Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Real Purpose of Cochise Classic

Ok, this is the part where I take a slight deviation from the ride reports and remind you that the Cochise Classic is in 2 weeks and change. I also remind you that this is a charity event and I am actually trying to raise a few bucks for the good guys at the Douglas Association of Retarded Citizens. Should you feel charitable at all (and I hope you do). Click on the 'donate' button at the right side of the screen and donate something. 5,10, 20 bucks, whatever you can spare. I'll cover the paypal fees. Remember the paypal goes through my wife's account so don't be put off by the laytonmusic verbage. Anyway, if you have been waiting to hop on board on this, now is the time! A special thank you for those who have contributed at this time. We have 205 dollars raised so far. I have signed up for the 350 dollar level so anything more that can be contributed would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading everyone!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Of coyotes, bats, and moonsets.

Occasionally life gets in the way of training. Yeah, Yeah, I know, your thinking that life never gets in the way of anything for the old Paulster, but unfortunately I am just like anyone else with a life. Yet, I am not. In most ways I am like anyone else with a life but unlike most folks I am participating in a 252 mile race in three weeks. So, since I have not been able to ride as much this week as I would have liked, and since I need to get at least 100 miles in this week, an evening ride was necessary. The bed was calling to me loudly I must confess but I made it out the door.

I got to bomb down King Kong hill into Granite Reef with my hub light bathing the road in plentiful light. I pedalled faster to see how the light would do. I think I hit 40 and I had plenty of light. The ride along the bush highway was beautiful. The stars were out and bright (well, compared to in the city they were bright), the crickets were chirping, the moon was lighting the desert from low in the western sky and there was a chill in the air. It was a beautiful night.

I climbed over usery pass and went down to the store to get a gatorade as dinner was finally starting to burn off. Then it was back up Usery Mountain for a repeat on the frontside. I stopped halfway up to see a rust colored moon set behind south mountain on the southwest horizon. You could see it move slowly and grow smaller as time moved on. You could see faint ridges on the mountain as the moon sank behind them and highlighted their features. As I continued and left the city lights a large Coyote crossed my path and headed up into the bushes. He was not the first Coyote I had seen. It seems the dogs were on the prowl tonight.

After I took the above picture at the Usery Mountain Park sign I went over the pass and looked at the stars for a bit. You could just barely see a faint hint of the milky way if you knew where to find it. The pleaides and cassiopea were visible and orion was rising in the east. I did not see any shooting stars, but I did have a bat fly over my head at one point after I started riding out to Apache Jct.

Riding back along McKellips I could see the city laid out below me. Sometimes riding at night is magical and the night offers you gifts for your bravery to stray out of the city lights. Sometimes you get the reward because you decided to go out even though you didn't feel like it. No matter what the reason, sometimes life is good and the mind and body absorb the beauty of the night and all is right for a moment. Tonight was such a night.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Velo Migrant (Marana to Mexico and back)

Life's journeys are varied and many. Each is a passage of time and distance whether it be metaphoric or physical. There are things to see along the way, there are obstacles in our path, and there are things internally we may struggle with. Some journeys are unpopular with the current voting public, and as a result illegal. Mine was a legal journey my friends, but I'd be surrounded by folks trying to stop other's journeys which weren't so legal buzzing about the border like bees around a garbage can.

My journey of course was not so much about sightseeing as it was about obstacles. Though it was long it was still a training ride, albeit a ride with a crew. Bruce was my crew today and I must say he was as good a host as he was a crew chief, as there was dinner waiting when I got to his house Friday night (he called me on the phone right as the guy at McDonald's in Catalina was handing me my food which of course I didn't eat as I had a great dinner waiting 15 minutes down the road).


Dinner was excellent and we discussed the morning ride until late so we decided we would push the start time back to 3 AM so we could get an extra hour of sleep or so. I know, I know, you all think I wussed out of the 2 AM start and so I'll own up to it, yes I did wuss by going to 3 AM and I enjoyed every minute of it. I actually woke up a few times in the short time I had to sleep. But I managed to get enough sleep in the end.

With a 2:30 am wake up I was just able to get out the door at 3 AM. We had all the gear packed in Bruce's car, I had my bike setup, and most importantly, I was hardly carrying anything since I was riding supported which is a new thing for me. It was kind of nice not having jersey pockets full of everything I could need but rather had it all in the car. The plan was I would head out and then Bruce would follow after awhile.

There is something about night riding that is just awesome. You head out into the darkness, all is quiet (not a lot of people up at 3AM), the sky is dark and the stars are bright and it is just you and your thoughts. As I left Bruce's neighborhood a shooting star went overhead and I could see Orion and the pleaides shining brightly in the sky. Yes, it was just me, the mighty hunter, and the occasional car as I sped down Tangerine road to I-10.

I was making good time even if there was a slight headwind. I kept thinking cars approaching from behind were Bruce but they weren't. A Sheriff's deputy passed me just before Picture Rocks and nearly hit a dog down the road. I knew the dog was there so I growled at it on the way by to let it know I was a predator and not prey.

Just after that I entered Saguaro National Monument and I have to tell you there is not a lot to see there at 4 AM in the dark. Going down into the farms alongside Sandario road I would hear machinery noises off to the sides of the road and wondered what they were until I realized it was a well. It was amazing how far away you can hear those things at night. I remember hearing one and being amazed how long it took to get to it and pass it. This section of road got a little long in the end and I determined I would dig out the mp3 player after Robles Jct.

Baboquivari Peak

Bruce caught up to me just before I turned off Sandario. He took my order and my feed bottle then took a picture of me and I was off into the night. He waited a bit and then leapfrogged me to catch me down the road with a filled water bottle. The shoulder of the road heading down to Robles Jct was littered with thumb sized rocks. The kind that eat the sidewalls of your tires for breakfast. Fortunately I had a really bright light and I could dodge them. I had to look pretty funny with my lights turning this way and that in a seemingly random fashion to anyone passing by.

After I passed Robles Jct/Three Points the sky started to get a bit of light on the horizon. It also marked the spot where I put my mp3 player on and I would occasionally burst into enthusiastic song which I thought was only being heard by the trees and field grass. Apparently, sound can travel a surprising distance at night and Bruce commented that it was so quiet he could hear me from a half mile away singing my heart out. At least he said it wasn't bad. I guess if it was though I could take glad company in the screech owl that flew over my head earlier in the morning.

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Between 5-8:30 I got passed by 1 civilian and about 20 or so border patrol vehicles. The border patrol were always moving fast. They have a lot going on I am sure. It was a pretty lonely road though. It averaged about 10 - 15 minutes between vehicles going by and much longer than that at times. As the sun rose you could see the telescope domes on top of Kitt Peak shine in the morning rays and in the distance Baboquivari peak would grow as we approached and eventually passed it.

I stopped to switch out my front wheel and the light that was on it with a normal front wheel and also took off all my reflective gear and put it in Bruce's car. I could really get used to this riding supported thing. I had Bruce fill a water bottle and we came to the conclusion that big hefty water jugs that you can barely lift are not very easy to use to fill small water bottles. It's for discovery's like that you hold these little practice rides before race day.

Bruce carefully filling a bottle

This part of the state gets quite a bit more rain than the other part of the state. The closer you get to the border the more the landscape turns into green rolling hills and grassland. Most of the first half of my route was a gradual climb and this end of the route was getting up around 3500-4000 feet. There were spots along the road that were 58 degrees which were almost chilly. It's a pain that those temperatures wouldn't last the day though.

Bruce's Bike Mobile

As I finally got to the turnoff to Arivaca and passed it I was surprised at how much climbing there was between that turn and Sasabe. There were a lot of large rollers and each one was taller than the last. Add to this a headwind and it took me the better part of an hour to cover the 12 miles. Bruce was going to ride a bit with me so he sped on ahead to get changed so he could ride back with me. I enjoyed the ride in the cool morning air, riding an undulating road through green fields with clouds dotting the deep blue sky here and there.

The road to the border is abuzz with border patrol

Even with the headwinds and being uphill I was able to maintain an average just below 17 mph up to the border. I was happy with that. I made a quick visit to the border upon arriving in Sasabe as I didn't see Bruce's car at the store (looked right when I should have looked left). I got a picture of the steel wall and the gate, waved good morning to the customs officials sitting around and headed back to Sasabe.

Old school bus, now a storage bin and shade.

I'd say Sasabe is a one horse town except Bruce took a picture of a lady with two horses so I guess that would be a lie. Sasabe has a store and a border patrol compound (yes, it's a compound surrounded by high chainlink fence and pretty rugged barbed wire on the top) and a few other buildings. Not a very big town but it almost has a warlike frontline type feel to it. Everything is fenced off and there are border patrol vehicles all over. Bruce tells me there isn't even a paved road on the other side of the border. It's very interesting to see all the effort and power that is centered on this very isolated and small border crossing.

Bruce's mighty trek

I sat in the shade of the school bus while Bruce bought some soda's from the lady in the store who said we could park here. I have to admit, for training purposes I probably shouldn't have stopped so long, but it felt nice to sit in the green grass and rest. It was also nice to have someone to chat up on the way back to the Arivaca turn. Bruce had originally planned on riding with me to Arivaca but he got a call and had to cut things short to get back home.

Coming In

Going Out

The great wall of Sasabe

I have to say it was really nice having Bruce along to chat with on the way back to the Arivaca turn. These long rides can get a little monotonous at times and having someone to talk to makes all the difference. With a tailwind at our backs we made pretty quick time back to the turn. After a quick picture Bruce was off to head back to his car and I was off to Arivaca.

Sasabe with Baboquivari peak in the background

The climb back to Arivaca was enjoyable. You cross the grassland, dropping into a couple of low Cieniga's and then meandering back into a valley until you arrive at the small town of Arivaca. Small though it is it is quite a bit larger than Sasabe. Most of the folk around are ranchers although there are people sitting on the side of the road peddling various wares to people who pass through (whch weren't many when I was there). I stopped to take a picture of my favorite bar. It's my favorite as It was the only warm place I could find when I was freezing from gale force winds and rains in the 400k ride in 2006.

Paul's favorite bar.

I called Bruce and he said he'd just gotten to his car and he would come back and meet me somewhere between there and the highway. Being the cautious type I bought a pack of gummy bears and a rice crispy just in case. I also bought a small gatorade bottle to use for extra water since I would be riding without support once Bruce met up with me one last time. You can't be too cautious in Arizona, even in September.

I was almost to the highway before I met up with Bruce. Apparently he had run into a nice custom's lady who wanted to show him her shotgun. Bruce of course is already spoken for by a member of our brave and vigilant armed forces so army trumps customs I'm afraid. I am sure she will get over it in time. Besides, why fall for a girl with a shotgun when you can fall for a girl with a grenade launcher? I mean really what was she thinking?

Thar be squalls ahead

I remember dooming myself by telling Bruce it would be an easy 75 miles back to his house. After all, it was downhill most of the way, and oh, there was that tailwind. No, it shouldn't be any problem at all. Besides there was thunder and a raincloud over there which should cool things off. Ah, the speculation of the naive and innocent.

The tailwind lasted for about 4-5 miles until I approached the storm and I got a pretty stiff headwind. Worse than that the sun beat down on me and the temperatures had risen into the nineties. The storm and it's precious shade were moving away from me like a sugar coated carrot hung out in front of my nose just out of reach. The thought that not a mile or two ahead there was blissfully cold water falling on the pavement was a little irksome. At one point I could see the edge of the shade on the road move away about as fast as I was moving towards it.

I eventually reached it. I never did reach the rain in that storm though. I felt about 3 drops. For a door prize I did get to feel the spray off my wheels on wet pavement which was nice and cool. The storm gave me a nice tailwind for about 4-5 miles and then I was back into a fierce headwind and pretty oppressive heat. I was doing good on fluids but boy it seemed hot out there in the shadeless brush.

I spotted a water bottle standing on the road out here and wondered if Bruce had left it (he had). I still had plenty of water so I didn't stop since I didn't have a place to put it, in retrospect though I should have stopped and chugged it down. A rule to live by is you never pass up a chance at water in the desert.

In this stretch was where I had to pull my enjoy the journey trick. When I push hard and it feels like I am suffering and I am getting depressed I pull this trick. It is where I say to myself that at this point I don't care about going fast. I am just going to slow down and enjoy the ride. This is particularly helpful in heat I have found. Survival in many situations goes to the laziest. The one who uses his energy to sustain life as opposed to speed. Spinning easy, sitting back and resting the back, let the body cool down a bit and slow the old ticker down. In the end I think this ends up with a faster ride as you don't burn out your body, but allow it to rest, regroup and come back stronger.

Hot, but cooling down quickly.

I got to Robles Jct and bought 4 litres of water. One of which I drank, one that I poured over my head and jersey. and 2 that went into the water bottles while I chatted up some teenagers who asked about my bike and told me about a friend that could ride 60mph on their road bike down the freeway. I don't think they caught on to what I meant when I said I had got it up to 50 mph going down a hill and they were ignorantly trying to one up me. Anyway, it was an amusing break from the heat. On the way in I had thought of either calling Bruce or waiting for sunset but after cooling down I decided I could do the 20 miles to Picture Rocks and then re-assess from there.

I slowly dried off riding up to Sandario road and was just starting to heat up again when a rainstorm formed over my head and started raining on me. It was very pleasant and led to one of the more pleasant moments on the ride with the green shoulders of the road, the dropping temperatures, the green fields and the tucson mountains off to the right. The rain eventually stopped but I had shade up until I topped the hill past kinney road and was heading down to Picture Rocks. I was plenty warm again by the time I did get to Picture Rocks but the storm had made much of the journey far more pleasant than it otherwise would have been.

Sandario Road

Did I mention the headwind I had up to this point? I'd had pretty steady headwinds up Sandario and they got pretty fierce leaving Picture Rocks. They just continued to build as I went on. It was hot and windy but I knew I was in the home stretch. I still had the 6 mile hill up Tangerine to deal with but I was riding amazingly strong for having ridden 190 miles and found I was able to keep a good strong pace climbing Tangerine road. I softpedalled down Dove Mtn Blvd to cool down a bit on the way back to Bruce's house.

I rang his door bell but no one answered. It was kind of funny, I had a brief moment of alarm as I hadn't planned on Bruce not being there but then I remembered I had his cell number and was just dialing it when he opened the door. After I had a big bowl of ice cream and a quick shower we headed out to have a big dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. It was tasty and I think I drank about 20 glasses of sprite

I ended up with 11 hours and 40 minutes of riding time and 13.5 hours elapsed time. My fastest 300k time to date is 14 hours and 15 mintues and this ride was about 315k so that wasn't too bad I think. The riding pace was about right, I just need to cut the time off the bike.

A special thanks to Bruce for driving support and the use of his couch and shower not to mention all of his time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Richard Cranium Award

The Richard Cranium Award is a prestigious award saved for the few drivers out there eager to get to work at all costs. The select few who believe it is their right to stand on the shoulders of others and it's the duty of others to hold them up. Those who spit into the wind and expect it to hit someone else in the face. Yes, these are SPECIAL people, yet for all their rush they have a sensitive side. A mere 10 second delay can bring a tear to their eye and a flush to their complexion. It is not everyday one runs into a nominee for such a prestigious award in Mesa Arizona fair readers. It takes a really special person to get this award.

The person I am nominating today fair readers is a person who pulled up behind me while I was waiting behind a long line of cars in a construction zone. They were driving a white SUV and hung on to my tail at 22 mph through the zone when the speed limit was 25. The car ahead of me was three car lengths ahead and halfway through the zone this sensitive, and uncommonly special person layed on their horn for a good while. Realizing I was in the presence of a nominee for the Richard Cranium award I put out my hand in a friendly wave! It was such an honor to help them complete this great achievement. I can hardly contain my joy fair readers. To think I was the person who helped such a person as this Richard nominee (Although, this elite group are affectionately called 'Dicks' by those who know them, not to be confused with one of the greatest of them, 'Tricky Dick' a former president of these United States) to shine and show their colors. That is a satisfaction most sweet. Yes, driver of the white SUV, I am pleased to award you the Richard Cranium award for September the fifteenth in the two thousand and ninth year of our Lord or Common Era as your faith or lack of may prefer. Go forth in your brazen confidence and superiority, blessing those you know with your presence. Stand solidly on the shoulders of those you subjicate and curse the authority that dares to equalize you with your fellow man. Yes, you alone indeed are SPECIAL today. Glory in it. We salute you!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The little black dog with the white fluffy butt

The kids are finally asleep and my wife is home. Soon I am not. I am off into the night, fighting headwinds and dumb traffic signals as I move towards the Superstition mtns. Traffic is light. There are occasional cars. My hope is that none of them have been drinking tonight.

At the edge of town it gets dark. Not absolutely dark but comparitively dark. There is no moon but I can see the cliffs of the Flat Iron reflecting the glow of the city. Soon I am over the first few rises and the glow on the horizon is all that can be seen of the city. It gives the wispy clouds in the sky a pinkish hue.

Climbing in the darkness my Generator light is bright. Giant green Saguaros thrust their arms at me out of the darkness as I ride by. Cholla cacti grow by the roadside like giant white Pom Poms. Frequently mice run across the road in front of my bike in the light. One misses death by 700X23c by mere millimeters.

It is 11:15 when I turn around just past Canyon Lake. I had wanted to go to Tortilla Flat but that will have to wait. The drinking fountain at the marina is broken so It's a good thing I turned around when I did.

There are lights along the shoreline and the fishing platforms. Fisherman are out trying to catch fish with insomnia. Supposedly they taste better. There are lovers at the Canyon Lake overlook. At least that is what I assume they are. Not too many people like to drive to canyon lake and enjoy the view of a few marina lights far away in the night unless they have a passion for life and love and whatever the night brings. Maybe it's the stars? If it wasn't for the wispy clouds the milky way might just be visible out here.

Climbing back out I labor up the hill sucking down my last bit of water. I am climbing the part of the road where there is a cliff on my left, and a drop off on my right. Up ahead in my headlight is a little dog with a fluffy butt. Is it some sort of bizarre coyote? A strange Jackrabbit? A jackalope? Nope. Fair readers, I stumbled upon a desert skunk. He was doing his best to get out of my way but he made sure he always kept old betsy pointed in my direction. If I had been using a light that wasn't as bright I might have been on top of him and been wafted away by lifes sweet scents before I was able to figure out what it was. Fortunately, I figured out what he was in time to give him a chance to find a little hole on the side of the road to duck into. I gave him wide birth.

Slowly I drop down the other side of the mountains and the city glow grows. I bid the mighty saquaros standing in majestic shadow goodnight as I pass into the "Ghostown" of Goldfield (more like a tourist trap). I am fighting obnoxious headwinds but I am content in knowing they will be at my back in a few miles and soon I will be home bidding myself goodnight.

I did not get as much mileage as I intended today. Nor was it perhaps the best quality. It was very filling on a mental level though. Breathing in the night air and seeing the desert through the eye of my headlight, like an evermoving looking glass gliding along through the night featuring slices of desert nightlife as I pass. The evening has rejuvinated me in many ways above what my training was about. It was a good ride.

Best Alternative

Is she riding side saddle? I need to watch better

My alarm didn't go off this morning. I know this Saturday is not one of my big ride Saturdays but I still wanted to get 60-70 miles in. So, the altered plan is to do them tonight and that would let me take the kids out to donuts and the park on bicycles. Since we'd have to be home before 9 anyway. The kids like riding bikes and someday I hope they work up into longer distances. For now they are fine going 5-10 miles at a time.

Cyclist or Gymnast? Or both????
Some guys dogs attacked us when we were cruising down the alley to the park. The idiot had left his back gate open. Dogs seemed to stick around the house they just went after anything in the alley that looked like it was afraid of them. Fortunately no one was bitten just a scratch. Kids were a little traumitized but soon we were to the park and all was better.

Got to take the boys to Gymnastics when we got home. One is quitting this month as he keeps comparing himself to his brother and thinks he's no good. Better than most of the kids in the class but not his brother so he is quitting. We're hoping to get him into Karate and then they won't compete against each other. The other one is very good at the gym stuff. He is already doing back handsprings on the floor and really crazy cool stuff on the trampoline. Most of the teachers think he'll go far.
Took some pictures of my journey to the light rail the other night. The monsoons were gathering over Phoenix. Mesa didn't get any rain but the clouds were cool.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Midnight Journey

The Coy Mistress in Payson

I am not the best person to accurately note the time in the middle of the night. I had originally opted for a 2 am start and so set the alarm for 2:00 AM. I went to bed around 8 and woke up at what I thought was 1:55. Turns out it was 11:55 but I didn't figure that out until I was all dressed and heading out the door at 12:20. I figured since I was all ready to go I'd just head out and deal with it. It's a good thing I did as the ride was a little more involved than I thought it would be.

Night riding is always interesting and at the same time can be dull as well. I tossed my mp3 player in the jersey pocket since I would be doing so much night riding. I had a very diverse collection of music. Some which was helpful to keep the pace up and some that wasn't. I had finally had a chance to fix my generator light this week by putting a new switch on and removing the rocks that held the lense in and glued it in better.

Not a lot of support along this route (43 hill infested miles at that). Independence is critical.

There is a lot of climbing on this route. The first bit I did a few weeks ago as a century to the Mt. Ord turnoff. Climbing it at night was a bit different. The beeline was deserted at 2:30 am. I could take the lane while climbing to avoid the rougher parts of the shoulder. About halfway up the first half of the hill I was riding along in the darkness and out of nowhere I come upon this guy walking with a dim light down the hill. He sort of mumbled something at me that I couldn't catch and walked around me and watched him fade away in my rearview mirror. It was almost like a ghost. A few miles up the road the mystery would deepen. I had not seen a car or anything else he could have come from and was wondering what was up. I had put my mind onto other things when up ahead I saw a Trek MTB bike with a kickstand sitting on the shoulder up ahead. It had a taillight and everything. I wondered how the guy got the bike up here, assuming it was his. I also wondered why he left it here in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night without a soul around. Bizarre.

The good sized hill before the really nasty hill.

At another point I heard a large animal make a huffing noise in the underbrush to my right side and almost had a coronary. Despite knowing that attacks are extremely rare I am always afraid of encountering a Mountain Lion. I think it was probably a Javalina or something but the mind doesn't necessarily go with the most rational explanation first at night.

It was a beautiful night to ride through the desert actually. The moon was full and you could see the hills and mountains around in the moonlight. The only drawback was the first few hours were in pretty humid and warm conditions as the night time temps continued to drop from the days warmth.

Closed Rest Stop

Dropping down the back side of the Mazatzal divide behind Mt. Ord was really cool. Traffic was non-existant so I had no problem taking the lane and held 40mph most of the way down. Of course at night it seems faster but I was sitting up so as to air brake a bit. It was a long cool descent. Temps were pretty much perfect. About halfway down a pretty good sized shooting star streaked across the sky straight out from me far ahead.

After the bottom of the hill there were a few miles of hills left before the rest stop. The sky was just starting to get light when I pulled into the rest stop and discovered that the spigot Tom Baker and I used in May no longer worked. I had a momentary pause since I kind of depended on water being here. I decided to try the drinking fountains and thankfully they still worked.
Sunrise caught me making the big climb out of Rye heading up to Payson. I was starting to feel the climbing a little bit. By the time I got to Payson I would have 7000' climbed on my Altimeter. After chatting with a man from Scottsdale I was on my way back at 7:40.

Hill looking back after crossing the Mazatzal divide.

The ride back was a long one. My legs were starting to get a little irritated at me from all the climbing. By the time I finally got back to climbing the Mazatzal divide I really was not looking forward to the climb. I must admit I kind of wished I had my triple chainring. It was around in here I remembered that I had forgot to buy sunscreen in Payson. Fortunately for me there was a guy broken down halfway up the hill and his friend who had stopped to help him had some he said I could use. If not for his generosity I would be a lobster right now.

The pass on top of the Mazatzal divide

Knowing that I might in all likelyhood encounter warmer temperatures when I got back down to the desert I had selected a route that took me down by a lake and the Salt River. I hadn't thought about Labor day traffic and a road with no shoulder but it didn't turn out to badly in the end. I did in fact start to get warm after I had visited my water stash and refilled and climbed the last big hill before getting off of the beeline hwy. I thought I might be able to make it but as I headed down the Bush Hwy and things warmed up I knew I would need to cool down somehow or I would start going through water at a rate I couldn't sustain.

Before I got to town I would stop at the Salt River twice to wade out into the water and dunk my head in the water and soak my cap. Water is a great thing for absorbing energy and cooling you off fast. It was a lifesaver. The climb up King Kong (hill by granite reef dam) would have been a lot worse if I had not cooled off first.

Getting back to town I would hit a sobriety checkpoint where they were stopping all traffic. One of the Officers jokingly asked if I wanted to fill out one of their forms and then waved me through. I was glad I wasn't in a car. I ran out of water in here but from here it was downhill to Dairy Queen where a large Banana cream pie blizzard was waiting for me. I also ended up getting a full meal after I finished the Blizzard. I was hungry. I really drained the tanks today.
152 miles in 12 hours riding time and 11100' of climbing. I kept thinking it was a slow time but with all the climbing and the warmer temps towards the end I don't think it was too bad. In any case it is what I could do so I'll take it.
Just checked my May 300k report and this ride officially had more climbing than that ride so this is the most climbing I have ever done in one day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Duck Season....Wabbit Season........Hunter's friend season

So it's early Saturday morning and though I did not sleep well the Coy Mistress is calling me from the garage. She is a harsh mistress indeed, but I need to get out. Monday's the big ride of course but I am up for a moderate ride with what has been termed the 'Not so fast' crowd of Brumbys. I think the fast guys just slept in a half hour and headed out with everyone because there were no regroups, the pace was dropping people off the back, and folks attacked the first hill pretty harshly. I hung on actually but I was working hard. Too hard.

The original plan was to head out to Canyon Lake but since there were giant angry storm clouds of death over there the group turned to head up the bush highway where the skies were clearer. After holding on for awhile I decided that it was not the ride I had intended to take today and let them go. It's no use winning a skirmish and losing the war. Stick to your training plan Paul!

I bagged the group out at the area where the tubers put into the Salt River and headed back the way I came. I got rained on some. Apparently this week is the first week of Dove season here. As I went up the back side of Usery pass there were gunshots on both sides of me fairly continuously all the way up. I briefly imagined I was a soldier sneaking between two fronts of fighting soldiers as the bullets whistled over my head. No real bullets were whistling over my head of course but people sure were shooting close to the road. Probably too lazy to walk far.

Nearing the top I heard several shots and then as I saw the hunters who had fired, noticed their friend downrange of them. They are lucky they didn't pull a Dick Cheney. Sometimes you have to wonder at some folks. I suppose instead of calling it hunting season they should call it hunter season.

Just over the hill is the rifle range where the Bubbas and their buddies get a huge dope slap from qualified safety supervisors when they do stupid things like the hunters on the other side. Some folks just shouldn't mess with guns. Others just shouldn't be allowed to drive. What ya gonna do? I guess they'll eventually clean themselves out of the gene pool but hopefully they don't take anyone with them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

So what do you think, am I crazy?

Back in the saddle again after a few days of rest since I felt a little tired last week as a result of the brevet and a cold. At least I think it was a cold. I had a scratchy throat for about a week and a half, maybe two? Anyway, my two rides this week have been plagued by headwinds and today I had a heavy laptop and humidity to deal with which dropped my average speed way down. Pros- I got a longer workout in with a moderately high intensity Cons- took forever to get to work and it was pretty hot.

Anyway, enough of that dribble. Heres my ideas for the future. Saturday I am watching the kids since I owe D'Net some free time since she has been putting up with all my Cochise training nonsense. All is lost? That's what I thought too until I realized we had that holiday no one really understands why it's there but everyone loves. Labor Day. Yep, no promises for hanging around on Labor Day! So I had an idea I might go from Mesa to Christmas and back. Sounded cool but I think the 10% grades are a little too much on those long rides and do more harm than good I think seeing as I won't see much of that on the Cochise route. So, I get the awesome idea to go from Mesa to Payson, out Houston Mesa Road to the rim and back (admittedly it does have a short section of 11% by the turnaround but it's really short unlike the 1.5 miles of 10%+ out of Kelvin) . It comes out to 170 miles and around 10,000 feet of climbing.

My quandary is this dear friends. If I do 170 on Monday, a 60-70ish mile ride the Saturday after that, and 200 miles the Saturday after that , accompanied by my stalwart, clever, and ever vigilant crew chief Bruce, is that overdoing it? That gives me 3+ weeks to taper down a bit before Cochise. I figure if I have the time and energy it can't hurt as long as I keep the intensity up.

So what do ya all think? Am I nuts? Got any better ideas?