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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,973

    210k (130 mile) brevet: mission accomplished

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    I finished my longest ride ever yesterday- a 210k permanent route in southern Arizona. Short version: 4 people, 130 miles, 4300 feet of climbing, about 5000 calories burned, 14.3 moving average in about 11 1/2 hours. Narrative follows......

    A little history, in 2012 I was persuaded to ride a 200k brevet, coaxed and coached along by my husband who had his sights set on the full spring series (200k, 300k, 400k and 600k) in Arizona. I thought it was about 80% fun and 20% misery. (He finished the first 3 in the series, but the 600k got the better of him- really miserable weather conditions with cold rain and strong winds and he just couldn't get back on the bike after less than 6 hours of sleep).

    Last year there was no talk of randonneuring as he injured his wrists and couldn't put weight on the bars for many months.

    This year... he's back in the saddle and I agreed to do a 200k with him but we decided not to drive up to Phoenix for the first ride of the organized series, but instead do a permanent route in southern Arizona. The route we took starts in south Tucson, goes south through Green Valley, turns west into the hills to the little town of Arivaca, then completes the circuit by going back down to Altar Valley and north to Tucson. The route allows for 14 hours, and I was hoping to get back not much past sunset (certainly less than 12 hours). We were joined by a friend of a friend visiting from Chicago (whom we later discovered had actually ridden the famous Paris-Brest-Paris 1200k, and a friend from my cycling team who did not care about being "official" with RUSA but just wanted to do a really long ride.

    January sometimes has beautiful weather here, and yesterday did not disappoint: the low was around 43 at 7 am, the winds were light (never more than 10 mph) and the temperature got up to the low 70's. We expected a sunny day but had a thin scattering of clouds which was actually even better than full sunshine.

    Four of us rode together- 3 "for credit" with RUSA and one tagging along just for the ride. We averaged about 14.3 mph rolling time, but with stops at the control points, lunch in Arivaca, stretching and toe wiggling, photos, etc, we took about 11 hours and 15 minutes.

    I know the first part of the course pretty well- it's a regular route that leads south past the San Xavier mission, often called the White Dove of the Desert. The bright white church, located on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation is visible for many miles around. After passing through the reservation, the road climbs a false flat to a bridge over a big wash/mining road, and then continues south with some ups and downs for another 15 miles or so, through desert (nice) and manufactured mesas of mine tailings (not nice!). It actually climbs from 2400 feet to about 3500 feet along this section.

    Then we dropped into the town of Sahuarita (nice descent with a tail wind, up to 30 mph!) for our first control stop. It was a perfect excuse to buy a candy bar to get the required time-stamped receipt. Then on through the retirement community of Green Valley where the streets are signed for both bicycles and golf carts. Eventually the route took us on the frontage road along I-19 to the town of Amado. The turn-off the Arivaca is marked by the giant sculpture of a steer's head.

    The 23 miles up to Arivaca climb from 3000 to 3800 feet, with a lot of little dips into washes and valleys. The first half of this section has scattered ranches with cottonwoods along the valley drainages, then goes up into desert grassland with some spectatular views both east to the Santa Rita Mountains and west toward the distinctive peak of Baboquivari, and northwest toward a red colored ridge - possibly Keystone Peak. My quads were complaining on the steeper pitches and we were just at about the half-way point as we got to the crest and the descended into Arivaca. This was probably the worst part of the ride in terms of feeling like it was hard. Not much traffic except Border Patrol vehicles and people in trucks going to Arivaca Lake etc.

    Lunch and the next control stop at the somewhat quaint town of Arivaca. The town combines a little bit of rural Arizona, a little bit of rural Mexico and some alternative "tie-dye" culture. Just about 70 miles completed and boy did my b*tt appreciate a rest from the saddle. We all brought too much food and kept buying more stuff to get receipts at the controls. Cottage cheese and doritos tasted pretty good....the squished nutella and banana sandwich, not so good. We had to buy a box of girl scout cookies from the girls wheeling a wagon by the town center. Next section: 44 miles with no services of any kind- just desert.

    We headed from Arivaca, mostly down hill but some rollers took us west into the Altar Valley, just 12 miles north of the little border-crossing town of Sasabe. A bit of a head wind kept us going slowly. Then, when we turned onto highway 286 headed north, we benefited from a tail wind and a very gradual descent, which raised our speed to 18-22 mph as we headed north in a pace line. That was a very long 32 miles though and I finally started doing anything I could to stop thinking about "how much farther". Like, singing the entire version of 99 bottles of beer on the wall in my head. That took up almost 10 miles! My other general moment of misery was having some hotfoot issues and we stopped to wiggle our toes and loosen shoes. It worked and didn't hurt the rest of the way. The road passes through some beautiful desert grassland but I was really ready to get back off the bike, with only 2 brief stops during 2 hours.

    Finally, at the next to the last control, the crossroads village of Three Points. A cold Dr. Pepper and some of those Girl Scout cookies tasted perfect! 115 miles down, 15 to go. The sun was close to setting- we headed east back to Tucson along a busier road- highway 86. Time for lights.... the last stretch was also thankfully slightly downhill, with just a few rough sections of pavement in the last few miles. I kept trying to distract myself by singing in my head just to get the time to go by- otherwise I felt okay. Finally got to the finish! We ran into the McDonalds to buy two cookies on separate receipts to verify our arrival time.

    Brenda left to go home, but our friend Jeff and his partner joined my husband Chuck and I for dinner at a Mexican restaurant- Mi Nidito, where President Clinton once dined on a visit to Tucson. I rarely drink beer, but it was a celebration and Negro Modelo hit the spot! By the time I ate chips, the bowl of albondigas soup I ordered was too much to finish, but it all tasted great.

    I'm not interested in the really, really long distances, but it sure feels like a great accomplishment to do the 200k distances.

    If you got this far, thanks for reading. I'm rating this one about 90% fun and only 10% misery, but I would not like to ride that last stretch north with a headwind- that would have really changed the ratio.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,498
    Well done! Sounds like a good ride.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    That sounds wonderful, and with only 10% misery, I say you are lucky!
    I haven't heard (or seen) the names of some of those places in many years.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TE HQ, Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    1,879
    Well done, azfiddle! Congratulations on your longest ride ever!! I'm really happy that the fun to misery ratio was better than you expected.

    I rode that permanent in 2010, so reading your account was a little trip down memory lane. :-) Some photos here: https://www.facebook.com/susan.otcen...5691132&type=3
    Susan Otcenas
    TeamEstrogen.com
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,936
    Good job! I also liked the fun-to-misery ratio 90/10 is really good for 200k (plus)!!

    I have to say the finish dinner sounds yummy. I miss really good Mexican food.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
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    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Montreal, QC
    Posts
    764
    I applaud you! I am training right now for a 135km in June and it's been only 2 weeks with a personal trainer and it is not so easy (read: I will sweat and hurt some. hihi). But I already see results. Amazing when you compare stats from 1st workout and the one of this afternoon.

    135km is already topping everything in my head so I cannot imagine 200km+. I'm trying to target a 22-24km/h range. It is hilly where the challenge will be so I have to do lots of muscle training as well to strengthen my legs to push up on those hills. And generally windy too.

    It is fun reading your journey through it out. Congrats!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,057
    Congrats. I've ridden many of those roads. Given that it is headed for 0F tonight, I read your account with great pleasure, picturing warmth and sun. Thanks, but more importantly, congratulations on hitting a new long distance!
    2009 Waterford RS-14 S&S Couplers - Brooks B68-Anatomica - Traveller
    2008 Waterford RS-33 - Brooks B68-Anatomica - Go Fast
    2012 Waterford Commuter - Brooks B68-Anatomica - 3.5-Season/Commuter
    2011 Surly Troll - Brooks B68 Imperial - Snow Beast

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,763
    Wow -- I can't fathom that many miles these days but hold folks who do manage to do them in high esteem since I know what they entail. Congratulations!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,565
    Great work!!

    I love how you say you're not interested in doing any "really long rides" when a lot of folks would consider what you did a really long drive!

    I am also glad to hear you had so much fun.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
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    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,231
    Nice write-up!!! Feels like I rode it and Susan’s photo’s are good visuals for your descriptions.

    Dorito’s and girl scout cookies?????......I have this thing for pickles on long rides, I've thrown something away to make room when finding a jar…... whatever gets one through

    Congrats on both distance and attitude!!!!
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,973
    Susan, thanks for your pictures. I only remembered to take pictures once, early on at the bridge on Mission road. My husband took a few and so did Jeff.

    Thorn- I have never lived with cold- so I shiver just reading your mention of 0 degrees.

    Wahine- yes- but I said "really, really long distances"- like the super long brevets.

    Helene- good luck with your training. What I've done is just gradually add longer rides .... Before my first century (actually 111 miles= 178 km) I had only ridden 75 miles (120 km) on my longest ride. Hills definitely make it harder!

    Anyway- thanks for the congrats. My husband forwarded a link to me last night for another 200k that he wants to do in February..... not sure if I will, but I'll give it some thought.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    On my bike
    Posts
    2,505
    Wow - you're my hero. That's so great! And only 10% misery!!
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

    Trek Project One
    Trek FX 7.4 Hybrid

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,973
    I think we're doing another 200k in February.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    10,889
    Quote Originally Posted by azfiddle View Post
    I think we're doing another 200k in February.
    You are awe inspiring Azfiddle, keep us posted!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    1,973
    Thanks Catrin-
    I know one of your original goals was to ride a brevet. I think your journey is even more inspiring!

    Just to be clear, I am not at all fast- but willing to hang in there for long rides to redeem myself for being such a slowpoke

    Sharon
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

 

 

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