Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bonne Courage!

John and Cathy will do a 200 mile training ride for the Cochise Classic via the John Farr Double Century Course. Eric and I will be in one support vehicle and Joan and Larry in the other. Its kind of a training situation for the crew too. Joan and Eric, and Kathy at the start from John's house.

Larry and John. 6 a.m. start!

I haven't ridden in about six weeks, so I'm a little nervous. The mono left me weak for a long time--but I feel good and everyone's encouraging me to ride. John and Kathy start out fast--here just entering SaguaroNat'l Park West, I get dropped.

Even though they drop me, I'm keeping my speed at 15 mph or above, which is pretty good. We're riding North on Sandario Road. It's slightly up-hill and there's a bit of a head wind. At times my legs feel a bit weak still.

As I near Ajo Hwy, for our planned stop--about 25 to 30 miles into the ride, the road gets muddy and a bit wet. So much for 15 mph. But it's a beautiful morning for a ride in the desert!

Mud! Cool!

At Sandario Rd and Ajo Hwy.

Making sure they go the right way...

The next stop will be Sells, Arizona.

Kathy riding strong...

John on his way West to Sells.

The crew staying on top of things.

I'm taking a rest and will ride in Eric's jeep.

A shrine out in the middle of nowhere on the Rez.

This rather large spider was "hangin' out" as in mid-air. He dropped by to see what I was doing, and maybe have me for breakfast. Hey. Wait a second?

Mud on my ride...

I would never ride this road by myself out on the Rez. In a group, I would, and on a Sunday on a three day weekend. Otherwise, its just too dangerous in my view--beer bottles and empty booze bottles litter the side of the road if you get my drift.

Kitt Peak on a sunny Sunday morning!

I've seen mustangs out on the Rez before, but usually they're high-tailing it outta site. They don't like to be seen and bolt--because they don't see or hear bikes and then suddenly you surprise them! I was pretty surprised myself to see this guy. His two mares and a young colt I just caught a glimps of as they ran off. I believe he was a mustang as I couldn't see any brand on him. Most horses you see out here have a large brand to identify them from afar--to keep others from stealing them outright. I felt pretty lucky to be this close and get a photo.

Sacred peak--this is a mysterious and sacred land and many spirits reside in the area. You must be alert and stay focused. Often a dream-like state can begin to overcome you. Again--you must stay focused and be mindful. Not too scary really, just keep going.

Speaking of Horse Power! The Wing enjoying some down-hill and the tailwind.

Kathy sets the pace...

Larry keeps up all the way into Sells, Arizona.

Sells--we stop for lunch.

At the lunch stop, Gentle Reader, I got back on the bike and road with Kathy, John, and Larry to Quiatowa, at which point we we would head out on Indian 15, the Hwy that would take us toward Casa Grande and Eloy.

I rode with Larry the 20 miles into Quiatowa, and we rode very fast and put some distance between Kathy and John. At one point we rode at 26 mph for what seemed five or six miles. The heat was affecting Kathy and she was having to stop and try to cool down. By about 11 a.m. the temps were reaching well over 100 degrees.

Out on Indian 15, after a short stop for water, I was with Kathy and John. Larry was getting over-heated and wanted to rest. I tried to keep up with K and J but the heat started to wear me down as well. Eric stopped me and asked if I was doing okay. K and J dropped me--I really wanted to try and make it Eloy--but I was cooking; It was like the sun was burning a hole through my shoulders and into my lungs. "Dude, its like 106--" said Eric. Yeah--it was time to git in the truck as they say.

At 106 your body starts to shut down and you can't keep cool. After about 10 more miles, we all decided we'd had enough today.

The John Farr course is 200 miles and J and K rode 125 miles. I rode a respectable 58--and I was pretty happy with that--for not having ridden in over a month.


John suggested we all go to this really good restaurant he knows. That cheered us all up! John also said he'd pick up the tab! Let's go!

My car was so hot you couldn't even touch it without getting burned! Who knows how hot it got inside--had to let it cool down before I could even load my gear.

Roma Caffe--just in time for an early dinner! We shared a bottle of wine and the conversation was not about bikes or our day on the course--just about stuff in general--there were funny stories and jokes, good food and wine.

I was happy, really happy mes amis! It had been a long summer to get through with the mononucleosis kicking my ass.

Glad it is behind me! Bonne Courage! Allure Libre!

1 comment:

Red Bacchetta said...

Thats an accomplishment to do over a century or a near metric in early September around here (unless you do it at night, but even then it is still an accomplishment). 105 is my limit too. Not a pleasant experience mind you, but doable with enough water.