I had been wanting to re-ride Sibley Mansion ever since my first attempt ended with a bang. Riding old trails you once found very challenging, can really put in perspective how far you’ve come. My “Death in the Desert” re-ride was a great example, but while I hoped it would be laughably easy this time around, Sibley was still putting butterflies in my stomach.
James and I met Allyn at a gas station in Tucson, with plans to meet a new to the area rider, Jay, up in Mammoth.
We got on the bikes to head North, Allyn kicked it into first and his bike made a terrible grinding sound and the chain flopped right off! He was trying to figure out why he wasn’t going anywhere, so I tapped his shoulder and pointed at the bike of his bike.
Somehow the sprocket had sheared all but one bolt and mostly removed itself from the bike. Luckily the chain was unbroken, so Allyn borrowed the Zeb to get new bolts and get us on our merry way.
The bike wasn’t going anywhere with the sprocket and chain wedged in like that, so we had to set up shop right there in the parking lot. Luckily we weren’t in the middle of the road itself.
I let Jay know we’d be running late. Luckily it didn’t take -too- long and we were back on our way again!
Jay was happy to see us.
We were all tired of delays and excitedly hit the trail!
After a short while, I began to think something was wrong with my suspension. I could feel every rock. I pulled over and lo and behold I had a front flat.
I considered myself lucky to have never previously had a flat and it was almost funny after the earlier delay, but still mostly annoying.
Jay and Allyn gave me some prodding for failing to bring any tools or spare tubes, but luckily they are better skilled and prepared than I and they set to work on my tire.
Here I am demonstrating my ability to hold things out of the dirt while other people do the hard work.
Finally we got back on the road again.
Stopped to check out some mining relics.
There was some confusion on which way the trail went and we ended up going up some very steep rocky hills.
James stalled out and nearly gave himself heat stroke trying to kick his machine back to life. It was way too hot for a leather jacket, so when we turned and came back down to the creek, he decided to head back home.
The rest of us took on the creek trail.
Allyn had his hands full on the big KTM, but Jay took it on with little fuss.
I wish Allyn had gotten a picture of me barreling through the river. I opted for speed and momentum over good line choice but somehow splashed through unharmed, if a bit sloppy.
Finally we got back on the right track. Allyn linked me this great little map of everywhere we went. Apparently continuing through the creek bed would have gotten us to the mansion as well…
Eventually we got on some roads that felt familiar to me. I plowed right up the mountain that previously took me down and the feeling of triumph prompted me to go faster. I flew around corners and over a few rock gardens before I felt the familiar feeling of overexertion. We took a break and ate some cookies and snacks. We discussed remaining daylight and decided we probably still had time to make it. We just didn’t want to try riding back out through all that in the dark.
When I got back on to head out again I dropped the bike on the first little incline. Dangit, I was doing so well! No harm done though, I climbed back on we rode off to the mansion.
The last downhill was crazy steep, but we chugged down to the locked gate, where you have to abandon your steeds and hike out to get a view of the mansion.
The mythical Sibley Mansion, my Holy Grail, at last I have found you!
I dropped the bike again on the way back up the hill. It had been a long day and I was truly exhausted.
Suddenly, about where I had felt it on the way in, the suspension started to rattle my bones.
You have got to be kidding me…
Jay and I discussed the options. I had already used up all his air canisters on the first flat fix and the hand pump didn’t seem to be working. I told him to run ahead and let allyn know what was up while I slowly rode it out.
Allyn was very concerned about me riding a flat and rushed back to help. He tried to turn too fast though and got a sand bath. Being the gracious girl I am, I made sure to take a picture.
I rode Jay’s KTM (with a Rekluse! Pretty cool, but takes a little getting used to…), Jay rode the beastly KTM and Allyn rode the Zeb out to Jay’s trailer and then we all convoyed to a nearby gas station.
Thanks again you guys. I promise one day I’ll be better at tire changing and more prepared with tubes and tools…
What are the chances of getting two flats in one ride? Pretty high when your rim lock has defected and the metal is free to rub through the tube.
Many lessons learned, but in spite of all the bike issues and wrong turns, I had a whale of a time. Somehow Jay seemed willing to ride with us clowns again too!
I’m really looking forward to re-riding Chiva this weekend!