Desert Invasion: Can the Arizona Trail Withstand Climate Change

Freehub Magazine (December 14, 2021) by Kait Boyle

I winced, gritted my teeth and curled my fingers behind my brake levers as I pedaled straight into a thicket of pigweed, catclaw acacia and seedy grass.

Thorns tore at my forearms and shins while the stickers of the pigweed rubbed against my open wounds and deployed their seeds onto every piece of fabric they could catch. The Arizona Trail 300 (AZT300), a self-supported point-to-point race on the southern 300 miles of the 800-mile-long Arizona Trail (AZT), had just begun on a pleasant October morning though I hadn’t seen a ribbon of dirt trail in hours.

I knew my race was going to be slower than in years past, but this was shaping up to be one of the more absurd experiences on my bike I’d ever signed up for. Before the event, a historically wet monsoon fell after seasons of record-breaking droughts and invasive species of weeds and grass had taken hold of the desert floor.

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