I deserved it. I know, if Steve O had done what I did today he'd have ordered salad (hold the dressing), if Dave Chesrown had done it he'd have ordered a hamburger (hold the bun), if Grand Poobah had done it he'd have ordered BLT (hold the bacon and bun), if Flyin Tuna had done it she'd have ordered a triple bacon cheeseburger (add the kitchen). Anyway, more on this below.
So, I left the parking lot in front of "La Buzz" a popular cyclist eatery at 9:30am, a little late but it was great to ride along with temps in the mid 70's and plenty of sun. I arrived at the foot of Mount Lemmon after 4.5 miles and began the grind up. Previously, my Garmin had always been stuffed in my cycling jersey so I never got a good look at the steepness of the climb but I put the Garmin on my winter beater bike and was able to follow the % of the climb. On the way up, an emergency vehicle passed me with sirens blaring, then a sheriff's SUV and then another emergency vehicle. At mile 10, I saw this couple try to flag down the sheriff as he was headed back down. I stopped. They had been hiking in a group, a mix up resulted in them being left behind, without a means of getting off the mountain. I got all the info and later where cell service was available, called one of their parents and got them a ride. Meantime, the emergency vehicle stopped, not offering them a ride, but told me a cyclist had been descending and ran into a deer that had jumped into the road. He said, "He was busted up pretty good." Told me to be careful, ouch.
The incredible views are plenty and help pass the time. In previous attempts, I guessed the % grade was 9-10 all the way but it is an amazingly consistent 4-6%, a few pitches at 7 and a couple of 8 percenters in there but 80% is 4-6%. Towards the top, 6% feels so much harder.
The road is a ribbon of asphalt descending to Tuscon. The air was chillier higher up and felt great.
About 2/3 of the way up, the scenery is awesome. At mile 20 of the climb, I stopped at a campground that had water and filled two empty water bottles. At mile 21, I reached the end of continuous climbing and enjoyed a 2 mile descent before climbing about a mile, then descending into Summerhaven, a small village close to the top of the mountain. There is another road that heads 2 more miles further up the mountain to the ski slopes but having done that once, that's enough.
I sat on the patio of the restaurant and ate part of the hamburger and a few of the fries. My fingers were numb even though the temp was in the low 60's. Must have been a circulation issue. The 2004 Aspen Fire is still in evidence as this was once covered in trees but they are coming back. Coasted back down and finished with 60 miles, 6850' of climbing, a very sad 9.2mph avg on the climb part of the ride and a very, very sad 3:12 climb time (from the parking lot to Summerhaven which I put here only for my personal reference next time I do this ride). Doesn't seem right that this ride report is positioned in front of Marty's. Kind of like an Edsel leading out a Lamborghini.