Monday, March 27, 2006

South Mountain Ride

I was zippin down the 101 heading to Scottsdale Friday nite, when suddenly everybody started to go very very slow--this is 8:30 p.m. and I'm not far from Steve and Kim's place--all the sudden there were a series of bright stobe flashes, like lightening. Holy Shit! I'm busted! It was those speed cameras that take your picture. I remember Steve telling me about them--about they got some woman going 130 mph. They had a grace period and with my luck the grace period is over.

My speeding ticket will come in the mail soon. I was going 80 mph at least. So was everybody else, Gentle Reader--except they all knew where the cameras were placed, and slowed down, way down--while I sped on. ZAP , POW, POW! Those lights! Bastards!

Here's South Mountain about 6 a.m. The Sun is just coming up, and Steve and I are crossing the bridge into Tempe and the campus of Arizona State University.

Yours on the old Tempe Bridge. I-Hop is just a few minutes away and breakfast. Its a beautful Spring morning. Still kind of cold, and we had to wear warmers--and we'd have to carry that stuff with us all day. To stay warm, and not have to carry a jacket all day, I have yesterday's newspaper tucked under my jersey. The paper keeps out the cold morning air. I tossed the paper at I-Hop, and then wished I hadn't because it was still cool after breakfast. Even in Tempe it was cool until almost 9 a.m.

ASU Crew Club sets off for an early morning workout.

We're on the old bridge. The new bridge has some cool design elements. I 'd like to steal this and use for a jersey logo. The sun is coming up over the Superstition Mtns--Let's get rolling to I-Hop!

I have to say that this 100 mile ride was just what we needed. Weather was finally good for a change, and Steve as always is strong and sets a good pace. In no time we have ridden about 50 miles, and West out onto the Gila Bend Indian Reservation.

Now we're heading East, thru Guadalupe, and South Mtn is coming into view. Guadalupe is just waking up. The fields are green, the cows are fat, and the horses are alert and watching us as we cruise past.

Getting closer. We've made good time--We actually discuss by-passing riding to the top. We need to be back early as possible--but we agree we're feeling strong, and we need to do some climbing.

Of course, one of us gets a flat. Flats take time to fix. Everything has to stop and you make the best of it. Steve fixes the flat tire while I fill up water bottles and snap a few photos of the old Ranger Station where we've stopped.

Circa 1929 sturcture.

Part of the old Ranger Station. There's a drinking fountain which has very cold water, and a restroom.

South Mtn from the Ranger Station. From here 8 miles to the summit and the towers.

Steve and I climbed the 8 miles and I believe we both felt pretty strong. I started to really feel it and had not ridden like this in about 3 weeks. The last two miles to the summit were brutal and even the last mile was killing me.

We made it to the top and I thought I was going to pass out. I didn't have much water, and it was now about 11:30 in the morning. It was very hot at the top and there was no shade--but I had to get myself together so I could get back down. Just a creepy feeling knowing that you pushed yourself almost to your limit. Mes amis, I was right on the edge. It felt like my heart was going to bust out of my chest and bounce down the mountain, me chasing after!

Oh yes, I must mention that right before the TV towers, we did the other peak called Dobbs Lookout or something like that--pretty cool.

The top!

Hey? Is that Wilbur Wright at Kitty Hawk? On examination, you can still see the elements of the bicycle in these gliders--they're not much different from the test kites and gliders the Wright Bros flew in 1904.

This was such a beautiful weekend! The para sail guys and hang glider people were up there. It was very hot so we didn't stay long--

On the way back, I got this quick snap-shot of "A" Mountain. On our way to lunch now as we ride thru ASU campus, pass the Mountain, go over that bridge, and thru Papago Park. It is 87 degrees or hotter up here in Phoenix. And we're trying to get back to Scottsdale. No place to stop really--just need to get back.

Of course 2 miles from Steve's house, I get a flat tire on the front wheel. Steve says just pump it up and keep going. This did save us some time, and finally we were back by 3:30 pm--we rode a good solid 117 miles.

So to recover so I could make the drive home, I slept on the floor for about 15 minutes. That really revived me and I took a quick shower and went on my way. It was a fast weekend, mainly on the bike which is what I like.

The 600 km looms around the corner, mes amis! Stay tuned...


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rode in on a Broom

I probably should have taken before and after photos, Gentle Readers, of my new bike locker. I promise a full photo essay soon! All I can say is that is was filthy, and this morning I arrived early with a old rag, a broom, and bust bin to shovel out the dirt and spider webs.

A phone call to security forces, which probably would have been forwarded to the Mail Room, where I picked up the key the other day, could have eventually gotten some one out there to at least use a leaf blower and blast all that shit out.

People coming to work saw me marching across the TMC campus broom and dust bin in hand, probably wondering to themselves what the hell I was up to. Bubba or Bobby Dewayne was maybee thinkin to themselves, "That thar boy up and ought tah ride that there broom on in to his lolly-pop desk job..." Well damn their NASCAR hats, gotees, and RayBans! Je suis un Randonneur, cowboy!

So I swept out and carried off three shovel loads of what looks like years of dust and grit. I can't see how it got so messed up in there. I might be that the parking garage leaks and all the water drips down on the bike lockers--but this is a chance for me to pimp my bike locker with photos of svelt ladies and Hello Kitty posters!


Monday, March 20, 2006


My good friend and colleague at AHSL got his nice road bike stolen out of his garage this last Friday afternoon. I am feeling very bad for him and his family--because, as he told me in an email today--the thief came back and broke into their house Saturday. He says they smashed out the back kitchen widow in the door with one of his golf clubs. This is pretty upsetting to me, and Stef thinks its because of people on Meth.

When I bought my place here in Dog Mtn a few years ago, one evening I went outside and there were like 30 FBI and DEA agents--with guns drawn, and with K-9 Units going over the house across the street. So I had drug dealers living on my street. I knew something was up... They got a lot of visitors, and cars would be driving by all the time, and turning around in the cul du sac which is our street. The cars were nice cars, but kind of pimped. The clients of my former drug dealing neighbors crusied by for months after the Heat got them out. The house sat empty for about a year until it was fianlly bought by a couple and their kind of dim-witted pubesant daughter. Geez--at least the drug dearler dude and his freak waved and kept things tidy.

Anyway, I'm just kind of bummed out because we work hard to have nice things and then someone just smashes down your door and takes what ever they can grab, so they can get high.

So this excrement grabbed Stef's road bike, only to realize this object was beyond his mental or physical capabilities--


Sunday, March 12, 2006


The 400 didn't go so well--it was a let down. It was so cold and the wind was so strong. My legs were like noodles--I had no energy. It's like the wind just came in and robbed me of my spirit. I felt cold and empty. Everytime we seem to take on this kind physical and mental endevor, the forces of nature hammers us down.

When it was all said and done--I must say that we needed this rain. Rainfall and then sunshine make the desert around these parts quite spectacular. Driving home from Casa Grande, after dropping off Steve to met Kim for a ride home, I took the brevet route back to Tucson for awhile--a fender-bender on the Fwy had traffic backed up for 14 miles from Picacho Peak to just past Eloy--anyway, I was driving through the farm land fresh after the rain. The roads were deserted--I saw coyotes darting around. Birds were everywhere, all kinds. It was like everything came to life. The sky was that awesome deep blue, and the mountains were dark with rain. Big clouds hung on Mt Lemmon--there's snow on the Catalinas now.

I cut over West on the I-10 Frontage Rd, then went just under the Fwy and just a few miles ahead of where traffic was all backed up. Right there as you come out of the going under the Fwy, Picacho Peak is right there. A cloud was just hanging on top of it, and the cloud looked just like a white river flowing around and around the peak in a slow circle.

So even though I didn't complete the 257 miles that make up 400 Kilometers, I was happy I got to see the Peak in this special way.

Allure Libre

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

French Toast

As the Regional Brevet Administrator, or RBA, Susan Plonsky has the job of running the show. After the brevets are planned out, she makes sure, through her various contacts, that our brevet cards we carry with us--and so carefully guard--make it to Paris, France.

Susan rides the brevets solo the week before. That way she can be the offical for our brevets. It takes a lot of courage to do this--ride hundreds of miles on your own through the desert. Since I had the week off before the new job, and wanted to do a few training rides, Susan asked me to ride with her through more of the remote parts of the 400 Km course.

All I can say is that the head winds were relentless--a storm front was moving into Tucson. I met her at Ajo Way and Kinney at the McD's and soon I realized we were on the "Shoot Out" course that the pros and hard core dude's train on. The road sucked, and the head wind was brutal. Just for a break we stopped for a photo op at Mission San Xavier, and took the picture below.

I carried my new handle bar bag, which seemed to work well. Mostly I stashed my camera in there and it took up most of the room. I need a new camera I guess, because I know you all don't want to read, you want to see the pictures!

Head winds were tough, and I was getting beat down. Susan road strong and I had to stay on her wheel and get pulled along.

Very tough was the head wind from Green Valley to Amado Jct. That's on the Frontage Rd of I-19. And the ride to Arivaca, which is a great 22 miles through wilderness and cattle ranches--very difficult indeed.

Only on 286 through the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge did we get a break--for 35 miles we road at 20+ mph with the tailwind, and I recovered and got my strenght back. The sun set and the mountains were beautiful to behold. My lights worked very well and there was little or no traffic all the way to the store in Three Points.

Susan had ridden about 190 miles, and was on her way back to Casa Grande. I road East on Ajo Way back to my car. It was dark and the 10 miles were long and lonely, but I was able to ride pretty fast. At one point I ran over something on the shoulder and it jarred me so hard that my lights came loose, and my back-up light came flying off. I ran out onto the hwy and fetched it. I just remember long strands of plastic bags clinging to the scawny trees next to the shoulder--Sometimes they looked like ghosts with flowing hair and clothes. It was creepy and I was glad when the stop lights at Ajo Way and Kinney came into view.

Allure Libre!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Pre 400 Km Prep

The aero bars are off to make way for a handle bar bag. The bag I got at the GABA swap meet for $15. I just think I need to figure out how to make use of the extra space. Probably can hold one more water bottle, food, and warm gear. I know I have to drink more and eat more. The extra space may help in this matter.

You might notice my commuter light mounted to the right handle bar drop. This may not work but I'm going to give it a try.

I think I just need to relax--I spent most of today working on the bike--I put on new tires, and made adjustments. It's best to figure this stuff out now then try to mess with it on the road.

Steve and I had a very strong 400 Km last year. That's because we had a nice pace line going through the remote part of the course, down by the border of Old Mexico. Rich Combs and Mike Allen are not with us this year.

Stay tuned for my training adventures!