|Tom Baker at the rider briefing|
28 riders gathered in the parking lot of the Casa Grande Walmart for the 0600 start of the Around the Bend 400km Brevet. This is the third edition of this Tom Baker designed route. Based on 'prevailing' wind patterns, this route's clockwise layout should provide tailwinds throughout ride (winds out of the north east with the sunrise, and out of the south west in the afternoon and sunset). Alas, we will have to wait another year for that perfect wind day, as a huge weather cell parked over the Four Corners area, providing building and gusting winds out of the North and East most of the day!
|Dick Wiss and Roger Peskett descending into Sacaton|
|Entering the Sonora National Monument|
|Ready to start the descent to Gila Bend|
|Curios at the Control in Gila Bend|
|At least the worst sections of old US 80 were recently repaved|
Before we reached the Gillespie Dam Bridge, Greg and Mike Sturgill decided to exit the group and fight the wind, mano a mano!
|Gillespie Dam Bridge|
|Desert and Farm Country near Palo Verde|
|Nearing the Palo Verde Control|
|Patrick and Carlton enjoying the Baker's covered camp chairs|
|Dick repairing his flat|
|Last year NASCAR was in town!|
|My faithful steed near Laveen|
|Dinner at the BK!|
We rolled into the BK and ordered dinner and dug out the layers we stashed in Gila Bend. While the drive through was hopping, the inside 'dining room' was ours for the taking. So we spread out over several tables, enjoying our meal, reloading our bottles, and putting on our night layers for the last 45 miles to the finish.
With the cooler temperatures two bottles were plenty to make the it to the finish. Also, with the route turning south, the wind (still surprisingly strong at 8 pm) was strong from the north and helped push us along at a great pace.
We stayed together and our group of 5 rolled into the finish just a few minutes before 10 pm (15 hours 57 minutes total time). Tom and his wife were already there enjoying some Denny's fare. We turned in our paperwork, shared stories of the event, and ordered some post-ride grub.
It was a great day with old and new friends! Thanks Tom, for organizing another great 400.
|Roger and Tom at the finish - Denny's in Casa Grande|
Click here for Ride with GPS data