April 12-13, 2014
|I'll take this one!|
Pre-rideMost brevet riders would be all packed and ready to retire early for a 600km brevet. That would be most riders, your humble correspondent just barely had the van packed and ready for the trek to the start in Marana Arizona. With Michael arriving home from college, and my boss hosting a party at his home the night before the event, my night before the ride was spent enjoying the party with Debby, admiring RG's car collection, then running off to the airport to pick up Michael. I was in the sack just before midnight.
|Carlton runs the preride brief|
|Patrick and Tom descending Gates Pass|
|Carl manned this control, note the flag!|
|Its easy to take pictures rolling at 11 mph!|
|Riparian area just outside Patagonia|
|Historic site just outside Patagonia|
|Family shrine hewn into a cliff near Patagonia|
Tom dropped off on the climb to Patagonia, and we regrouped at the general store to check in and enjoy a light meal. I was sorely tempted to head into the Wagon Wheel Saloon, but an extra hour here would translate to an additional hour of night riding. So it was a Sobe drink and a can of Campbells Cream of Potato Soup served cold on the sidewalk outside the market!
|Riders check in, but do they check out!|
|Finally - High Plateau Tail Winds|
|Cochise Stronghold, from the road just outside Tombstone|
The route continued through Tombstone and climbs all the way to Bisbee. About 10 miles out of Tombstone, Sierra Vista comes into view, about 20 miles away. It was a mental challenge to continue toward Bisbee, with the sleep stop slowing disappearing into the distance behind me!
The route enters the mountains and the real climbing begins. Finally reaching the top, soaked from the work, and now descending into the cold, I stopped and put on all the layers just between the tunnel and historic Old Town. The control was a few miles further up the road. By the time I rolled in to the control I was shivering uncontrollably! I jumped into the store, poured a ton of sugar into a hot coffee, purchased a can of beans and a chocolate milk. The convenience store clerk was happy to have some company, so I enjoyed my picnic on the floor in front of the coffee machine.
I packed up, bought a chap stick, and headed back out. It was still 28 miles to the sleep stop, normally about 90 minutes of riding, but the wind continued and it was 2+ hours to the control in Sierra Vista. Carlton drove by a few miles out of town and was at the hotel when I rolled in about 20 minutes after midnight.
I was feeling the effects of being on the bike for the last 20 hours with only 3 hours of sleep Friday night. I checked in and found Carlton in the brevet room. He mentioned that Patrick had arrived about an hour earlier and Tom had suffered numerous flats and was at his hotel in Bisbee. Patrick heard me stumbling up the hall and asked what time I was planning on leaving. Normally I would take a 3-4 hour nap, then head out about before dawn, but I told him I was going to leave after dawn and try and grab 5-6 hours of sleep. I walked to the IHOP restaurant and loaded up on eggs, hash browns, and orange juice. I skipped preparing my bike for Day 2 and simply showered, put on my compression gear and crawled into bed at 0130.
Day 1 - 258 Miles, 20:16 hours, 11,054 ft climbing
Day 2I had set the alarm for 0700; but woke at 0530 and decided to get moving. I grabbed some coffee in the lobby and returned to my room to pack up and leave. Patrick was rolling out of his room as I returned. With the sun up, I put my reflective gear and spare lights back in my drop bag. I checked out, left my drop bag with Carlton and rolled out under a cloudless sky.
Just a few miles from the hotel, the route enters the Ft. Huachuca Army base. Several of my friends have been stationed here, but this was my first time on the base. After checking my ID, I was cleared to pass.
|Historic Buffalo Soldier Gate|
|Heading toward the West Gate at Ft. Huachuca|
|Off the base, near Elgin AZ|
The next 30 miles to the Sahuarita control would go by quickly, dropping 2000 feet back to the desert floor. The wind was back out of the southwest, but with the gentle downgrade, it was easy to take.
|Sahuarita Road, Helmet Peak in the distance|
Helmet Peak road is about 6 miles of 3-4% climbing and went by easily. Reaching the top it was back on Mission Road with a slight tailwind all the way to Congress Ave in Tucson.
|Cactus flowers on Helmet Peak Road|
I reached the finish in just under 9 hours for a total brevet time of 34 hours 10 minutes. Carlton was there with some hot pizza and an O'Douls! I completed the requisite paperwork, thanked Carlton for putting together a fantastic route, and headed back to Tempe. After unpacking and cleaning up, Michael (home for spring break) delivered me to the Newman Center in time to catch the 9 pm Mass for Palm Sunday!
Day 2 - 116 miles, 8:52 hours, 4,512 feet climbing