Thursday, April 8, 2010

Crestview Bicycle Club Group Ride

Sun City West, AZ - Spring Break - When we knew for sure we would be driving down to visit my parents near Phoenix during our kids' spring break, I e-mailed my Dad and asked if it would be possible for him to round up a bike for me to ride. I wanted to join him and his cycling club on a group ride while there. Got to get my miles in where I can, right? Could my Dad find me a bike? Well of course he could! This is my Dad we are talking about after all, he is the gear guy, and I am one of his three daughters. I have to be careful about mentioning any skiing/running/cycling/camping/hiking/climbing gear needs or wants around him, because whatever I mention usually ends up on my doorstep shortly thereafter. Yep, I'm spoiled. So, of course there was a pristine bike and shoes awaiting me upon arrival in Sun City West. Thanks to my Dad's countless connections, this time in the form of a fellow club rider by the name of Alice Wohlgemuth. She was out having surgery and graciously allowed me to ride her Scattante Elite. A nice bike I might add, which gave me the itch to upgrade. It was a much smoother ride than mine, guess all that jazz about carbon really is true. The bike rode very comfortably and the compact gearing shifted nicely, although I didn't need to do much shifting; the only "hill"  on our ride being the overpass above Loop 303 Highway. But, like I always say, the bike I like riding most is the one I'm pedaling and so I'm still quite fond of my new-ish Trek 1200.

I must confess, I didn't really give much thought to whether I might be able to keep up with the group on our outing. I'm a confident rider and these are seniors, as in senior citizens. On previous visits I have headed down to Sun City West's metered track and felt gloriously youthful. My normal track workouts are at the local high school, where the abundance of teenagers make me feel my age acutely. So, yeah, running down in AZ is a morale boost and I figured riding would pretty much feel the same. Larry Curran and Jim Panek, plus my own Daddy-O set me straight right out of the gate. I was enjoying the scenery and thinking of striking up a conversation when I realized I was getting dropped by the speedier club members. The group was breaking up into three distinct sub-groups and my Dad was up ahead waving me forward. Okay, go.

I haven't had much paceline practice and the guys helped me out and they all took turns leading while I got a free ride the whole way. In my defense, I had no idea where we were going or how to get back. But I still had to make sure to hang on to the rider in front. It was a new type of riding for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If I fell more than a foot back I was waved forward and I was able to get into the rythm of the paceline fairly well.  Below are Jim Panek, Larry Curran and Greg Cox (a.k.a. "Dad"). These guys are my new idols. I want to be like them when I grow up. Actually, the whole group is an inspiration to me and I hope in my senior years I will be as healthy and vibrant as they are.
Jim Panek, Greg Cox, Larry Curran @ "Our usual nose blowing stop".
Fay Fray and Al Horn arriving back at the Echo Mesa Golf Club...they took a diffferent route.

Above: Fay Fraye, Greg Cox (my Dad), Al Horn, Ron Van Camp, Larry Curran, Donna Harlow, Ron Neesham
Unfortunately, several riders had already headed home when I got this picture at the usual group chat after the ride. Some are year round residents of Sun City West, while others, like Donna Harlow, are snowbirds from New York. Ron Neesham flies in yearly from Midlands, England! I was informed that the annual dues for membership are a whopping $3.00, but that members are afforded a $3.00 discount for the annual Christmas Social. Hah! I took a strong liking to the group upon hearing this bit of news. And why do they call themselves the Crestview Bicycle Club anyway? Well, apparently they used to meet a the Crestview Shopping Center in Sun City West, but it has since been renamed or replaced. There was talk of renaming the group to the more apt "Sun City West Bicycle Club".  At any rate they can be found at If you are in the area go out for a spin with them. They meet almost daily at 8:00 a.m. and generally go for 15-20 miles.

Ahhh, sunny, warm and flat least in the Phoenix area; it's hard to come home to cold, windy and wet weather, with hills that have names to boot. It was a great vacation outing, thanks Dad, and thanks Alice, as I wouldn't have been able to keep up on a beach cruiser (that was my other bicycle option). Happy riding!


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