Monday, February 7, 2011

300km (190miles) - Saguaro National Park Brevet

What: AZBrevet's - 300km (190 miles) 
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 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. 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 lightweight Carbon Fibre bike is feeling pretty heavy!

The 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' 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 manageable the next 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.

 Mike reviewing the direction sheet...each turn is listed along with the total distance, distance between points etc...our first stop to get the Brevet Card stamped.

 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.

 Long haul into Tucson...stopping at Subway for a sandwich and some rest...about 90 miles into the ride. Got some strange looks from other customers...must be because I look so good in Spandex.

 The Climb of the ride...Gates Pass. Not to long but 10-13% grades after 100 miles of riding really caused me to slow down and grind it out. That hill would be tough even if the legs were fresh.

 Looking out towards Saguaro National Park.

Not sure why they named it Saguaro National Park...but it was beautiful.

 2nd organized checkin. Best diet "lime" coke I have was that one good. Had some trouble reaching behind my back to get out my brevet card...great volunteer did it for me. On an epic ride like this...little things are much appreciated!

Saguaro Park Rollers...quite a few of them.

Heading out from Saguaro Park...towards Marana.

 Headwinds the entire day...with the exception of about a 5 mile stretch. Mike ate it up...crazy animal!

 Checking directions again heading into Marana...notice the wrap on Mike's arm? 16+ stitches from a Mountain Bike wreck less than 2 weeks ago...psycho.

 New favorite ride electrolyte drink...coconut milk mixed with Pineapple juice! Best ultra-ride drink out there!
 Circle K in Marana... beginning to occur to me that we aren't to far from completing this ride!! 60+ miles to go.

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 doubt! Learned a few good cycling/brevet lesson's and enjoyed a gorgeous day! Already getting nervous for the next ride Feb 26!... 400km.

 Well...we did burn 6000 calories during the day...nothing like the "Big Country Breakfast" at Cracker Barrel in the evening. Man was this good...not much was left when we were done...except my Grits...those were nasty!


  1. I told you that you needed to add some Apple Butter to the grits to make them tasty! Great blog post Leonard! Looking forward to the 400k. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer in the morning! 5am start... plan on 20-22 hours elapsed time, 18-20 hours on the bike time. Good times! ;-)

    Mike E.

  2. Lenny - You are AMAZING in my eyes! Loved this post! I am so proud of you and seeing you fulfill and accomplish some CRAZY dreams of yours. You are my inspiration. Mike is pretty cool! Glad you have such a good friend like Mike to inspire you with some of your craziness which I love about you! I love you Leonard!

  3. Careful Loree... Leonard said something about "Tour Divide" at the beginning of this post. One month on the mountain bike. Canada to Mexico... hmmm....

  4. Funny Mike...I need to work on Loree really nice and slow to warm her up to that I wonder if cycle cross bikes would be a better choice on a ride like that? Maybe not built to haul enough gear?

  5. Dang all your pictures and your story made me a little brevet sick. Wish I'd been able to do them this year. Maybe I'll be able to pull off the Mt. Lemon brevet if they hold it.