My weekend was good/bad/difficult as well. I can’t say that I had a stellar outing, but I finished. As usual, winds played a role in the difficulties. It never fails that riding in So. AZ is a hit-or-miss proposition. Saturday was hot with some headwinds, but not nuclear winds. The long climb up to Sonoita was especially hot. I think it was that climb that gave me the GI “issues.” My stomach was never quite right after that. I was constantly trying to figure out if I was hungry, sick, or had to go to the bathroom. It was not a fun mix to try to figure out.
Once up on the Sonoita plateau, the winds were fierce! I figured that would be the case since it’s like that every time I’ve ever been there. The ride to Tombstone was pretty fun because of the prevalent downhill and tailwinds. Coming back, however, was its usual humbling experience. I completed that 70 mile section in “only” 5 hours. Man, I was smoking! When I returned to the control in Elgin (near Sonoita), I had some severe stomach cramps. I had some pasta which Susan made and decided that lying on the couch for a half hour or so was in order. After about 45 minutes, my stomach started feeling better. It was about 11:15 at the time, so I wanted to get out of there before it got too cold.
Unfortunately, I didn’t leave early enough and I endured the cold all night long! I was hoping that the cold would subside when I descended from Sonoita into Green Valley, but it didn’t. It stayed cold all the way to Saguaro National Park where the temperatures went up 20 degrees in about 2 miles! I went from being cold to being over dressed in 2 miles. Such is the life of overnight riding. I unzipped my vest and pulled down my arm warmers because it was now 67 degrees at 5 am. Sheesh!
I made it to Marana and at the Circle K, the winds were light. I could see some construction flags on I-10 and they indicated a headwind on the frontage road. Yeah! That was just what I was hoping for. I just love that ride up the frontage road and a headwind makes it so much more special. I slogged my way into the headwind for about 20 miles, then it switched and came out of the east. Now I was really excited. I thought I’d have a tailwind as I entered Casa Grande. I should have known better!
About 3 miles before I started heading west into CG, the winds abruptly shifted and picked up in ferocity. Now I had a full force headwind heading north. I turned west for the last 20 mile slog into CG with 30 mph cross winds out of the north. It blew me and dust all over the road the entire way. I was riding in a flipping dust storm the whole way. Man, that was special. I HATE the last (and first) 46 miles of this course. The 20 mile dust storm may be the straw that breaks my back on this one. That was just about as miserable as I can remember on a bike. I sneezed and wheezed all day and night yesterday. My nose kept stopping up last night and I’d wake up as a result.
Enough whining. I finished in a respectable 28:14. Given the conditions, I’m pleased with my performance. My fitness was good, not great. My will power was also good, not great. That last 20 miles really punished my psyche. Perhaps if I would have finished earlier and in the dark, it wouldn’t have been so bad. I find Casa Grande a “nicer” place to visit in the dark than in the light.
I almost forgot to mention probably the most important “happening” that I encountered. I was enjoying (relishing, savoring) my better than I could believe bike lights. I was on the terrible descent off of Helmet Peak (think old South Mountain with pot holes and 3 inch mounds of asphalt where pot holes were “fixed”). [Could that be Mission Road? -SP] It was about 3:30 am and I was flying along at about 30 mph. Everything was good. All at once, I hit one of the un-missable bumps on that POS road. My lights totally went out. I immediately switched on my Cateye and stopped to see what came loose. I tried to play with the connections, but nothing happened. I stopped a couple more times, still nothing. So, I was stuck with the Cateye for the rest of the night. The new LED that I installed in my Cateye is a definite improvement over what it used to be, but still no match for my “flame throwers.” I need to troubleshoot the problem to determine what happened. That was very disappointing. Luckily, I only had about 5 more miles of this road then everything was tame.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!