Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Casa Grande Ruins 200km Brevet

Ride Report
January 12, 2013

About 30 randonnuers decided to layer up and make the Casa Grande Ruins 200km their first brevet of the season. My initial plan was to skip this one and slide in the Gila River 200 in February for my SR series. But with many of the usual suspects signed up, and the thought of riding three brevets in 5 weeks, it became an easy choice. After I carefully negotiated my kitchen pass, Debby took great delight in pointing out that the forecast was for a multi-day hard freeze and unusually cold weather kicking off just before the brevet start!

Casa Grande National Monument Visitor Center
With a relatively civilized start time of 7:30 am, how cold could it be? I left the house at 6:15 for an uneventful 45 min drive to Casa Grande. It was 37 when I left the house and temperature continued to drop all the way to the start with a final reading of 26 when I pulled into the Food City parking lot at the start.

Carlton van Leuven, Roger Peskett, and Mike Sturgill were already there adding layers in anticipation of the cold. I selected full Under Armour cold gear tops and bottoms, Patagonia fleece top , jersey, rain jacket, bibs, knee warmers, shoe covers, helmet cap, balaclava and heavy gloves. Oh and some hand warmers left over from our Christmas Ski trip tucked between my shoes and shoe covers!

Steve and Tom Kinney from Canada must have been laughing at us desert dwellers layered up like the kids in the "The Christmas Story."

Susan Plonsky, Arizona RBA, had the good sense to conduct the rider meeting in the warm confines of the Round Trip Bike Shop. But soon it was time to mount up and we followed Susan's lead out in the Black Brevet Mobile to the Casa Grande High School. From there, Susan waved us on and a 9 man group formed and we rode together sharing the work at a very civilized, but fast, pace all the way to the Ruins. We arrived at 9:05, stamped our cards, and left as a group for the return to Casa Grande.

Heading back to Casa Grande after the first controle
We maintained a steady pace back to the Bike Shop. Susan was waiting for us and quickly signed our brevet cards and directed us to the shop for water and snacks. With the sun and temperature rising, I peeled off a few layers, reloaded my bottles, and our group of 9 was all ready to go about the same time and we headed out. We stayed together all the way to the checkpoint past mile post 22 on Indian 15.

Machines taking a little breather while riders reload

Enjoying a roadside Coke!

Susan Plonsky and Mike Sturgill at the lunch stop
We enjoyed a quick snack, reloaded our bottles and headed back toward Casa Grande. We rolled out as a group, but Brian and Mike dropped back to retrieve a lost water bottle. I really did not notice the tailwind that must have been pushing us along toward the turnaround point, or it really picked up during lunch, but just a few miles from the lunch stop the head/cross wind became much stronger. The Canadian contingent took control and organized the remaining 7 of us into a double pace line to rotate through the wind. We were able to hold together most of the way back, but on the last few rollers about 15 miles from the finish I decided to drop out. Carlton had the same idea, so we dialed it back a bit together and continued taking pulls to the edge of the reservation.

As advertised the wind really kicked up for the last 8 miles, Carlton dialed it back a little more and I continued on, eager to get this one 'in the bag.'

Even though we split up on the last segment, all of our original 9 man group arrived under 7 hours (and within about 15 minutes of each other).

It was a very enjoyable day, riding in good (but somewhat cold) conditions, with a strong and skilled group of riders. My computer had our average moving speed at 19.2 mph,18.2 mph overall and total time off the bike of 25 minutes! Since a number of our group already qualify for the Denny's Senior Discount, a like number will soon qualify, and the rest look like we qualify; perhaps the best description of this one was "Old Guys that Ride Fast!"

Steve (I wonder if my USAC racing age will qualify at Denny's) Atkins