Where: Casa Grande - Tucson loop
When: Jan 29, 2011
Who: Mike E. and I
Description: 190 mile Arizona loop put on by AZ Brevets: beginning in Casa Grande -> Florence -> Tucson -> Saguaro National Park -> Marana -> Casa Grande...my 1st Ulta-Marathon Cycling Event!
The 300 km Saguaro National Park Brevet is the 2nd ride in a series of 4 that, upon completion, qualify you to ride in the "Paris Brest Paris" which takes place every 4 years.
200km (125 miles) - Casa Grande Ruins
300km (190 miles) - Saguaro National Park
400km (257 miles) - Arivaca
600km (380 miles) - Tombstone...hopefully not mine
I am taking them one at a time...not trying to think to far ahead...and breaking each ride down into segments. I have found that it is much easier to complete these with that focus rather than...getting to mile 50 and realizing you still have another 140 miles to go :) I am completely new to this type of riding...self supported (for the most part) ultra distance. So far I am really enjoying the challenge and self discovery of actually completing something that can be pretty intimidating to comprehend. Yes...it is all relative. From my current fitness level and cycling experience...these rides are an entirely new realm...for others...this ride is a good warm up. There are cross state rides, Race Across America, Tour Divide...and many others that seem phreaking crazy...and inspiring...dangerously planting seeds in my mind and soul.
300km Saguaro National Park Brevet - Began at 4am double/triple checking gear, bike, and food. Cramming down a few pieces of whole wheat toast with honey, 2 banana's and a glass of Whey protein. packing up the gear. I drank a 16 oz of water and then a 16 oz bottle of Acceleraid on the way to the ride. Mike Enfield (domestique extraordinaire) picked me up around 5am and we headed down to Casa Grande...about an hour from East Mesa.
Add aero bars, bento bag, trunk bag, 2 x 16 oz water bottles, and 2 head lights...my lightweight Carbon Fibre bike is feeling pretty heavy!
The Route...as documented by the Garmin Edge 800...300 km can be a long day.
My ride Stats...Held a good average pace for me...especially over this distance. Some long 2-3% grades that really messed with my head...but had a great ride!!
More stats from the Garmin...a few climbs, average speeds, and lots of excitement. Averaging 135 bpm for almost 14 hours...
We started at 6am...temperature in Casa Grande was in the mid 30's...by the time we hit Coolidge the temp was dropping and finally bottomed out at 24 degrees...definitely was not prepared for that...legs and ankles felt really slow and clunky!
** Brevet Lesson Learned: Don't follow the pack without doing your own navigating...we began the ride with about 20 other riders...leader missed a turn and we ended up climbing a 2 mile hill we didn't need to...all within the first 10 miles of the ride :)
Several miles of freshly plowed cotton fields in Coolidge.
Open Range? Long 40+ mile 2-3% grade to the the on SR-79 to Oracle Junction. Even though this climb wasn't too steep, it forced me to break down the ride in my mind...to manageable chunks...to the next stop...to the next turn...etc.etc. A good tactic to keep my sanity!
Tom Mix stop...50 miles into the ride these great Gent's set up a great little stop. Cookies, drinks, etc...was great to get off for a minute. 150 miles to go.
Great views of the Catilina Mountains on our descent into Tucson! Man that felt good dropping down out of Oracle Junction! It was all I could do to stay tucked in and wheel sucking.
Not sure why they named it Saguaro National Park...but it was beautiful.
Saguaro Park Rollers...quite a few of them.
Heading out from Saguaro Park...towards Marana.
I-10 Frontage road...parallels the I-10 for many, many miles. Not the best pavement we experienced on the ride...lots of weird patches and holes. Seemed to last a loooonnngggg...time.
*** At this point it got dark on us...we rolled into the finish point at Round Trip Bike's at 8:30pm. 14 hours and 32 minutes total. It was an adventure...no doubt! Learned a few good cycling/brevet lesson's and enjoyed a gorgeous day! Already getting nervous for the next ride Feb 26!... 400km.