Friday, January 19, 2018

2018 Saguaro Lake 200km Brevet

Ride Report
January 2018

Riders gather at the start
About 50 riders assembled in the Safeway parking lot in Fountain Hills Arizona for the 2018 edition of the Saguaro Lake 100km and 200km brevets. Mild temperatures, sunny skies, and a start time at dawn attracted riders from Alberta Canada (Calgary), New York, Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin, Washington, and Minnesota! The 100/200km routes share the same loop to start, a fantastic and scenic run up the Beeline Highway, over Usury Pass, and returning to the start via Power Road/ Bush Highway. The 200 includes a second loop with a run through Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Rio Verde, and back to Fountain Hills.
Mike Sturgill provides the rider brief
RUSA Regional Brevet Administrator Mike Sturgill, and former RBA Carlton van Leuven pre-rode the course a few days earlier and provided fantastic support all day. Mike handled the Usury Pass, and Subway/Starbucks controls, and Carlton covered the Butcher Jones support and Cashman Park controls.
Paceline on the Beeline Highway
The ride begins with some steep rollers on Fountain Hills Boulevard, certainly not the best warm-up routine, then a descent to the Beeline Highway and a gradual climb to the Bush Highway turnoff. A sizeable lead group formed and we made great time heading into the sunrise.

It was time to exit the group a few miles from the Bush Highway turnoff and drop back at a slower pace. Reaching the Bush Highway turnoff, we were a group of three (other lost souls from the lead group) as we made our way to the first control at the top of Usury Pass.

Reaching the control, it was a quick stop to reload the water bottles, grab some pocket food, get the brevet card signed and head out and down toward McDowell road. Being a popular cycling area, plus recent improvements to the roads meant that there were plenty of other cyclists out enjoying a spectacular morning!
Salt River just below Saguaro Lake
The route heads west to Power Road, which becomes Bush Highway, then descends down King Kong hill to the river and back upstream to Saguaro Lake. The road improvements were in process here, some of the shoulder was scraped away, so there were still a few miles of rough/narrow pavement until reaching the new surface, which was marvelous!

Lake traffic was light, and with the sun coming up, temperatures warmed and made for some great photos around the lake.
Four Peaks
Heading up toward the Beeline Highway Russ Cummings hopped on my wheel and we traded pulls to the lunch stop at the half-way point. After checking in with Mike and skipping the Subway Meal Deal, it was a quick stop at the truck to reload the bottles, drop a layer of clothes and head out for the second half of the ride.

Leaving Fountain Hills, the route takes the best possible path through urban Scottsdale, but with lots of turns and traffic lights, it was still a bit annoying after such a nice morning on the first half of the route in the Tonto National Forest.
Carlton manned the Cashman Park Control
Passing the Mayo Clinic and Desert Ridge Mall, the next control is the Cashman park. Today it was staffed by Carlton and he provided refreshment and encouragement as again it was a quick stop and back on the road.
Brevet machines at rest
The route heads north then east and back to the Pinnacle Peak area for the last control at the Shell station at Dynamite and Alma School road. No volunteer here, so my proof of passage was the receipt for a Frappachino, water, and PowerBall lottery Ticket! (Lucky for me, it was a 'winning' ticket, matching 3 numbers, my prize; $7; which covered the cost of the stop, so I had that going for me!)

The real payoff of this brevet is the 10 mile descent from the last control. From there the route turns south for the final 10 miles of rollers back to the finish. Last year, a favorable tail wind pushed the riders to the finish. Which of course meant that this year it was a headwind to the finish!

Another one in the books, time to clean up the truck!
At last arriving at the Starbucks, I found Mike, completed my paperwork and loaded up the machine for the ride home. This year I completed the ride in just over 8 hours, and was able to be home in time for a movie!

Looking forward to the Vulture Mine 300 next month, and hoping for a better result that 2016!

Steve Atkins

Link to Saguaro 200 GPS Data


Lonnie Epic Wolff said...

WOW, that is pretty early in the season for a 300k! Good job!

Steve Atkins said...

Easier typed that ridden, it was a 200 (oops)