Where: Casa Grande Arizona - Arivaca Loop
When: Feb 26, 2011
Description: 257 mile Brevet Arizona...Susan, Brevet administrator Extraordinaire was asked "How do you do it?"meaning, "how do I always manage to schedule the Arivaca brevet during a perfect storm of sand, wind, rain, and snow...I obviously have a talent for it; if only it were useful."
45 Cyclists signed up for this ride, 7 didn't show, 12 didn't finish, 10 pre-rode the course the week before, and 16 finished this crazy day (could have mis-calculated this.) Everyone suffered on this ride...some of us were able to pull it off for a lonely cold wet celebration at the Round Trip Bike shop. This ride tested me thoroughly... more than a physical challenge, but mental and spiritually. I think some times when you put yourself out there like this, dreaming big and riding out past the nervousness and fear, you really have some time to see who you really are. I have been really impressed with the quality of human beings out here on these rides...the challenge can be extremely tough...some make it and some don't...but are better for having tried I think.
Man this is a long ride :) Once again, the longest I have gone on a bike ever...257 miles in 21 hours 45 minutes
Overall Ride Stats...17 hours riding, 4 hours of stoppage...45 minutes helping a fellow rider get an ambulance!
Elevation Profile and speed over time...notice at about hour 11...nothing like a -2% grade and a 30 mph tail wind!!!!
Crazy temperature changes on this ride...had to be ready for aprox. 80 degrees down to nearly freezing with wind and rain...skimping on gear for this ride could put you in serious trouble.
Yes, I brought my own toaster :) Mike lauged at me for this one...but 2 pieces of wheat toast with peanut butter and honey are mandatory to start an Epic ride like this one...just can't cut corners...lol.
We started off with much smaller numbers than the previous 2 brevets. The weather forecast for this weekend had been all over the map...predictions changing by the hour it seemed. Borrowing a "neck warmer" from Mike and Loree strongly encouraging me to bring my gortex rain shell made the difference in actually finishing this ride...I have no doubt!
Mike and I road with the main group to approximately Picacho Peak area...then dropped off and settled into my "go all day" pace. We made great time up to that point and a little before 8am we were in Marana. The glorious I-10 frontage road and a 10-15 mph head wind had me complaining a bit. I mentioned to Mike Sturgill (brevet legend :) assisting at the check points...that the wind was a bit annoying...he answered me saying "you think this is wind? this ain't wind." If this ride were a movie...the lightening and thunder would have sounded with premonition...
Plowed fields heading out of Marana...wind is beginning to pick up. (This pic pulled from the web.)
Once again we make the climb through Saguaro regional park...pull through the rollers (one with a short 17% grade...phreaking steep)
Cool picture of S. Kinney road heading out of South Tucson...
Topolino's and Toilet Paper? Mike was generous enough to point it out after a bathroom break...could have ridden with this on my heel for quite a few miles...good times!
A stop along a tough stretch on Mission Road..."real wind" is now hitting us hard 20-35+ mph...match that with a slight 1-3% grade sustained climbing and it got tough mentally/physically for me.
Gorgeous Southern AZ...yes, there are prettier places on this planet..
Coming up on the Gigantic open Pit Mines
SAN Xavier Mission...gorgeous Catholic mission in the middle of no where...really!
Finally made it into Green Valley at about 105 miles of riding. We took almost an hour here to have a breakfast omelet, hash browns, and a bowl of fruit. It is crazy how great food tastes after 100 miles of riding.
It Never Always Gets Harder." There are low points and high points to every ride...on these it seems to happen multiple times...just got to push through the low ones...a better one is on the way.
Leaving the stop in Arivaca, we had 12 miles of rollers with a side/tail wind. Wasn't as bad as I had expected...or maybe it was the crazy head wind most of the day that made this seem like a piece o cake!
Great views of Baboquivari Peak along this small stretch...looks like a great rock climb...another box to check on the life list!
Making the turn onto SR-286 just as it was getting dark...as promised by Susan...we had a killer tail wind. Match that with 1-3% descent and we were flying! 30+ mph for quite some time...got dark on us at this point and was glad to have Mike's generator hub light blazing the way.
mmmmm mmmmm gooood!!!
At this point, the stars a gorgeous...can't really see any clouds and the wind really pushes us up into Saguaro Park and down into Marana. We stop for more soup and food...then off to the great old Frontage Road back to Eloy. This road really tries your mind...if you done it...you understand!
Finally pull into Eloy and am really needing a break. I can see the stars are gone but there is no rain. We take our time recovering and getting some hydration and food in us...then as we are about to head out the rain hits! It is 37 degrees and is making for a punishing 17 miles back to the finish in Casa Grande. We get out our warmer gear and rain jacket...then make several attempts at getting out of the Circle K before we actually make it.
Another Brevet lesson learned...these rides can kill you if you are not well prepared and the conditions are right...another prayer thanking God that we came across him at the exact right moment and were able to find and help him.
Ride Summary: Despite Epic Conditions...warranting the label of a "cursed" ride and a possible renaming to the "Titanic" 400km...I did have a good time. Pushed my limits further than I ever have, tested my determination/dedication/preparedness...etc.etc...Had a definite adventure with a good friend! Good Times!!!
3 weeks till the Tombstone 600km!