My last double century attempt was the Davis Double in May 2008. I
wasn't prepared, was over-weight and didn't finish. Since then I've been
able to get back into a better training routine and have dropped quite a
bit of weight. My New Year's day time trial performance showed that I
was coming back on form, but I didn't expect to set a personal best time
on last weekend's 300k brevet!
I was up at 3:45am to ensure I had enough time to get to the 6am start
in Casa Grande. I stopped for a cup of coffee when I got to Casa Grande
then headed over to the start. I got there about 15 minutes early and
had just enough time to get my cold weather clothes on and clipped into
my pedals just as the group started to roll out.
Contrary to the mostly cloudy w/ a few scattered showers weather.com
forecast, it was actually a clear crisp morning. For the past few rides
I've used a "Find me Spot" personal satellite locator but have had
trouble with getting consistent updates on the tracking website. Turns
out the Spot messenger device has a patch antennae located under a logo
on the device. Spot support recommends the logo be up with a clear view
of the sky. On other rides I've had the messenger stuffed in a back
pocket that I'd load up with arm warmers, leg warmers, vest, ...
whatever I took off. For this ride I had a Detours trunk rack on my
bike, so I strapped the messenger on top of it. This time it
consistently updated the website every 10 minutes like it's supposed to.
Hmmmm... now I need to figure out how to mount it so that logo is facing
the sky all the time. Annette loves the Find Me Spot and tracked me all
Anyway, back to the ride... There were about 25 people doing this ride
and we stayed together to the outskirts of town then the pace picked up.
I stayed with the front group and took some good pulls. By the time we
turned onto SR79 we were down to 8 fast guys. We continued a fast pace
to the checkpoint stop at the Tom Mix monument, 42 miles into the ride.
We got there just a few minutes after the official opening time for the
checkpoint. I had quite a few things to do at that stop... get my brevet
card signed, fill a bottle, shed my reflective sash and cold weather
vest, answer a call of nature... By the time I finished all that the
guys were starting to roll out. Crap. I forgot to change the clear
lenses in my glasses to shaded lenses (now that the sun was up)! So I
took a minute to do the replacement, figuring I'd catch them on the
road. I couldn't have taken more than two minutes total before I hit the
road, but when I got going, the guys were out of sight!
I gave chase for about 5-10 minutes, passed one guy, but never saw the
group. At that point I realized there was no way I was going to chase
down seven really fast guys. There was no way I could keep their pace by
myself and be able to stay with them if I was even able to catch them.
So I slowed down. I was rewarded for this decision with a rear tire
flat. So much for the hope of catching them on the descent after Oracle
junction! I changed the tire, then set out at a more reasonable pace.
I stopped briefly as the Vistoso Commerce Loop to answer the checkpoint
question and again at a Quick Mart on Twin Peaks road for a ham and
cheese lunchable (those still hit the spot for me). I stopped one more
time along Silverbell to shed my arm warmers and leg warmers. It was
turning into a great day for a long ride!
The wind didn't really start picking up until close to Gates Pass road.
There was a bit of a wind most of the day, but it didn't get really
noticable until I started climbing Gates Pass. There's nothing quite
like climbing a steep hill with a stiff headwind! Roger Peskitt and
Steve Atkins were at the Kenney road checkpoint when I pulled in. Roger
left right after I got there and Steve left a bit later. I had one of
Susan's turkey wraps, a Starbucks coffee drink and a full calorie Coke.
I was looking forward to a tail wind when I left the checkpoint, but I
didn't get it until I turned onto Sandario road. IT WAS AWESOME! That's
the fast I've ever gone down Sandario, maintaining 30 to 33 mph the
entire way! I passed Steve along there somewhere and was just flying!
There was a brief break in the tail wind with the turn onto Avra Valley
road that had a cross wind strong enough to keep my bike leaning to the
left. Luckily that only lasted a mile before the turn onto Sanders road
and another 30mph+ stretch!
There was another cross wind along Marana road, so was expecting another
tail wind when I turned onto the I-10 Frontage road, but it was more of
a cross/head wind. That was a surprise! It seems like that Frontage road
always has a cross/head wind! I put my head down and settled into a good
pace. About 5 miles before Picacho Peak I could see another rider in
front of me, but couldn't quite bridge the gap. I tried speeding up a
few times to work with him, but each time I sped up it seemed like he
did too and I wasn't making up any distance, so I settled into a
recovery pace for 10-15 minutes.
I started to feel pretty good, so I set a 21-22mph tempo pace and
settled in. Suddenly I was closing the gap! I was in a groove at that
point, so I just said "this wind is tough" or something along those
lines as I went by Roger and kept going. I saw that he jumped on my
wheel for a minute or two, but he didn't stay with me. I kept that tempo
pace to the turn on Picacho Blvd, then slowed a bit to the turn onto
Milligan and set a fast pace with another tail wind! I stopped one more
time at the Circle K at Eleven Mile Corner Road to fill a bottle, then
settled into another tempo pace to get back to Casa Grande (with one
last stop to answer the last checkpoint question along the way).
So, I completed 190.3 miles in 11 hours 14 minutes, riding the last 150
miles on my own. My previous best time was 11 hours 31 minutes riding
most of the way with Mike Sturgill, Carol Chaffee and Catherine Shenk.
The 3 fastest guys from Canada finished this ride a very impressive 9
hours 50 minutes! Wow!