Long time, No blog
I have done nothing of note since my time in Spain last August, that being the last time I rode my bike too. So, I've had nothing to write home about!
Over the last 12 months I have visited Australia, Hawaii, Nepal, Wales, Spain and my home country, England. So, no complaints there. I was hoping to knuckle down and re-start my career in F1, but I am finding it difficult to commit myself to a long-term position, short-term positions are difficult to come by. I thought the remedy for that would be one more bucket-list trip, then that was it, I would re-start my career after that! You know, the diet starts tomorrow sort of thing!
Returning to my short-term contract at Haas F1 team after the August shutdown, I had decided to stop camping and mountain biking at weekends, as I had been falling asleep at my desk when I was doing that! So, I kind of went into a lock-down, from August to March I did nothing, and it was a self-perpetuating situation, the less I did the less I wanted to do. But I didn't want to do anything as I wanted to take the time to save as much money as I could, to take one more bucket list trip.
I have many places on my list, the Rift Valley in Africa, the Iguaçu Falls in South America, touring the Canyons of Utah, Hiking in Central and South America among the volcanoes, Mountain climbing in Alaska.....the list goes on. But these all cost a lot of money, and that is something I haven't got so I started looking at alternatives, such as house-sitting, backpacking and bikepacking.
Bikepacking, it's a thing! It's a bit like backpacking but travelling by bike across non-surfaced roads and camping along the way. It can be an overnighter or a many-year globetrotting adventure. My interest in bikepacking grew, I watched and read hours and hours of reviews, rides and advice on the subject. In the meantime, I had started collecting the necessary luggage for my bike. Buying a proper touring bike was out of the question, so I was going to have to use my Specialized Camber full suspension mountain bike, named Bay. Not ideal, he's heavy, but it is Bay or nothing. I wouldn't have minded backpacking but knew on long straight trails and roads I'd be longing for my bike!
My first thoughts were that I could fly to Anchorage, then to the Yukon and ride down the Yukon then through the Denali national park. So that would be Alaska done. Then fly to Arizona and ride the Arizona trail, 800+ miles from the Mexico border, through the mountains and desert of Arizona, down and up the Grand Canyon, to the Utah border. Which would mean I have nailed two bucket list items in one trip. Alas, I was dreaming, I priced it up and was looking at around £10K, so out of the question. Even if I could afford it, there are only specific weather windows where one can 'easily' ride the Yukon, the same for the Arizona trail. An to be honest it was way over ambitious for someone that hadn't bikepacked before!! Plus, the 90 days of the cheap visa wouldn't have been enough time.
So that trip was out of the question, I compromised and decided to research the Arizona trail a little more. I watched and read as much as I could on it, I downloaded the GPS data, joined