Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mt. Lemmon 200k

Mt. Lemmon 200k Ride Report
Steve Atkins

I missed last year's Mt. Lemmon 200k and was looking forward to riding this brevet with Mike Rollinson. Mike suffered a knee problem and decided he was not up for the whole thing, but wanted to join me for the drive down, and perhaps take a stab at part of the ride (after all if the knee flared up, he could coast down and call it a day).

The alarm sounded at 4:45, Mike was already in the driveway unloading his faithful steed. We put the bikes on the rack and were on the road at precisely 5:00am. Sweet, we will have plenty of time! We were talking about Mike's ride last year remembered that he was late due to a crash on the I-10 just past the rest area on the way into Casa Grande for last years Mt. Lemmon 200k. Incredibly, just then, we slowed to a halt and waited 45 minutes until the traffic cleared. An 18 wheeler had overturned in the exact same spot as last years crash.

I called Susan Plosky (our regional brevet administrator), noted the milepost and exit number and told her, I would be late. We arrived at the start line just after 7:10am. Susan, Bruce Chandler and Carl Van Lueven (who also was caught in the same traffic jam) were milling about. Carl and I headed out about 7:20 and rode together to the first checkpoint.

When we hit Ina/Skyline/Sunrise the wind really kicked up. We saw Rick Blacker just finishing a flat repair and Paul Layton as we battled the headwinds to the first checkpoint. Mike Rollinson was waiting for us at the first checkpoint and we headed out toward the real climbing.

At the base of the hill, Carl excused himself from the group and headed off the front. Mike fell back and I found myself wishing I had aerobars for the ASCENT! The winds were especially strong in the road cuts with the venturi effect. It felt like track standing at some points!

I ran into Dave Glasgow in Molina canyon and we rode together for some time. We bumped into Mike Enfield in Bear Canyon and pressed on to Windy Point. Which was not at all Windy. It seemed to be the only calm place on the mountain. Ever optimistic Bruce Chandler said, "its just a regular ride from here, and the wind is dying down." Encouraged I reloaded my water bottles (two worked for me today) and headed up the road, only to be blasted by a very cold and very strong wind just around the corner!

I pressed on alone and reached Susan's Palisades Paradise Wrap Stop and grabbed some more water. I wanted to reach the top, and savor a wrap on the down slope.

I have ridden Mt. Lemmon several times and knew what was in front. I was startled to see snow and ice on the shaded roadcuts as I neared Summerhaven. I dropped my card in the slot at the post office, with a short love note to Bruce, and I was on my way back to wrap heaven.

The stop had cleared out, and I enjoyed a wrap, Coke and Susan's company before setting out for the descent.

I waved at Bruce as I bombed through Windy Point. The winds alternatively pushed, pulled, and generally made the normally very fun descent a bit more challenging.

Mike was waiting for me at the McDonald's control. I grabbed some fries and a receipt and told him to meet me at Basha's in two hours. The last 32 miles went by quickly with the tailwind and I was back at 5:09. I had lights on the bike (my normal commuting setup) but didn't need them.

I was complaining to my wife about the wind. She is now convinced that either 1)Susan has some special deal with the weather service that allows her to schedule brevets on blustery days or, 2) I am a big complainer.

Either way it was a great day to spend on the bike on a beautiful route. Thanks Susan!

Go to here for Susan's website and links to other blogs from the ride.

Steve Atkins

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