I come to Arizona in the early season to ride events because the weather is supposed to be good. It must be a prevalent rumor because many other people have come here for the same reason. The weather is not good however, it is cold and wet! It was pouring rain when I arrived on Friday and the rain continued through the night. The rain finally stopped but everything was still wet outside in the morning. I will ride the event anyway but it looked like it would be wet and cold all day. I do have the proper gear for any weather conditions but I was hoping for a warm ride for a change.Anyway the ride started on time and we departed Casa Grande on familiar roads. I had pretty much decided to ride by myself today since I have been off the bike a lot lately and I didn’t think anyone would want to ride as slow as me. To my surprise however I did hook up with Julie, Jana and Greg for much of the way to the first checkpoint. After that the climb pretty much spaced people out to solo efforts. I have done this climb up Pinal Pioneer Parkway many times before but it always fools me as to just where the top is. It got pretty cold riding up this road and we came surprisingly close to the snow line on the surrounding hills. I may take up a class action suit against Arizona for falsely advertising that the weather is warm here. In several years of riding these events I have yet to see it!
After the cruise into Oro Valley I hooked up with fellow Utahns Jim and Marty. We pretty much stuck together through Tucson to next checkpoint at Kinney Road where Susan was waiting there as always with great food and a ready smile. She takes great care of us and we probably don’t thank her enough. We are thinking more of ourselves at these times and don’t consider her efforts adequately. Thank you Susan, we owe you big time!
After Kinney Road we added Greg to our Utah group. It worked out great and as a foursome we made good time to Marana. Departing Marana the shadows became long and we each turned our lights on in turn. By the time we reached Picacho Peak we were fully illuminated but stopped briefly to put on our reflective vests. After a zig then a zag we turned north towards La Palma. My rear tire had been getting soft and we stopped briefly to add some air. I was hoping to make it to the La Palma checkpoint before perhaps changing the tube. The crossroads at La Palma were very dark and the store was closed but Roger Peskett was there in good cheer and with good food! It must have been a long and lonely outpost but his effort was appreciated by all the riders I‘m sure. Thank you Roger for looking after us!
I decided to just top off my tire pressure with Roger’s pump and try and get back in from here without changing the tube. It was only 16 miles and I thought I just might make it. Jim had gone on with Marty so Greg and I worked together on the way back to Casa Grande. Greg was pretty much done by this point but we stuck together for the ride in, each taking our turn as we were able. After navigating the last few miles we pulled into downtown CG where Susan once again was waiting. My tire and I both finished the event though slightly deflated. This ride was hard on me but the reasons for that were clear, I need more time on the bike! That is no-one’s problem but my own. Unless I find a way to get more time in the saddle this will be my experience each time I ride. I guess it builds character but a good ride would be nice once in a while too!