I had several really fun opportunities for a long ride on Saturday, November 5th and I'm so, so glad I opted tor the 142 mile (+ 5 miles from the finish to home) with Mark Dumas and 2 of his Bike and Breakfast riders, Derek and Big Dave. Big Dave is big; I thought our son Daniel was big at 6'-6", but Big Dave was 6'-10" before he fractured his hip in a bike wreck and is now only 6'-9".
|Left to Right: Derek, Mark, and Dave|
Mark has been the leader/instigator of the Bike and Breakfast rides for quite awhile now. A social group they are, that proffers challenging rides to boot. An unknown, me, showing up for the first time under the shelter of a flag pole for a 140 mile ride sent a chill of doubt through the other riders.
Headlights and blinkies on, we set out for the 1st of 4 legs: Green Valley for breakfast in 35 miles. I love to experience new routes, and about 120 of the 140 miles would be new vistas, new terrain, new joy, oh, and a little pain. We were passed by a couple of huge peletons from the Saturday Morning Shoot-Out gang and a fiercely strong mixed tandem. We were content with our conversational pace up the climb.
PAC Tour's 2011 Desert Camp, who had crashed badly about a month ago breaking his shoulder in 5 places, breaking 3 ribs, and suffering a concussion during a Tucson Shoot Out ride. He's obviously on the mend. Read more about his shattering of the Arizona Perimeter Record.
Breakfast was full of "big fish" stories about our various cycling pursuits and then off on leg two, 35 miles of headwind and perpetual climb into Arivaca. I think all of Arivaca's population of 698 was out and about dancing, hooting, and hollering for their Fall Fair.
Leg three had to be the best of all. Clearly the direction was both downhill, kissed by a tail wind, and the most glorious non-billboard scenery imaginable of Altar Valley, Baboquivari Peak, a 7,730' sacred peak to the Tohono O'odham, and Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Our third rest stop at about mile 114 was Three Points, however, I think there are really only two: an expanded convenient store and a closed restaurant. We opted for the the expanded convenient store for the likes of beer nuts and beef jerkey. We left Three Points at about 4:15ish with 25 miles to go; Should be back to Tucson in civil twilight. But there were some mechanicals on our dance cards.
Derek's 2 month-old armadillo tire was slashed by some angry detritus on the 3' margin of Ajo Highway with its 55 mph traffic. The setting sun was so bright in my rear view mirror I didn't realize I had "lost" them for about a mile. Called Mark, walked backwards toward them, the tire had been booted with a dollar bill, but with concern as the boot wanted to pooch through the slash. Letting some air out of the tire to protect against a blowout laid his tire vulnerable to the inevitable pinch flat. We're way beyond civil twilight now, patching his only tube by the light of our headlamps, and using my tire boot made from a piece of discarded tire I carry just for this particular "just in case" purpose.
Up and running again with 20 miles of Ajo Highway night riding, not meditative at all, unless you call praying for safe delivery onto Mission Road meditative.
This Arivaca Loop will go down in my book as one of my two most favorite one-day rides, the other being my 300k with Michelle Williams in NOLA last February.
If the Ride and Breakfast riders will have me, I'm looking forward to many more rides with them.