Saturday, March 13, 2010

Preview de Phoenix

It's cold. Really cold (well not compared to northern climes), I couldn't find my arm warmers and by the time I am out to the meetup spot it is 39 degrees and all I have is a windvest and knee warmers in addition to my kit. The group plan today is to ride the Tour de Phoenix route. There's about 30 - 40 cyclists at the lot. It looks good. I chat with Sterling and apparently the forest service is forcing PBAA to close the Bush Highway and Usery pass road for this years El Tour de Phoenix. This is costly so if any of you out there are thinking about doing riding it, PLEASE sign up now. It's expensive to close roads like this and if this event is to continue they need all the support they can get this year. Theres a lot of support for this coming from the city of Mesa and we need to put up to hold our side of the bargain and keep this ride alive.

Pulling out onto Brown I find it is much warmer riding in a pack. It's starting to get light in the east as we cruise across Mesa. I find the pace a little slow and think maybe it's because there is a race this weekend and the fast guys are probably there. I think about some advice I got about going platinum at Tour de Phoenix. Get in with a fast pack, and avoid pulling at all costs. Lost in these thoughts I find myself at the front pulling everyone up Via Linda. The pace is sustainable for me and we hold it until we turn onto Shea and we peel off to head to the back. Not too long afterwards the pace notches up and I am struggling to keep up. We are working hard and people are starting to drop off. I hold back a bit and get into hill climbing mode. About mid hill I start passing people up. There are two packs now and I am back of the second one.

Passing over the hill a group of 8 forms and we drop down the back of the hill. Near the bottom a guy with aerobars goes by, and I start thinking about Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds for some reason. Was that "A girl with colitis goes by" , or "a girl with kaleidascope eyes"?

At the Circle K before the beeline I get to the regroup. The convenience store is surrounded by cyclists in every direction. It's a big group today. The regroup is lasting a long time and I am getting cold so I head out. Everyone follows me out. I guess it was one of those "Ya think we should go?....I dun know do you think we oughta go?......I da know you think we should go?" type things.

After getting on the Beeline a large group formed as they passed me and I hooked onto the back and held on for over half of the way up the hill to the intersection with the Bush highway. Then I dropped off. After a bit I passed another wayfaring cyclist spit off the back. I enjoyed the climb in the green desert. The beautiful mountains, the cacti, the creasote, the smooth pavement, the live ammunition. Live ammo? Yup. about 30-40 rounds out on the pavement spread along the fog line and the rumble strip looked like 9mm rounds. I figured I'd call DPS and let them know. They are the department of public safety after all, they could make a decision on how safe it was. I talked to the lady there over the next 2 miles and finally got her a good mile marker. I still managed to keep good time though. I made the regroup before they left. Dave had a spoke pull a chunk out of his rear hub. This was an expensive ride for him, he'll probably just buy a new wheel.

The group stayed together until the little hill after the Saguaro lake turnoff and then the guys that couldn't hold onto the fast guys formed a second group which lasted to four corners and then we all broke apart on the last hill. I let a couple guys pass me up at the bottom but knew I'd pass them before the top. The trick is to keep it steady all four miles up to the top. I was expecting a regroup at the top but there wasn't any. There were 5 or 6 people behind me and I couldn't see anyone out front. I knew the PBAA a route turned on McKellips so I took that route and then wound my way around to Sonic and had a nice late breakfast. 75 miles with an 18.5 mph average and 2500 feet of climbing. Not too bad for a mornings work. At home I discover my brake has been rubbing all morning, no wonder I felt sluggish, I wonder if it's been that way long.

The above picture is the Salt River as I crossed it on my commute the other night. It is again the mighty Salt after many dry years. They are letting the dams flow since the snowpack is so good in the north country they know they need to spill some water to make room for the spring melt.

1 comment:

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Live ammo? That is a first!
Paul, I read in the Tail Winds mag that the route of the 252 has changed--I'll look at the site, but it seems, like you say, many of the bike events are getting pressure and it seems they want to kill them--ADOT would like to see Cochise Classic go away for sure...

Cheers! Bruce