Posted by Perrin Derrick On September 22, 2017
Things didn’t work out as planned this year, they never do. Never! In 2016 everyone around me was healthy and I taped out of the AZT300 due to an illness. Jump to 2017, I’m healthy and everyone around me is sick.
On one hand, planning, workouts, sponsorships came together perfectly, and then there was chaos falling apart in the opposite direction.
It takes me back to my chemotherapy treatment days. For every victory out there, there was something kicking you in the nuts trying to break you.
Every decision had a bad effect on someone.
My family was not going to make the trip to Arizona so I offered up a seat to my aunt Tish. She jumped onboard and me, my mom and my aunt took off west.
Balmorhea, Texas to Sonoita, Arizona. We made one pit stop in El Paso, TX to pickup a new set of grips. Thanks, Crazy Cat Cyclery. You have a nice shop.
As a small business owner, you have to complete all the to-dos before getting on a bike and riding off into the wilderness. My last to-do was a big law video production. To get this one completed I found myself in a parking lot 35miles west of my cozy bed at 3:30 am. Not having internet sucked. By 4:30 the edit was complete and uploaded, everything had been checked off the list and it was time for rest.
Prep day Thursday
The first day to have all the bags loaded up. A small amount of anxiety knowing that day 1 and the Canelos are calling. At the Xanadu guest ranch, I had a great talk with Don, a road tour rider from Nebraska. Don spent the last part of March traveling Arizona by bicycle. He and his riding buddy were quite the inspiration.
Packing bike bags is a problem without a perfect answer. You must keep heavy stuff down low, items needed quick need to be close, and bedding gear tends to be fluffy and bulky. So if you pack for weight alone you will not have quick access to the things you need. If you pack for quick items you might have a lopsided bike. If you pack your pack… blah blah blah, I will figure it out as I go was the plan.
There were fires causing a detour in the route up Mt Lemmon. I was bummed hearing this because I wanted to trudge through the suck that came with taking off to Redintton Road and climbing the mountain.
Friday – Race day Goal – No rest till Kentucky Camp
My mom had brought Cinnamon Rice Chex as a special breakfast treat. Thanks, mom!
We packed up and made the drive from Sonoita, AZ to Parker Canyon Lake. I wasn’t the last person to show up, but I was cutting it really close. Tish didn’t make it out of the truck to wish me off. My mom, Becky, took a few photos and wished me well. After the standard prep talk from Scott, the pack is off.
I give my last goodbyes and head off into the Canelo Hills. This year starting on time afforded me the opportunity to ride with a lot of different riders. Casper from Denmark and I seemed to play tag all through the east hills. I didn’t seem to have weak lungs like I did in this section of the ride last year.
A few miles in I learn that my bag test the day before was not through enough. I was questioned with a group of riders about a missing orange bag. Yes, I was the owner of the lost orange bag. I really didn’t believe the rider when they said someone had it and was bringing it up the trail. I had just put my bike down and was ready to head back down the trail when I saw Jeff Hanson and his wife coming up to greet me with my handlebar bag. I was grateful.
Riding in a group had its benefits and drawbacks. I had plenty of water and knew a water hole was getting close. I wanted to be sure to always keep 1 liter of water until I made it to the next refuel stop. So I missed a spot I used last year and found a new spot to fill up a jug. So I found a small pool of suspect water. This water was not flowing so I used my tabs to treat it before loading it into my hydration pack and sending it through my Sawyer mini. I chose to put the Sawyer inline this year so I had immediate access to water. On my 2016 ride, there were too many times where the 35 min tablet wait was a pain to deal with. The Sawyer allowed me to scoop my bladder into a pool of water, hook up my water line and start to drink. This would also work as a gravity filter. I could just hang my bag in a tree and let it drop into my bottles.
By mid-day, I kept passing riders hiding in bushes. I couldn’t blame them. It was hot on the trail. Last year I hit Patagonia 5 minutes after the stores closed. This could not happen this year. The Canelo west trailhead hosted 4 or 5 resting riders. one rider asked me something like “How’s it feel to kick the Canelos in the ass?” I let him know it was the other way around.
Canelos west meant fewer riders yet an easier ride despite the gusty winds. You get out on the trail and feel all alone. There might be riders out there but you don’t see or hear anything. Around 5 I hopped off trail to take care of some bush business.
If you are ever feeling lonely or need to see someone just stop for a 2 off the trail… someone will show up.
Down Under Tank 03-035a (Mile 18) was my next water stop. I had a mission this year. I missed the cement damn with the pipe that feed off the bottom Trap Tank. It was a minor victory, but I was glad I found it. Very nice and cold water off the bottom of the stock tank. As I was topping off I met a fellow Texas rider named Don Schwieters (750). He quickly earned my respect for being a Tour Divide 2016 finisher with the time of 29:07:58. Congrats on that achievement Sir. Don’s AZTR750 time was 13:08:25. Congratulation on that achievement also.
Evaporative Cooling – My best friend in the desert
If I was stopping for water I would fill up to capacity and then work on cooling off my body. My hometown is so humid I never get to take advantage of the body’s natural ability to cool itself. On the trail I got into a routine of taking off my long sleeve shirt, soaking it in water and putting it back on. I would also wet my hair to enjoy the cooling effect. This helped me lower my body temp so I could push on in the heat of the afternoon.
The Canellos – Translation – what bicycle tire nightmares are made of.
Mile 20.5 – sidewall gash – Orange Seal to the rescue. This was larger than my cut from last year. Stan’s couldn’t seal that one, so I knew a tube was in my near future. Orange Seal, do your thing to my front tire, please. I really didn’t want to use up a spare tube and loose my sealant setup. I pulled my front wheel and placed it where the cut was face down in the dirt. I was hoping the dirt from the outside and the sealant from the inside would make a bond. It did and I was back on the trail. I strolled off trail to a mine opening and waited for the fix to work.
It worked! After pumping a bit more air in I was back on the trail. It wasn’t long before my slacker riding got me in trouble. It was just a little sidewall rub but it was at the perfect spot to rub off my dirt seal. Once again, off the bike yanking a front wheel out of the forks while pulling for a superglue pack. Waiting for the glue to set I kept placing bets in my head of how long this might last.
The ride to Patagonia was pleasant. I was a bit surprised when the trail ran out and I was on the black top. All this happening when the sun was still up. Wow.
The women with the white dress on?
As I was on the blacktop heading into town I saw a greenhouse farm and then looked up to see an angelic woman walking in my direction. This same scene was repeated a 1/2 mile later. So if someone knows where the ladies in all white are going please let me know. It was intriguing to me.
In Patagonia, mom and aunt were ringing a bell and cheering me on. Well, my mom was, my aunt didn’t seem herself. Noy at all.
Once in town, hit up the Velvet Elvis for a large hot plate of spicy spaghetti.
Next door, the Mercantile had a few rides hanging out cursing the Conelos, but today it was not the Conelos that was the problem but the heat.`As riders would come to the store I would hop up from the restaurant and go trade war stories. I was hoping my 2016 riding buddy Steve would show up.
My sidewall gash was letting air out of my tire but I chose to air it up and ride to Sonoita, Arizona. Becky and Tish were staying another night at the Xanadu Guest Ranch and I knew it was an option for good rest. During my 12 mile ride to Sonoita, I had made a change of plans. Sleep 3 hours at the ranch and then head out to Kentucky Camp. I made the ranch 3 hours earlier than I did the year before.
I walk into the room and quickly notice it feels like an inferno. Tish was shivering and could not get warm. Mom pulled me to the side and said she had booked Tish on the first flight to Texas the next morning. The tried to get into a clinic but couldn’t get an appointment.
Overall I was feeling good at this point. I grabbed a shower and put on my camp clothes. It was bedtime. Around 2 am someone is waking me up. What the hell? This is a bed for one. It was Tish. She wasn’t talking to clear and when I asked if she was climbing into my bed she just mumbled and made herself at home. Long story short Becky was alarmed and a few moments later we called 911 thinking Tish was having a stroke. It freaked me out so it was back in the truck and we headed off to the hospital in Sierra Vista.
I was taxed with the job of calling loved ones sharing the bad news.
Well, what about your race? They all asked.
To hell with the race, that old trail will always be there. I can come and ride it another time.
We made it to the hospital. The doctors ran some test, rehydrated and boosted up her potassium levels.
After a few hours, she started to make complete sentences again. They ran a culture but would not have results for a few days so they let her go. She didn’t seem perfect, but she didn’t stroke out so I felt like continuing my effort on the AZT. Day 1’s sidewall gash had grown a stalactite overnight. I noticed when I started riding and something was ticking the fork on every rotation.
We traveled back to Xanadu so I could get back on the bike. A quick stop for a food order at The Chuckwagon and I was off into the wind. Despite the stroke scare, the trip to the hospital, and really slow food service, I was still ahead of the game by 3 hours.
It was a repeat of last year. I was on the road to Santa Rosa Mountains driving right into the wind. I had a good feeling knowing there was a great stretch of singletrack coming up. Not tail, but honest to goodness track you can ride your bike on. From Sonoita to Kentucky Camp there is a lot of water. I stopped off at the same tank I visited last year. Good news is I was 3+ hours ahead of last year’s schedule.
I made it to Kentucky Camp and was hot. I went ahead and made camp behind the old building. I got some food and bedded down to get a little rest. It wasn’t long and a couple who was through riding the Arizona Trail wanted to chat. So we talked for awhile and I let them know about the microwave in the building. Yes, there is a microwave to heat water in the Kentucky Camp building. This was a blessing. So after a few Camp meals and some coffee, a headed off into the sunset. When I left the camp a text came in from Steve saying he was 3 hours away.
Sometime after 8 p.m. I tore the plug out of my sidewall. I knew it was going to be a long night so I put in a tube. Every mile I Road got me closer to the bike shops in Tucson. It was a long night with a beautiful moon. Oftentimes I could turn off all lamps and just hike the bike with no light other than the moon. There were sometimes I thought I was going to be run over by deer that I would startle out of the bush.
This was the section that Steve and I tackled last year overnight. I kept on hearing him say in the back of my head there are only three little humps and we are over this big hill. Well, I counted three humps all night long. Somewhere around 2 I finally hit some single track. This cooled me down quite a bit. I kept on with my meal plan of eating something every 15 minutes. At some point, it began to be a struggle. Just the mental capacity and discipline of stopping and eating was not fun.
Must have been after 3am when my camp was set and I was in bed. I went to bed happy because I had made my goal and hit Twin Lakes.
I missed the exit for twin lakes and had to backtrack to the road and make my way there. It was 3ish if I remember it correctly. I showed up with at least a 1L of water so I went thru the process of putting on all my layers but my 2nd pair of long johns, ripping open a pair of hot hands, blowing up an air mattress, slipping it into the bivy and then slipping me into my sleeping bag liner. I stopped moving and the cool of the night hit at the same time. Note to future ryders: Hot air rises, cold air drops. This is good to know because if you are sleeping in a valley or close to the water the cold air is coming for you. Twin Lakes has been a great goal the last two years, but I will not sleep there again.
April 9 – Day Goal – Tucson Hotel
I’m not sure if I set an alarm or not. I do know that if I had not prepared my camp stove right outside my bivy, I’m not sure if I would have made it out before 10 am. The Colossal Cave was my next item to check off the map. I wanted to get there before the heat of the day. The plan was to rest in the heat of the day and buzz into Tucson around sunset.
I knew there was a lot of fun riding ahead and was very optimistic for the day. I had no idea of the magic that lies ahead. The trail takes a few detours to run underground. The first is 83 and the 2nd is interstate 10. At 83 I stopped for a breakfast of Pink Salmon. There were clouds in the air that had me checking the weather radar often.
At Gabe Zimmerman, some sweet soul had a poster and two styrofoam coolers sitting trailside. You could see empty glass coke bottles sitting next to one. As I walked over to open these white treasure chest I could not hold back tears. You read trail reports and hear about trail angels and their magic, but this was my first experience. Thank you, whoever you are.
After the angel refuel stop, I was soon battling horse traffic on the Arizona Trail. Thou shall not spook the horses, but come on with the horse shit people. I ran into a pair of riders and they let me know the clouds were connected with the fires on Mt Lemmon. But no worries because the trails were open.
Came off the trail and hit up IHOP and then crashed hard. Overnight I had laid out baby food packets and made sure to inhale one or two each time I got up for a bathroom break.
Posted by Perrin Derrick On June 6, 2017
Included in this listing are a few videos associated with my gear carried during the 2017 AZT300 mountain bike race in southern Arizona. To see more AZT videos from Derrick Perrin please visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnIAlMPx0_ZNiRzyvsITyut4IoDTBDUOE
Thanks for watching. If you have questions of comments please jump over to YouTube and comment on each individual video. I would love to hear from you and any suggestions you have to make bike packing better for everyone.
Posted by Perrin Derrick On June 5, 2017
Photos of the Arizona Trail Race 300 by Derrick Perrin.
This is my collection or photos taken while riding in the 2017 edition of the AZTR. At this point, I’m still editing my trail report but wanted to share my photos with you.
Race Day 1
Day 2 on the AZT300
AZT Day 3 - Twin Lakes to Tucson
Day 4 - Rest and Repair
Day 5 - Leaving Tucson
Day 6 - Rest Day 2 - On Mt Lemmon
Day 7 - Oracle Ridge passed Tiger Mine TH
Day 8 - North Tiger Mine TH to Kelvin TH
Final Stretch - Kelvin to Picketpost
Post Race unwind - Texas - Chispa Road
Thanks for taking a look. If you see someone you know in one of the above photos please let me know so I can mark who it is.
From the back of the pack
Posted by Perrin Derrick On May 9, 2017
A few months back I came across an application called Relive. It takes your ride, photos, and date and combines it with a Google Maps flyover. Once done it spits out a video for you to share. Here is my video from a ride I did on the Chispa Road in Texas.
You can visit their site to find out more here: https://www.relive.cc/view/946771835
Posted by Perrin Derrick On May 3, 2017
Still working on the trail report from this year’s run at the AZT-300 mountain bike race.
Just wanted to share a clip and a few photos from this year’s race. Me and my 2015 Specialized Camber had a slow and successful run.
It was 10 miles to Picket Post and I was given the opportunity to sit down and pull my tubeless setup. In its place, I dropped in one of my 2 tubes left. Watch as I fuss in agony. Feel free to laugh, I know I do when I look back at this moment.
A note from Scott:
Strong work out there, Derrin. You are welcome. I am glad you enjoyed the challenge and stuck with it. I believe you own the 'slowest known time' (SKT) for the 300, which, in my opinion is a feat more admirable than the fastest known time, in many ways. Well done. Cheers and thanks for the note, Scott
Posted by Perrin Derrick On March 28, 2017
"Do that 1 thing"
The title of this article is a quote from my friend James Ragan. With his sister Mecklin, James headed up the Triumph Over Kid Cancer Origination and encouraged folks to go out and find that one thing they can do to help end childhood cancer. I love the concept of going out there and doing your 1 Thing. Mecklin and the team of TOKC have been working hard to make sure everyone knows that one thing they can do to help end childhood cancer is there and ready to be discovered. Seriously, look for it… it is there waiting to be put into motion and help squash out childhood cancer.
Broken Bones - Not Spirits
Shortly after James passed from cancer I was diagnosed with a cancer by the name of Diffused Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Cancer has a way of changing the way you see the world, and it does it in the blink of an eye. The oncologist found a tumor in my right hip that happened to fracture. To remedy this problem I spent 4 months coming and going to MD Anderson in Houston Texas. I tested into a potent new chemo cocktail by the acronym ePOCH-R.
While at MD Anderson I thought about James a lot. I was walking in the halls he walked in. I was meeting doctors like Valerae O. Lewis who cared for James for so many years.
I do a lot of video editing for the Triumph Over Kids Cancer organization. During my 2nd round of chemotherapy, I edited video for the TOKC Big Easy event. Emotionally it was rough editing because I was sitting there looking at a very live young man talking about doing that one thing, knowing he had passed and this was going to be the first New Orleans event without him. I was lame and didn’t have my one thing yet.
Finding my ONE THING
After chemotherapy, the bone in my hip slowly mended and I rode my bicycle to strengthen my joint. It is still at a deficit, but I’m working hard riding and strength training so I can fix it. As I continued to train and get better I remember a speech from James Ragan. In his speech, James mentions his passion for playing tennis. He was really good and put in a lot of time making himself better. When cancer took away his ability to kick butt in tennis he switched to golf. He didn’t sit down and quit, he found something to believe in and went all in.
That “all in” attitude is contagious. It defiantly got to me. 10 years ago I was a runner, today I’m a rider. James had to hang up one sport he was really good and then shift to something his body would allow him to do. His positive outlook on switching sports gave me the confidence to drop running and start riding.
Last year I started to ride competitively. The type of race I like are ultra endurance self-supported mountain bike events. Training for these events is long and give you a chance to reflect on things happening around you. I keep thinking about James and his fight when I’m out there training. I soon figured out this is my one thing. I can get out and spread the word for TOKC. I jumped on the awareness train and rode it to Arizona.
April 2016 was my first time to race, and my first time to ride in the memory of Jame Ragan.
It was an honor to be out there on the trail sporting the TOKC orange.
Last Race - San Angelo State Park
My last race was in October. I rode the 6-hour dinosaur race held at the San Angelo State Park.
Races like these give you the opportunity to ride with your competitors. Sure, you want to beat them, but then again you also want to finish in one piece. During the first 3 hours of racing, I was blessed to meet my new riding friend, Mat Day. The once Marine turned into a Buddhist bike rider now knows all about James, TOKC, and how devastating childhood cancer can be. Every 9 miles you make a lap. You talk, sweat and endure together. I love having the captive audience an endurance race provides.
You really had to meet and spent time with James to know how big a heart he had. I hope my discussions with Mat conveyed a fraction of what James had to offer.
Overall I placed 6th in the male solo class. Since this was my first race to finish I was really happy. Next October I will be training and be participating in the 6 hours of the dinosaur race.
Next Race- AZT 300
My first race was April 2016. I made an attempt at the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race. This is a multi-day event where all riders must support them-self from start to the finish. During ultra-endurance race many riders will pair up and ride together. This is a great opportunity to talk and let folks know about why I ride and who I ride for. That would be James Ragan.
You can read about my last AZT300 ride with a click of the button below.
April 7th 2017 will be the next start of the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race. I plan to be there on my bike ready to take the abuse. I still have some sponsorship items coming in that will enable my family to make the trip with me.
Sure, I’m still trying to figure out why I like this race so much.
If you supported my 2016 AZT efforts, thank you. Please know your efforts didn’t go away. This year I will be running with all my bike and gear from last years ride. Add that with the knowledge I picked up on the trail and things are looking really positive for a finish in 2017.
I’m looking forward to going out there and doing my one thing to spread awareness on ways people can help TOKC end childhood cancer.
Would you like one thing to do? You can jump on over to http://triumphoverkidcancer.org/donate/ and make something happen today. They are accepting donations 24 hours a day. Just slap my name in the box so they know where the donation is coming from.
The AZT-300 starts in 9 days. There is a lot of moving parts that need to be put into motion before I get to Arizona. Yesterday I was able to cross off one big item from the to-do list. That would be my bike bags. One is pictured to the right. It was custom built for my bicycle by a seamstress here in Corpus Christi. My other bags were a sponsorship item that I can’t wait to load up and test ride. There are a few more sponsorship items coming in before my family hits the road for Arizona.
Here are a few things on the to-do list:
- Activate SPOT GPS tracking device
- Pay yearly dues to the Arizona Trail Association
- Clear race registration
- Load the Garmin GPS with the new trail map
- Rebuild bicycle medical kit.
- Convert to tubeless using my Orange Seal sponsored supplies.
- Mount new GoPro mount on the new bicycle helmet
- Send thank you cards to my 2016 sponsors
- Send thank you to new 2017 sponsors
- Secure hotel stays along the way
- Clean hydration packs
- Pick trail food
- Learn how to best pack the new bicycle bags
- Print paper maps
- Study on trail water locations
- And many more
Thanks for taking the time to hear about my one thing. I hope you can find a way to do your one thing to help out. If you need help give TOKC a call and they can point you in the right direction.
Thanks again, and I will keep you posted on how things went after the race is over.
Posted by Perrin Derrick On March 11, 2017
Tuesday April 4, 2017
Tuesday April 4, 2017
6 h 58 min
Wednesday April 5, 2017
Wednesday April 5, 2017
7 h 11min
Thursday April 6, 2017
Thursday April 6, 2017
Local tourist attraction day.
Friday April 7, 2017 - Race Day 1
Friday April 7, 2017
First fay of AZT 300
Drop of Derrick at Parker Canyon
Kendra and Crew do local attraction
Posted by Perrin Derrick On January 25, 2017
Two days after my 39th birthday I’m woken by Kendra. She is checking to see if I can hear my alarm. I was sleeping on my left side and my answer was a big fat NO. I got up and realized my right ear was working at about 15% and part of my face was numb. That day’s work was a video shoot in Laredo, Texas. Driving down to the shoot didn’t help my hearing. Dizzy and dazed I did the shoot. I had my bicycle with me so I managed to break into a closed city park and have aa bicycle ride Things were going great until I had a flat.
That day I learned the importance of riding a bike with a pump, or how bad it is to not have one. So 4 miles of riding and a half mile hike and I was back to my truck. That evening I arrived in Corpus Christi with a deaf right ear. I would go to sleep knowing tomorrow would be big.
I awake with little to no hearing. Not enough to matter. My ear is not the important thing today, it’s the tumor in my foot. Kendra and I are off to MD Anderson for a CT-Scan and an appointment with the brain/spine surgeon. The Dr. eases our worries and says it doesn’t look like cancer. This is a relief but doesn’t explain my sudden hearing loss. He scopes my ear with the ear thingie and says it’s crooked but looks clean. We make it back to Corpus Christi and I go to sleep with a dead ear.
Two days pass and nothing is changing. I freak out a bit and make an appointment with my ear, nose, & throat (ENT) doctor. After a few days wait I get in and get tested. I have 100% hearing loss. After a triple threat of nasty pharmaceuticals for 6 days, I finally get some resonant frequencies back. It’s just enough to really annoy the piss out of you. My 7 day ENT follow-up yielded a hearing test of 65%. At my two week follow-up, my ear would be functioning at 90%. Incredible! One Dr. said I should go buy campaign while the other wanted to take me to the dog track. I’m guessing I’m lucky to have any hearing back.
Two months have passed since my sudden loss of hearing. I’m not 100% but I’m very functional. The body does a great job of compensating for the loss. Being deaf for a few days was harder than I would think. I’m so thankful I’m back to almost normal. I really don’t think I will get all of my hearing back. Dr seems to think I had a virus that shut it down. I know, not my typical funny post. I just wanted to get the story down in my medical notes so I don’t forget. For now, I’m off the meds and back on my bike training was suspended for a while due to meds making me feel funny.
Posted by Perrin Derrick On November 22, 2016
Time for a little update on life. I turn 39 next week. After having a small lump in my foot I went to have an MRI.
Results show a nerve sheath tumor that is not a Morton’s Neuroma. I’m getting transferred to a new department at MD Anderson. Looks like I have been updated to the Brain and Spine Center. If that doesn’t scare you a bit I’m not sure what will. This is all perfect timing since all Obamacare plans will pull coverage for MD Anderson starting January 1, 2017. Thanks ACA, you are awesome! I will let you know what the surgeon in the Brain and Spine department has to say about my foot. Sure hope my ass-kicking days won’t be cut short due to this tumor friend of mine.
Back to real life here.
Still been riding the mountain bike a lot. As of this week I have done 959 miles on the bike this year. If you are a Stava workout person check me out https://www.strava.com/athletes/8625592
In October I raced in a 6 hour endurance challenge. Landed in sixth place.
I have also been copying VHS to DVDs and scanning in old family photos while working on my family tree.
I was thinking of finding out who the descendants of the fella who created the 110 film format so I can go slap them.
The photos and memories are precious. So many great memories and so many people in my life I’m thankful for.
Sogo out there and have a great Thanksgiving. Give me a call if you want to catch up on life and have a cup of coffee.
Posted by Perrin Derrick On June 29, 2016
It is hot, the kids are off for summer, and creative juices are on the rise.
Last year my family and I decided we would do a CC7D film project together. Year in, year out we are video producers. We shoot a lot of different video but don’t typically make movies or films. The Corpus Christi 7 Day Film Project is a great opportunity to stretch the skill set and make a family movie.
Last year Grason took over as the team leader and created Super Avenger. Please take a look if you have a few minutes.
We had a serious good time making this film. So many of the lines in this film have become inside joke worthy one-liners.
Here is a film made in 2009. It starts my good friend Jeff Durrwachter.
July 6th is the start of the project. We look forward to share our film once it is completed.
Thanks for watching.