March 27-28, 2015
|Painted Rock Road in the Tucson Mountains|
We rolled out of Tucson at 5 pm Friday, with temperatures in the 90's. After a few false starts with my new Garmin 810 computer we left the rush hour traffic behind and headed into the Tucson mountains.
|Riding into the sunset!|
|Alfalfa + water + dry air = cooling!|
|New Garmin 810|
|I-10 Frontage Road|
The route backtracks a bit, then takes Webb Road back to Oracle. It was payback time for the steep 1000 foot descent, so we settled into a steady pace, having the entire road to ourselves nearly all the way to Oracle. We stopped again at the Circle K in Oracle for a final reload. The next 35 miles would be generally downhill back to the control in Tucson, and we covered it in an hour and a half!
We rolled into the Super 8 at about 0200, about 9 hours into the event. Certainly not a blistering time for a 200km, but with most of it in the dark, and 5,600 feet of climbing, we were both feeling spent. We stowed the bikes and walked to the McDonalds to get some chow, only to find out the dining room was closed. We returned to the room, grabbed the van, hit the drive-thru and enjoyed hash browns and Egg McMuffins while we prepared for Day 2 back at the room.
|Day 2 - Gates Pass|
|Breakfast on the go|
My Garmin was recording over 100 degrees and it felt hotter. We had a slight tail wind that was helpful, but also created times when even with our forward momentum, there was no air movement and the sweat poured everywhere!
|5000 Feet and still hot!|
The run from Sonoita to Tombstone is mostly downhill, and with a nice tailwind we made good time and arrived in Tombstone about 2 and a quarter hours later. Little did I know, but Carl was feeling bonked and suffering greatly. He was concerned about making the last 200km back to Tucson and decided to abandon the ride in Tombstone.
I continued to the official control at the Circle K to grab some calories and reload. The sun was still a couple hours from setting, so after a 30 minute dinner break it was back on the road.
|Dinner at chez sidewalk in Tombstone|
|Sunset with about 8 hours of riding to go!|
It is about 10 miles of climbing rollers to the top of the big descent to Sahuarita road. Finally hitting the top, I zipped up and started down. About half-way down, my Garmin gave the low battery warning. I plugged in the external power source from my 400, but it would not charge and display data at the same time. Luckily, being familiar with the route it was not a big deal. So I turned off the computer so it would recharge and made my way to Sahuarita.
The McDonald's in Sahuarita has a 24 hour dining room, so rolling in after midnight, I was happy to enjoy a chicken wrap, fries and a Coke in comfort!
With just one climb and under 40 miles to the finish, I was ready to get this one in the bag. The lack of sleep was starting to catch up with me. On the climb up Helmet Peak Road, I would 'see' the stop sign just ahead signifying the end of the climb, but it would simply disappear into the distance. Finally reaching the top, I found myself starting to nod off on the smooth descent along Mission Road. When the city lights came into view, it was less disorienting and easier to stay awake.
The last fifteen miles of the journey was on the broken pavement that is Silverbell road. No problem staying awake on this pave section, constantly dodging potholes and pavement breaks. I rolled into the Convenience store next to the Super 8 at 0320. I loaded up on Strawberry Milk, cheese, and hard boiled eggs for some post-ride recovery food. Carlton was up and offered to run to get some food, but all I wanted to do was shower, and grab some sleep.
We checked out a few hours later, had a 'proper' breakfast at the local IHOP, and headed back to Phoenix with plenty of time to make the Palm Sunday Mass! It was a great weekend, I only wished that Carl's stomach would have not gone bad for the last 200km, so we could have finished together.
This ride completes my 8th Super Randonneur (200, 300, 400, and 600km brevets completed in the same year) and qualifies me to enter the 18th (my 3rd) Paris-Brest-Paris 1200km that will be held in August this year!