Saturday, January 22, 2011

End of Pavement Ride - AZ HWY 88

What: End of Pavement Ride
Where: SR 88 Apache Junction past Canyon Lake
When: Jan 22, 2011
Who: Mike E. and I
Description: 54 mile ride round trip from my home to EOP "End of Pavement" and back. Follows state route 88 from Apache Junction, past Tortilla Flat and Canyon Lake...continuing to, literally the end of pavement

This ride has been on my list for a few years but I never quite had the gumption to take it on by myself. Mike invited my to head out there with him as a good training ride for our 300km Brevet ride next Saturday...hopefully my quads and calves will be ready for it.

Arizona SR 88 heads east from "AJ" Apache Junction and meets up with SR 188 at Roosevelt Dam. It follows the Salt River and is only paved several hilly miles past Tortilla Flat. This road was the main byway from Phoenix to Payson quite a few years makes for some challenging climbs and great descents...and beautiful scenery.

Met Mike at the "Dash-In" at the corner of SR88 and Brown road....we both left a little before sun rise and it was a nippy 36 degrees at 7:30am.

Google Earth view of the EOP ride...compliments of the Garmin Edge 800.

2 personal records today...4100 feet of climbing in 23 miles and descending speed of 51.4mph.

 Speed over distance....moving pretty fast after the turnaround.

 Couple of steep sections made more obvious with this chart...some 10%+ Mike warned me while laughing...the hills up to Canyon Lake are just bumps in the road on the way to the "real" climb to EOP...he wasn't kidding :)

Gorgeous Day! We did have head winds both going out and back...good times.

Very Scenic Ride...will definitely do this one many more times...looking out over Canyon Lake.

More views of Canyon lake...couple of guys bass fishing.

 Single car width bridges...there are 2 of these following the perimeter of the lake.

More detailed route from Google Earth...mapping the road from Canyon lake to EOP.

1/2 way up the climb to EOP...

More detailed view of the route up to EOP.

Lots of desert scenery to enjoy while the legs and lungs are least mine were.

 Finally....End Of Pavement...26 miles and 2 hours 21 minutes...average speed 11.3 mph.

1st times...great climbs & good times...
Mike and his Calfee...titanium couplers and a triple chain ring up front...dirty dog was having way to much fun spinning away beside me as I was grinding it out!

 This descent back to Canyon Lake was a phreaking blast! Great long straight steep section and then lots of corners on good pavement...hit 51.4 mph while following Mike...and still couldn't keep up with him.

Finally found Mike waiting for me at Tortilla Flat. We went in to buy some water and Gatorade...never actually stopped here before but a pretty cool place.

 Little gift store had dollar bill's with peoples names on them on just about every square inch of the building...this wall had $$ from several countries.

 More dollar bills...Mike is getting some ideas for his "bike room" I think...I gave up trying to estimate the amount of dollars on these walls.

Heading out of Tortilla Flat...still quite some climbing to go but then it is all downhill back to the house.

Summary: Living in East Mesa may not be some of the most sought after neighbor hoods in the valley ...but having these rides and mountains practically in my backyard are well worth it. This ride has to be a new favorite that I definitely will do many times...and enjoying it more as I loose a few more lbs and get better at the hills. Highly recommend it!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Riding Past 100 miles - 200 km Casa Grande Ruins

What: Casa Grande Ruins 200km Brevet
Where: Casa Grande Arizona
When: Jan 9, 2011
Who: Leonard and Mike Enfield
Description: 200km (125 miles) Ultra-Distance Cycling event hosted by AZ Brevets. Not officially an "ultra-marathon" cycling event until you hit 150+ miles...but still pushed my own limits and had a great time!

"Adventure is reward enough..." I am not exactly sure why I feel the need to find/push my own physical limits but working up to a big event like this and pushing through it is all an adventure to me. Getting out with good friends and completing a goal...Good Times!!!

This is my first event with the new Garmin Edge can check out the details and ride replay at Garmin Connect

The Casa Grande Ruins 200km Brevet is my first time riding beyond 110 miles. I became friends with Mike Enfield several years ago and someone had told me he currently holds the "East to West Cross State" record for Arizona. 342.5 miles in 19 hours 46 minutes...average speed 17.3 mph...!!! Phreaking crazy. The problem with me seems to be...stories like his resinate in me and really get me thinking...what do I have to do to start riding ultra-distances? Over the next 2 years I followed him to a few centuries including the MS150 in CA (2 days 150 miles.) With lots of riding and a new "sport" I found...Crossfit...I felt I could attempt one of these Brevet's and probably not die :)

Route Recorded via Edge 800...great detail and exportable to Google Earth.

 Ride Statistics...was pretty nippy at the start...32 degrees!

Graphs pulled from the Garmin....what a great ride!!

To get physically ready for these rides and all the other things I like to weekly training includes 2-3 short rides per week (15-20 miles) with 3-4 crossfit workouts. If you are not familiar with is constantly varied, high-intensity, and functional movements type workouts. I discovered Leiftime Fitness Feb of 2010...and since then I have had huge leaps in fitness...lost 34 pounds...can bike commute to the gym and complete workouts for time like the ones listed below:

Not your typical LA Fitness...lots of pullup bars, olympic rings, boxes, kettle bells, olympic lifting setups..

Crossfit workouts are typically named and are for go as fast/hard as you can only while maintaining form...includes all kinds of body weight components as well as olympic lifting.

15 mile bike, kettle bells, wall balls, overhead walking lunges, and box jumps :) Good times.

Ok, back to the RIDE!

Mike E. and I left Mesa at 6am to get to Casa Grande intime for the 7:00 am update/ride review and 7:30 start time. It was a brisk 32 degrees and even with all that nice warm spandex...I was freezing.

Susan Plonsky giving us the rundown on the course...reminding us to get our Brevet Cards stamped at the check points and reminding us about safety...

Mike listening in

Got a lot of crap from my non-biking family about my "fluorescent yellow blouse," my "tinker bell" jersey...etc...but I was out here and they weren't. (And I don't think they have ever seen the AZ state flag.)

 I didn't take too many pictures during this ride...I had full finger gloves on and the iPhone screen won't work with them on...I did get a few and stole a few off the web. This is the first and only real hill on the route...about a 3 mile climb at 6% grade or less.

The group started out pretty fast for me as you can see in the charts above...Mike and I followed until this hill and my heart rate went up exponentially :) From here on out is was me drafting off mike...only 110 miles to go :)

 1st stop Casa Grande Ruins...mile 31. Here we went into the small museum, got our Brevet card stamped...both Mike's water bottle and my own were sitting on the counter. While chewing a cliff bar I decided I need to some water to choke it down...I didn't grab my own...but I did let Mike know that his water tasted just as good as mine :) Thanks buddy!

Casa Grande National Monument...Hohokam Indian of the largest prehistoric structures built in North America. Will have to go back and really visit sometime.

Mile 52.6...back at the Round Trip Bike Shop (these guys are great...highly recommend them)...still pretty cold out so we just stopped, dropped our warm hats off...had a banana and some Accelerade then went into the bike shop to get our card stamped...then off to the Rez...75 miles to go.

Long, straight, flat...only traffic out here was the border patrol.

Pretty much the view for 70 miles...was pretty and felt isolated...great middle of nowhere feeling. The only part of this picture missing is Mike upfront in his Aerobars :)

Memorials on the side of the road...quite a few of these along with a possible grave yard.

About mile 80 on the route I started feeling quad/calf cramps coming on. I had been drinking and eating about every 30 minutes but I just can't keep enough electrolytes in the system...Endurolytes turned out to be my savior. At this point in the ride I started taking them 1-3 every hour...completely took care of the muscle cramps...never ended up having a problem.

Susan I love you! Those green tortilla turkey wraps with potatoe salad inside were the best I have ever had!!! Those were great!!! And the coke...priceless :) Yes, this is the turn around on the Rez....mile 88. Time to get this ride done!

Heading back to the bike shop.

 Mike and I the Round Trip Bike shop turning in our Brevet Cards...gott r done! Thanks for introducing me to this and riding Domestique for me rule buddy!!! were supposed to let me win the final sprint! Maybe next time.

Brevet medal for the 200 km

 Lots of dry salt on the face but feeling good. Had a great introduction to Brevets and had a great adventure...WHATS NEXT?

Jan 29, 2011  -  300km (190 miles) Casa Grande to Saguaro National Park.


Syphon Draw - Zito Family Hike

Where: Lost Dutchman State Park "Syphon Draw Trail"
When: Jan 15, 2011
Who: Zito Fam
Description: Syphon Draw is one of my favorite local of the most scenic in the Phoenix to get out in the "Supes" as often as possible! Great to get Loree and the Zito Kiddo's out for a hike...they definitely got a workout :)

(Stole this pic from the web...great view of the Supes from the trailhead.)

If you know me...I do tend to get myself or those with me in a little over our heads at times. This little Saturday hike could fit into that category. I love hiking in the Supes and this trail is one of my favorites. I have hiked it several times alone and with friends but never with my family. It is gorgeous once you start up into the canyon...but I had forgotten that is pretty challenging :) Especially for a 4 year old! Kids did great and definitely got a good workout...4.6 miles and 1650 Feet elevation gain!

Stats courtesy of the ole Garmin 305...still a great watch!

Google Earth map of the route

 Ready to roll...Trailhead begins on the "Treasure Loop" trail 56

 You do get a more detailed map for the $8 that it costs to get into the park.

 Warming up...74 degrees in January...pretty tough out here in AZ.

 The Flat Iron can be seen back in the distance.

 Carly coming through the brush in Syphon Draw.

 Blake is gaining a little momentum now...we are close to our turn around spot...he told me his legs were feeling fuzzy :) Mine too...

 Great spot to enjoy the view and have lunch. We parked it here for 30-40 minutes then headed back down.

 Looking back down at the valley from Syphon can see Usery mountain.

 The slick rock is great when it is not wet...Blake climbing around.

 Good Times....Kaitlyn, Carly, Blake.

 Me and my buddy.

 Kaitlyn, Loree, Carly...having a snack.

 Not the most healthy hiking food...but everyone made it up so eat whatever you want :)

 Blake and I heading back down...a bit after this he got to ride on the shoulders the rest of the way out.

 Looking back down the mountain.