Sunday, January 31, 2010

RUSA Permanent 991 -- Arivaca, Arizona

The ride will be just over 200 Kilometers, or on this route, 133 miles.

This morning it's only RBA Susan and myself. A bit cold this morning too, but it should warm up hopefully, mes amis...

My Trek 2.3 is working out well as a quick commuter and fun weekend bike. This Permanent we'll see how it goes as a brevet bike. I've got three water bottles and that should be enough between the controles.

Our early morning start is just on the southern fringes of Saguaro Nat'l Park.


Yours, dressed warm.

We're on Mission Rd, and every Saturday morning, without fail, rolls the famous (or infamous) Shootout. Gentle Readers of This Blog, what ever you feel about the Shootout--it is some awesome fast road-racing! I love it! As promised, I tell Susan she'll get to say she rode in the Shootout with these blokes!

As the police are lurking everywhere to bust the Shootout Riders for so much as the tiny-est traffic violation (at one point a truck was pulling a flatbed so as to arrest and confiscate the roadies en mass) finding a place to take a "break" was a bit difficult. Just when we thought the peloton and the law had sped past--here comes another fast group.

Now for the Brevet Riders to Roll.

Helmet Peak. If you're a Tucson Cyclist, or Arizona Brevet Rider, mon ami, you know right where we are on Mission Rd.

After going through Green Valley kind of the back way, Susan and I are now on the Frontage Rd. that runs along I-19, which goes on down to Nogalas, and the border with Mexico.

Mt. Wrightson is the larger peak in the Santa Rita Range--to the far right on Mt. Hopkins there's a few big telescopes. In the foreground is the formation they call Elephant Head. One thing is for sure, there is snow, and a lot of snow! I believe this is a rare event.

We're rolling into Amado Jct--we'll need to stop and get water and a snack or two before heading west to Arivaca.

I've never stopped in this place but I hear it's not bad. On brevets, we've really not had time to stop and sit down and have burger. I should ask around and see what people say. There's a market across the street where we'll have to get water and fill up our bottles.

We passed through a Border Patrol Check Point on Arivaca Rd.

My beard is about as white as the snow on those mountains--I'm thinking it makes me look too old--and maybe I oughta shave it off. Anyway, this road feels like an old friend. When I first starting riding with Jerry Goode and Dave Glasgow out here, it was usually a lot hotter--and seemed a lot tougher.

On the 400 KM Brevet, this part of the course will test your mettle--after the brutal and forever long-haul on Mission Rd--the Randonneur must tackle these remote and scenic rolling hills for 22 miles--to make it to the controle in Arivaca. This has never been a simple task, mes amis.

This is friendly cafe to stop in and check out--but we really need more provisions down at the store in Arivaca. If you have time, you should ride in and have a coffee or sandwich. They have a restroom that is clean. The service is cheerful and the locals enjoy the visitors.

Get food and water here because there will be none until Three Points--almost 45 miles down the road.

We will ride about 12 miles out past Arivaca until we reach SR 286. We will be under the gaze of Baboquivari Peak as we ride through Buenos Aires Nat'l Wildlife Refuge.

It has been on the cold side today.

We are about 80 miles into our journey.

Left is Mexico, right is Three Points, and Robles Jct.

On this last long leg, Susan and I took turns pulling, to get us down the road. We had a slight tail-wind and that helped out for the ride back.

The road seems to go on forever, but soon we're past Baboquivari Peak--which had a bit of snow on the North Face--which I've never seen before... and now we're looking for the tall radio tower on the horizon, which means we're getting closer.

The sun is going down, and we're not far from the store at Three Points. On the 400 KM Brevet, riders are usually trying to get to the store before it closes--the flashing red lights on the tower can be seen from about eight or so miles out--it's a hopeful sign that this long leg of the ride is almost done.

We can stop and get water and food! And we'll need to get lights set for the short time we'll be riding in the dark. I felt pretty good today, Gentle Readers of This Blog--mostly because I ate and drank enough this time. I've been having problems with the bonk, and Hammer Gel this ride kept me up to speed. Having one extra water bottle helped too--it's important to stay hydrated, even though it was on the cold side today.

The Three Points Store.

This bike's seen a lot of miles, no doubt. I think it's a good representation of the people and the lifestyle out here in this part of the country.

This tower is our landmark. Good to see during the day--at night, such a welcome sight for the Randonneur--water and food, and a brief rest.

Allure Libre
Cheers! Bruce

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bike Crash

I was on Big Sexy and riding to meet Rico for evac—10 mile ride on the River Path tops. Just wearing my street clothes because it’s cool outside and the trip is short and quick.

There’s a narrow rail walking bridge and I was crossing, two walkers lined up single file on the right as I was coming behind them. I was riding carefully and had slowed down to pass them on the left.

Just then two blokes riding a bit fast, in my opinion, came onto the bridge. I was already past the walkers and merging back onto the right side.

I think the first rider over re-acted a bit as he braked, and his mate, who was right on his wheel couldn’t stop and rear-ended the first rider—and they went down.

They were okay, but I didn’t stick around—there is a bit of a blind spot on that bridge as you approach—so you have to slow down. You have to be careful.

My feelings about the multi-use path—concerning bikes—is that if you want to ride balls out, this is not the place. There are too many runners, walkers, people with their dogs and kids, and horseback riders.

If you want to ride fast, ride up on River Road which has a wide and smooth bike lane—of course it’s a bit more dangerous with all the car traffic.

Parts of the River Path are remote, so I believe its okay to ride 20 mph—but certainly not around the parks where people are walking and running and playing with their children.

See I have seen guys like the ones that were going too fast almost run down old ladies—and I think it’s rude on the part of cyclists. I have no sympathy for the guys that crashed.

They were being reckless.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


text-hole -- For the definition, see here

I’ve told you about my neighbor that I get a ride with back to Dog Mtn. She’s probably your typical Tucson driver: Big-ass SUV, speeder, tailgater, cell phone blabber, and all-around aggressive mean piece of shit. Not driving a car, she’s quite a pleasant person.

This trip she texted almost the whole way home—about 20 minutes none-stop—oh, and while tail-gating some poor bastard.

I think when she drives her SUV, she feels like she’s got a penis—just another prick flexing their entitlement, n’es cet pas, mes amis?

I just wear my street clothes for the quick ride to Heather's office. Big Sexy has fenders so that will keep me dry for the trip as well.

A cold wet day in Tucson--snow on Mt. Lemmon.

There's a new park close by Heather's office for bikes, runners, and horseback riders. It's very pleasant and there seems to be an old neighborhood where people have kept horses as I saw many stables and many horses--horses that looked happy and healthy--as in people actually ride them right there in the river breaks.

Here’s what she thinks of my innuendos about safety and courtesy

Cheers! Bruce

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Owl Head Ranch Ride

Our journey begins at Park Link Rd and the I-10 Frontage Rd.

A bit of a chill in the air for our start, but not too cold.

Ancient Landscape for us to behold.

We ride as if on a frozen black river, through this sudden vastness.

Interstate 10 lies just at the base of Picacho Peak. In this shot, it's about 10 miles or more directly West behind us. Off of the I-10 Frontage Rd, with its roar of trucks and cars far in the distance, the Ancient Stillness of the Desert begins to settle into the morning air.

This fellow has seen better days--just off the road, he looked scarred and haggard--maybe from a failed attempt from a predator. Javelina are tough creatures and fierce fighters.

We climb slightly on this route, and have a slight headwind making us work to move forward.

The Great Owl's Head. Owl Head Ranch is about eight miles due South, somewhere near the base of those ears.

We are taking Park Link Rd. to Hwy 79, and then turning around. Just trying something a little different. Mainly we want to avoid heading down Hwy 79 to Hwy 77, which becomes Oracle Rd. Hwy 77 is a bit dangerous.

This cattle guard is at Hwy 79, or the Pinal Pioneer Parkway, and Park Link Rd. This is looking due West, the way we came. If you look toward the center of this photo, you can just see the Owl's ears.

As we fly back on Park Link Rd, heading West, The Great Owl in ever-present.

With the down-hill, heading West, we are riding 20 to 25 mph for long stretches of road--there's no traffic what so ever.

We had to carry Camelbaks for extra water as the route is remote.

We also are enjoying a slight tailwind on the way back.

Back on the Frontage Rd and heading back to Tucson--this is the tough part, mes amis, because there's a steady South Westerly headwind. It makes the trip back this way very hard. To this man we say, "Rest in Peace..."

A flat tire slows us down. My front tyre actually blew out. I didn't see what I ran over.

Ryan had a flat just at I-10 and Tangerine Rd, right before the long six mile climb back up to Dog Mtn.

At almost 80 miles, I am worn out--with the climbing and then the wind slowing us way down--this ride has been harder and longer than usual.

Tangerine Rd compared to Park Link Rd-- both are old East-West cattle trails. Tangerine is now haul-ass fast busy, with never ending steams of automobiles. Park Link lended itself to a much earlier and saner time. When I first rode on Park Link, it was dirt. Still, there are no power lines to bring electricity for our air-conditioners--or phone lines for our Internet. On Tangerine we are considered fodder for car driver's radiator grills--

On Park Link Rd, we are Gods.

Cheers! Bruce