100 Miles of Nowhere in Surprise, AZ
My 100 Miles of Nowhere bike ride began with a 145 Miles of Interstate 10 complete with spectator slow down caused by 6-hour-old cop shooting a suspect on the freeway. Phoenix is a rough town. Surprise is smooth, a perfect location for a 100 mile ride. It’s called Surprise because you’re driving through assorted soy, cotton, watermelon and onion fields then surprise! there are 10,000 houses. Happily, one of those houses contained CarboRocket teammate, Lisa, who provided excellent dinner with homemade pasta sauce. She is Italian after all.
Assorted dogs and cats and friends and toddlers made for an entertaining evening. The neighbors said they planned to do a quadrathlon on Saturday: drive to Circle K for coffee, shop at yard sales, move rocks in back yard, and twelve ounce curls. Fearing the heat, I tried to talk her into starting before 6 am, but Lisa, being sane, would have none of it.
I woke up before dawn and had coffee al fresco beneath a lovely pink and orange sky. The clouds, however wispy, would provide some protection from the heat early in the morning. After careful examination of the cow skull in Lisa’s yard, we were off! Our nowhere route was a 3-mile rectangle around her neighborhood. We could see the White Tank mountains for about half of each lap, and farms on three sides of the rectangle. Only one side was a corridor of subdivisions. Oh, and there were some left over citrus trees.
Lisa doesn’t really believe in warming up. I suggested taking it easy for maybe one lap, and she took it easy for about one minute. We discovered a headless snake in the gutter and Lisa named him Sammy. I planned to pick up the snake for this photo, but got a little queasy when I bent over to pick it up. So no snake wrangler picture this time, just a shoe shot.
We made really good time for the first 30 miles, averaging over 16 mph. I enjoyed snacking on fruit and PB&Js at our first rest break. The crazy neighbors decided to join us on beach cruisers for one lap. I apologize for shooting this picture directly into the early morning sun.
Then the crazy neighbors returned to their quadrathlon, occasionally cheering us with cowbells if they looked up while we were riding by the backyard. At the next break, Lisa’s triathlete friend joined us and we cruised and chatted merrily along. Then the triathlete had a flat (broken glass was the culprit).
Lisa helped her fix the flat because I had conveniently forgotten my pocket pump in Tucson. And I had to document the flat fixing for twitter, anyway. The triathlete left us after about 8 laps and we had another 40 or so miles to get through.
Our breaks became a little more frequent and lasted a little longer. New socks provided minimal refreshment.
The wind was really picking up and we battled 20-25 mph gusts on one side of every lap. The heat was hotter, the mountains less inspiring, and the farm fields spawned assorted bugs bouncing off my helmet, glasses and chin. We rode through a swarm of bees without incident. On the next lap, a straggler bee stung Lisa.
We counted down our laps, 4, 3, 2, 1 to go! Bell lap! Some kids on bmx bikes and skateboards came out for their afternoon ride and decided to race us into the head wind. I was happy to have a distraction from my exhaustion.
We finished in about the time we expected riding from 6 am to about 2 pm. Our average speed was still over 15 mph, which was pretty good considering the wind. I was so happy to jump into that swimming pool!