I suppose a one-day training ride hardly deserves a blog entry here. But this ride deserves it for several reasons:
1. It symbolizes the first concrete step of our training for a cross country trip next summer. Well, perhaps we shouldn’t call it training so far in advance, but an exercise to see what it would feel like.
2. It was Jesse’s first all-day ride on a fully loaded (70+ lb) touring bike.
3. We took some pictures and this was the best use of them.
I spent the previous night pulling out my packing list from the Dakota Tour and dumping items into a pile. If this was to be a trial loaded ride on a hilly route, I figured it ought to be as authentic as we could make it.
Met Jesse at his house at 7:45AM or so and affixed my already-packed panniers. Using a scale, Jesse and I weighed our loads for the day, about 245±5 lb (bicycle+load+rider). Our bikes and gear both weighed in around 70±5 lb.
We hit the road by 8:05AM. Briefly. We stopped within about 3 miles at The Good Egg since neither of us had eaten breakfast (again simulating a day on the road).
I worked up my 2x2x2, this time with eggs, bacon, and both of us ordered the French toast. The Good Egg serves some GREAT French toast, with fresh-made cinnamon bread and good butter.
Eventually out onto Hayden Road heading north, then over to Scottsdale Road. Even now after 9AM, the traffic was still quite heavy. I kept wondering, what are all these people doing driving up to Cave Creek? But I guess there are an awful lot of residential homes up there.
We stopped at the Shell station at Scottsdale Rd. and Cave Creek Rd. for water and a breather. Jesse had actually grown faint while riding, but rode through it. Most likely due to temporary hypoglycemia – a sugar overdose from that French toast, then a too-rapid sugar drop due to insulin kicking in (Jesse explained it and then I read more about it here.
Onward east, climbing and into the wind until we reached Pima Road, then a beautiful 5-mile roll south on a mild downhill. The crosswinds and our loads were not helping our speed any, but we still managed around 20 mph.
East on Dynamite, climbing again into the winds. We stopped again briefly at the gas station at Dynamite and Alma School Parkway, where Jesse and I scored a Gatorade. As he was downing it, he immediately started feeling much better, proclaiming it “medicine” for whatever was throwing his system off balance.
Glorious, glorious 9 mile downhill. East into the winds, but it didn’t matter. The scenery is fantastic and the workload light. A turn south onto Forest and McDowell Mountain Roads, where we stopped for a few photos.
The rollers north of Fountain Hills led into some real slopes once we crossed into the town. Mercifully, we stopped at an eatery called the Bagel Café for some much-needed fuel and beverage. Jesse had some macaroni salad while I had a BLT/egg salad sandwich that sounded interesting. It was tasty enough but physically difficult to eat. A good stop, and we lingered for a while enjoying the rest.
Back out, and immediately up the steepest slopes of the day, climbing through Fountain Hills toward Shea Boulevard. Jesse’s Garmin read a steady 9° on some of the hills. The slopes turned into big (fun) rollers approaching Shea Blvd.
A short segment on Shea before we ducked off onto the sidewalk due to traffic. It was actually sort of fun riding there with walls of big creosote plants zooming by on either side of us.
Up the hill on N Thompson Peak Parkway heading back to Jesse’s place, then a breather stop at McDonald’s. I managed to spin all around a busy intersection trying to get there.
I figured that just about all the climbing was done by then, and was surprised to find that we still had a few hundred more feet to go. Nonetheless, we reached Jesse’s house in fine fashion, and Justine greeted us at the garage door.
Jesse’s Garmin stats give a great numerical summary. 65 miles, 3000 feet of climbing, a healthy ride. My knees started twinging a little bit with all that extra weight – nothing new. Jesse fought through his early bonk gamely, and I think he finished the day with a conviction that this type of touring was definitely “doable.”
For a half hour, we adjourned to the dining table for beverages and I enjoyed spending the time with both Jesse and Justine. We laughed about doing this ride again tomorrow, you know, to fully prove the point, but decided we’d just do the regular Saturday club ride tomorrow.
A great day on the bike.