Posts Tagged ‘Cactus Cup’

Spring?

March 20, 2022

The arthritic old ornamental pear stretches its gnarled limbs.

Kinda gnarly-looking, I know. Still, EarthSky says it’s the vernal equinox, so I gotta go with it.

The allergies say spring. So does the unsettled weather. The NWS has issued a red-flag warning; no, it doesn’t mean the Russians are coming, but it seems we can expect winds of 20-30 mph with gusts to 45.

Last year I rode the equinox in shorts and arm warmers, which came off midride. The year before that I got rained on. So it goes.

Tracking alongside the allergies is another seasonal affliction, the wanderlust. One former colleague will attend next week’s Bicycle Leadership Conference in Dana Point, Calif. In a couple weeks he and some others will dive into the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey. And the Cactus Cup at McDowell Mountain Regional Park outside Fountain Hills, Ariz., has already come and gone.

Some old newspaper pals from California recently took a ski trip to Aspen. The friends who blew through here with their e-bikes on Friday were headed home to Fort Collins from Tucson. I’m starting to feel like the only guy I know who hasn’t traveled further from home than he can get on two wheels and one water bottle.

It all reminded me of a bit of grumbling I recorded last March for Radio Free Dogpatch, with an assist from kindly old Doctor Firesign and Ralph Spoilsport Motors (“The World’s Biggest”). I think I’ll give this ol’ baby a spin on the freeway. …

Cup check

March 9, 2018

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.