|Sorry pardner, RUSA members only!|
Ride ReportDecember 29, 2012
Last month Paul Layton sent out a note that he and Mike Sturgill would be riding his Apache Trail 221 Permanent. Even though it was approved last year, this would be its first official running. What is a permanent you say, well, its not a hairdo! From RUSA.org:
"A Permanent is like a brevet but you can arrange to ride it any time, not just on one specific date established by the organizer. Like brevets, routes can start and finish in the same location, but they can also run point-to-point, and can be any distance of 200km+ (100-199km for a Permanent Populaire). You must be a RUSA member to ride a Permanent (or a member of another ACP-affiliated country organization.) A Permanent may be ridden alone or with a group."
Paul's excellent route followed the same route I rode last year with some San Tan Racers (ride report), but it was not until last week that the family schedule opened up for this event. As an added attraction, Carlton van Leuven had signed up, so I sent Paul a note and I was on the start list!
|Mike Sturgill is very happy that bar is open!|
|Paul 'Dirty' Layton|
|Carlton van Leuven and Paul at the Flats|
Paul decided that Tortilla Flats would be his turnaround point. The headwind and his lack of recent training miles combined to make it an easy decision. We thanked him for organizing the permanent, refilled out water bottles and headed back out on the trail.
|End of Pavement|
The first mile or two on the dirt is a nice warm up, before the big descent down Fish Creek Hill. A single lane road cut into the cliffs. When two large vehicles meet, it is a challenge for them to pass. This morning we had the road to ourselves. The down grades were in excess of 12% and by the time we reached the bottom, our forearms ached as we were on both brakes all the way down!
|Starting the descent|
|Steep downgrade to Fish Creek|
|Nice pool under the bridge over Fish Creek|
|Resting our forearms over Fish Creek|
Traffic was light and the motorists we did see were very courteous, even when they encountered us on the 'wrong' side of the road seeking the smoothest line! As mentioned the Trail is a constant up and down affair with steep climbs and descents with tremendous views of Apache Lake and the Superstition Wilderness. The constant washboards take their toll on riders and gear. Mike lost a bottle, my saddlebag came loose, and our arms and back ached from the pounding. Happily however, no one had a flat tire on this grueling section of road.
|Mike resting, comfortable on pavement!|
|Very happy to be at the end of dirt!|
PavementWe had been on the road nearly 5 hours and covered only 53 miles. We considered detouring into the town of Roosevelt to get something to eat and refill our bottles, but we were concerned about making the time cutoff at the Jake's Corner Control. We checked our bottles and decided we had enough fluid/food on our machines to avoid the detour and continue on route to the Tonto Basin Grocery store 17 miles up the road. The wind had shifted to a crossing tailwind and sharing the work, our trio made great time as we rolled into the grocery about an hour later. We ate a little food, refilled our bottles, and were ready to roll out when Larry on a mountain bike rode up to us to find out what we were doing and where we were going. He seemed interested in joining us on a future ride, so Carlton told him to go to www.azbrevet.com to check out the 2013 brevet schedule.
|We always meet interesting people on these rides!|
|Jake Corner Store and Control|
|Snow on the hills surrounding Mt. Ord|
I bought an extra water bottle, since there are no services between here and the end of the ride (except a possible detour to the Marina at Saguaro lake). Rolling out of the Control, the temperatures continued to drop as we climbed our way to the high point of the ride, the saddle below Mt. Ord at about 4,500 feet. We stopped at the safety pullout. Carlton added a layer, I chowed down two Honey Stinger Waffles, and hopped on Mike's wheel for the long descent, it was quite cold already, and descending at over 40 miles per hour made it very cold indeed. There is a short false flat where the temperatures warmed before the descent into the Sunflower area. ADOT has improved the highway shoulder so we were able to stay off the highway the whole way from AZ 188 to the Saguaro Lake exit.
With the cold temperatures our water strategy worked well. Leaving Sunflower, there is a steady 3-4 mile climb with a constant 6 % grade. We stopped near to the top put on our lights and to grab a snack. I used my extra water bottle to mix up some more Sustained Energy and eat my last waffle. We rolled easily to the top and with Mike blazing the way we bombed down the Beeline Highway to the Bush Highway exit into an outstanding sunset!
|Descending the Beeline Highway at Sunset|
FinishThe route is generally downhill as we passed the Saguaro Lake Marina and the Salt River Recreation area and working together we made great time over the rollers on the Bush Highway. The ride's final climb is up the dreaded "King Kong" climb. Actually it was so dark, we were halfway up the climb before we realized it! With the climb behind us, it was only a few short miles to the finish control.
We rolled into the control 11 hours and 32 minutes after the start. We covered 137 miles (22 on the dirt) and climbed about 11,000 feet on this outstanding route. Riding into a beautiful dawn at the start and a stunning sunset near the finish reminded us that the Apache Trail 221 is no ordinary 200k!
We all agreed it was an outstanding day on the bikes, with great friends, on one of the best routes in the state!