Ahhhhh, the Tucson Saturday "Shootout" ride. A ride that attracts pros who winter in AZ (like Wiggo, Contador, etc...), top amateur racers and schleps like me. Actually, the A group departs at 7:30am and the "senior" group departs at 7:15am. I slot in with the seniors, even though most of them are not literally seniors but those who are, think of Farmer Mike on HGH. These guys ride every, no exaggeration, every day so what chance do I have against these guys and a few gals? Kind of cool that everyone pulls in along 4th street's retail area, parks and then gathers, waiting for Ralph, the dean of Tucson cycling to call us out with a shout of "Let's ride". Temp is 47 at the start, kind of chilly but once the sun crests the horizon, it will warm nicely, eventually to 78.
Damn I like it out here. Dude on the left is a grad of Michigan State and a big football fan.
We head out through a convoluted maze of stop signs, street lights and detours but eventually reach the outskirts of town and approach an intersection. We are in a long line of about 60 cyclists as the light changes to yellow, the peloton keeps going, then red, the peloton keeps going but I stop. Yep the only person who stops. I once broke a collarbone because I did not stop at an intersection and ran into a cyclist who skidded to a stop because a car ran the sign. Probably that's why I take such a dim view of the couple of dim lights who populate our rides and do stupid stuff at lights and signs. You just can't rely on the driver observing the rules of the road even as you are not. Fortunately, today's group was still in the soft pedal mode and after a mile of chasing, I rejoined, just as we reached Valencia Road, which signals the ramping of intensity. From there, the road rises gently at first, then steeper and steeper.... I asked a gal next to me, "How far to the bridge" which signals the end of the climb. "Seven miles" was her reply!!! People began to drift back, then more, down to about 20 now...then I drop, CRAP!!!! about 50 yards from the bridge.
There is some regrouping at the top and I slot in with 7 people. About 2 miles from the turnaround, I shoot this image of the desolate landscape....
....then the A group streams by. They are the real deal. I catch back on with my returning group and return to downtown Tucson with 60 miles and an invite to join them on Sunday but alas, I'm hooking up with 11 crazies who are off trail hiking into the wilderness. Will have that story tomorrow.