February 1, 2014
|Registration at the Coolidge Walmart|
|Paul gives the riders last minute instructions|
We rolled out as one large group at 0700 and headed past the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument into to downtown Coolidge. Several of the riders noticed and appreciated the new pavement on Arizona Boulevard, but turning east on Kenilworth Ave, it was back to the rough stuff to the Pinal Parkway. This section of the route was also part of last year's 300.
|Long pace line on Pinal Parkway|
Normally when someone finishes their pull at the front and make their way to the back, I like to say 'nice work' or 'great pull.' When Stephen finished his, all I could say was 'thank God you're done killing us!' I took my turn at the front, and returned to the back of the paceline. Trev Williams flatted shortly thereafter and the Speed Theory team dropped off, much to the relief of us mere mortals.
Traffic was heavier than normal, and after navigating a construction section, we soon reached the control at Oracle Junction. Paul Layton was there to sign our brevet cards and provide water and refreshments. I was in and out of the control quickly and started the next climb to Oracle Arizona. This was a new section of road for me, and it was spectacular. The pace line did not reform as everyone was climbing at their own pace. A few miles out of the control, the Speed Theory team flashed by on the climb and disappeared into the distance.
|Oracle, the high point of today's Brevet|
|Tom Baker on AZ 77|
|Yes, I have every item of clothing with me on!|
|Ruth Ann and Stassja Van Leuven at the Winkelman control|
|Speed Theory guys at the Winkelman Control|
|ASARCO Ray Works|
|Roger waiting at the top!|
|Gonzales Pass, last climb of the day|
Roger and Toby flashed by while we had stopped, so Tom and I worked together up and over Gonzales Pass and into Gold Canyon for the control at the Basha's store.
|Superstition Mountains from US 60|
As we neared Florence Junction, Roger and Toby dialed up the pace, Tom dropped off first with some stomach problems and I backed off to a more comfortable pace. About half-way to Florence I saw Roger and Toby roadside fixing a flat, I continued on and soon rolled into Florence.
After missing a turn in downtown Florence and returning to the route, I reached AZ 287 for the last 8 miles of the event. I was heading due west into the setting sun. The shoulder was rough, but I was able to switch on my lights and put on my reflective vest back on without stopping. With a few miles to go, the faint outlines of the big box store that was the finish came into view.
I was greeted by Paul Layton and his daughter and hot pizza! Tom rolled in a few minutes later followed by Toby and Roger.
It was a great day on the bike. Thanks to Carlton, Paul and their families for organizing and putting on a great ride.
Next month: Around the Bend 400km!