Last year we miscalculated the drive time to Congress AZ and arrived more than an hour before the start. This year, I arrived just 10 minutes before the start of the 200km Brevet! I quickly checked in, collected my swag (great wool socks that match last years wool arm warmers - Thanks Bullshifters!!), assembled the bike, and rolled to the start with 3 minutes to spare.
Mike Sturgill was the RUSA trail boss today and the brevet riders rolled out at 7 am. It seemed like only about half the riders were ready, but with a slight quartering tailwind we rolled out for the 6 mile run to US 93.
|Looking forward to a great day on the bike|
|Joshua Tree Forest in AZ!|
The Bullshifters break out the best for the SAG stops on this ride. At SAG #1 in addition to the regular fare, one of the members, Nana served hot roasted potatoes, perfectly prepared according to Jim Pettett's recipe! I ate a few and put more into an empty Carbo-Pro baggie for some hot yummy pocket food to enjoy later!
|Nana's Hot Potatoes|
|Copper Wire Sculpture at Bagdad AZ|
Rolling back down AZ96 I waved at the other brevet riders heading up to the first Control. A few of the century riders passed me on the descent and we played leapfrog to SAG #2. Being only 8 miles from Bagdad, and with full bottles, I rode through.
|On the 7.6 mile climb toward Hillside AZ|
With a bunch of folks stopped at the SAG#2, I had the road to myself for most of the climb to Hillside and the next SAG. A century rider caught me near the top and we visited as we rolled into SAG#3. With one bottle empty, and 28 miles to the Control at Wilhoit, I decided to stop and refill.
|Huge winds, great views outside Kirkland AZ|
I caught the two riders I let go and few others over the next 15 miles. With one mile before the Brevet route turned toward Wilhoit, I noticed a train had formed behind me! I let them pull through and headed north east for the 5.8 mile climb to Wilhoit. With the turn, a nice quartering tailwind pushed me toward the control at the Wilhoit Grocery Store. It was quite busy with locals. The owner was there and she was very interested in the ride and what riders might need at the store. I purchased a gallon of water, Mountain Dew, and a Starbucks Double Shot. I explained that my Carbo-Pro/Soda mix and pocket food (Shot Blocks and Potatoes) was working well today. On longer rides, or where things weren't going so well in the digestion department, I went through my list of typical convenience store fare: Campbells Chunky Soup, chocolate milk, baked beans, Starbucks Frapachinno, potato chips. She confirmed that all of those items were in stock! She wished me well and I rolled out in under 10 minutes.
The route descends 800 feet in under 6 miles, so even with the wind, I made great time. Just before rejoining the main route, I waved as the other brevet riders were starting their climb to the control.
|Ranch in Peeples Valley|
Leaving the SAG, it was back into the wind for the climb to Peeples Valley. Named for a prospecter from the 1860's this beautiful valley promises an afternoon headwind for the 5 or so miles to Yarnell. This year did not disappoint! Glancing down at the computer while tucked into my areobars, my heart rate was at anaerobic threshold and riding on flat ground, I was going at a blistering 13 mile per hour pace!
The steep rollers outside Yarnell provided some respite from the wind, but built again rolling through town. Finally, reaching the downhill warning sign, I pointed my trusty steed downhill for the 6 mile 1800 foot E-ticket descent. Winds were fierce and my speed was held back because of it, but the road surface was good, and even with the fun turns, I was able to keep my speed above the posted limit of 35!
|After ride barbeque|
It was a great day on the bike, but I was very happy to put this one in the bag! I rode at a harder pace than planned because of the wind, but was able to keep the total stop time at 26 minutes for two control and two SAG stops.
I slipped out of my shoes and helmet, grabbed a plate and enjoyed the hospitality and company of the Bullshifters Bicycle Club! Thanks again for a great event!
Click here for Ride with GPS Data