Saturday, July 25, 2009

Top of the World, Devils Canyon, and Flat-ulence

August changes the first flat of many

I don't get a chance to ride with other folks much. I mean I ride with the brumbys and all but that is more of a pack riding thing. I don't ride with small groups much. Bruce and August were intersted in riding the High Country Brevet in August up in Showlow (hopefully they still are after today!), so when they heard I was going on a 100 mile training ride this morning they asked if they could latch on. I am not one to say no to riding companions (time goes so much quicker that way) so we were going to meet at my house at 3 am. Yes, you read right, 3 am. I'm training for Cochise after all right? Although realistically speaking, here in the desert there is a very good reason many of the creatures are nocturnal. Still, we would have our share of the heat by the time I hung my bike up for the day.

August at Gonzales Pass

Bruce overslept so it was just me and August heading across a very dark and still Mesa. It wasn't voted Forbes most boring large town for nothing. I ended up using the hub light at the last minute as I figured we'd be in the dark for a few hours and it sure is nice to have all that light on the road. I mean I can see lizards and other small creatures scurry in my light, even spiders. If you have to travel in a bubble of light in the night, it's nice to have a large bright bubble.

Bruce met us at Mountain View road just before we got on US60. When we all took off we made good time heading out US60. It was still really dark as we cruised out towards Florence Jct.. We were able to get a good line going on the side of the lane as there was only an occaisional car that went by. Things went quite well, until August had a flat. Not just any flat mind you. This was a everyone duck for cover flat. One of those where you don't need to yell about it since everyone already heard. He had a rather large hole in his tire and the threads had ripped apart. We booted it with a piece of old inner tube and a dollar bill. It would turn out that the tire was just shot. With the threads being broken the thing bulged pretty bad even with the boot. As we finished the flat fixing process (in which I, trying to be helpful, popped another tube...Ooops..heh heh. Did I do that?) .

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

The sun was just coming up when we passed through Florence Jct. and headed up into Gonzalez pass where we would hang out a bit for August. By the time he got to us he had another blowout. We figured if we put a new tube in, he'd at least get to the Arboretum and maybe even Superior where he could get picked up by his wife. Judging by the fact there is no car in front of my house I am pretty sure he made it back safe.

Picket Post mtn.

Bruce and I hung out at the rest stop in Superior refilling our bottles and listening to the rest stop lady regail us with tales of vandalism and how we should not expect that rest stop to be open in the next day or two. This is unfortunate as this little rest stop is a very nice place to stop and pause a minute. Anyway, after we made sure August was ok we took off to climb the hill of the day and arrive at the top of the world.

This is Bruce

The climb makes no pretense of lulling you in and coddling you up into the heftier parts of the hills. No Sir! With Devil's canyon it is 7% right in your face man! You start the climb and settle into your pace as you begin a pretty long climb (10 miles actually). The Top of the World is at 4600' so there is some good climbing involved. We would climb a little faster than the temperature was rising so we hit a spot with 79 degrees and hung with that temperature to the top.

Bottom of Devil's Canyon

Before going riding with me Bruce emphasized I could leave them at any time and go ahead. Bruce and I are actually fairly evenly matched as far as speed goes. I don't think he will have any trouble with the ride in August. I found myself working hard to stay with him at times. We may have had to stop for flats but in the long run I think I got a better workout for having ridden with him and not gotten lazy than I would have otherwise.

Crags in Devil's Canyon

For being such a long climb it didn't really seem that long. I think it was probably the great scenery and having someone to ride with that made it go so quickly. It was a nice climb and the traffic was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Spires in Devil's Canyon

At the Top of the World there is not a whole lot. There are a few old stores with barbed wire in front of them, some houses and trailers off in the scrub brush and trees, and a man selling "low carb" jerkey on the side of the road in front of the "Top of the World" trading post. We were mostly concerned with stopping at the top of the hill, stretching, taking a picture or two and then rocketing back into Superior for a visit to the Circle K. The air up at 4600' was noticeably cooler than the desert below but we had to get back before the inferno known as the valley got into full swing.

Top of the World

Spires in Devil's Canyon

The descent was wonderful until I started to have funky bike wobbles. I have descended probably hundreds of hills at 40+ mph but never had a problem. This morning, I kept thinking it felt like my back tire was flat since it seemed like it was hitting the cracks pretty hard. This led to me tensing up my arms just when I should have been relaxing them at the first sign of shimmy, and before I knew it I had the tacoma narrows bridge wobbling, shimmying, and waving under my butt at 42 mph. We were just entering the tunnel and all I could think about was getting the bike stopped before I did a face plant or the cars behind us ran me over. The bike was shaking all over as I slowed down. It seemed like forever as I did the funky jiggle through the tunnel looking for a place I could crash where I wouldn't get run over. In the end I saved it, much to the relief of Bruce who was behind me. Needless to say I took the rest of the hill slower while I tried to relax my arms so they wouldn't do it again.

Devil's Canyon

It was starting to get warm down in Superior and pouring the rest of the bottle of water over my head was quite refreshing as it was really cold. It was a quick ride over Gonzales pass. Just before Florence Jct. Bruce hit a wineglass in the road and shattered it. It was quite impressive and I couldn't help but shout Mazeltav! Unfortunately down the road he had a blowout which was probably fallout from that very incident.

By the time we got to Gold Canyon it was in the mid 90s and Bruce tried the ice in a sock trick and I must say when I tried it at his urging a ways down the road it was quite effective. I downed a couple of strawberry milks at Gold Canyon and then we were off after Bruce made some repairs to his seat bottle holder.

Up near the end of Broadway road Bruce's tire was showing signs of imminent flatting and he decided he was just going to cut short and head back to his car back a few miles so we parted ways. Since he took the sock I started to notice it was getting hot. 104 degrees to be specific according to That's a toasty temperature to be finishing a 100 mile ride in. To make matters worse the winds had shifted and I had a 15 mph headwind all they way through Mesa. I managed to keep a good speed but the last few miles were a bit of a hot slog.

I had originally planned on getting back around 10 so I hadn't brought sunscreen which I probably should have. One thing that did go right is I hydrated well and weighed in right were I was before I left so that was good. I would end up with 103 miles with a 16.3 mph average over 6 hours and 19 minutes with 4061 feet of climbing. Not a bad mornings work really. What more can you ask for? A long road, a big ascent serenaded by songbirds, cold water, ice, and a pleasant person to talk to while you ride. It doesn't get any better than that really.

Back to the superstitions


Bruce's Bike Blog said...


Karen G. Barnes said...

Just surfing the web and came across your blog. It was interesting reading about your 100+ mile ride, then was surprised to see it was my brother-in-law Bruce you rode with! He told me about his ride that day and the flat tire. The pictures of the scenery are beautiful! Looks like it was a great ride.

August and Melissa said...

Hey thanks for letting us tag along! The ride to Superior was good at least.