Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Fast 300K!

Casa Grade 300k Ride Report

February 7, 2009

Steve Atkins

All the ingredients for another wet desert brevet were aligning. The perfect weather the weekend before, increasing rain chances in the forecast, and my normal bad weather luck. So it was time to break out the Moots TailGator (normally I would not use the TailGator for a 300k brevet) and stuff it with my rain jacket, rain legs, and emergency blanket, just in case. I packed up the Suburban and was out of the house by 4:50 am and made my way to Casa Grande and arrived at the start at 5:30, plenty of time to get ready for the 6:00 start.

Susan moved the start/finish line to the 24 hour Wal-Mart in Casa Grande. A nice improvement over the alley in Historic Downtown Casa Grande! Hot coffee and ample restrooms were available at the start. After a quick rider briefing we were coursing our way through Casa Grande behind Susan’s brevet mobile. At the outskirts of town she pulled away and we were off.

The pace picked up right away with a strong group of riders from Calgary and the usual suspects (Sturgill, Enfield, Peskett) and we made great time to Coolidge. The temperature was a balmy 50 degrees and with my Patagonia base, jersey, vest and arm warmers I was quite toasty!

We turned onto the Pinal Pioneer Parkway and encountered a light headwind coming out of the south. The winds out of the south would increase throughout the day. The group worked well together and we pulled into the Tom Mix control, only 10 minutes after it opened at 8:10.

I left the control with the Canadians, Sturgill, and Peskett but could not keep up the pace and dropped off the group. I ending up riding to the Kinney control alone. I arrived to find Roger Peskett at the lunch control at 12:58. The rain never came and the sun had been out all day. I took the opportunity to take off the leg warmers and lather up with some sunscreen. Mike Enfield rolled in as I was heading out.

As I noted earlier the wind had been increasing all day. In fact, riding through Gates Pass, the wind was swirling quite strongly (20-25 mph) from all directions. Leaving the control and heading north, I enjoyed a great tailwind and motored along the next 20 miles with little effort and great velocity. Mike Enfield flashed by outside of Painted Rock.

Reaching the Circle K in Marana I topped off my water bottles and hoped the wind would hold, but as the route turned to the northwest, the great tailwind became a maddening cross-wind and slowed my progress greatly.

Susan changed the course to avoid the dreaded 10 mile pull into La Palma, instead, we headed into Eloy. I reloaded my water bottles for the last time at the Circle K there and headed due north to 11 Mile Corner. With the change in direction, the wind was again mostly a nice tailwind, and with the fresh road surface those 8 miles flew by.

Turning west for the last 8 miles to the finish, the wind again became a ‘training aid’ to add a little exclamation point to the brevet. I rolled into the finish at 5:25 and a couple of other riders will milling about. Paul Layton pulled up at 6 as I was finishing getting packed up. I jumped into the Panda Express for a nice dinner and was on my way home.

With the fast start and generally favorable wind conditions, this was my fastest 300k at 11 hours and 25 minutes.

Special thanks to Mike Rollinson for stopping by the house at mid-day to spend some time with the dogs (Debby and Michael were in California with the Corona Steel Drum Band).

Another great Arizona Brevet – Thanks Susan!!!

Click here to go to Susan's website with links to other blogs.