Ugh, up at 4am, out the door by 4:30 and on my way to Willcox. AZ for the Willcox Flyer bike "race". For liability reasons it's not promoted as a race but pretty much all 300+ who show up are there to compete against everyone else. I participated in this event the last time it was held, 2 years ago, and like that time, I came woefully unprepared. My longest ride in several months was 45 miles while the Flyer is 66 miles. Driving through Willcox on my way......
....to the historic downtown from where we would launch, I passed a Dairy Queen. A memory came flooding back. It was me, 2 years ago, finishing the event and during the 3 mile ride to my hotel, I had to turn into the DQ so I could sit in the shade at the back of the building! Painful day and so this morning I had an epiphany; ya know, I could ride something less than 66 miles!!!
I arrived an hour ahead of the 7am start and that was about right considering the time it took to pin the race bib on my jersey, register, etc... There was a strong group of cyclists representing Bicycle Ranch and one of this group would win the event with a 20 mile solo from a small, leading group, finishing with a 24.8mph average. Other groups well represented with quantity, if not quality were Sabino Cycles, Cyclefit and Christian Cyclists.
I was still planning to do the full route as we were called to the start line, the Star-Spangled Banner was sung and then we rolled out. I got in with a good group but was burning too much of my very short wick so at mile 7, with a decent 23mph average, I dropped anchor so to speak and began a solo effort.
At mile 18, I crested a hill after a 10 mile climb. I decided that when I reached mile 25, I would turn around. During a descent, a group of Cyclefit people caught me and I enjoyed a few miles of drafting in their group but upon reaching mile 25, turned around.
At about mile 34, I reached a refueling point and then really enjoyed the 10 mile descent off the hill. I finished with 50 miles, 1800' of climbing and a 16.5mph average. I have no regrets about not doing the full 66 mile route. This will kick start a September of much more riding as I prepare for the Sky Island event in Sierra Vista, early October.
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