Chasing Tire Track Dreams
By Devon Balet
It began over a year ago. I caught a bug, but not the kind that can be treated in the normal sense of the word. This bug is one of adventure. This bug is the kind that can only be satisfied by being outside, by being in the saddle all day.
This kind of bug is not something that everyone can catch. Most people can’t understand this sort of desire. For some there is a deep connection to this idea. To be on your bike, pedaling away without a care in the world.
Dejay Birtch is always good for coming up with great bad ideas. When he and I go out for a “ride”, it usually turns into an all day adventure ending in the dark. Now, I know to just pack a light, some extra food and a flask of whiskey.
His idea was pretty simple. Do a 230 mile tour in three days, looping around Mt. Lemmon. I happily joined in on the adventure, and went into it completely blind. I didn’t really study the route, I didn’t know the daily milage, I only knew where each day was to end.
There were two others joining us, Josh Smith and Max Morris, and as we rolled out of town towards Redington Road I realized I was riding with three guys that have all completed the Tour Divide. This ride was nothing more then a short pedal for them.
As the grade kicked up I watched as all three rode away and out of sight. Little did I know that would be the last I would see of them for the rest of the day. As I pedaled my way up Reddington I was in awe of the snow covered desert scape. Stopping regularly to get a photo. I figured they would be waiting at the top of the 16 mile climb.
As I summited the top of the climb, I wasn’t to surprised to see nothing but tire tracks rolling over the top and off into the distance. Now the adventure would begin for me. Not knowing the route, I was simply chasing tire tracks. The saying chimed in my head as I rolled over the top, “Completing the Tour Divide makes you really good at following tire tracks.”
Pedaling along I felt like I was 8 years old again, care free and happy. I took in the views, the smells and was happy to stop to get a closer look. Some people would have been nervous or even upset to be in my position. I continued along, studying the dirt, tracking the tire tracks of my three friends like a hunter tracking a deer. At any given intersection I would stop, look for the tracks and continue following.
As the miles ticked by I wondered how far I would end up pedaling that day. With 30 miles behind me I rolled up to the first road sign along the dirt road and my days route came into grasp. The sign read, “Benson 44 miles”. I looked at the sign, checked for the tire tracks I had been chasing all day and simply said out loud to myself, “Welp, I’ve got some more pedaling to do.”
About Devon- A Colorado based photographer who’s passion for
capturing amazing moments in time through light is battled only with his
love for two wheeled human powered machines. Growing up under the wing
of an outdoor/wildlife photographer, his idea of daycare was joining his
dad on photo shoots. Devon lives a life of the open road, ripping
single track with long nights and early mornings. He lives for epic
singletrack trails and amazing sunrises. Nothing beats ripping a trail
with good friends under golden hour light. Words that Devon lives by,
“No amount of money can make a job you hate worth while” and “My bike
takes me places school never could”. You can follow Devon on FB,
Instagram and Twitter.