5:45am and cyclists begin to gather for one of the top group rides in the Tucson area, the Bicycle Ranch shop ride. I hear the pavement has gotten so bad south of here, the famous "Shootout" ride is bleeding participants to this ride. Still, I was surprised when we rolled out with.....
....around 60. The first 6 miles is mostly down hill with a few lights to pass through so with a long line, if the light turns mid group, it gets dicey. The group was split once but came back together. Steve, the manager of the shop was in the group so he keeps things organized.
The temperature was around 70 at the start and once the sun rose above the mountains, we began to bake but not too bad. After we made a right turn on Silverbell, the pace picked up and I barely hung on until we made a right on Twin Peaks where the group slowed as we rolled through a couple of lights. Then began the 7 mile climb up Twin Peaks to Dove Mountain resort. I got shelled somewhere in there as while the grade is only an average of 2%, the pace is excruciating. A new record was set today by someone and I put in all new PR's along the way. I managed to stay somewhat close and was able to roll.....
....into the only stop on the route and was afforded a decent chance to recover. The woman above clipped a tire, crossed in front of 2 cyclists, hit the curb and slammed onto the sidewalk. Ouch! My sub group passed but soon she was back on the bike and passed our group. Very strong. Going inside....
....I encountered the longest line waiting to fill their bottles with ice. Heading back out with the group, I was ok until the Rancho Vistoso climb, another long one and popped off. I hooked up with a couple of guys and we fought a nasty head wind for much of the remainder of the route, finishing with 53 miles and a 19.3 average. Been a long time since I have ridden that hard.