south out of the Valley from Chandler, and headed for Sacaton (the fry bread stand was gone!), Casa Grande, and Eloy.
Somewhere just before Eloy Scott flatted his front tire. It was thoughtful timing on his part to make sure it was right in front of a biker bar. The leather kind. So Yeti and I popped in for a shot and a pint. Fortunately the tube was a quick change and Scott joined us before moving on.
A few miles further and we finally catch up to Frog and Spanniard. Here we discover that Scott has now broken the spring in his chain tensioner. This lead to a rather lengthy stop at a Circle K where various numbers of chain links were added then removed then added again. An entire 12-pack, three tallboys, and about three packages of peach rings were consumed here before the chain was deemed rideable.
Apparently the rigged chain was a tad tight, since two miles past the Circle K Scott’s chain snaps and jettisons itself off an overpass into traffic on the I-10. No, nobody brought a spare chain. Upside was we were within coasting distance of a nice pecan grove where we planned to have a beer anyway. An early extraction was called in for Scott and the rest of us rolled south a man down.
From here the remainder of the journey started to become a crampy blur. When driving to Tucson, Picacho Peak is a landmark that means you’ll shortly be hitting the outskirts of town. However when done on two wheels your mind thinks you’re almost there, but fails to remind your legs they’ve got about three hours to go. At a drunks pace anyway. Sunset provided a peaceful transition to the final leg of the journey as we stopped at the truck stop for a last haul of supplies. We procured more beer, ice cream, and some fireworks before setting off for town.
Well after dark we found our way on to the north end of the Tucson Loop path. It’s a bit of a cock tease when you reach this point since you can see downtown but it’s still two beers away. So we put our heads down and just got to work. Desert Yeti was hurting the most and swears that his fancy LeMond pedaled itself the last 20 miles. Finally we rolled into the hotel parking lot where we were greeted with several unique situations.
1) Scott and Mike had been at the hotel bar for almost three hours now. It appeared the Wild Turkey had added up and Mike had peaked a bit too early as he attempted to remove a potted plant from the lobby. 2) Desert Yeti was dehydrated to the point of shaking and barely made it out of the lobby to vomit in the courtyard. 3) Upon escorting him to said courtyard I was confronted with a gigantic Quinceañera party. Literally 100+ half-drunk teenage girls were roaming the hotel grounds. Which was actually good cover as they absorbed most of the attention that a group of drunken cyclists normally would have received.
So after we had a chance to gather our wits and make it to the room it was time to hit town. We planned to meet up with all the racers in town for the following days fat bike race, the SandBox ShowDown. Nothing like riding bikes and drinking all day and then drinking all night with people who are going to ride bikes all the next day.
Once we hit town I don’t recall much from the evening to be honest. Partially due to the nature of the events, partially because it was two months ago. But it was a fine time I can assure you. We got to enjoy The Pork Torta at Che’s on 4th Ave, which was a nice surprise. Enjoyed them so much that we did a round(s) of shots and then I booked them to rock out at SSAZ. We sauntered from bar to bar, and I recall us causing a mild scene in front of a hot dog truck. The group found a ride back to the hotel from someone we met at the last bar, and when I went to meet them outside I was all but dragged into the back of a minivan and handed a beer. So it goes. Back at the room we broke out the remaining fireworks and put on a show for what was left of the Quinceañera.
The next day we bounced around town for bloody marys and food before heading to the dive bar along the SandBox route. We made it in time to see the first few riders come through, most covered in bunches of thorns and lacking of fucks to give about finishing. So we bought some rounds for the folks near the front, celebrated Sara’s 30th birthday, and got to party with a monkey.
So for another year the booziest of all the cruises rode again. And I see no reason it won’t roll again in 2015. Grab some wheels. Grab some beers. Ride real far. Cause a scene. Bring the party.by