Tuesday, November 22, 2005

To the Top of South Mountain

This weekend, I traveled up to Scottsdale to see Steve and Kim. Steve and I did his century training course around South Mountain, but this time we climbed the 8 mile scenic road to the summit of South Mountain, and where the TV towers reside.

I must tell you, Gentle Reader, that 5:30 a.m Scottsdale was 41 degrees. It felt much colder! At dinner that evening, I thought of suggesting to Steve we sleep in--but to climb South Mtn and be back, we'd have to leave saddle up early!

The Superstitions to the east of us--just at sun up.

Papago Park at 6:30 a.m. Steve always enjoys it when I say I want to stop for a photo op--and its freezing!

Sun is up and its still cold--how much longer until breakfast? Oh yeah, the pictures of the rock formations didn't come out very good--oh well...

I-Hop. We've ridden about 35 miles down into Tempe thru the ASU campus. Its about 7 a.m. and still pretty dang cold. Service was kind of slow this morning, and we ended up being there about 45 minutes instead of our usual 25. That's okay--I needed to warm up and wake up--the next leg of our journey is going to take us South and then West to the Gila River Indian Reservation.

We're on the Maricopa Hwy heading West, and we're South of the Mtn. As I drove in Friday night to Scottsdale, I could see the TV tower lights on top of South Mtn.

Here are the mountains on the Rez as we've been heading West. We've just turned North and have about 10 or 15 miles to the base of South Mtn.

Thru the pastoral cotton fields and ranches near the little town of Gaudalupe, AZ. Kind of a quaint area--seems pretty friendly, and has a flavor of Mexico.

Steve and I stop at Circle K to shed our arm and leg warmers. I snapped this right before we're about to enter the State Park.

Starting up Summit Road. The pavement is brand new and traffic is light. About 7.5 miles to go, mes amis!

Phoenix to the North as we start the climb... As we near the top and the last two miles, the gate was closed and a sign said there was a special event going on. Bummer--just two more miles. But then some parasailing guys drove up and let us in--sweet!

We made it to the top.

It was like we had the whole place to ourselves. From here we could see most of our route, which is about a 116 mile loop.

Parasailing on the top. These fellows run of the cliff--

We couldn't see where they were landing exactly, but the other guys would start down the road to fetch them--then they'd drive back up and jump off again. Looked very dangerous, and you would not want to crash on the side of the mountain--the rocks are sharp and I'm sure the cactus would be unforgiving.

A quick photo op at the old Ranger Station. Steve's pretty happy with his new bike--
on to lunch!

Lunch in Paradise Valley at Steve's favorite sandwhich shop. Steve and the owner are friends. Its a good stop and a good place to fill up with water and ice. I like their pastromi sandwhich best...

Paradise Valley and Scottsdale--what used to be farms and orange groves--now swank digs for the rich.

Scottsdale bike lane. Stay in the bike lane or get run over by a Jag!

In the heart of Scottsdale. This here's Camelback Peak ya'll--talkin high dollar spreads now.

Well, what can I say? Except for freezing our asses off in the wee hours of the morning--this was a great ride, and a good time. The weather was perfect, and we rode without any problems.
Drank a few beers at Steve's house, took a shower and took a nap for about 30 minutes--so I wouldn't fall asleep on the drive back to Tucson.

Allure Libre!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I Live to Ride Again

My jersey in the morning...

The mornings are cold. And often as I saddle up, I see shooting stars over the Catalina Mts.

I live to ride again.

I would like to change my route in and back home, but I 'll need to choose a day where I don't have to report to the Reference Desk right at 8 a.m. Of course now with the way the light is, I need the most direct route. There is so much traffic now I believe its getting quite dangerous. All the cars are bumper to bumper stopped in traffic and I am able to keep riding--but there is no shoulder and I just squeeze through. One day I know, the cops are going to bust me, or some asshole will decide to teach me a lesson and try to block me or run me off the road. Just got to watch out for 'em...

Sun going down--time to go home, mes amis

Love and Kisses!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

GABA Swap Meet

I went down to 4th Ave to the swap meet hoping to find some deals. There was a lot of junk, but I did find something I could use for up-coming brevets. Paid $20 for a $40 handlebar bag.

Team Moonie guys had some stuff out there. Talked with Aaron and Anthony--Stef sold his kiddie trailer for $150 so that's good. He used it while Angela was in Washington DC this summer. Foxx and Haley Jo grew out of it quickly--he bought it used himself.

Andy was selling one of his single speed bikes for $125 which was a good deal. I talked him down to $90, but then I thought to myself, "Do I really need another bike?" Nah. I'll save my money for something I really need.

There were mens' jersies and bike clothes but all too small. I need 2XL. There were tons of womens' bike clothes going at rock-bottom prices and I was surprised to see so many women who had got good deals. I'm just going to have order my stuff on-line and pay shipping.

I could have slept in but I'm glad I checked it out this once.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Sunday Pace Line

Early Sunday morning I met Glasgow and we weaved our way through some neighborhoods to find his friend Jan. The plan was to ride up to Saguaro Nat'l Park and do a few laps. We picked up Jan, who lived just off Pima, and started out--within a few minutes, Glasgow took off--as usual, and I waited for Jan to catch up with me. I suggested we go have some coffee seeing as how her coach kind of dumped her. About that time a paceline of about 10 riders was coming up--they said jump on the train so I did.

I was able to hang with them on Pima all the way up to Tanke Verde, up to and past Udall Park all the way out to Houghton Road. We were riding all that way at 20mph--and I thought, this is the ticket, Baby! They turned North, probably to take the El Tour route, and I turned South on Houghton to go to the Nat'l Park.

I got to the park and did a lap--but Glasgow was nowhere to be found. Jan was way behind me. I should have stayed with that pace line--these guys were all wearing the same jersey colors and it was pretty obvious they were training for El Tour. They all seemed pretty fit and I was happy that I was able to keep up.

Allure Libre

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Brevet Medals from Paris

After almost a year, the medals for our Brevets arrived from France.

The Brevet cards each Randonneur carries, travels to Paris, France after the brevets for inspection and approval. The French take this very seriously and no detail is over-looked. Then they send back the cards with medals.

Here is my first medal from back in January of 2005. At the start of the ride, everybody was really wanting to take off fast and there was an urgency in the air. Then I saw these two guys with Paris-Brest-Paris jerseys calmly waiting in front of me. I decided I would stick with the Veterans and maybe learn a thing or two about randonneuring. Lucky for me those two guys happened to be Steve and Mike.

Steve and Mike

If any of these medals has special significance, it is this 300 K pictured above. This medal was hard-earned because the ride was brutal. Rain, cold, flats, mechanical mishaps--everything that went wrong did go wrong--to each one of us. It was a randonneur's nightmare, and according to Mike, the toughest 300 he had ever done.

Mike Alexa, our Captain on the infamous 2005 300K Brevet from Hell.

Rain and flat tires all day, and rain as in very hard driving rain for about 15 of the 17 hours we were on the course. Between all of us we had 10 flat tires. My back tire came apart on Oracle Rd--and my worst fear was realized--the pack went on without me. I jogged down to where I knew a bike shop was, luckily just about a mile away, and surprised the guys working there. They kind of wondered what I was doing out riding in the pouring rain--soaked and covered with grime--but they got me a new tire, and I rode like a Bat out of Hell to catch up to Steve, Mike, Rich Combs, and Susan France. I caught them right outside of Saguaro Nat'l Park--they were very surprised to see me because they thought I was through. They pulled me the last 60 miles or so throught the rain and lightening. I was completely exhausted I had ridden so hard.

As we rode into Casa Grande and the finish, like two or three blocks from the last controle, Mike had another flat but we kept going. We just wanted to be done. As we arrived, Mike's other tire went flat--two flats in the last two blocks.


My 400 K medal. Steve and I rode this baby strong. Mike Alexa was not with us this time. For most of the ride, we had a nice pace-line going with Steve, Mike Allen, Rich Combs, and myself. The other good thing is that I knew most of this course like the back of my hand, having trained on many of the roads with Dave Glasgow and Gerry Goode. I really pushed on this ride--I think I had too much coffee--I was wired! It felt good to go fast since the 300 was so tough. At the next to the last controle in Marana, I wanted to go faster, but Rick and Mike Allen wanted to slow down. Steve and I took off for the last 50 miles and I was feeling stronger as we neared Casa Grande.


It was dark and a Saturday night. As we were going through Eloy, we were riding about 21 or 22 mph down main street--that is fast for a big guy like me... A fellow a little intoxicated came out of one of the many bars there on the road with his girlfriend--watched us coming up the street--and at the last second stepped off the curb right in front of me. I almost collided with the guy--in fact I grazed him. It was so close I could smell the cheap scotch on his breath. Had I hit him at 22 mph it probably would have killed him or both of us... Eloy. Evil Eloy...

Bon journee, mes amis!

Sorry to say that the 600 k medal eluded me. During the 600, I got dehydrated, got diarrea, and just couldn't get it together--I had to drop, mes amis. It would have been sweet to have completed the first Arizona Brevet Series ever done. It would have been historic. Had I realized that back then, I might have tried to push myself to finish--but when you're about to pass out and physically can't make your legs work, well--time to throw in the towel. Luckily Steve called Kim and she drove down and picked me up--But Steve had to come with me as I limped about 10 miles to Benson, AZ to get to our pick-up/rescue point.

Stay tuned as the next Brevet Series begins in a few months!

Allure Libre!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ride Home Photos of Love

Time to go home, Baby!

Mountain Ave at 5pm. Bumper2bumper...

Other riders...

"Lance, Honey, its me Cheryl--bring home a rotisseire chicken, une baggette, and another six-pack of Coors Light--Kiss!"

I saw this woman on my ride into work ...


Riding past the UofA Farm on Mountain Ave...

Mountain Ave turns into bike path

And becomes the Mountain Bridge.

Girls like to stay in shape, mes amis!

This or...


Off the bike path and onto La Cholla--then a quick left here at the light. I'll ride River Ave until it turns into Thornydale--right around Orange Grove, where the exit to I-10 comes onto Thornydale. No pictures of me getting thru the tight traffic. I've noticed more and more that Thornydale is bumper to bumper at one point, and I ride faster than the cars can crawl along. It sucks to be on the road in your car. The only drawback for me is that the bike lane disappears and its dark. Motorists give me dirty looks, but hey--they can kiss my ass!

What a pretty pretty sunset--if I were a little girl, I might feel all fuzzy inside--I jus fukin glad my fat ass made it home ALIVE, mes amis!

At the golf course and my car. I rode pretty good--the sun's not down quiet yet.

Allure Libre!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ride Report

Looks like only the undautned Randonneur rode in today--

Quite a windy morning. I brought the camera but it was dark--and I was late getting out the door. The sun seems to come up between Helen's Dome and Rincon Peak--right there in Sagauro Nat'l Park--but I was well underway on busy River Ave. I had to push myself to arrive in time to shower and open the Reference Desk.

The head wind pounded me into the pavement... However tough the ride was, the air was clear and sweet-smelling--ah the desert is beautiful, Gentle Reader--I am so lucky that sunrise over the mountains is brilliant... A wiff of desiel exhaust from a truck quickly brings me back to reality--got to always pay attention--especially with the I-Pod blasting my morning tunes.