I had not planned to ride this Brevet this year because we had Mark's host family from Germany with us over the holidays. We had planned to tour the Grand Canyon with them this weekend. However once Hubert arrived, and we solidified his tour schedule, my Saturday became free, and I was able to get my registration in just under the deadline!
Over 50 riders turned out for the start! I think this might have been the biggest turnout for a Casa Grande Brevet! I arrived at 7 for the 7:30 start and had plenty of time to get ready. It was great to see all the 'usual suspects' plus many new riders. It was great to see Lonnie Epic Wolf and many of the Arivaca 400 Survivors at the start. Soon we were off behind Susan's Brevet Mobile on a spectacular Saturday morning.
The ride heads due north out of Casa Grande to state route 387. It is a gentle uphill grade, and as Susan pulled off from her lead-out a group of riders took to the front and I joined in. We made great time and arrived at the Ruins at 9:05 am (the control opened at 8:58). I sensed this group would get out fast so I quickly reloaded my bottles (I used Sustained Energy from Hammer on this ride), stamped my Brevet card, jumped in the bathroom and emerged to find Mike Sturgill, Carleton Van Leuven, and Roger Peskett already gone. I decided to chase to catch back up to the group. I caught Roger and Carleton half-way though Coolidge and we caught Mike just as we left town. Russ Cummings also had tacked on and we worked well together back to Casa Grande.
Round Trip Bike Shop
The second control for this ride is back at the start. Its a great plan, because the start temperature was 36 degrees and the finish temperature was forecast for the high 60's. Thinking about how quickly our little group got through the last control and not wanting to chase again, when we arrived at the shop, I went straight to the car and stripped off the leg warmers, wind jersey, and shoe covers. I reloaded my bottles and checked in at the shop. I started to head out and realized I had forgotten my sunblock. So I went back to the car. D'oh! I left the sunblock at home. Oh well, I headed out. I was the first out and settled into a steady pace. Our little group reformed outside Casa Grande with Russ, Carleton, Mike. A few miles onto the Indian 15 highway Carleton flatted out and told us to go ahead. We had a slight tail wind and made great time to the Border Patrol Checkpoint. Russ and Mike were hammering away and I dropped off for the last couple of miles to the Indian 15 checkpoint.
I arrived at the checkpoint, reloaded my bottles and grabbed a 'world-famous brevet wrap' from Susan. I decided to eat on the bike and after just a couple of minutes was back on the road. Mike and Russ were also ready to go, so we left together and worked into the headwind. I dropped off our little group again a few miles past the Border Patrol checkpoint. Just as the road bends to the north, I was surprised to see Mike and Russ getting back on the road, Mike had flatted. They were moving fast and again were soon out of sight.
Round Trip Finish
I rolled into the Round Trip bike ship at 14:09 and Mike and Russ were there discussing the ride. I checked in and we noted how nice the weather had been for the ride. We also noted that somehow, over the many brevets that Susan has organized, that each wrap is better than the last and different. Today's ride was no exception!
With our German guests back at the house, I needed to get going so I packed up and was back on the road to Tempe in just a few minutes. When I arrived home, Hubert bought a case of Beck's German brew to celebrate the ride and their sucessful shopping trip to outfit the his family in new Levis jeans. Somehow, this morning, most of those Becks are gone!