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  1. #1
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Early Summer Ride in Arizona

    My coach had assigned an 80-90 mile hilly ride for today. I convinced her that part of that should be a group ride with a local LBS club, starting in East Mesa, Arizona, which is East of Phoenix. I planned to do 80 miles, with about 5K of climbing, on this route:

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/400613

    The ride started at 6:00, and I had to leave the house about 5:00. I did the 31 mile group ride, with 1.5K of climbing, then split from them and headed even further East, up North Apache Trail, towards "Tortilla Flat", a popular distination for those who want to climb. I had not been there before, newbie that I am. If you keep going past Tortilla Flat, you reach "End of Pavement", or "EOP" as it is known. I ended up turning around here, at Canyon Lake:



    I was only carrying 2 bottles, and one was empty. It's dangerous in Arizona to have to conserve your water supply, so after riding through the picnic areas and not finding a water spigot or fountain, I turned around. It was only when I was well on my way back that I suddenly said to myself; "City Boy, it was a LAKE!" Never ocurred to me to just dip my bottle in the water. Doh!

    Here is a view of the lake from a distance, on the way back:



    Lots of cacti, but the flat I got on the way out of town was from glass that had gradually worked its way through my rear tire. I had just cleaned and inspected the night before, so it was picked up on the ride. I did have to conserve my water a bit, until I got to a little store near the mining ghost town of Goldfield:



    Conserving water in these conditions, at all, can quickly get you behind the hydration curve. I was starting to feel it, but the elctrolytes tablets I was inhaling, and constant small sips, helped keep me in the safe zone until I reached the store, which I knew was there.

    All in all it was a great ride, long and hard, and an introduction to the Arizona summer season. By the end, my computer was showing a temp of 105, and I felt like a roast in the oven for Mothers Day dinner. The computer gave an "in the sun, on blacktop" temp about 10 degrees higher than the offical temp of "only 95" when I finished well before Noon. Summer is here. Leaving for Tortilla that late, after the group ride, was not the brightest plan. It's the sort of thing you want to do first, before it starts to heat up. But I was drawn by the allure of the group ride, like a snake to blacktop. And of course I tried to hang with the A riders, finally backing off on the main climb when my HR was staying in high Zone 5, getting to the regroup about 10 seconds after the leaders. It was my first ride with that group, so I had to HTFU as much as I could and still do the rest of my ride. Hopefully the miles I missed won't hurt me when I do the San Diego Century in a couple of weeks, which has (gulp) almost 9K of climbing.

    This ride is an example of Arizona summer riding, where hydration and water supply weigh heavily into every decision you make. 6:00am start times now, until things cool off in the fall.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    _DSC3332.jpg
    WHOA! This is a sample of Arizona SPRING riding!
    Have lived/cycled in AZ sinc 1978. Warmest I've commuted in: 117 degrees with 2% hunmidity.
    We have room for up to 7 bottles on our tandem.
    Start packing more water; hint: freeze 2 bottles overnite and you'll have cool water for a longer time.
    Using lake water is not recommended (diarhea) unless you have a water bottle with a filtration set-up.
    Photo of us on a 95 degree day in Tucson at end of April.

  3. #3
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    Good memories of saguauro res. and canyon,waterskiing back in the 50's,,,Thanksfor the reminder...
    Bud

  4. #4
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Yep, it's going to get a lot warmer. I commute also, and haven't let temps stop me yet. For whatever reason, today it definitely felt like summer was here. People at work are already asking me if I'm going to stop riding in.

    I did freeze both my Sustained Energy and a water bottle.. didn't stay that way long. I tried mounting a couple of bottles behind my seat, but haven't found a system that works. Should have brought my Camelbak for the leg out to Tortilla.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  5. #5
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    All our lakes and streams in Colorado contain Giardia a protozoa - something that will make you forget quite quickly that you wantes to ride. You are lucky you did not stick yourbotlle inthe lake, unless you carry iodine tablets or something similar.

    No one drinks directly from our streams and lakes here. I would guess the same for AZ.

    Very nice ride and pics.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I would have stopped at that canteen in Tortilla Falts. You know, the one where you staple a $1 bill on the wall and sit on horse saddles at the bar. If I remember correctly they also sale beverages that are not beer.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  7. #7
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    . . . and you can put one of those insulated foam beercan covers over the frozen water bottle.

  8. #8
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    I would have stopped at that canteen in Tortilla Falts. You know, the one where you staple a $1 bill on the wall and sit on horse saddles at the bar. If I remember correctly they also sale beverages that are not beer.
    I was pressed for time getting prepped for this ride the night before, and then getting out the door. My feeble brain had neglected to recall I needed to take care of the neighbor's dog when I set my alarm. I was saying to myself as I rushed out "need to check the web to see if Tortilla Flat has water, never having been there. Then I got out past cell service and hadn't checked. I could have just kept going, even if I had to fill a bottle with beer.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    All our lakes and streams in Colorado contain Giardia a protozoa - something that will make you forget quite quickly that you wantes to ride. You are lucky you did not stick yourbotlle inthe lake, unless you carry iodine tablets or something similar.

    No one drinks directly from our streams and lakes here. I would guess the same for AZ.

    Very nice ride and pics.
    We call it beaver fever here. The parasite is carried by beaver and there's no shortage of them in the lakes and streams up here. I wouldn't do it here in most places either.
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    . . . This ride is an example of Arizona summer riding, where hydration and water supply weigh heavily into every decision you make. 6:00am start times now, until things cool off in the fall.
    As already mentioned, a large water supply water is essential and electrolytes* useful. Also useful are light-colored headgear/helmet and light colored clothing. Even with adequate water it is possible to get overheated on the middle of the day. In that case a brief break in the shade can make a huge difference.

    For regular ride routes I've found it easy to get permission to use businesses and private homes as watering spots.

    *I like the convenience of Nuun tabs but dislike the price. Does anyone use a good cheap alternative?
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  11. #11
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    I use Hammer's powder and tablets. They work for me, but I wouldn't consider them cheap. I suspect there are house brands at places like GNC that are less expensive. Tablets can be hard to handle in a race situation, but I finally started just putting them loose in a jersey pocket, and that works well. I thought they might melt, but it hasn't happened. The drinks I prepare in advance have the powder added, but I don't carry extra powder for refills, so I carry tablets as well.

    The biggest issue I'm trying to solve for long hot rides now is a drink with some protein. Sustained Energy works well for me, but gets absolutely rancid after a couple of hours in the heat, even when frozen in advance. So I have to finish that in the first couple of hours. Then what, if I don't want to stop? Is Perpetuem any better after it has warmed up for awhile? I want to be able to go 4-5 hours without a stop for events like Tour de Tucson, which prohibits feed zone handups. Two bottles and a Camelbak will keep me hydrated for that (non-summer), but I need some liquid nutrition that will last to the end. Gel is fine for carbs, but for that long a ride, I need protein as well.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

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    Because I sweat under any sort of conditions, hot or cold, I started using Endurolytes. Not cheap but they work like a charm for me. When I asked the guy at the LBS about them he said "yeah sure, just drop into water, I just pop them in my mouth sometimes" ... after watching them fizz away in my water bottles, it make me wonder if I'd start foaming at the mouth.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Might be a good idea to pick up some water purification tablets at an outdoor store and carry a couple with you on your rides. That way you can drink from a lake or stream safely, should you need water.

  14. #14
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
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    Pardon me for asking but what kind of "coach" would "assign" an 80-90 mile ride at this time of year? And why was he/she not out there ensuring that his/her students didn't burst in the heat? Just not seeing the point.

  15. #15
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    Pardon me for asking but what kind of "coach" would "assign" an 80-90 mile ride at this time of year? And why was he/she not out there ensuring that his/her students didn't burst in the heat? Just not seeing the point.
    A very good, well respected, professional, coach. Professional, as in this is what she does for a living. Obviously, she can't ride with all her athletes on all their rides. Nobody expects that. It wouldn't even be beneficial. The point of this one is to continue to develop my climbing strength and aerobic endurance, among other things. I'm doing a century in 2 weeks that has almost 9K' of climbing, and I'm also working to get enough climbing speed and endurance to hang closer to the front in longish races. Seriously, it wasn't that tough an assignment, especially since I missed out on about 2K of the climbing. :-) My Saturday workouts are typically 70-100 miles, with the variables being whether part of it is a fast group ride, how much climbing there is, and what pace I maintain. This was a moderate pace workout for most of it. It's the high intensity work that does you in, and the only high intensity was the group ride I tacked onto the front end. The "Group Ride Plus Base" is a common format for me, and one that I like. I must admit part of it is saying to the group, after we've been pushing hard for 40 or 50 miles, "See you all later - I'm adding some more miles."

    I live in the desert. The heat is just another factor in the equation, and one I need to be able to manage well. Usually I do, I just didn't plan this out enough. "I'll just refill my bottles, and bop on up to Tortilla Flat after the group ride" didn't quite cut it. ;-) As A'Jet pointed out, turns out there was plenty of water just up (and I do mean UP) the road a few miles. I'm still pretty new to Arizona (9 years), and in my first season of race training.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  16. #16
    Squeaky Wheel woodway's Avatar
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    I am thinking back to when I was a young man attending Arizona State University. I lived in Mesa and did not own a car. From my house to the University was right around 10 miles. I never thought twice about just jumping onto the bike and going. Anytime of day, and day of the year. No helmet (who bothered back then?), no water bottle, no fancy clothes, no fancy shoes, no hydration plan, no Nuun, no shot blocks, etc. Just whatever I had on was fine and I would get a drink of water when I got there. Of course this is nowhere near the OP's 80 mile ride, but it just makes me think about the simple days gone by...

  17. #17
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post

    The biggest issue I'm trying to solve for long hot rides now is a drink with some protein. Sustained Energy works well for me, but gets absolutely rancid after a couple of hours in the heat, even when frozen in advance. So I have to finish that in the first couple of hours. Then what, if I don't want to stop? Is Perpetuem any better after it has warmed up for awhile? I want to be able to go 4-5 hours without a stop for events like Tour de Tucson, which prohibits feed zone handups. Two bottles and a Camelbak will keep me hydrated for that (non-summer), but I need some liquid nutrition that will last to the end. Gel is fine for carbs, but for that long a ride, I need protein as well.
    I use Sustained Energy and will mix with ice water in an insulated bottle on hot days. I still drink it within 2 hours of mixing. During a long ride, I mix the powder when I stop during the middle of the ride and consume it within a few hours.

    I also have a seat-post mounted cage and carry three or four bottles if I need to ride without water stops.


  18. #18
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    A very good, well respected, professional, coach. Professional, as in this is what she does for a living. Obviously, she can't ride with all her athletes on all their rides. Nobody expects that. It wouldn't even be beneficial.
    Then I just don't get what the arrangement is here. Having a "coach" implies that there is a "team". And a "team" would get out and practice together. With their coach.

    But you're saying that you (as a over-50 non-athlete that's not part of a team) are paying someone to tell you when and how much to ride? Why?

    I never venture out past known supplies of water and shade. And from about now till perhaps October, I limit my rides to about 40 miles. Heatstroke is no fun.

  19. #19
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I bought insulated bottles years ago but took the insulation out. It is better to have the space for water, even if it gets warm. I remember riding some of what you describe on my stingray back in the 60's. Climbing to Dobbins Lookout on a Paperboy special was a real treat. That was in July just because we were bored and mom wouldn't let us back in the house. Great area to ride!
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

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  20. #20
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    Then I just don't get what the arrangement is here. Having a "coach" implies that there is a "team". And a "team" would get out and practice together. With their coach.
    Ahhh... no it doesn't. Especially not in cycling. I know many people who are coached. They are also members of teams, unrelated to their coach. There ARE amateur teams with coaches, but that is certainly not the most common situation. There are many other sports that follow similar paradigms.

    But you're saying that you (as a over-50 non-athlete that's not part of a team)...
    First of all, I AM an athlete. An amateur athlete training 10-12 hours per week.

    ... are paying someone to tell you when and how much to ride? Why?
    I am training hard to improve my athletic performance. Paying a coach is one of the best ways to accomplish that. It improves your performance far better than any bike, or bike upgrade, you could buy.

    I never venture out past known supplies of water and shade. And from about now till perhaps October, I limit my rides to about 40 miles. Heatstroke is no fun.
    Each to their own. I choose to continue to train and challenge myself through the summer months, by starting my rides much earlier, planning my water stops more carefully and carrying enough water to get from one to the other.

    Are you trolling, or do you really just not get it that some of us train to compete?
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  21. #21
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    I also have a seat-post mounted cage and carry three or four bottles if I need to ride without water stops.
    I bought one of those before a long event ride where I didn't want to stop. I can't get it to match up to my seat rails properly, so I went with my Camelback that ride.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  22. #22
    Senior Member LarryMelman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Are you trolling, or do you really just not get it that some of us train to compete?
    Yeah, there's a lot of that on BF, isn't there. Anyone who asks questions because they really don't understand something, must certainly be a troll. Feh.

  23. #23
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    A motorcyclist bud of mine refers to riding in July in AZ with sticking your head inside a hot oven.

    When I ride out there anything over 40 miles and it is Camelback time for me + the normal 2 bottles. Have used it all many times and don't care if I look like a dork on a road bike with a small backpack.

  24. #24
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
    Yeah, there's a lot of that on BF, isn't there. Anyone who asks questions because they really don't understand something, must certainly be a troll. Feh.
    Which is why I both answered your questions as legitimate, and challenged whether or not you were serious. I did the latter because the follow up questions seemed repetitious/challenging. My apologies if there was no challenge intended.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  25. #25
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    I have always wanted to ride from east Mesa to Tortilla Flats, but never had the opportunity. Whenever I drove there I thought the road was pretty busy. How was the traffic that day?

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