Cup check

The state of affairs back in 1999, when the Cactus Cup was on its way out and the Sea Otter was on its way up.

The Innertubes are a marvelous thing.

I was noodling around online, checking the availability of campsites at McDowell Mountain Regional Park (no room at the inn), when I noticed an alert about “a special event” taking place there this weekend.

It’s the Specialized Cactus Cup.

No, really.

The Granite Trail rises and falls through a basin that was pretty lush when I last visited in February 2016.

I think I last covered a Cactus Cup back in 1999. Once the unofficial kickoff to the mountain-bike season, an all-hands-on-deck deal for staff and contractors from VeloNews and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, it had been eclipsed by the Sea Otter Classic (which I also attended that year) and devolved into more of a regional gathering of the tribes.

It was still a giggle, though, and I expect it remains so, especially with temps in the mid-70s and a bit of cloud cover in the forecast.

The Competitive Track, built for the Cup when it moved from Pinnacle Peak to McDowell in 1998, is big fun, and the rest of the more than 40 miles of trails in the park are top-shelf, too. You can ride most of them on a cyclocross bike, if you’re insane, but a mountain bike works pretty well too for anyone who suffers from mental health.

It’s nice to see that the Cup runneth over again, even if I can’t be there, dammit.

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13 Responses to “Cup check”

  1. Charley Auer Says:

    Patrick, there are now 73 miles of trails in the park. Plus a few trails on the Scottsdale Sonoran side of the mountain. Also 2 or 3 sets of easier trails off of Dynamite road not far from the park. The newertrailsin the park were done by a professional trail designer.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Wowsah. Somebody needs to update the McDowell website.

      When I was last there the newest trail (I think) was the Escondido. I mostly rode it, the Pemberton, Granite and Bluff.

      Is Harlan still working there? I know he and a couple other Midwestern retailers have been wintering at McDowell for a few years now.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Woosh. Ok, time to surface for air. We made The Big Move to Fanta Se this week. The House Down There(tm) looks like a flight of B-52’s carpet bombed it with boxes. Somewhere in that mess is my razor, my cleats, and maybe my life…..two scared cats under a couch, a dog trying to figure things out, and me bumping into walls in the middle of the night trying to figure out the lay of the land.

    My Better Half still thinks this was a good move but even she is muttering “…woulda been so much easier to stay put…”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Moving. Godamighty. How I hate it. We’ve done it a shit-ton since 2014.

      Took us a few trips to get everything from Chez Dog down to El Rancho Pendejo, and then we shifted the Airbnb op’ from The House Back East to CD to Judy could move back in to THBE.

      Then we had to empty out CD when we sold it, and finally we had to do some light emptying of THBE when Judy moved into assisted living and we unloaded our last piece of property in Bibleburg.

      Ay, Chihuahua. Thus we feel your pain.

      Has the old home place in Bombtowne sold yet?

      When you get settled in post some pix so we can judge the state of the place.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    The Bombtowne Estate should close on Monday. Places up here are selling like hotcakes, in anticipation of a ramp-up of pit production, if you have been following the news. But if for some reason the sale falls through, I’m moving back in ……

    Its been a tough sell for me. I could easily have been buried up here or just tossed in a canyon for the coyotes when I croak. However, since I picked the last two estates in Honolulu and here in Bombtowne, it was Meena’s turn and she retired last fall and wanted to live in a real city, as much as Fanta Se is a real city. We almost bought a place in the Duke City a few years ago over near UNM but that fell through when someone showed up with a suitcase of cash while we were negotiating a loan and besides, its hot down there and I am a Buffalo, NY boy.

    With Smith’s being the only grocery store in BT and increasingly looking like a Wal-mart clone (I should send you a picture) and the rest of the town pretty monocultural, I was outvoted 1-1.

    No one took me up on adopting the LA Bikes blog. Not sure what I will do with it but probably re-name it LA and Santa Fe Bike and continue ranting into the innertubes, with a standing invitation for others to contribute. If I shut up, I will die.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Our last move was our next to the last move. I assume, and hope, the last move will be to a joint that has a panic button on the wall for those time I have fallen down and can’t reach my beer. But, on the move in 2016 we donated to Goodwill and gave our neighbor’s son, as Patrick would say, a metric shit ton of stuff. Less is indeed more. Even less, hush my mouth, bikes.

      Rode in shorts today, and it is 79 balmy degrees right now.

      Do you have some testing and video to do at McDowell Mountain Park?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      K, I hear ya. I could’ve lived out my days at Chez Dog in Bibleburg. I liked our little house, and knew a bunch of people in town, and the riding was pretty damn spectacular. Much easier to tour right out your front door there than here, too.

      But Herself went and got that top-shelf job, and there you have it. Sometimes a fella has to take one for the team.

      It doesn’t hurt that the riding down here is pretty damn spectacular, too. And I mostly don’t have to deal with snow. Just psycho killers and insane, impaired motorists.

      Pat, I was in shorts today too (69°). Mighty fine, being able to jump-start the tan lines before Daylight Saving Time kicks in.

      As regards McDowell, I was just window-shopping. I’m between review bikes right now and thinking I owe myself a road trip. But the weather here at the moment makes the place almost too good to leave.

  4. Charley Auer Says:

    Patrick, yes Harlan and Donna still work there.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Good folks. We had a chance to chat a bit my last trip through. Is he officially retired now? I see he’s still paying attention to Bicycle Retailer — he had a letter to the editor in a recent issue.

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