Swapping stories, spokes - The Explorer: Sports

Swapping stories, spokes

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Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Pity the driver of that hand-waxed BMW stuck in I-10 construction entanglements on Sunday morning, as crowds of bicycle enthusiasts combed Fourth Avenue for bargains of two-wheeled paraphernalia, in celebration of their quadricep-fueled ride of choice.

Call it a farmers’ market for cyclists. El Bike Swap de Tucson’s spring rollout sounded last call for the Sonoran desert’s prime riding season.

The 17th semiannual gala of chain-driven lore found $30 knobby tires fetching a third of their normal price. Stories, and lies, of ultimate trail experiences came even cheaper.

Brad Nutting figured he’d finally found his life’s work. Alongside a row of basement-priced full-suspension rides and campus specials, the Ajo Bikes tech guy espoused the benefits of custom-machined frame parts.

After a couple decades working construction and a stint in architecture school, Nutting said he’s happiest around bikes.

“It’s a cool little niche,” Nutting said. “You’re not going to get rich, but you’ll be a happy idiot.”

Others flouted their rejection of a car-intensive commuter lifestyle.

Jacob Winnes, a 24-year-old screen printer, summed that up best with his fresh-made T-shirt that boasted, “I’d rather spend $4/gallon on beer.”

Though he didn’t end up purchasing anything besides a couple hot dogs, the collection of cycling gear represented Winnes’ outlook on the automobile’s future.

“The cost of insurance, gas, wiper blades — just look at how many people are moving out of the suburbs,” Winnes said. “This is the car lot of the future.”

True enough, the stereotypical sleazy car salesmen would’ve been run out with hemp pitchforks from El Swap. But most of the best deals changed hands early, as the event kicked off around 6 a.m. with early birds scoring aluminum worms.

Many of those buys came not from dealers, but scab-inclined folks who’d decided to clean out their garages and take advantage of the event’s lack of registration fees.

James Mitchell, Kim Gilchrist and Aaron Potter left Phoenix at 3:30 a.m. to secure prime real estate. By mid-morning, the trio sat under a shade canopy, freed of two spare bikes while hawking their glut of chain rings and miscellanea.

Most of Mitchell’s gear reflected his habit for mountain biking’s madman-take-all subgenre of down-hilling, where gravity always prevails.

“My endurance these days is about eight minutes,” Mitchell joked.

The swap lasted till noon, though, when folding tables began landing in backseats and truck beds. A gangster-clad duo — one quite rotund, the other thin as a spoke — strolled past a kid sitting Indian-style on the pavement, whose cell phone sounded a continuous recorded loop: “Bike for sale.”

“Man I ain’t never even seen so many bikes,” the larger one offered. His buddy nodded deeply.

While the pair’s thousand-bike strong awe came free, it seemed the only thing not for sale was another few months of noontime 70-degree riding weather.

Around Tucson, that’s a bundle package, available only with a plane ticket.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 30

Boys Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View at Haven Golf Course

Ironwood Ridge, Buena, Catalina at Rincon (Dell Urich)

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at CDO

Maricopa at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Vista Grande

Poston Butte at Catalina Foothills

San Miguel at Pusch Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Wednesday, October 1

Girls Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View vs. Ironwood Ridge (Omnu Tucson National)

CDO, Sunnyside at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Sabino at Catalina Foothills

Cross Country (4:30 p.m.)

Ironwood Ridge, Sahuarita at Flowing Wells (Columbus Park)

Marana, St. Gregory at Catalina Foothills

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

CDO at Ironwood Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills at CDO

JV Football (6.p.m.)

Marana at Maricopa

Salpointe at Mountain View

CDO at Catalina Foothills

Thursday, October 2

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Mountain View, St. Gregory’s, Pusch Ridge at Marana

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Poston Butte

Catalina Foothills at Flowing Wells

Pusch Ridge at Willcox

Varsity Football (7p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Rincon

Friday, October 3

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Girls Vollyeball (all day)

CDO, Catalina Foothills at Falcon Invitational

Cross Country

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Desert Twilight Festival

Varsity Footbal (7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at San Tan Valley

Saturday, October 4

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Swimming (all day)

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Brophy/Xavier Swim Invitational

Girls Volleyball (4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Desert Christian

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