Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mustang Corners: The Ride

As many of you know I set a goal for myself of earning an R-12 award which means that  a rider must complete a route approved by RUSA (Randonneurs USA) that is a minimum of 200km (125mi). The rider must ride at least one RUSA approved ride each month for 12 consecutive months. 

My first ride for my R-12 was in August, following the Arivaca route with 3 other Randonneurs. 

My September 200k was the day after the Skull Valley Loop Challenge from Phoenix to Tucson. I arrived home from the September 200k seriously depleted. Won’t ever know definitively why, but likely a combination of having put so much of myself out on the road for a respectable finish at Skull Valley; some nutritional deficits having been away from home for about a week; the temperature hovered around 99 for the duration of my 125+ mile ride; and I was carrying panniers full of gear I had been using for the preceding 5+ days in Prescott for the Skull Valley ride. And then, of course, there is always epilepsy and the anti-seizure medications both of which have played havoc with my ability to predict what I’ll be able to do day-by-day.

Whatever the influencers were that contributed to a less than enjoyable September 200k, it raised doubts in my mind that my R-12 would be possible. Maybe between turning 69 in mid-October and trying to cope with epilepsy was heralding a diminishment of my cycling goals and abilities?

I had targeted October 18th, my 69th birthday as the day I’d ride my 200k following the route I had designed and had had approved by RUSA: Mustang Corners. October 18th came and the combo of seizures and medications left me depleted and unable to even fathom a 125 mile ride 10 miles of which would be shared with 18-wheelers on  I-10.

Kirk and I had planned a 4-5 day bike trip in South East Arizona leaving Tucson on October 26th returning on October 30. There would be no time left in October for me to ride my October 200k. I sadly surrendered my R-12 goal.

Thursday, October 23rd a miracle happened. I had some body/cranial work done. Friday I awoke feeling focused, energized, and raring to go. First time I had felt that good since before my first seizure the end of August, 2013. With such a reprieve I cleared my calendar and set out Saturday, October, 25th to ride my October 200k.

Mustang Corners was a glorious ride completed with energy to spare!

Kirk drove me to the start, 11 miles from home. I’ve ridden all the segments of Mustang Corners a couple of times to many times but today would be the first time that I put it all together. Routes have always been my friends. I ride my routes, short ones and long ones, to spend time with my route friend(s). Mustang Corners has it all:

  • A local segment from the start (22nd St/Kolb Rd) to Vail, including a few miles on the Julian Wash, part of the 55 mile multi-use path that circumferences Tucson
  • A 10 mile stretch on Marsh Station Road through exquisite desert, even though the road surface leaves much to be desired
  • A 10 mile stretch on I-10
  • About 70 miles on AZ Rts 90, 82, 83, and Old Sonoita Hwy which I’ve ridden so many times with PAC Tour and so many PAC friends
  • And finally, a return on the route from Vail to the start/finish

Loved the familiarity of knowing the roads and having such rich memories of previous rides on these same roads alone or with other riders.

Loved waving to the rest stops where PAC Tour had SAG stops waiting for us

Loved not having the nagging pre-occupation of dread waiting for the next seizure shoe to drop.

Always have loved the expanse of open ranch surrounded by mountains where I believe I can see Apaches mounted on their horses, war bonnets waving in the breeze.

Loved finishing the 200k with energy in my tank, my hope rekindled that an R-12 just might be possible in this my 70th year.