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Casa Grande 60 Miles (Arizona)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
||Max: 26.3 mph
||Total Odometer: 2204.8mi
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
The pictures are from the day after -- cycling is always non-stop.