I set off from my hotel in Scottsdale with what I thought was plenty of time to get to the start of this ride. However, even with GPS in my car, a smartphone and a destination in mind, I kind of got lost. What kind of randonneur am I if I can’t even find the start of an event? I finally arrived about 5 minutes before the ride started and by the time I was ready to ride all the other riders had gone.

Finally underway in the early light I could not see any blinky lights ahead of me. I started out with a brisk pace, hoping to catch up to some other riders eventually, however it did not take as long as I thought until I caught up to a couple of riders who were bringing up the rear. It would be impolite to just ride on by so I chatted a bit with some riders as I caught them. First, Doug from Nevada and then Susan (our esteemed leader), then I saw Carlton and of course the members of the Extreme Picnicing Society. I knew that the faster riders were long gone though and I wouldn’t see them again. Then, to my great surprise, when I pulled into the Circle K in Eloy I found my good friend Steve still there at the Control!

He said that he had heard I was coming up through the group and that I wasn’t too far behind so he decided to wait a few minutes for me so we could ride together. Steve and I have a history on many previous rides so it is always a pleasure to ride with him. Now, I will never ask another rider to wait for me but when one does so willingly it is an honor. Steve and Carlton and I hooked up for then next couple of hours or so and with a bit of a tailwind now we covered quite a bit of ground. Our 3 man group pushed the next leg at 22 – 24 mph! Steve and Carlton did most of the work but I did take a couple of short pulls.

The early part of the ride when I was riding alone (playing catch up) had apparently taken more out of me than I had thought. Steve and Carlton were both riding strong and I did not want to hold them back so told them to go ahead and I bid them farewell, hoping to see them again up the road.

This ride is as flat as I have seen with only 1200 feeet of climbing in 200 km. I settled into a nice recovery pace for the rest of the day and made a couple of stops at convenience stores when they were available. The first half of the ride had a lot of crappy pavement which I had expected. The second half however was much better, with many miles of new fresh asphalt and marked bike lanes. It is always nice to see some new routes on the brevet schedule and this one is a nice addition. In  spite of some of the crappy pavement and the fact that we once again passed through my least favorite Arizona town (Eloy), it was a good day!

When I arrived at the finish Steve and Carlton were still there. They had arrived a half an hour or more ahead of me but waited to greet me at the end. Susan (our tireless RBA) was also there to check in riders as they finished. Thanks again to Susan and her AZ Randonneur volunteers for putting on another great event!!! This ride makes a nice addition to the series of events that the Arizona Randonneurs put on.