The 400k Brevet happened to coincide with the public grand opening of Curbside Cyclery in Ahwatukee (4855 E. Warner Road #10, 480-598-6778). Curbside is owned and run by Mike Cox and his wife Steph. Mike's been my bike mechanic for over 6 years and does a fantastic job. If you are in need of bike repair, or just want monthly maintenance, Mike's the guy to see. If you need clothing, accessories, or any of the other paraphanalia that goes with cycling, see Steph! It's a really nice shop, swing by, check it out and hang out on the couch to watch some classic cycling on the big screen when you get a chance! To support his grand opening, I wore my Curbside Cycling jersey for the ride! :-)
For Christmas I ordered a Schmidt dynohub generator and edelux headlight (very bright). Mike Cox built the wheel for me, but the light didn't come with a mount. I tried to make my own, but flubbed it. Dang thing came off during a test ride while going about 42 mph down the King Kong hill in Mesa! I glanced down, saw it bump off the fork a couple times then get tossed through the wheel and spit out on the road! Crap! Mike had to replace two spokes and re-true the wheel. I got online and found an appropriate mount and it arrived a few days before the 400k. I also decided I wanted to see power on this ride, so I switched the cassettes on my Powertap from my 9-cog 5200 with the 10-cog 5.9SL.
The group hadn't gotten that far ahead of me and I was able to catch back up before the first turn onto Jimmy Kerr Blvd. The pace picked up and the group split up. Like at Zion, my heart rate seemed really elevated, but I just attributed that to the head cold because I didn't feel like I was working that hard (oh yes you were, you big dummy!). We had a group of 6 or 7 going through Eloy, but John and Liz Mazzola on their tandem were pulling and missed a turn and the group kind of fell apart. Some of us regrouped, but not everyone made it. I was pretty quick at the control checkpoint in Picacho Peak and left before anyone else. I set a good tempo pace and wasnít trying to push it. Three guys caught me a few miles down the road (Paul Denhaus, Carlton VanLeuven and Roger Peskett). Somewhere along the frontage road the head/chest cold I had been struggling with started to win. I found myself with an occasional caugh and my nose started running like a leaky faucet. We set a fast pace through the Marana farmland. Carlton dropped off somewhere along Sandario Road. Paul was setting a pretty high pace. I knew I couldn't match his pace going up Mile Wide Road in Saguaro National Monument, so I dropped off as soon as we made the turn.
Paul and Roger left the second control (near Old Tucson) just after I got there. It was warming up nicely, so I stripped off my cold weather clothes and drank a Starbucks coffee drink. Carlton pulled in shortly before I headed out and Steve Atkins wasnít too long behind him. I was still feeling pretty good and was having a good ride. The first 80 miles went by quickly. Until somewhere along Mission Road outside of Tucson. My nose was still running pretty freely and it seemed like I was clearing it more frequently. The cough was also getting worse. Somewhere before Helmet Peak Road I noticed my heart rate was going up even though my effort wasn't. It could have been the headwind and the slight 1-2% climb, but I decided to go into recovery mode for a while. I probably rode 10-12mph for 1/2 hour or so until my heart rate dropped down to the 120s, which is a recovery zone for me. When I passed Helmet Peak Road there was a bicycle race going in the other direction. Several large pelotons passed with motorcycle support and the occasional straggler. I kept my slow pace until the turn onto Contenental Road outside of Green Valley.
Roger was at the third Control in Green Valley when I got there. He said Paul was well up the road. I went into the convenience store bathroom and washed the salt off my face. That felt great! Then I got a few snacks and went out to eat them. Carlton pulled up when I sat down to eat my snacks. He planned to get something substantial to eat -- I probably should have as well. But I headed back out. The wind started to pick up more along the frontage road towards Arivaca Road and it would remain a head or cross wind most of the rest of the day. Arivaca Road is 20 miles of rolling hills with a headwind every time I've done it. It's a tedious road to ride.
That cough was getting worse, but I still felt ok when I pulled into the lunch stop. Mike Sturgill was acting as our brevet administrator for the day and was set up at the Buenes Aires National Wildlife Refuge with lunch. Steve Atkins somehow got there before me and Roger was there as well. Carlton was only a minute or two behind me. Steve was first to leave and Roger was only a few minutes behind him. John and Liz Mazzola arrived on their tandem while I was eating my turkey wrap and drinking a coke.
After eating, I hit the latrine then got back on the road. Mike Sturgill jinxed me by telling me to enjoy the tailwind (which is normally found along SR286). Instead I got 12 miles of headwind followed by a strong crosswind. I did get one section for 3 or 4 miles with a tailwind and I tried to capitalize on it. My speed got up over 30 for a while and I passed Roger, then the wind shifted again and that foolish effort resulted in a racking, persistent cough. Not good. My stomach also turned on me and I got really queasy. Definately not good. My speed slowed significantly and I ate a banana, hoping it would help calm my stomach. It didn't.
Steve was eating a can of soup when I pulled into Robles Junction. I sat down and sipped water for a while. He said the soup really helped him. Roger, Carlton, John, Liz and a guy in an New Mexico jersey all showed up while I was trying to recover. Carlton gave me a Mucinex to help with the cough and it seemed to clear it up pretty fast, but my nose was still running. When I pulled in, I was giving serious thought to calling it a ride then and there. Then Liz said something like "you have 27 hours to finish." Hmmm... that's quite a bit of time for recovery. If I took it slow with frequent breaks I could probably make it. So I called Annette to let her know I was taking some time to recover and wouldnít be setting any speed records to the finish. Then I had a ham and cheese sandwich and decided to try a can of soup like Steve recommended. The temperature had dropped quite a bit, so I pulled on all my cold weather gear, including a rain jacket to keep warm. After about an hour I was feeling better, so I used the bathroom then headed out again.
I was taking my time between Robles Junction and Sandario, stopping once to take off the jacket I had put on in Robles Junction. Another rider passed me, but I told him I would be riding pretty slow. He was stopped at the Sandario intersection putting on his cold weather clothes and reflective straps when I made the turn. There was another headwind along Sandario. It wasn't too stong, but it was enough to make me work harder than I wanted. Almost immediately my stomach started to feel queasy again and I started thinking about the Davis Double last year. I had 60 miles to go. Not good. I'm pretty stubborn and can fight through a hard wind or even ignore some leg cramps, but when my stomach turns, I'm not having fun anymore. There wasnít anywhere along there to stop and get out of the wind to warm up and recover either. I do long rides because I generally enjoy them, but I had pretty much been swallowing snot all day and my stomach was telling me I was done. I decided I really didn't want to throw up on the side of the road, so I pulled into the Chevron at Picture Rocks and called Leo to hitch a ride back to Casa Grande.
Could I have finished? Maybe, but I would't have enjoyed it. I worked too hard in the morning, didn't take something for my runny nose early enough and the resulting congestion did me in. But I made it 202.7 miles before calling it a ride. Not the full 400k, but I enjoyed a good 160 miles or so before things really went downhill for me! Several days later now and I can still feel the congestion in my chest and have a lot of head congestion. I'm registered for GABA's Mine Country Challenge this coming Saturday. Hopefully this congestion will clear up before then. Thatís a hard ride, so if the congestion hasnít cleared up significantly by then, Iím not going to ride it.
Copyright © 2009 by Mike Enfield. All rights
Revised: 04/24/09 22:17:35 -0700.