Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Globe/Show Low Twin 200km Brevets

Calm winds at the start
Ride Report
May 2013

Day 1 Globe to Show Low via Whiteriver: 126 miles 11,000 ft elevation gain

Carlton van Leuven organized the Double 200km brevets to be held May 11th an 12th. The Trail Boss often 'pre-rides' the course before the event, so Roger Peskett and I went along to keep Carlton company. Ruthann van Leuven drove us to the start, stashed water at the bottom of the canyon, transported our drop bags to Show Low, and would wait patiently for our arrival.

Team Preride
We launched off at 8 am from Globe and headed out with a very short cue sheet. Only a few turns over 125 miles meant that route finding should not be a problem on this brevet. Traffic was light, and the temperatures were perfect for the climb out of Globe to the rim of the Salt River Canyon.
As we neared the south rim of the Salt River Canyon we encountered a tandem with a very discouraged stoker on foot walking up the hill alongside her captain! They were part of the GABA Globe to Show Low event. They said they were fine, but wondered if we knew where the SAG stop was. We told them we were on a different ride and wished them well. Not a happy tandem team!
All smiles at the start of this one
The first 27 miles of this one are generally uphill and our progress was 'steady.' Finally we reached the first downhill warning sign. Its a quick 10 mile drop into the Salt River Canyon. Winds and traffic were light so it was a blast carving out the turns on the switchbacks at 48+ miles per hour!

The gas station at the bottom of the canyon was closed years ago, so this brevet includes a water cache (Ruthann provided on her way to Show Low) in the ruins of the old gas station/store. When we arrived a few Navajo jewelery artisans were setting out their wares under portable canopies. While we reloaded our bottles, Roger filled us in on the details of the Tucson Chapter of the Greater Arizona Bicycle Association (GABA) that was doing a supported Globe to Show Low ride. As we refilled our bottles, a GABA rider rolled by at a good pace.

Setting up the jewelery sale
We left together, but Roger and Carlton were climbing at a pace faster than I wanted to go, so I dropped off and took some photos during the climb.

Behind the abandoned gas station
The views of the river and canyon were awesome. It took nearly an hour to climb out of the canyon, and the GABA SAG wagon was at the safety pullout at the top of the canyon. Traffic was light, but there was a lot of activity in the scenic pull outs. Groups of motorcyclists, sports car enthusiasts, and RV'rs encouraged us on as they admired the canyon views. I caught the GABA rider near the top. She also asked if I knew were the SAG stop was. I told here I was on a different ride, but the last GABA stop was as the safety pullout on the south rim, I guessed that is where they would be on the north rim. It was still a few miles away, I bid her good luck and rode on.

As I reached the top of the climb, the GABA SAG team had set up on the safety pullout. They shouted out to see if I needed water, but I was fine to get to our first turn on the route and convenience store only a few miles up the road.

When I arrived, I was surprised to see a dozen or so GABA riders enjoying the picnic tables outside the store. They only had 25 more miles to Show Low, taking the direct route, we still had 62 miles to go taking the scenic route through Whiteriver Arizona.

Carlton explaining our route plan
Once off the main highway we were treated to light traffic, rolling hills and sweeping views.

Once we hit the steep rollers, I let Carlton and Roger go ahead. We met again in front of the Bashas store in Whiteriver. A small fair was going on and the store was very busy. We met a great young man from Cibecue that was working security in front of the store. While most passers by were just curious about our bikes and what we were doing, a few were quite drunk. Our security specialist would simply escort them along past the entrance to the store and come back to visit with us.

We enjoyed a light meal (potato salad for me) as we prepared for the last climb of the day to the checkpoint at the Hon Dah casino just outside of Pinetop.

Nice pasture on the climb out of Whiteriver

The winds were building from the south so we had a tailwind assist on the gentle climb out of town. Again I dropped back to climb at my own pace and enjoyed the excellent road surface and great views. I arrived at the convenience store at the Hon Dah casino, and Roger and Carlton were already there and almost ready to go. I grabbed a Frappachino and a water for the last 17 miles to Show Low. The route is downhill, and with the tailwind and the Frappachino, I felt great as the three us us took fast pulls and made great time to Days Inn in Show Low!

We were in just under 10 hours! We checked into our rooms, cleaned up, and went in search of pasta! We found a Native New Yorker across the street and enjoyed a great meal. It was back to the room and early to bed after we set our alarms for a 6 am wake up!

Day 2 - Show Low to Globe via Whiteriver 126 miles, 9000 feet elevation gain

Our Day's Inn rate included a free breakfast at the adjacent JB's. So we powered down a big breakfast, checked out and were on the road by 7 am. After clicking in an extra bonus mile (we missed the first turn), we took pulls up the hill through Show Low, Lakeside, and Pinetop. Traffic was very light, and unlike the day before, we were stopped at only a couple traffic lights. We reached the Hon Dah store, got our receipts and started down the hill to Whiteriver.

Even with the building headwind, we made fantastic time working together down the hill. Reaching the outskirts of Whiteriver, Carlton flatted so we took a break while he made his repair.

Carlton in the areobars setting the pace

Flat Repair
As Carlton finished his repair, we agreed to stop at the convenience store near the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) headquarters. We figured it would be less busy and more efficient. It was, and like the Bashas yesterday, the staff and customers were very friendly and curious about us and our bikes. Perhaps because it was so early on Sunday morning, the drunks had not yet arrived on the scene!

Riding past the WMAT headquarters, I remembered my conversation with the manager of the WMAT Tribal Heard back in 1982 when I was wrapping up the annual audit and going through the final checklist. I was an eager young CPA. He was a crusty stereo typical cowboy!

CPA: How many copies of the annual report would you like this year?
Cowboy: Twice as many as last year.
CPA: OK, but why do you need twice as many as last year?
Cowboy: Well we ran out about half way through the year.
CPA:  I don't get it?
Cowboy: Well, you guys print those things on really nice paper, we put them in the outhouse, the boys love 'em!

He had a big smile and really did want twice as many reports!

We rolled out of Whiteriver with gusting head and cross winds. Once we reached Geronimo Pass, the road turned north and the winds became more of a cross and we were soon at the convenience store for a reload and light lunch before we headed south, directly into the wind.

Again our group split up on the climb, but soon we were on the sweeping descents into the Salt River Canyon. But with the headwinds, it was hard to go any faster than 35 mph! When we reached the gas station at the bottom of the canyon, our Navajo friends were there and so was Ruthann. She had just arrived to drop our water. I quickly reloaded and headed up the hill figuring the Carlton and Roger would catch me on the climb.
Climb out of the canyon

Roger powering up the climb
They did after the first few switchbacks. Luckily, while we were on the switchbacks we were protected from the wind, but the last 3 miles were exposed to a 20 mph block headwind! 6-8% grades I can deal with. 20 mph headwinds I can deal with. Combine them together, and you have a frustration fest!

Finally powering over the last hill, the wind eased slightly and I came upon Roger and Carlton taking a break on the side of the road. They were looking for water at a campground and taking a break. No water to be found, so we continued on.

Again we split on the long rollers heading back to Globe. I caught Carlton on one of the long climbs just a few miles out of town. We worked together to the city limits and then he suddenly dropped off. I turned around to see him with his shoes off, stomping on the pavement like his feet were on fire! He said to go on, he was suffering from Hot Foot.

I rolled into the finish about 10 minutes after Roger and a few minutes before Carlton. We finished in about 9.5 hours, slower than we expected due to the headwind.
Ruthann at the finish, note the flag!
We packed up and headed home. It was a great weekend riding with good friends! Extra thanks to Ruthann for her encouragement and support!

Steve Atkins