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    Casa Grande 60 Miles (Arizona)

    - draft
    2003/03/29
    -  +
    .First Posted: March 29, 2003.

     
    Casa Grande 2003 track The plan was to cycle 50miles today, in preparation for a 70mile Tour de Phoenix -- 2 weeks away. I wore my fall jacket as i was preparing the bike and myself close to CASA BIKE. I wished for something to put on top of my short-sleeved jersey -- it was windy just like 4 weeks ago. What's up with the wind? Again. I slapped on SPF-25 sunblock everywhere -- or so i thought.

    Casa Grande 2003 track I started from the same spot as during the event 4 weeks ago (2003-03-01_Froze toes Casa Grande) . I planned on following the route the big boys (and girls) took that day. I forgot to lookup the exact map at home, and also somehow i thought that today would be a 50mile day. There was no traffic blocking done for me today, i had to obey the red lights -- the ones i didn't speed through still on orange. I warmed up and i wasn't cold, but the wind!! There was no relief from it, and instead of 17-19mph i was stuck on 14mph. This looked like a tough day. At 7.6 miles I was approaching the turn for the 30mile loop. Should I turn? 30miles in this wind would be ok for training. No. Push on.

    Casa Grande 2003 track Casa Grande 2003 track From past glances at the ride-map, i was certain that i should turn right just after I-10, probably follow the minor highway. I had my GPS to predict a 60mile loop. Just after I-10, i turned right on 387, and the road started to rise a little. The wind was still out at full force, and 14mph was becoming a standard. During the early days of my road cycling in Chicago, I rode 80miles in north suburbs. I didn't want to try any longer distance for years to come since then. When the legs get wasted, you can still keep going at a slower speed. But when your seat feels like it's a piece of wood, and you stand in the saddle just to give your butt a little relief, and there is still 20miles to go -- now that's rough. After 15 miles i reached for food. 2 LUNA bars went quickly and i reached for the SAFEWAY energy bars. They are 2 inch by 5 inch dark-colored bread-like things with nuts and raisins inside. Not much to look at if you never had one, but on the bike....... It must have a been a bloody genius who came up with that idea. Double his pay and his vacation! I could go through 20 bananas followed by 10 LUNA bars on this day, but 4 SAFEWAY energy bars would satisfy my hunger better. Unfortunately i only brought 2 today.

    Casa Grande 2003 track Casa Grande 2003 track Casa Grande 2003 track Finally there was a little relief. No, the wind hasn't stopped, nor weakened. But the road started to go downhill. Significantly. I only reached 19mph, but it sure felt better than the 12mph or even 10mph which i had to grind through minutes before. A wonderful thing happened minutes later as i approached the turn to Coolidge -- the wind weakened quite a bit. As i headed towards Coolidge, i was going faster, and i pumped at 20mph through Coolidge. Cooooooooool. That's more like it. After Coolidge i was exposed again, no buildings to shield me -- i was the highest point around. But it was easier now... and i already had 30miles behind me. I reached for the second half of my last SAFEWAY energy bar -- the last of my food. Maybe this will only be 50miles today -- i couldn't tell if i was following the 60-mile trail or not. From the roads on my GPS i could see 2 ways, one shorter, and the other guaranteeing 50miles for sure. I took the longer one.

    Casa Grande 2003 track Casa Grande 2003 track I was riding on flat road, at elevation close to 1150ft. The altitude varied very little. There were fields of what looked like green grass -- thick green grass. Near one of the fields on the right was a car with 3 guys standing -- either working or pretending to work. As i approached them on the quiet, car-less road, they watched me and waved to me slightly, and i waived back. FANS obviously. I had to mark that spot. As i turned right for the fourth and last leg of the day, i saw the sign. Casa Grande: 17miles. Not quite what i estimated earlier -- and the seat was quite uncomfortable now. I passed 2 more fans at FANS 2. The first one was driving a bulldozer with a fork, followed by white work truck. At BEE, something hit my left forarm and left a yellow spot -- i have been pollanated. Since the "17 miles to go" mark i have been pumping at close to 20mph. My average so far was rediculous 13.7mph. I am used to 16.7mph or 17mph average. As a comparison, the racer in my category who won the 1999 Missouri State Championship averaged 20.5mph -- i was there, climbing the killer hill at 10mph, breathing full mouth and barely turning the pedals -- almost too slow to balance the bike. And that was followed by a 40mph descent -- one killer road-rash if ANYTHING goes wrong.

    Casa Grande 2003 track I saw CITY LIMITS sign just before a Dodge RAM 2500 passed me. From Alaska -- cool. The fellow after him was from Alberta -- cool. At "4 miles to go" i felt the little burst of energy that comes in the last few miles. I knew there was an apple and an orange waiting for me in the car (i wished for a lot more), and that was my immediate concern. That was in addition to the 15 minute lying down ritual that i always do after any cycling activity, in the dirt or on the grass. It's an activity with 15 minute smile on your face as you're lying on your back and your breathing adjusts to the normal way. It feels great stretching your legs and your back. You know you just did something great, something really good for your body. Cycling for 2-4hours, in the saddle the whole time, believing you'll finish, but not knowing how hard it will be -- hurting, and wishing for the end to come soon... and then finishing.. first or last doesn't matter... but finishing gives you the satisfaction and brings the well deserved rest. I feel the sense of accomplishment for at least a week -- or maybe that's how long my legs need to recover. :-) What a great day.

    The day's statistics were:
    Distance: 59.4 miles Time: 4h 7min Average: 14.4mph Max: 26.3 mph Total Odometer: 2204.8mi
    #Pursue Passion#
    .First Posted: March 29, 2003.

     
    Notes:
    • As i passed by a mirror at home (ok it was one of my frequent mirror routines :-) ), i noticed something red. I was sunburned. No waaaaaaaay. My right arm had a 3 inch by 1 inch burn just next to where my t-shirt jersey ended. I must have neglected that area when i put sunblock on. It was dark red. I always slap on more sunblock than needed in Arizona -- the Arizona sun has my highest respect. (Right after African and Australian sun -- but i haven't experienced those yet.) And in addition, i started close to noon and rode in the strongest sun - from noon to 2pm.

    • How come today's starting point was at 1100ft and 4 weeks ago it was 1450ft -- the GPS does not varry by 300ft like that (my barometric watch might). Coolidge sign said 1536ft elevation, but GPS said 1336ft. For some reason GPS altitude was only wrong today. Distance/speed/time is exactly the same as my Cateye cycle computer.

    • The pictures are from the day after -- cycling is always non-stop.

     
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