|Sunrise near Carefree AZ, about 90 minutes into the ride|
|My companion for the next two days|
|Mike Sturgill gives directions to start|
I pulled out of the pace-line into a well-lit shopping center to make the repair, as the group continued up toward Carefree and first control. After a quick stop of only 6 minutes or so, the repair was complete and it was back on the road, but that fast train was nowhere in sight!
|The Boulders on the approach to Carefree|
The route descends to Cave Creek, and connects with the Carefree highway. Approaching I-17, Brian came into view, but he decided to stop at the last water stop until Wickenburg, since my bottles were nearly full, I pressed onward.
Continuing westward, with a slight tailwind, traffic was heavier than last year's event, especially near Lake Pleasant. Its a long pull but soon the traffic on US 60 to Wickenburg came into sight. With an ample shoulder that is actually ride-able, it was a welcome relief from the narrow Carefree Highway (AZ 74) with is nearly unridable shoulders. Heavy northbound traffic provided a welcome draft and offset some of the crosswind for the 10 or so miles to the next control in Wickenburg.
77 miles in, and 10 minutes at the Wickenburg control provided another Frappuccino, turkey sandwich, and chance to reload the water bottles before rolling out for the next pull to Congress and the start of Yarnell hill. Exiting US60, AZ89 heads due north and has been resurfaced since last year, a welcome relief from last year's bumpfest.
|Yarnell hill in the distance|
Yarnell hill starts a few miles outside of Congress. Its about 6 miles of steady climbing on an average grade of 6%. The new State Park in honor of the fallen Grant Mountain Hotshots (19 Granite Mountain Hotshots lost their lives fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013), is a about 2/3rd's of the way up the climb. A 2.85 mile hike leads from the highway to an observation deck that overlooks the place where they made their last stand when shifting winds pushed the fire into their position. Putting that on the list of places to visit for a time when the clock is not running, the climbing continued.
|Reload in Peeples Valley|
|Add more sunscreen!|
|Climb to Prescott|
|High point of the ride|
|Historic Yavapai County Courthouse|
|New pavement between Congress and Wickenburg|
Ray and Catherine were there when I arrived, and after getting a receipt I pushed out quickly. Its about 15 miles to the Red Roof Inn, and of course, they caught me as we made the last few turns to the stop at about 11:30pm.
Wishing I had taken up Mike on his offer to put some dinner food in my room, I checked in, stored the bike and hopped in the car to the nearby Dennys. Food was good, but service was slow, and minutes if not an hour of sleep was wasted on my Grand Slam Breakfast!
I was in the sack at 1 am, and planned to get up at around 5 or 6. Waking up at 5, I grabbed some breakfast treats Mike had left for me at the front desk, and pushed out into the pre-dawn darkness.
|Great addition to the Day 2 route|
The next control is on Dynamite Road, at the top of 9 Mile Hill. However, it could have been named 9 Mile Downhill for the decent to Rio Verde! After that welcome descent, about 10 miles of classic rollers lead to the next control at Fountain Hills. Rolling into the Chevron station, who else, but Ray was there finishing his stop!
|Verde River from the Beeline Highway Bridge|
|More new pavement on Bush Highway|
Feeling the sun/heat, radiating from the new pavement, it was time to find some shade and again lather up with another sunscreen mud pack! A small tree at the Salt River Recreation entrance gate was a perfect place for a stop. Ray flashed by while I enjoyed the shade!
Rolling into the Subway (control point), Ray had just arrived so we enjoyed our lunch together. Chips (salt), Coke (sugar/caffine), and a 6" Turkey (protein/carbs), covered most the important food groups. I was ready to get this one done and pushed out after a quick stop.
|Strong winds in Fountain Hills|
|Last climb, Shea Boulevard at Fountain Hills|
One more stop for water with about 8 miles to go and this one was finally in the books 34 hours and 13 minutes after our early start on Saturday morning!
Next up, the Blue Ridge to Bay 1200!
|In the books!|
Ride with GPS data