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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students ride bikes 115 miles to Phoenix

    Engineering freshman Kevin Fah, left, business and entrepreneurship freshman Lars Baugh and business management sophomore Doug MacDonald biked 116 miles from Tucson to South Phoenix early Saturday morning.
    Engineering freshman Kevin Fah, left, business and entrepreneurship freshman Lars Baugh and business management sophomore Doug MacDonald biked 116 miles from Tucson to South Phoenix early Saturday morning.

    It’s 102 degrees. The heat is draining and each push on the bike pedal gets harder and harder.

    “”Almost There.””

    It’s around mile 85, just 31 miles out of Chandler, and it’s been five hours since they left the UA at 4:30 a.m. The legs of one rider are feeling heavier with each push on the pedal. He looks up and he can see two words on the back of his friend’s bicycle seat.

    “”Almost There.””

    For three UA students riding their bikes for a total of six hours from Tucson to South Phoenix, struggling against heat and fatigue, the words “”Almost There”” on a piece of electrical tape stuck to a bike seat were enough to push them all to finish the ride.

    Doug MacDonald, a business management sophomore, Lars Baugh, a business marketing freshman and Kevin Fah, an engineering freshman, rode their bikes from Tucson to Chandler early Saturday morning for a total distance of about 116 miles.

    “”It was an idea floating around for a while,”” MacDonald said. “”We did a lot of riding before – 30 miles here, 50 miles there – but we really wanted to do something big before the end of the year.””

    “”Doug and I were just sitting down one day and we just decided to do it before the end of the year,”” Baugh said.

    “”When we got to In-N-Out we started yelling. We couldn’t believe we rode our bikes for 115 miles.””
    – Kevin Fah,
    engineering
    freshman

    The bike ride took the three men on a route that started going north on North Oracle Road, through Florence and Coolidge on U.S. Highway 79, and then finishing the route on Highway 87, which took them to Chandler.

    Originally, MacDonald and Baugh were the only riders who would travel up to Phoenix, but Fah was invited later.

    “”It was a spontaneous thing when I joined,”” Fah said. “”I was just hanging around when I heard about it.””

    Fah is a member of the UA Tricats and has participated in other long-distance rides such as El Tour De Tucson.

    “”This was a lot more casual, and it wasn’t really in a race type of atmosphere compared to the El Tour De Tucson,”” Fah said. “”But it was a little bit longer. I started to feel it around 100 miles.””

    MacDonald rode behind Baugh for most of the way and said seeing “”Almost There”” on the back of Baugh’s seat helped him get through it.

    Baugh said the “”Almost There”” was a visual light at the end of the tunnel that helped them push past the weight and pain of cycling for six hours.

    “”I started feeling it around mile 80 or 85,”” MacDonald said. “”But the fact that we were almost there helped me pass the mental barrier and know physically that I could do it.””

    Other than their motivational phrase, they also created a system of alternating lead riders, giving each rider a chance to relax at the back of the line.

    Baugh said it was a great three-person rotation; the lead rider would ride for about 2 1/2 miles and then veer off to the left to move into the third position, giving each rider a turn at the lead and at the last position.

    “”The first person caught all the wind, giving the person in the second and third positions time to catch their breath, and this ongoing rotation kept us going,”” MacDonald said.

    The bikers’ average speed was 18.5 mph, and they reached their maximum speed at 37.4 mph during a downhill section after Florence, MacDonald said.

    The cyclists ended their ride at the Chandler In-N-Out Burger and celebrated with burgers and milkshakes.

    “”When we got to In-N-Out we started yelling. We couldn’t believe we rode our bikes for 115 miles,”” Fah said.

    After their feast, the trio was picked up by a friend, making the return trip much more relaxed than the ride north.

    “”I didn’t know what to expect,”” Baugh said. “”I was surprised we got through it.””

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