Sunday, September 25, 2005

Legends, Superstitions, and Ruins: or Big Bad Brevet

Legends, Superstitions, and Ruins. My first permanate--created by Paul Layton up in Mesa. Many firsts here, mes amis! First of all, as stated, first permanate, the first to offically ride it--that would be Paul, Susan, Steve, and Yours--that's kind of a cool thing. Oh, and my first time to ride with "The Flame!" Susan Plonsky--our beloved RBA. And I think Paul's first brevet with his new recumbant. Oh, and my first time to almost have my shit together...

So Paul has made this permanate and Steve thinks it would be fun to ride. Susan will be riding--she's done Boston Montreal Boston--and a few weeks later done the Last Chance in Colorado. Two 1200 K brevets in two weeks... Dang--

Susan "The Flame!" Plonsky, here at the start of the 200K.

Regarde, mes amis! Celebrity rider and legend, Steve Jewel.

The Superstitions loom as we quickly leave the city of Mesa behind us.

Commander Paul Layton avec Le Velo. Time for pictuers...

And repairs...

Climbing up the road. Scenic and beautiful. The mountain air is fresh and cool. These mountains are new to me--only on a bike can you enjoy the colours and exciting views at every turn!

The Flame and Commander set the pace up the mountain!

At the rim of Canyon Lake.

A sweet climb, and now down into the canyon to the 2nd Controle.

Across the bridge...

We'll be on the road seen here, and just over is the controle.

We get to the controle--then, I realize that we have to turn around and climb back out! The controle is where the road ends, mes amis! The joke is on me. I was too busy enjoying the ride to really study the que sheet...

As Susan said, we are now doing a truely Arizona Brevet--long stretches of road thru the desert.
On our way to Coolidge, AZ the tempature is easily 105 degrees.

Paul leading the way. Our next stop will be near Casa Grande Nat'l Monument.

Not really on the brevet route, but if the RBA says we're gonna stop and see the Ruins, well, we're gonna stop and see the Ruins, Baby!

Only a few minutes to ponder the site.

There's a big freakin' Walmart across the street from this site. Irony is in the air, but I'm not sure what to say.

Well, the brevet so far has been sweet--but its still September and still hot. I'm sure its at least 105 or hotter. For Steve and I--the ride starts to become a challenge of survival!

Okay, you guys know me--so I won't be shy... On SR87, for the next 24 miles--The Runs begin. I'm doing okay--then suddenly I feel that I'm going to shit my shorts. I need to get off the bike and find some bushes. I need to find bushes that will hide my very lound bike shorts--the bright blue yellow and orange shorts you can see from five miles away--and I need to find it fast. I let Steve know I'm pulling over--I'll catch up.

Paul will forgive me I'm sure, but I had to use my brevet map for TP. I was sure not to use my que sheet, just in case I got left far behind--but I'm back in the saddle, feeling good, and crankin' to get back with the group. They're up ahead; Susan has a flat. Steve and I help out and just as we're getting ready to roll--that feeling comes over me. "You guys go on, I'll catch up."

I catch up but I'm weak--I can bearly keep up. Steve is hanging back to see if I'm okay--Susan keeps going. Paul has had to break away because he promised the wife he'd be home by a certain time. I tell Steve to at least wait for me at the turn off for the Hunt Hwy--because, Gentle Reader, I am in trouble. The Runs are taking their toll--I've had to stop five times. As I try to catch up with Steve, the thought of eating and drinking makes me dizzy.

Dazed and a little confused, I see Steve at SR87 and the Hunt Hwy--this is a good sign because I may have made a wrong turn or kept going straight had he not been there waiting for me...
I also feel better because now I suddenly know where I am--Steve and I had been on this road when we did our Marana-Scottsdale-Marana ride. Earlier in the day Steve had pointed out the road we took down from Casa Grande to SR87 to get to the Hunt Hwy. My head cleared a little.

Okay, we need water and food. I ask a young woman waiting at a light there at the intersection where the nearest gas station is (because we are at the edge of the middle of nowhere in the desert) and she points down the road two stop lights.

We're only off course two blocks, and lucky for us, the attendant at the gas station and food mart is friendly--and we ice up and drink water from the pop machines (always ice cold) and I start to recover... The Runs are not bugging me, but could at anytime. It would be difficult to find a place to go if I had to pull over now that we're back in civilization--or at the edge at least.

Its time to finish this brevet!

But there are other problems... Steve has got heat exhaustion, and says it will be difficult for him to keep going. He tells me I should keep going and finish, but I have to hurry because it will be getting dark--and I have a little over 20 miles to go. I don't have any lights. What we thought would be a 125 mile brevet was actually becoming a 140 mile brevet.

I would get to my car, and go back and pick up Steve--so I rolled out to beat the clock and beat the sunset.

All I can say is that I road at a steady pace, about 18 MPH, for the 14.9 miles to the next turn, which would be a home stretch to the controle at just about 5 miles. I think I road pretty good for a guy who'd had the runs--and as the sun was setting behind my back, all the refectors on my bike, and on my Camelbak were glowing bright--so that made me feel better--I could be seen by traffic. This gave me confidence that I could finish and not get busted by the cops for not having lights. Paul pulled up beside me in his van--I told him I was going to make it, but Steve was back a few miles. Paul would go check on him, and find him; now it was just up to me to finish. I can remember being disoriented a few times--slipping into the Funk--but I was close, so close!

Just as the sun set, mes amis, I rolled into the parking lot of Albertson's--but not before making a very difficult and dangerous left turn into the controle from the busy street I was on. Traffic was heavy and there was only one little gap--so I went--made it!

Epiloge to the Brevet

Holy shit! That was tough...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cochise Classic

It is official--I have sent in my name and fee to ride the Cochise County Classic. It will be 252 miles--what have I done? How much will I suffer? Will I suffer? I've been randonneering and these distances have not been too bad. So what am I afraid of?

Shitting myself for one thing...

Everything it seems has built up to this ride; a rite of passage--I've been talkin smack and now its time to do it. Luckily, I will have Linda on my crew--she will know what to do--And if not for Steve, who has gotten me to train on some pretty long and tough rides, I would not even have the courage to even attempt such a ride.

I haven't really had any support from Bev on this--she was waiting for me to talk myself out of it. But whether I want to or not--I will be on the start at 2 a.m. October 8th, 2005

Recently a friend gave me a goodluck charm--on the Solstice--so I take that as a good sign and will carry this charm on the ride.

I may finish last--but I will finish!


Monday, September 19, 2005

Almost a short ride this morning...

Well, mes amis--I am at the golf course parking lot. The car is parked under the shady trees so it will be nice and cool on my return home. As usual, the rabbits are hoping around--they pay no mind to me--and the birds are singing and gathering in their gangs for mischief.

I am in the saddle, ready to roll. I clip in one shoe--I clip in the other shoe and I roll about two feet, and then HOLY SHIT!

This Old Lady, in a hurry, driving a big-arse SUV fuckin pulls her vehicle to park right next to my car--and comes one inch from freakin running over my sorry ass! I mean she didn't even flinch! I thought I was dead.

She had no clue I was even standing there. There were some other golfing ladies, probably her friends, that were standing a few cars over--and they just stood there with their mouths open in disbelief!

Okay. So what am I going to do--get in this Old Lady's face? Nah. What's the point? It wouldn't make any difference. I could kind of tell by the look on the Old Lady's friends' faces that they know she's a bad driver--and one day is going to kill someone.

So take a deep breath and get to work... Because I'm running a little later than usual, there is traffic--and people are getting their butts to work. I'm actually going faster than traffic. A guy driving a big cement truck slows and gives me plenty of room to get past--as he can see me coming up from behind in his rear-view mirror. The bike lane is narrow. I pass and give him a wave.

I'm glad someone's paying attention.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Easier to Read Flog

I rode in all the way from Marana this morning--all 21 miles. Bev has to be on Main Campus, and we will meet after work, have dinner, and then we'll drive home.

As I approached UMC and the library, turning off on one of the side streets to zip into the office, suddenly there where about eight young women riding their bikes to Main Campus--yes, eight--all young and pretty. Of course I took this as a sign from the bike god, Velo Torr, and joined them. "Good morning, Ladies!" and they were all smiles and said good morning and my goodness all of them were so cute. I suddenly felt like a big sweaty brute compared to these stately just-showered, on-their-way-to-the-university-to-rock-the-world beauties.

Why didn't I just keep riding with them to where-ever? I didn't have to be on the ref desk right at 8 a.m. Just a creature of habit I guess--next time--NEXT TIME

"Hello Ladies. I am called Bruce!"

Allure Libre, mes amis!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Ride Report

My new parking spot... (sigh)

On Thornydale I met up with a fellow commuter named Scott. It was nice to have two bikes on Thornydale and Orangegrove--where everyone turns onto I-10. With two of you, you can be seen better by motorists and you feel a little safer.

With gas at or over $3.00 a gallon, Scott figured he could save some money--plus, recent events of the war, and Katrina, and the price gouging from the oil companies had left a bad taste in his mouth, so he wanted to get back on his bike. He only has to ride 7 miles.

Last night before going home I locked my U-lock to the rack. That way I didn't have to carry it with me this morning. I am such a clever boy!


Sunday, September 11, 2005

John Heller Rides Again

Dave calls and will be by my place in Marana, and we'll do a quick spin up to the Pichacho Peak Dairy Queen. I'm feeling the legs after Dave and I rode 56 miles Friday to Saguaro. The gams feel like tree trunks... I'm expecting Dave anytime, and then the cell rings--Its John Heller--cool. They're at I-10 and Tangerine, so I head off to meet them.

DoctorJohnHeller sez, "Can you feel the LUV, my People!"

There's like the most awesome tail wind, and we take off in a tight pace line. With the help from the tail wind, we're riding 27, 28 mph!

The spout of John's camelbak comes off while he's drinking from it, and water splurts everywhere. We stop--Glasgow keeps going, unaware of our stop. We find the tip and pick it up again...

Dave stopped at Red Rock, and we actually passed him. We stop to let Dave re-group with us.
I gotta tell ya, we are flat out flyin' --damn!

The Peak from Dairy Queen.

So you know that the ride back is going to be torture. But we set up in an aileron, or wing position, and we actually ride about 19 mph thru the crosswind. John and I are trying to keep up with Glasgow but he's too strong. After about 10 miles, John drops off, and after about another 3 or 4, I'm just too tired and I drop back.

We re-group at the Marana Circle K , a job well done. John and Dave head South back into Tucson, and I head East up Tangerine. That will be a 6 mile climb home for me and its always tough.

Later that evening, Bev talks me out of meeting the Lads for the first El Tour training ride--at 6 a.m. Sunday morning. Instead she talks me into a steak dinner at "A Taste of Texas."

I have a thick steak, baked potato, and a 24 once glass of Dos XX lager. I might also mention I can barely walk at this point. But the Randonneur is not undaunted! And so what if a little beer sloshes on his shirt?

"The Force will be with you--Always..."
Regional Brevet Administrator, Susan Plonksy,
at the start of the 600 K, Casa Grande, AZ, April, 2005.


Friday, September 09, 2005

Rattlesnake Ride

Did a good ride out to Saguaro Nat'l Park from Dave Glasgow's house.
We rode up Broadway to the park--Dave riding very fast--he blew thru a light and I just took it easy and did not want to chase after him. Traffic was light, and the sunrise was beautiful. Fall is around the corner, mes amis.

Leaving from Dave's house early Friday morning.

Up Broadway, then up Old Spanish Trail.

Other cyclists are out enjoying the cool desert morning.

I'm at the entrance to the Park. Oh yeah, my seasonal pass expired August--and the ride-in fee for bikes has gone up from $3.00 to $5.00--and the annual pass has gone up to $25.00 But that's okay.

The "Lephrechan" Mr. Dave Glasgow, chillin' at the Ramada in the Park. A personal best for him this morning. He flew up Broadway to the Park in like 49 minutes or less. I'm not sure the exact time... I'll edit later.

Ready to start some loops.

As we're on the loop, I see a nice fat rattlesnake making his way across the road. It won't be the last one I see today.

Anyway, I catch up with the "Wobblies" as they call themselves. A bunch of old farts who do laps to stay fit. Most of them are okay fellas, and they do one or two laps. But there are a few men, like Jim and Hal, who are hard-core cyclists in there late 70's. Make no mistake; they are fit and seasoned warriors.

Jim and Hal ready for another lap, and planning a hike in the Rincons, or a ride up Mt. Lemmon or Kitt Peak--heck, why not both after one more lap here in the Park!

The "Wobblies" chillin'

On lab two, hey! It's Robert.

Robert is riding strong as ever. I can't keep up with him...
We see another rattlesnake, and I think we see a king snake.
Robert heads out back home. Lator, Dude!

After lap 3, Dave and I meet Shelly. This lady Shelly has a $7,000.00 ride. Check it out.

She was telling us that she once rode 350 miles in one day--24hrs? Yeah? 24hrs--in Colorado even--mountains and junk!

Shelly had the bike, the clothes, but there was something else--

There are only three people I know who can ride that distance in that amount of time:
Russ Goodwin. He won Team RAAM in 2003.

A picture I took a few years ago of Russ training for RAAM. I crewed for him as he rode the John Farr Double Century course, twice, in 37 hours.

Of course, Mr. Gerry Goode, Randonneuring Legend, and Dave Glasgow--standing under the Ramada with Yours Truly...

My new Lance Armstrong Tour de France helmet Bev bought for me. The guy at the bike shop told me it had been wind tunnel tested and was way-aerodynamic. Also supposed to keep your head cooler, and give you longer- harder erections!

Ce'est un piece d'art, mes amis!

Well, time to roll back to Dave's house over by UofA. As we're leaving, we meet these really cool folks. I can't recall there names, sorry! But after Ms. 350 miles in 24 hrs, its nice to know that there are groovey cats like them to be found! Allure Libre!

Bon jour la bon jour!

She had a sweet hand-built bike from Rivendale, with the Dove tail style handle bars...

His recumbant bike. Oh--I messed up the pictuer! Sorry!

No Rattlesnakes were harmed in the writing of this flog-


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Shoot Out on Mountain

Biking home, I was cruising, or getting ready to cruise down Mtn Ave when I started passing all the cars--which means something's up.

Lots of people, mainly students, looking a little shocked/intense--I'm getting closer and see cop cars with lights--and them an ambulance--and then heavily armed SWAT.

Everything is frozen--and I'm gliding through like a knife. SWAT guys stand in the road holding back traffic. They signal me to stop. Then they look at each other, and wave me through, and I go through very slowly. Everyone is frozen and and looking like they can't believe what they've just seen. SWAT guy looks at me as I pass. His face says don't look, but I look--and this is the real deal. Dead man in the street. Blood. Cops with the stare in their eyes.

Must have been something heavy that just went down. Luckily I was not there when it happened--car chase probably down the bike lane until the guy pulled into the side street--then all Hell breakin loose...

Because all traffic was held up--the road was mine. But I had a sick uneasy feeling. Death was certainly about that late afternoon. The bike gives you a different perspective-- Creeps me out just thinking about it...