Where: Salt River Area near Saguaro Lake
When: March 12, 2011
Description: Needed to get in a long training ride for the upcoming 600km Tombstone Brevet March 19...decided to get up real early, gear up, and get a good long ride in.
Following the 400km Arivaca Brevet, I felt the need to ensure I kept training...and got in a hard ride or 2 prior to the final in the Series...the Tombstone 600km (380 miles.) There are some people that talk negatively about East Mesa...but most of them aren't cyclists :) We have some great rides that are all accessible from my front door. This is another one of my favorites...typically I have 3-4 local rides that I do on a regular basis, this is a combination of all of them.
101 Miles...combining "Usery Loop," Bush Hwy and B-Line Hwy, Ellsworth Road to the Mesa Gateway Airport, and "Tour de Smell (Apache Junction loop.) "
My fastest century so far...ride time under 6 and 1/2 hours...about 45 minutes of stops...always surprises me when I see how much time I spend on breaks...never seems that long when I am out riding.
Definitely some climbing on this ride...out to Bush Hwy and then a few miles on the B-Line...about double Usery and some quite a bit steeper.
Once again I underestimated how cold it could get down by the Salt River...I left my house at 4:45am and temp was 58...2 hours later it was 37 degrees...definitely could have dressed warmer :)
Quiet mornings, lonely roads, AZ sunrise, small breeze...reminds me why I love cycling!!
Cruising along early in the morning...bento box with food, Garmin, aero bars...this setup is superb for my long rides.
Crossing the bridge near a popular fishing/tubing area along bush hwy...
Bull Dog cliffs along the Salt River...this is the turnaround/parking area used by the Salt River Tubers during the summer. Good little stop with restrooms.
Google Earth of the Parking Area.
Much better picture of the Bulldog's pulled off the web...I have watched base jumpers launch of these before...very cool.
Passing by Saguaro Lake...some really steep but short climbs right here...
More of Saguaro Lake
Looking back down Bush Highway from the intersection of B-Line Hwy. I had forgotten how much climbing it took to make it out to this point...definitely worked hard and was feeling it. Took some time to change lenses on my sunglasses, eat some food, and turn on Pandora...some Techno to set the Tempo for the next couple of hours...yes, the iPhone and 3G worked great out here...very surprising.
Heading towards Payson on the Bline Hwy...huge pull off that is nice to ride on. Have to keep a close eye out for glass and areas where cars have "burned"... makes for some weird pot holes and places for debris to collect.
Desert is starting to bloom...lots of grass and some spots with wild flowers.
Heading out further on the Bline...this hill is about 2-3 miles of 5-6% grade...good fun on the way down. Seem to be hitting 40+ mph on just about every ride now :)
Almost to my 50 mile turnaround spot...this is a wash beside the road...I believe it is Sycamore Creek.
Not a very romantic area to enjoy an apple and some coconut milk...turned around here...mile 50.
Beautiful views of 4 peaks all along Bush and BLine Hwy's...Have hiked/climbed it a few times but need to do the "Traverse." All 4 peaks in a day...about 3 miles of Scrambling...
Yes, everything came out ok :) Bathroom pit stop at Salt river tubing area on the route back home.
Getting a little sun...added a new light to my helmet...very handy for reading directions at night or clipping into pedals when it is really dark.
Summary: Great solo ride with good views and some decent climbs. I felt really strong on this one and have really noticed the changes in my legs from the Brevet's. Felt good all day and pretty much fully recovered in 2-3 days. I have hit 1200+ miles of riding since January 1st...a record for me and I can really feel the difference with all that saddle time. Looking forward to completing the AZ Brevet Series and "officially" qualifying for the Paris Breast Paris. Definitely praying for good weather and safety this weekend for the 600km! ...then, Whats Next?