Sunday, April 24, 2011

Route 66 300k Brevet

Five riders assembled in Chino Valley Arizona for the Inaugural Route 66 300k Brevet organized by Susan Plonsky. Jim and Robin Pettett provided outstanding rolling neutral support during the day, providing welcome encouragement on this very windy day in northern Arizona. The route is an out and back along some wide open sections of Northern Arizona along Historic Route 66 connecting Chino Valley, Ash Fork, Seligman, and Peach Springs. Elevations are 4000 - 5700 feet on the wide open Kaibab Plateau.

 Lonnie "Epic" Wolff (above) and Bob Owen formed the Utah contingent with Paul Layton, Pete Dusharm and yours truly representing the East Valley. We rolled out of the new, but noisy, Days Inn in Chino Valley Arizona at 6 am. Winds were predicted to be strong and gusty all day and we started with a gentle early morning tailwind.
 Susan Plonsky, RUSA RBA Extraordinaire

The route to the first checkpoint in Ash Fork was easy to navigate (R out of parking lot on Highway 89N, go 36 miles, turn left into checkpoint)! In fact the route was easy to follow all day. Leaving Ash Fork, we joined the I-40 for a five mile run to Crookton Road. The next 17 miles were probably the best in terms of light traffic and smooth pavement. Leaving the I-40 we climbed to 5700 feet, then descended slightly into Seligman and the next control at the Roadkill Cafe.

As was the case all day, Jim and Robin were there when we arrived to sign our brevet cards and provide food, water and support. We decided that we would stop for a proper lunch on the return trip.

As we left Seligman, the wind really picked up and would be a huge cross-wind for the remainder of the day. Here is a little video summary:

Returning to Seligman we decided to stop at the Roadkill Cafe. It was full of tourists, many from Europe, on day trips from Las Vegas. Service was slow, so it was at least an hour before we got back on the road. Rolling through town, we stopped to check out Elvis and Marilyn!

Discussing the cross wind with Elvis
Marilyn liked my shades!

Our cross wind became a slight tailwind as we made our way back to Ash Fork. Just as we started the day, all five of us were together at the checkpoint with Jim and Robin providing their last support. All the riding on the rough road shoulders took its toll. Bob's fender bolt vibrated off outbound from Seligman (repaired with a zip-tie) and he suffered a flat just outside Ash Fork on the return. With all the junk we rode through all day, we were surprised we didn't have more flats.
Pete and Paul at the Ash Fork control

However, the climb out of Ash Fork shattered the group and for the run back to Chino Valley we again became a group of three, in a tight echelon tucked into the rough debris laden shoulder of 89N fighting the cross-wind! We stopped in Paulson as the sun set to check our lights and add a layer of clothing for the final pull into Chino Valley. With the Days Inn on the far side of town it felt like we would never get there. 

As we rolled in Susan, Jim, and Robin cheered us into the finish. After a quick shower (Thanks Lonnie) I was on the road heading back to the Phoenix. I arrived at the end of the Easter Vigil mass at St. Tim's , just in time to take Debby, Michael, and Saskia to Denny's for a late night breakfast. Quite a full day!