Very Important.  The Thursday New Albany ride start location has permanently, for this year, changed:

New Albany Methodist Church
20 3rd St
New Albany, Oh 43054

For more info, follow this link:

A demonstration of extraordinary foresight to report.  Andrew Clayton, ride leader of Tuesday Canal Winchester ride, has already cancelled the Tuesday ride.  At first, it seemed a little quick triggered but then I looked at the latest forecast, 38 degrees and 1-3" of snow.  Probably the right call but second guessers will be out in abundance if it is 40 and no snow. 
I planned to drive to Mount Graham and do that climb but that is 2.5 miles away with no water anywhere near or at the top and then I began thinking, why sit in a car for 5+ hours when Mount Lemmon is right around the corner.  So, I headed up and noticed I was pedaling comfortably in sprockets two sizes larger than the last time I rode about 2 weeks ago.. Hmmmm.  I seemed to be flying up the mountain and how about that?  Beat my best average by 1.1mph.  I stopped to eat at the restaurant in Summerhaven.
Lots of grey headed people here who glanced at me as if I was a space alien although I had a nice chat with a couple from Iowa.  The surrounding slopes show rebuilt cabins from the Aspen fire of 2003.  Odd that the burned tress are still standing but lots of smaller ones growing skyward.  I headed back and reached the left turn toward Ski Valley and it was as if a hand was pushing me and so....
...I headed toward the slopes bereft of snow and after almost 2 more very steep miles, reached the ski area with the Iron Door Restaurant, at which I have previously eaten. I paused, looked around and oh my......
.....the gate to the observatory was now open.  What to do, what to do?  I had come this far so what the heck, I chugged on up what was even steeper than what I had already ridden.  The grade was 8-11% for another 1.5 miles and after so much climbing, well, actually it was not too hard.  I think 6 weeks of climbing on trails and the road has had the desired effect albeit climbing slowly.
At 9000'+ elevation, the views?  Oh my, oh my.  From the base of the mountain, I had gone up Green Mountain, Mount Bigelow and then Mount Lemmon to....
....the Sky Center Observatory and there is the loyal bike to prove it.  From the base of the climb I had come 28 miles, slightly less than 8000' of climbing.  The temperature in the valley was 94 but up here, around 65 and nice.  I coasted down and finished with 64 miles and 8400' of climbing.  Time to pack my bike into the box and send back to Ohio so got that done and now, one more hike along a snake infested trail.  More to come soon.
Although I was not there, I have many in the peloton who feel it is their responsibility to keep me informed and so, after talking to many, I can file this brief report.  Rick Miller had a brief presentation at the beginning and a New Albany police officer was there to add weight to the presentation while describing his own pursuit of cycling lawbreakers.  Then the group rolled out, around 30 total into an environment of clouds and very strong winds, probably 25mph+.  No doubt this kept the crowd down. During the warm-up, Dirty Dan was mixing it up at the front, dirty, dirty Dan, making the warm-up session rather short and life unbearable for a few.  Jon Morgan was up there too, probably inspired by Dan. Dan dropped off the pace after establishing himself as the pace setter.

The pace was very fast out Jug Street with a tail wind and then, entering Alexandria, the old habits arose as the lead A group turned right on to #37 with cars approaching from the left.  Rather than pause to make sure everyone got through, it appears the front group pushed the pace and so a gap was created.  This, by anyone's definition, is chickenshit stuff and the type of event that Rick is striving to avoid.  My very limited experience with the A group is that it is just one or two people who initiate this stuff and others follow so they are not dropped.  To be fair, since I did not see this, maybe the telling of the story was exaggerated.

The return, in to that strong wind, created more gaps but still, the lead group had a 22.8mph average.  I'll be there next Thursday, as long as it is sunny and 80, to post what I witness, at least during the warm-up phase.

I have driven to the Superstition Wilderness to hike trails like Paralta, Siphon Draw, Flat Iron and of course the one to Weaver's Needle.  As I reach the northern most points on these trails, I wonder, what lies beyond the next ridge?  Once I was in Las Cruces, NM, looked to the west and wondered, what lies beyond the horizon and so rented a car and drove west to find out.  It was pretty much more of what I had viewed from Las Cruces.  Later, on a different trip, I had to go from Las Cruces to Phoenix, AZ but rather than fly, I drove just to find out what lay beyond.  Well, some copper mines in Globe and not much more but anyway, I have this need to know what lies over the horizon.  What luck!  I discovered a road goes to the west of the Superstition, then north then east and....., there is a freakin huge lake.  I could not believe it.  The road is good and I even passed a couple of cyclists.  The above does not do justice to the area.  Unreal views.
I stopped at Boulder Canyon Lake, walked across a road and headed up the Boulder Canyon trail.  After a long climb, I reached a saddle and wow, there is Weaver's Needle right of center.
Looking back from where I had come, I could see a dam at the head of a canyon, holding back all that water.  There was a marina (out of the image) with well over one hundred boats, a restaurant and more. 
Looking to the south, there was Battleship Monument and just to the right of it, the tip of Weaver's Needle.  From this point the trail went down toward that river bed maybe you can make out in the center.  That is the Labarge River, dry at that point but water was running farther up canyon.
At mile 3.3, I reached the dry river bed and here, my destination lay up river and off trail.  I had read that you should stay on trail and then drop into the river bed when you reached a saddle so I kept going.  Those rocks are hand and foot sized and not difficult to walk but I followed the advice from the internet and stayed on the trail..
The trail went up toward a saddle and there I found the foundation of an old structure. 
Long ago, someone had hacked out a water catch from the rock.  It was about 15' deep.
Someone had carved out a depression in the rock and made a fire pit. 
I finally dropped into the river bed and followed it up stream where I encountered running water and then the canyon became narrow and the rocks turned in to boulders, huge boulders and the going went very slow as I picked my way through this unmarked route.
The river bed appeared to end up against this jagged wall,  From internet reports, I knew the canyon turned sharply to the left and then sharply to the right to get around the above but it was getting late and I turned around. I went back down canyon/stream bed.  It is hard to describe the environment.  Scrambling around house sized boulders to end up unable to go forward, retracing my route, finding an alternative, very slow going.  I kept going down stream, wandered around a bit after not finding the trail out of the rocks, decided I needed a gps hiking device and have begin researching the topic (I actually panicked a bit when I could not find the trail for awhile_.  Finally. I found it and headed out of the canyon.
Geesh, what great views to the south and....
.....from the same spot, great views to the north.  You should right click the above image and save it as a full screen shot.  Might be the best view I have seen in AZ with the lake and everything else.  Below I reach the lake and the trail head.  Finished with 11 miles and quite a bit of climbing.   So much more to see here and I'll be back.
New Albany COP Thursday Night Ride to continue.

The Cycling Club will now be leading the New Albany COP Thursday night ride. We are co-marketing the ride with COP. Keeping with COP’s ideology, this is a “group ride” not a “group race”, we will be concentrating our efforts to help continue having a safe ride. With this being said, we need to take a deeper look at ourselves and ask if we are riding as safe as we can, am I doing the best I can. You might be a good rider but you could be a great rider. This is not talking about your fitness or race results, but your ability to ride in such a way that others use you as an example to the new riders of how you should ride. We are riding shoulder to shoulder with guys and gals on these group rides each person’s safety depends on everyone in that group. We need to be good stewards of this sport, we need nurture the newer riders, give them tips to help them be a better rider and continue to grow as a cyclist. This newer cyclist doesn’t have to be a brand new rider; he/she just might be new to riding in groups, or just has lack of knowledge of riding on the road. So when we come across these individuals we need not be afraid of speaking up and sharing our knowledge and nurturing them in a constructive manner to help facilitate the safety of the group.

Some of the main safety issues we will be addressing will be the running of Stop signs and Traffic lights

There is no good reason to run a stop sign, your average speed is not so important to run stop signs. The safety of the group whether there is traffic coming or not is irrelevant to stopping or not stopping at the sign or signal.  Most of us sane people, if we were to ask them if they would run a stop sign or traffic light in their car, they would answer NO. Then why would we do it on our bike, as cyclist we are under the same traffic laws as the cars. This is where I am asking you to become a great rider and help the ride leaders to lead and ride by example.

At a Traffic light, it is one thing to be stopped at a traffic light and it not change and you proceed with caution. It is a totally different thing to see that there is no cross traffic coming and proceed thru the intersection at speed, that rider just ran a red light and should be given a ticket/we don’t need that type of rider on our ride, so that rider needs to change or we will ask them not to participate in our ride. 

Where and how to ride on the road

We should be keeping to the right of the road if your single filed up we would recommend riding approximately 16-24 inches inside the white line (on the road not on the berm, this makes you more visible to traffic coming from behind and gives you room to move to the right if need be it).

Riding two abreast, this does not mean one rider on the white line and one rider at the center of the road. We should be to the right of the road with a safe distance between riders this distance changes per the level of the group. The A group should be bar to bar to take advantage of the aerodynamic efficiency with their experience. The B group should be very similar to the A group maybe a little more space between the riders but not much more. The C group will typically have a little more distance between the riders also, not always necessary. The key is to ride consistent and predictable, if we ride in this manner; we should have very few to nearly no accidents out on the road.

There should be no reason any rider should be crossing the center line of the road while riding (just because there is no line on the road doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a center)


We look forward to having a successful year of riding, I know I have said a mouthful, although we are safety focused, we do enjoy having a spirited ride keeping in mind safety. We all have families and want to make it back home to them.


Thank you Rick Miller VP of The Cycling Club

Thursday Night COP Ride main contact

Good ride today but the experience began the evening before when I was soaking my aching, weak muscles in the spa and sharing it with a guy who is in town for a "Personal Best" Tri training camp.  I thought the most excruciatingly boring experience was listening to a golfer describe every shot in the round of golf but nope, that has been surpassed by listening to a guy ramble on and on about every tri event, times, places, etc...  Louisville, Ironman, Lake Placid, crashing waves and my eyes glazed over and he finally asked what I did.  When I told him I worked in the golf industry he said, "Oh, I'm good at that too!"  Geesh.  Anyway, he described a training ride the camp took, which revealed a new route to me so for that, it was almost worth being brought to tears of boredom.  I headed north to Catalina, took #79 towards Phoenix but 10 miles in hung a left on a paved road called East Park Link. It was 18 miles of flat, which was a nice change of pace.  Above you can make out Picacho Peak. 
I was stopped by a train for quite awhile at a frontage road at I-10.  I rode 5 miles farther north to a market, at mile 45, where I saw a group of "Hells Angels Arizona" jacketed bikers.  These guys appeared to be the real deal and I confirmed it when I walked by one of them and said, "How's it going." and got only a grunt in reply.  There was another gang there too but smaller in number.  I sized up the situation and decided to get out before guns were drawn.
Rode toward the town of Marana on the west side of I-10, still very flat while passing a farm with neat views of distant mountains.  Then it was east on Tangerine which is an 8 mile climb but not steep and lots of false flats.  Finished with 84 miles and 2900' of climbing.  Rode the next day with a group and had a good time, finishing with 50 miles.  I have been asked how many miles I have ridden and only 765 for March.  With 30 out of 31 days sunny and all but two having temps in the 70's and 80's, some of you would have been over 1000 miles but the hiking, 64 miles, has been fantastic and do I have an adventure to describe next.  Note to self, buy the freakin GPS device for hikes.
 As most of you probably know, COP had a challenge finding someone to replace Shannon as the Thursday New Albany ride leader.  Rick Miller and the Cycling Club agreed to provide the service and the inaugural 2014 ride is this Thursday.  Arrive in time to sign in and hear the pre-ride announcements.  Same ride as before but a little more emphasis on safety, especially for that lawless C group.

A Ride gps

B Ride gps

C Ride gps


The day got off to an interesting start.  As I walked toward my car in the morning, a woman with a frantic look on her face approached.  Would I kill a scorpion that she shook out of her shirt?  Hmmm, ok.  I had seen a scorpion scamper across a path a year ago but other than that and rumors they are everywhere, I had not seen one.  Sure enough, there at the base of the wall in her condo was a small scorpion.  It's the small ones that are respected the most because their poison is stronger than the large ones. My record for killing insects is spotty.  I hit as often as I miss.  Therefore, I cleared the area around the scorpion in the event I missed, raised my foot and splat, got it on the first try.  She asked if it was dead...ah yes.  Soon thereafter, I jumped on the bike and rode the 24 miles out of the valley through Catalina and Oracle, AZ, a ride I have done many times but this time, I reached the top of the climb, above, and plunged 9 miles into the valley to the very small town of San Manuel.
Throughout the outbound ride, the wind had been strong behind me and appeared to exceed the forecast of 15mph (later I checked and it was 25mph).  After a break at a gas station, I headed back to Oro Valley into that wind, beginning with the 9 mile climb out of this valley and then on home, finishing with 74 miles and 3900' of climbing.  I am comforted by the fact that when I return to Ohio, I will be strong on our 5, 10 and 15 mile climbs.  Oh, wait..... Only now have I realized I've been training for a marathon when it is a sprint I will experience upon my return to Ohio.  The intensity of the New Albany Thursday rides ought to be quite the shock.
Some of the members of the central Ohio peloton have been competing in various USA Cycling events and so with the utmost respect, I offer the following thoughts in celebration of their successes.  Henda Palisades aka Panzerwagen, has been doing well in the Cat 1/2/3 with a 7th, 9th and other high finishes as a Cat 2, Lori Nedescu, better known for running but with an engine that allows her to compete at anything requiring endurance, is now racing as a Cat 3, Tym Tyler is winning pretty much every Masters 55-60 event in which he rolls up to the start line, Pete Czerwinski dominates the Masters 45-54 or competes highly in the Cat 3 events, Kayla Starr is doing well as a Cat 2, Maya Wei-Haas is doing so well she it is a matter of time before she too is a Cat 2, Terry Griffith is doing well in the Cat 4 events and part of a Backroom Coffee Roasters juggernaut, Luke Russell has graduated to Cat 4 (I think that's the Luke who rides out of the Tuesday Canal rides, correct?), but the head scratcher for me is the performance of one Marty Sedluk,  They can't just stick him in with the Pro/Cat 1 category so of course he is working his way through the ranks but geesh, after a winter of cycling in AZ, CA and the Turks & Caicos, competing against Gord Fraser, Lance Armstrong, Brad Wiggins and Alberto Contador, I kind of expected higher finishes but I suppose he is keeping his head down and slowly moving up through the ranks.  If I missed someone, it is a mistake and not intentional.  Whatever happened to John Day, aka Junior Muscle Dude?
Between the Santa Catalina and Santa Maria ranges is Aqua Caliente hill.  The Ocotillo are impressive with green leaves from each stem, topped by reddish blooms.  A 9 mile round trip hike with some up and downs before a very steep final 1/2 mile climb to the summit.  Calling this a hill is accurate only when compared to the peaks around it. 
I climb up to a saddle, drop into a canyon, climb out to another saddle, below you can make out the trail.
As others have noted in various hiking guides, this trail has the best example of a fake summit there is.  Walking up a fairly steep slope (that would be it on the left), headed toward that top and just before reaching it the trail suddenly heads away from the peak, dropping down slightly and then....
......oh man, was that final 1/2 mile steep.  Reached it in exactly 2 hours.
Very windy at the summit so I stopped long enough to sign in, take about..... image and headed down.
There were some great and broad views to the southwest.  A King snake raced across the trail while I was jogging so I slowed and took more care.  A woman was bitten a couple of weeks ago and the snake did not release its bite until emergency personnel showed up.  I can't imagine what that would be like, standing or sitting, waiting for help while a live rattlesnake clung to your leg.  While that image is enough to keep me careful, I also am told the treatment is $200,000.  Note to self, check insurance coverage.  Oh and that snake?  It was released after removal.
One of the blog's readers suggested I share the below link, which takes you to the above site.  I recognized quite a few names of cyclists who have signed the petition and the site provides links for taking additional steps in support of the effort.

From Andrew Clayton come this announcement:

The Tuesday night rides start up on Tuesday at Canal Winchester.  I changed the starting location this year due to the parking that will become scarce once the car museum opens up.  We are going to start from the SW corner of the Meijer parking lot now where there is plenty of parking, restrooms and water available.  This should keep us out of some of the town traffic as well.  Due to the different starting location, I just wanted to give folks a little heads up.  They are predicting 70 for Tuesday! Can't wait!

After a couple of weeks of sun and warm temps in the 70's and 80's, I decided to check out California.  Once that decision was made, should I explore around the Encinitas area north of San Diego where Marty Sedluk has made a 4th home, ok, I'll do that.  But then I began thinking about the Santa Ynez Valley area where I have been many times and so what the heck, drive 9 hours to what you see above. 
I really enjoy the restaurants in the area and ate at one of my favs on Monday evening and then jumped on the bike Tuesday and headed out Ballard Canyon Road and then Foxen Canyon where I saw a herd of goats, with the two above munching on the leaves. It is all uphill and after 15 miles, elevation gained is around 1800'.
The maritime fog persisted so the views were not as good but still....
At the top of the Foxen Canyon climb, the sun began to break through to the west and north.  While this area is spectacular, I would not want to live this close to the coast where practically every morning you awake to clouds and what looks like rain.  Sure, it burns off 90% of the time but I need to explore south of here for an eventual move out of Ohio. 
I stopped at the Sisquoc store and then kept going northwest, passing this oddity, a nursery growing cactus.  Geesh, just drive east a couple hundred miles and you can dig them out of the sand by the thousands.
More acres have been planted in grapes.  You people are drinking way too much wine.
Along Foxen Canyon Road, you pass the Rancho Sisquoc winery with the San Ramon Chapel, built in 1875..  The original owners were part of a land grant from Mexico that goes back in to the early 1800's when 37,000 acres were acquired.  Not a bad stomping grounds.
Reaching the top of Tepusquet, the views northward are incredible.  It's around a 10 mile climb but not steep until the end.
Emerging from the Eucalyptus trees along Foxen Canyon.
The oak trees are everywhere, dotting the landscape in the farms and fields.  Finished with 84 miles and 5400' of climbing.  A great day for a bike ride.  Then, the forecast changed and it began to rain.  The next day was forecast for rain and blustery conditions for the following day.  I looked at the forecast for Tucson and it was sun and 80, so, I checked out of the hotel and headed back, driving through Palm Springs and 60mph winds, finally reaching Tucson.  Well, much more cycling and hiking to come.  I'm coming backc when Ohio weather improves....checking that forecast....ugh.
This hike has it all, friggin steep, boulder hopping, fantastic views, some route finding, climbing and there it is in the center, called the Flat Iron as it looks like an upside iron. Six miles and 2900' of climbing.
The first mile is the usual walk through the Sonoran desert type environment but soon we arrive at the Siphon Draw, a broad expanse of slickrock.  I always marvel at this unusual feature but then have to walk up the steep slope.  Arriving at a saddle, I rested a moment before the next stage, which is harder, very, very steep and right at the top a 12' wall that must be negotiated.  Then.....
....a fantastic walk to the Flat Iron and its expansive views.  Lots of people sit on that edge, as did I, eating an apple and contemplating life as I know it.
The top of the Flat Iron is an odd environment.  There are a couple of camp sites and on this day, Sunday, it was kind of crowded.
Looking to the east, I noticed a couple of guys walking off trail and figured they were going to walk around that protrusion on the left to hook back up to the main trail so I followed.
Wow, the edge.  Hundreds of feet before something would break the fall so I kept a good distance away.  I caught up with the two guys but they were going somewhere else. However, it was an easy off trail effort with more great views before hooking back up with the main trail and heading back down.  Check out the rock formations below.
OK, I did it. drove to CA.  I rode 74 on Friday, 54 on Sat, hiked the brutally steep Flat Iron via Siphon Draw on Sunday and so, jumped in the car and drove to Santa Ynez Valley on Monday. I know, this is borderline irrational but I needed a "CA Fix" and so got it while eating at a couple of great restaurants.  Below, emerging from a grove of Eucalyptus trees, the long ride via Foxen Canyon Road to Tepusequet Road and then up, up, up.  More to come, later.

So, after the Mount Lemmon climb, I took a short hike, 7 miles, in to Sabino Canyon, trying a couple of new trails that paralleled the creek and then headed up on a spur trail toward the Phoneline Trail.
Multiple types of lizards are all over the place.  Most are very small and must be a diet of something.
I began the climb toward the Phoneline Trail, which runs parallel with the paved Sabino Canyon Road on which trams run all day.  When hiking in the warmer months, my routine is to scan the trail to my front and then scan the sides of the trail, looking for you know what. 
Walking forward, I somehow missed this fella but saw it in time. one step away.  I believe this is a Mojave rattlesnake and they have the rep of being especially unfriendly.  Trust me, it was bigger than it appears in this image.  Not a maneater but quite capable of ruining my fun out here.  I have a good video of the sound of the rattles as I kicked rocks toward it.  Wished I had a hiking pole with me so I could manipulate it a little.  I think this makes the 6th encounter I have had with rattlesnakes, ranging from a pink rattlesnake in the Grand Canyon to a little guy on the Camelback trail in Phoenix.
From that point forward, I went in to hyper scan mode and saw every ledge and footfall a potential point of encounter with another snake.  Look at the above, they could be anywhere.  I encountered a few people coming down from the Phoneline Trail and warned them of what I had seen.  They are always very grateful for the head's up. Back to cycling now.
I took a day off from cycling but yet another day with sun and 80 degrees but something gnaws at me and so I give in and ride to Sabino Canyon, which allows cyclists on the 4 mile paved uphill road through the main canyon after 5:00pm.  I ride easily but then some guy passes me so I give it a dig, catch him and pass, holding on but gasping, have to give up the goose and he passes about 1/2 a mile from the end.  Coasting back down canyon I stopped to take the above image.  Tomorrow.....
....I leave (Wednesday) at 10:00am, cross the Synder Road wash, reach Catalina Highway and begin the long grind towards Summerhaven, 25 miles distant.  I am determined to make it this time with wind, temp and sun working in my favor.
I stop at Windy Point Vista for a break at mile 14.  There are dozens of people from the Midwest in town for a baseball tournament.  So many are shocked that people ride their bikes up the mountain and a couple from Utah tell me, "I've never seen anything like this,"  referencing their surprise that so many are riding their bikes.  Just another day of, by my count, 80+ going up and down. Wind us brought dust into the air so the views are not so good but the Midwesterners are in awe anyway.
Reaching the Pallisades Gift Shop and the top of Mt Bigelow, a shoulder of Mount Lemmon, I was about out of water but a couple from British Columbia insisted I take some water and I did so eagerly as the pump here is shut for the winter.  About 1/2 a mile above Pallisades the road dips down for about 2 miles, then climbs again, flattens out and then drops down to Summerhaven.  The feeling of finally reaching the village, after exactly 3 hours of riding and gaining around 5500' of climbing is one of the best, slightly better than reaching that final climb on Mountain Mama at mile 98.  I ate a salmon club sandwich and ice tea,
Slightly down from the village on the return, I had to stop to take an image that does not do justice to the view.  Note the trees that are left from the Aspen Fire of a few years ago.  While devastating, the area is recovering and plenty of acres were untouched.
There are a couple of points on the descent that cause me to gasp and state aloud how lucky I am.  Just so rewarding but interesting at this point, it appears, in person, the road swings up at around a 10% grade but as I look at this image, it appears flat or slightly uphill which it is, only a 2% rise ahead.  Weird.  About at this point also is the interesting rock formation below.  Finished the day with 63 miles and 7300' of climbing.  These shortish routes have been good but probably I should start doing some longer ride and then......damn, California is so close and so tempting. There is a road there, Ballard Canyon, that I'd like to see again, like for the upteenth time but so cool, what to do, what to do.....
The Sabino Canyon parking lot holds over 150 cars but after driving around with a couple dozen other cars looking fruitlessly for a spot, I drove back to the condo, saddled up and began the 3/4 mile walk to the Canyon.  The place was packed with people but once off the main paved road that heads 4 miles into the canyon with multiple stream crossings, I was alone as I headed up through Rattlesnake Canyon on the Esperero Trail.
Soon, I rose high enough that yielded sweeping views of other mountain ranges not too distant.
The wildflowers are out in earnest, helped by the rain of two weeks ago.
The trail became steeper and passed the wall with a neat cave at the bottom.  There are at least a couple of mountain lions around this canyon so maybe that is a sleeping spot?  The trail went left and above this feature.
Always welcome, after 2500' of climbing, the saddle approaches, granting relief from a tiring climb.
The relief was temporary as the trail reached the saddle, made a right and continued up but not as steep.  I passed an area called "Geronimo Meadow", dipped into Esperero Canyon and continued on to Bridal Veil falls which was a trickle of water.  Returned back with 14 miles and around 4000' of climbing.  Well, back to the bike and a successful climb of Mount Lemmon.
With a resource like Mount Lemmon a mere 7 miles away, one must climb it not once, or twice or thrice but many times and so I have.  While the miles would impress no one, the climbing, that's a different story.  Above is Snyder Rd and the road in the distance is also Snyder Road but that brushy area in the middle..... the infamous Snyder Road wash and I've gotten so I can ride the entire wash other than through the first of two river crossings that is kind of rocky.
So I arrive, yet again at the base and 21 miles of climbing to the Pallisades Gift Shop also known as the summit of Mt Bigelow, kind of a shoulder of Mount Lemmon.  From the Pallisades, it is 4 miles of rolling road to the village of Summerhaven. Reaching the Pallisades, you are at the same elevation of Summerhaven so maybe most cyclists who reach that point just turn around rather than ride the final 4 miles to Summerhaven.  Unless, you want to hit the "Cookie Shack" or the restaurant.
About 7 miles up is the Thimble Peak vista.  On Tuesday, I noticed the road was crammed with cyclists, many of whom were passing me so often and so speedily that I wondered if.....
.....why yes, they were pros.  There were at least 5 men's and women's domestic teams riding up Catalina Highway to Summerhaven.  I had a good talk with the guy that drives the "Octane" van.  The Tucson Bicycle Classic was Saturday so they were all out experiencing the climb.
Two days later, wind had whipped dust into the air and the views were quite muted.  From this point, one should be able to see 7 distinct mountain ranges but I could see only one.  On this day, Thursday I rode up to "Rose Canyon Lake" at mile 18.  On Tuesday, inspired by the pros I made it to Pallisades at mile 21, 5000+' of climbing.
Of course, the views are fantastic all the way up.  Below is the final vista prior to the Pallisades where you can see in to New Mexico.  On my Lemmon climbing days, I pocket 50-60 miles with 5000+' of climbing.  This, coupled with the hiking. each day, has the weight evaporating off me.  Unfortunately, I use all this calorie burn as an excuse for eating so for every 2000 calories burned I am consuming 1999 calories.  Yep, headed for just another season of being a schlep on a bike but with some good memories of AZ.
Although I have not yet put the story on the blog, last Tuesday I was riding up Mt. Lemmon along with well over 100 other cyclists, including at least 5 pro teams.  They were in town for the TBC and curious, I got on their web site, so they needed volunteers and so, volunteered for registration duty.  I don't follow the domestic scene much but there were many teams represented.  The Pro/Cat 1 division had 89 participants and a good turnout in all the other divisions too.
Warming up.
I worked the afternoon shift at the "A-C" place.  It was 74 and sunny and I looked forward to my 1-5pm slot.
Arriving at the registration area, at which I would ask dozens of cyclists for their race license, give them their numbers, ask if they knew to sign in each day, to wear all 3 numbers, yes they had to wear a number on their TT bike, results would be posted on the web site, etc...  Immediately I recognized the above jersey and discovered it was Morgan, who manages Team Novo Nordisk's junior team and knows Nick V very well.  Nick has got himself in to a very good situation as it appears the team is well funded, partly I think this because while in Santa Barbara for a team training camp, Nick and team stayed at the "Fess Parker Resort & Hotel" a very nice property.
Hey, Gord Fraser who set the TT record on this course a few years ago and entertained Marty Sedluk while he was in Tucson last November.  Seems like a good guy. Soon, rain and high winds moved in unexpectedly and I was glad I was under the shelter of the tent.  Out on the TT course, it poured for awhile.  the rain hung around for an hour or two but the show went on.  This must be a big deal on the racing scene as I heard one team drove 16 hours from Boulder, CO to make it here.  My selfish takeaway from this event?  I need to lose weight.  Geesh, these people are skinny and damn fit.
It has been a good few days of riding, more on that to come but in the meantime, for Saturday, there is the COP ride out of Canal Winchester at Cyclist Connection at 9:00am going to Lancaster and back. Also a Roll sponsored ride that starts from the Rockmill Brewery at 9:00am.  Looks like an interesting route.  I hear Steve O, Mark V, Mitch the Engineer, Flyin Tuna, Amanda and others are doing the Roll ride.

OK, I overdid it on Saturday with the 12.6 mile hike to the Window.  My legs are as stiff and sore as have they ever been but it is part of the process to return me to just a regular cycling schlep.  My plan is to take the first 2 weeks to hike and ride and lose the massive doughnut around my waste, or at least part of it.  So, on Monday I drove to Picacho Peak, a hike I have previously done several times because it is just a cool hike with a bit of everything.  Half way up the Hunter Trail, a very steep hike. I arrived at a saddle and saw the destination, that peak.  Seems close but there are many people hiking down it and so small are they that you can not make them out.  After this saddle, the trail plunges down and then back up to several sections that require....
.....cables and support structures to get past vertical walls of rock.  Although kind of remote about half way between Phoenix and Tucson, the park has probably 30+ who climb to the summit each day.
Close to the summit, I saw this gold colored lizard in a crevice.  It was about  12" long and soon scampered in to the rock.
A fit hiker can reach the summit in about an hour, give or take a few minutes.  There across I-10 is the destination for this weekend's hike.  No trails, just cross country bushwhacking.  Looking forward to that.
Coming back down, I approached a very large lizard and hoped it would stay there so I could get a good image, then it lingered and as I came closer I began to hope it would leave.  It was the length of my forearm.  At last it too scampered into the rock.  Below I descended with the sun setting on a vibrant surface of green from the recent rain.  I discovered my legs are not sore from the climbing but from the impact of descending.  Time for some time in the spa and tomorrow, the assault on Mount Lemmon!