Saturday, September 14, 2013

End of World to Kelvin End of Pavement Loop x3

Safety Pullout at the End of the World

Ride Report
September 14, 2013

Just one year ago, Carlton van Leuven, Michael Atkins and your humble correspondent rode the loop from the top of the "End of the World" climb down toward Winkleman to the "End of Pavement" on the Kelvin-Florence Highway. A ride so nice, we would do it thrice! With two weeks to the Whitney Classic Fund Raiser we wanted to dial in our equipment and get some high angle climbing in (2012 ride report).

David and Carlton at the start
Fast forward one year to today. Conditions were very similar (cool at the start, hot at the finish, a gentle breeze from the south), and two of us returned with a fresh victim, David Edwards. Last year David was attending the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio and Michael was attending school in the here in Arizona. David really wanted to join us on the Whitney last year, but could not because of his school commitment. This year the roles are reversed, with David here and Michael in Ohio, it will be David heading to Death Valley.

Rolling out at dawn
I picked Carlton up at 0500 and we were at the safety pullout by 0600. David met us there and we were ready to go at 0615! Last year it was very cold on the first descent, so we all wore long sleeves. We checked traffic and rolled out and down the 10%+ grade. In no time, we were bombing down the highway at 50+ mph. It was quite breezy on the descent, and the wind actually held us back.

After a short climb the route takes a long descent past the ASARCO Ray Works open pit copper mine to the Kelvin turnoff. From there we rolled past the homes in Riverside to the Gila River. After the bridge, the road angles up at 15+% for a short stout climb to the end of the pavement on the highway.

David and Carl approach the turnaround
It only took us about 20 minutes to cover the 10 miles to the end of the pavement. I joked with David that the goal is to beat that time to get back to the top!  It would take us an hour to get back!

The road is steep and rough back down to the bridge, and a set of RR tracks on the far side of the bridge call for a cautious descent. Although with each successive lap we found better lines, increased our speed, and 'bunny hopped' the tracks to keep our momentum through Riverside.

Carl noted that the packing box for a big screen TV on the back porch of one of the houses was still there from last year!

Back on the main highway, the route climbs back past the main entrance of the ASARCO Ray Works. The pavement is in good condition, and while the grade continually is changing, it is a pleasant climb.
Big Ass Tonka Toys!

On the first lap five huge off road dump trucks were just firing up to start their day, on the second lap two had headed into the mine, and on the last lap they were all working!

On each lap, the colors changed as the sun rose higher in the sky. With the different minerals in the tailings heap, it looks like a minature man-made painted desert!

Coming Soon?

On the second lap, I stopped to photograph this memorial at the Gila River bridge. I have ridden past here many times and have always enjoyed seeing the flag against the beautiful riparian desert backdrop. The sign promises an additional memorial that will be 'coming soon!' Maybe next year.

The short descent back to the Gila River

On the second lap, the temperature was still cool before the real climbing began, so we compared nutrition strategies for the ride. I was trying a different mix (Carbo-Pro and Coke), David was using power bars, and Carlton left his food on the counter at home. WHAT! He as half-way through the ride on water only! I had a bag of Swedish Fish in my bento bag and offered them to Carl. Never underestimate the power of sugar Fish!
Enjoying the Fish

Wondering when the hard climbing will start!

The last two miles to the "End of the World" climb at an average 10% grade. Of course some sections are "above average." The first lap: Cool, fresh legs, not so bad. We reload our bottles and head out and return for the second lap: Sun is up, temperature is climbing, and sweat is pouring out from everywhere. Another reload and we set out for the third lap: Temperature is officially hot, eyes are blinded from the salt/sweat pouring out from under our helmets, legs and back complaining loudly, and finally reaching the top we go right for the truck and douse ourselves with ice water from the cooler!

Some where along the way on the last lap David rode off the front, so by the time Carlton and I limped in on the final lap, he was already in his car and heading home!

We covered 61 miles and climbed 6,500 feet in about 4.5 hours of great riding.

The Whitney Classic is only 2 weeks away! I plan to ride solo and Debby will be my super SAG driver. This ride is all about raising money for Summit Adventure. Course income provides for only 45 percent of the Summit budget. The rest comes through fund raising events such as the Whitney Classic. I served as a member of the Summit Board of Directors and know how critical a successful Whitney is to the financial health of the ministry. Debby, Mark, Michael and I have all participated on Summit courses over the years and have been deeply impacted by this great ministry! We all love Summit. That’s why I ride!

If you have already donated, thank-you! If not I would appreciate your consideration, its easy, just click here to go to my personal fund raising page!

Hey, send Summit some $$!