An hour drive to the base of the mountain. Maybe you can see today's destination, the tiny white dot just left and below the small white cloud. Some people park at the Three Points crossroads where there is a market but I just wanted to do the climb. As I neared the turn off #86 to park I found.....
.....and passed this cyclist, motor pacing. I wondered if they would include the climb too.
There is a small pullout just off #86 and now the objective becomes clearer although still 12 miles distant. The car and cyclist made the turn and headed up the mountain.
The first mile is flat to slight rolling, heading straight to the mountain and then makes a sharp right and the real climbing begins. This is a little steeper then Mount Lemmon, usually in the 6-8% range while Lemmon is mostly in the 5-7% range. At 12 miles, it is a hard climb of course with 3400' of climbing. After making that right, I think you are heading west and slowly work around the mountain, eventually bringing....
...Baboquivari Peak into view to the south. The views are fantastic but my legs are so tired I find myself just staring at the pavement and grinding away.
At last, around mile 9 you get a good view of the destination but still looks kind of far away. My pace is, hmmmm, slow at an average of 7mph. I'm in the "just trying to make it pace".
I finally stop at mile marker 11 to take an image when a van from IN stops. They take my picture. I note I am looking kind of chunky but another 4 weeks out here ought to change that but no guarantee. After the great Buckeye win at the NC game, I can now bring out my OSU jersey. There were about 15 cyclists on the mountain, including the guy motor pacing who having reached some point on the climb, turned around and came back up, passing me rather quickly.
Cars pass at the rate of about one every 10-15 minutes so not much traffic on this Sunday. I reach the top, do a small fist pump, circle the parking lot, answer some tourist questions (Yes, I really did ride all the way and yes, the shoes do attach to the pedals type replies). It was kind of chilly, probably 55 degrees after starting at 70 degrees so I took one last image (below) and began coasting down. Unlike Lemmon, there is not much of a berm and the turns are much tighter so I ride the brakes for much of the way. It took me 1:44. I looked up on Strava and that would place me around 375th place. Kind of sad. I think I could knock off 15-20 minutes if I was in shape and may come back before I depart. The men's record is 47 minutes, the ladies 1:11. I have encouraged Lori N to go for the QOM when she climbs it, I think today, Tuesday.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.