From Steve Nelson:
For those of you all not doing the Chillicothe ride tomorrow (18th May):
There will be a group of us pre riding the Honor Ride Course to make sure there's no surprises for next week. Right now it'll be Gus, Peg, Jay and myself but all are welcome and it'll be a subdued B pace with a stop in Utica. Start time will be 8am Star Bucks NA with a get back no later than 1pm but more than likely noonish or slightly thereafter. If anyone wants more miles, there are certainly options to extend or shorten.
Wow. After seeing an old Savage Hill, orange jersey worn by Larry P on Tuesday, here is another on Thursday! Oh, wait!!! David on the right, forgot his jersey so Larry was pleased to loan his, I'm pretty sure unwashed from his wearing of Tuesday....sniff, sniff. Will P and Kurt S on the left.
This being our first year at the Methodist church parking lot, I was glad to see the restroom is getting a good workout. Remember gang, keep it clean.
We begin to gather in earnest. Kim on the left, Steve the former club's weather forecaster who was fired by the club because his forecasts were correct less time then a blind squirrel finds an acorn, Jon in blue just back from wintering in FL and Mike M, getting his eye piece aligned.
More cyclists arrive and by shove off time, our numbers swell to 60 cyclists. Note Ron Moody's new celeste green Bianchi.
Hard to miss the throw back helmet worn by Paul Djupe's friend. I had to rap my knuckles against it to confirm it is leather. Paul's friend had it custom made by a store I think in Thailand. Kinds of neat.
The Rivet group rolls out and later, they would (those that could finish with them) end the 46 mile route with an average of just under 24mph. Hey, that's Muscle Dude on the left...wait, no, this is the A group rolling out, the Rivet's already long gone. The A group finished with a 21.5 average.
That left the B and C group yet to shove off. Yes, I gladly rolled out with the B group and was on the rivet all the way around;;;;geesh. Above, Don, Chris, Amanda and John await the marching orders and.....
Eventually going east on Stone Quarry Road, we approach the final ramp and I jump from the pack, take a really, long, long look at Don Novel and limp away. I had to take a 2nd stare back in disbelief that no one followed. I guess the strongest were pined against the ditch and unable to respond. We reach the bottom of SQ and do a regroup, having swept up Katherine along the way. As we wait....
….Mike, John and Jonathon slurp down gels of various types for the remainder of the route.
We climb Burg and descend via Thornwood and take a final regroup. Don N was no where to be found so many of us surmised I had stripped him of his manhood after he failed to respond to my stare challenge back on Stone Quarry. Well, actually he was shepherding some back benchers to the group. Quite a few new people who have not yet had the displeasure of meeting me. I'll fix that soon!
The clouds are rolling in as we race west into the gathering gloom. Our group finishes with a 19.8 average, kind of mundane compared to the others. And what was all of our reward for our efforts this evening.....
….yeah, Jonathon models the appropriate way of retrieving one of Kristie's cookies. Got a ride option for Saturday coming later today.
Larry P, so thrilled that I have returned that he closed his eyes tightly and reopened to make sure he was not dreaming. As a testimony to the theory that cycling jerseys are indestructible, not he is wearing a Savage Hill version from the '90s.
Next on my whirlwind visit around the parking lot was Don and Chris. By the time I finished greeting everyone, there was not a wet eye in the parking lot......get it....wet eye rather than dry eye. OK, weak I know. I was wearing civilian clothes and everyone wanted to know why. I told them it was too cold for me but.....
….I am having such fun in the woods and besides, I am 33.3333% finished with the task of creating enough fire wood for next winter. I predict it will be another long and cold one.
Yeehaw! The Queen of Treats is back for another season. Having 5 industrial ovens in ones kitchen does allow for industrial sized capacity which is needed but especially for Thursdays.
Terry Campbell has a personalized plate that matches his nickname, also found on the fork, Dr. Brutal.
Dang. Last year if we had 20 come out for a Tuesday ride it was a good group but last week there were 30 and tonight 44. The club's goal of maintaining a B pace ride is impossible with so many European racer type looking guys coming out so Don announced there would be both an A and B group, which is a good idea. Above, Peggy tells the group that the Honor Ride needs a few more volunteers and states that information about volunteering can be found on the Cycling Club's site: https://www.thecyclingclub.org/
Seems like everyone prefers gathering at this church parking lot due to the much easier road access compared to behind the Heit Center. It was brutal getting out of that parking lot.
Kasey K on the right listens as do the others to additional announcements and then the groups are......
…..released to the open road! For the 36 mile route, the A group averaged 21mph while the B group slotted in with a 19.5mph. Hmmmm, is that Jon Morgan giving me the finger at the back of the group? I can image plenty of people who would but Jon???? See you Thursday for the mother of all group rides, same place, same time. Don't miss it.
Feeling sloth-like after my serial eating experience while driving to Ohio, I joined the 8:30am group out of Milford Center for the 60 mile loop to the high point in Ohio and back. It was good to see Larry P, Kenda Janet & Paul, Miek Wray, Woody, Jeff S and new guy Jeff J. It was COLD, relatively speaking as we headed northeast with a favorable wind that would build and build and then suck on the return, into the wind.
Most of us hung together into Bellefontaine, the highest elevation point in Ohio. An AZ friend was none too impressed after discovering that was only 1550' elevation. I claimed we started our ride a couple thousand feet below sea level so it was more impressive then it seemed. I have to apologize to the readers. I got out of the habit of taking pics but will regain the expertise for the next ride.
We completed our ride with 58 miles and 2600' of elevation gain. Meanwhile, Kenda Janet expressed surprise/disappointment that more of the other ladies that populate our rides did not come out for this one. Thus she was the lone woman but it is generally agreed that her personality makes up for the loss of many. Looking at the forecast for the Tuesday New Albany ride....hmmmm…..maybe I'll just put in a social appearance and slowly condition the group to my reappearance. Having me around for 3 hours would probably be too much at first.
I head north and pass through Salt River Canyon, a beautiful place. Gaining elevation the....
...scenery changes. I like to take different routes to see parts of AZ and CO through which I previously have not traveled so while headed to Durango, CA I visit....
….at the urging of friends, the Petrified Forest. The story behind it is interesting but as for the views....
…..hmmmm, I'd not recommend a visit. I did not understand why people thought this would be a good destination. Maybe if you are from the east coast or Midwest and never visited the southwest, well maybe.....
OK, now this was interesting in the visitor center. I worry about running into mountain lions but had this still been alive, I'd never hike again. Yikes!
Kind of funky looking, multicolored mounds was neat.
Back on the road and headed toward CO. Nice rock formations.....
….along the way. Should have brought hiking shoes and checked to see if there was a way up one of these. Nearing Durango......
...the snow capped peaks of the Rockies creep above the horizon. I spent the night in Durango and got a very early start the following morning so did not see anything around that city.
Had to be very careful driving as there were 6 separate encounters with deer or elk that forced me to slow and once stop as a herd of about 40 elk were crossing the road.
Beautiful as I head to Wolf Pass and once there....
….snow is still abundant. Looking west.....
….another beautiful view with a sign that warns drivers of what is ahead during the descent.
I was following a front that hit Ohio on Thursday and each day of driving, I'd catch it and drive in the rain, discouraging my progress. It took me 4 days to make it to Ohio and along the way, I snacked frequently. When I weighed myself Friday morning, I was 4 pounds heavier than on Monday. Way to go Mark you dumb ass!!!
The clouds are low as I cross the last of the Rocky passes.
Somewhere in eastern CO, I pass a lone cyclist. I slow to talk and discover she is riding to Washington DC. For what reason I did not think to ask. The prior day I passed a group of 10 cyclists in AZ headed to Chicago.
Ugh, the drive across eastern CO, all of KS, all of the other states, just ugh. No better word to describe that part of the trip.
Here is a Saturday morning option. Columbus Outdoor Pursuits is putting on the annual "Top of Ohio" ride. The first 20 and final 20 miles of the century route is mind numbingly boring but the middle 60 is a good, rolling route that includes the famous "Corkscrew Hill" climb to the high point in Ohio. Meet us at 8:30, ready to ride, at the MILFORD CENTER START- School Bus parking lot on Middleburg-Plain City Rd just on the east side of Milford Center. Roads will be marked and maps for 60 mile option will be available. There is a small fee of $5 for COP members and $10 for non members. B pace ride but if you want to go faster or slower, good for you. I am searching through my winter clothing to find something suitable to wear.
Figures, the week that began with the re-entry of one of the "Encinitas Boys" it appears it will rain and hard for the Thursday ride. May as well take the scenic route back for the last leg of my Ohio drive.
Oh and I am back in OH or will be soon.
A final ride in AZ for awhile. This time, a small group that started out of Green Valley and headed to.....
….the tiny village of Amato where we headed west to Arivaca and a small.....
….coffee shop where we got out of a hot sun and relaxed in the shade of some....
….fine trees. This was at mile 32 and our return would be mostly down hill and down wind...yeehaw!
Nice views of the distant mountains. Well, driving back to OH and took some nice images through AZ and CO prior to the dreary march across KS, MO, etc...
I hit the 70+ mile mark today and while doing so, paused at Aqua Caliente Park which has, if not a unique setting, a rare one.
So thick is the cover that these magnificent palm trees provide and beneath them....
Several small pools as well as a....
….large pool where bird watchers gather. I don't get that hobby but maybe in another 20 I will be all over it. On the ride back, I spent a few minutes on a bike path and saw.....
….what is increasingly a common look, a cyclist having some kind of brim around their helmet. Yes, thinking about it.
Looks like you all will have a nice evening for a bike ride. I should be there next Thursday to wreak havoc and destroy the harmonious nature of the parking lot. Remember, new departure location as described below.
LaBuzz is usually humming with cyclists but today motorcyclists pause for coffee prior to riding up the mountain. I too head to the mountain but only go up a mile before coasting down and heading south to....
...the wonderful 8 mile loop through Saguaro East National Park. The road dips and turns, has a nasty climb on the back side and while there are many cars sharing the road, they drive slower than we pedal.
The Tanque Verde trees are in full bloom. Tough time for allergy sufferers.
My route takes me through 49er Golf Club. It is an older community with many mature trees including these arborvitae. Finished with 55 miles and lots of climbing. My weight has finally dropped so now I just look like Michelin Man Jr.
OK, overly dramatic title to the story of my 2nd ascent of this mountain. But, there is unfortunately truth to the title. Rather than park at the gathering place for cyclists, LaBuzz, I drove to the base of the mountain and parked in the shade along the side of the road. The high today was in the mid 90's but up top, low 60's. As I readied myself, a lot of emergency vehicles passed.
For as long as it takes me to climb the beast, I assumed the emergency would have been handled by the time I reached it. I took a break at mile 14, Windy Point Vista where I addressed the usual questions, "Yes, I am really riding my bike up the mountain." Back on the bike, a mile farther up the road, I happened upon the scene. A car that appeared undamaged was being pulled onto a flat bed truck. I asked a guy managing the "Stop/Slow" sign what had happened, "Injury" he replied. Later I was told a man had probably stopped to take a picture and fell from one of the boulders. His body was seen, wrapped in a sheet and being pulled from below.
I stopped to eat a salad in Summerhaven and then chugged on up to Ski Valley where I was surprised to see patches of snow still on the north facing slopes. The gate was open for the 2 mile additional climb to the observatory. I eyed it warily, turned my bike in the down hill direction and.....
…..began the 28 mile return. What a glorious descent. Lemmon is not a good fit for my cycling ability. Even my best time, set last year, sucks. On Strava, I am 4400 out of 8300 for the 21 mile climb segment. For segments lower on the mountain, my times are a little more respectable, mid 3000s out of 14,000 efforts. I guess that shows for the many dozens of cyclists who are on the mountain each day, how few of them go the distance. I just use it to burn calories and so I did, 4000+.
I joined a group of 5 for a bike path recovery ride. Rounding a curve, I heard someone yell something and suddenly, bikes were skidding to a stop. I managed to swerve to the right of a cyclist and stop just before crashing into a railing. What the.....oh, a Mojave Rattlesnake. It was too easy to imagine one of us falling to the ground on top of that thing as happened to a mountain biker a few weeks ago in the Phoenix area. Yikes!
Wow. 46 miles for the Rivet/A cyclists? Already? The B group may have a few visitors from the A community. Like Rick Miller always says, "Ride with the B group, ride like a B cyclist" OK, I just made that up, like a lot of what I post here and elsewhere. Have fun out there! Note the new start location, below.
Effective TUESDAY, 4/23 the Tuesday & Thursday Cycling Club group rides will start from the parking lot at the New Albany United Methodist Church. 20 3rd Street, New Albany Ohio 43054. Starting time is still 6:00pm, with the same format as usual. Note the club made a hefty donation to the church and in exchange we receive access to the quiet, private, leafy, location which includes access to their restroom. Inside the entrance and turn left. Yes, this is the same location from where we began our ride a few years ago.
A windy day was forecast so I was more than agreeable to take up a friends request to lead up La Milagrosa Canyon to the waterfalls. Well, I was agreeable until I realized that my one previous visit wasn't actually up the interior of the canyon but a loop around the inner canyon. Then, after reading several descriptions of the canyon hike I decided that is best left for another day so, above, we head east on Horsehead Road into the wilderness.
I understand there are several neat features within the canyon so certainly will visit for at least a scouting mission. Our little group of 3 headed up the ridge trail which allowed some good views into the canyon.
The hedgehogs are now blooming. Beautiful color.
The trail drops into a canyon with a meager flow of water and then back out and the climbing continues.
Wow, not seen this before, a saguaro cactus having an orange arm. Weird.
Every time we reached a saddle, there was another to climb. I had my prior experience having hiked the loop and I also had a GPS track I checked so what did I do......
….I walked right by a right bearing fork and we kept going up and up. Finally, I called a halt to the proceedings, checked the screen of my device and noooooooo. I had mistaken a black terrain elevation line for the route. There, about a mile back was the black, dotted route line. We retraced our route to.....
….the fork in the trail and took a break to refuel. I walked down to a ledge and peered into the canyon while my companions were probably discussing whether one should push me in to the chasm.
We decided, rather than continue on the official loop trail, to go back the way we had come which would give us 8 miles while the loop would yield about 10.5. Working with a time constraint forced the decision. Above, water trickles over rock slabs.
Various homes have landscapes for which they pay many thousands of dollars to look like what we see all around us. Throughout the hike, I was in hyper snake scan mode and did see a garter snake on the trail but no rattler. Returning home, a neighbor alerted me that a Western Diamondback was in our condo complex so....
….I ran over to see. There it is, curled under a rock. The fire department arrived and....
….grabbed it with one of those pincher tools. Note the color of the rocks behind the snakes upper body. They blend in way too well. I asked the fireman if I could touch the snake and he said no. Then I asked if he could release the snake so we could reenact the capture for video and he again said no!!! They had more snakes to capture so off they went.
For your watching and studying pleasure, the Rivet/A, B & C Thursday routes: I think legendary "C" ride leader, Steve Hewitt has returned from touring Napa and will be able to pull the C cyclists around their route.
The yellow flowered Brittlebush, in bloom for many weeks, still going strong. Another front arrived and dropped our day time highs by 20 degrees, into the low 70's:) High winds with gusts in the 30's took me off the bike and on to the trail.
I made a last minute decision to join a small group of 8 and depart from the Sabino Canyon visitor center and head to 7 Falls. I expected a slow pace and was good with it but what I did not expect was numerous regroupings that included extended story telling so with my patience exhausted....
….I left the group behind. Reaching the top of the only climb, I looked down canyon and the abundance of wind blown dust obscures the magnificent mountain ranges, both distant and near-by.
The spectacular falls, all 7 of them. The confined space of the canyon caused the wind speed to pick up and my hat was blown from my head and deposited into a pool. Having a hiking pole, I extended it to its full length and was able to pluck the hat from the water.
I climbed above this falls and.....
….looked down as a duck flew in, glided to the shore and approached this group of women. I climbed out of the canyon, exchanged pleasantries with the incoming group and finished with 7 miles. I was able to hop on a bus that arrives at the Bear Canyon trail head every 30 minutes and saved a 2 mile walk. Well, back to the bike.
The Cactus Club organized a ride to Kitt Peak so 9 of us gathered at the base of the mountain and rode the 12 miles to the top. As I recently posted several images from the same ride from two weeks ago I'll keep this accounting short. I was ready to shove off at the appointed start time of 9:00am. Looking around, there were others not ready and with my desire to ride in my private box of pain, I got going. Above, some of the group pass the point where the road finally bends flat.
Aw, the views!
The area being remote and where we parked our cars having a reputation for car break-ins, I had taken everything of value from my car, stuck it in a bag and stored it in a SAG vehicle. The group was going to take a tour of the peak so I took my bag, looped it around my neck and began the descent.
I took 20 minutes off my time of 2 weeks ago, finishing the entire ascent of 12 miles in 90 minutes. Still 9 minutes off my best time and I think I can get that so probably will try the ride again, soon.
Here ya go kiddos! The routes for this evenings fun filled, exciting gathering of cyclists inhabiting the C, B, A & infamous Rivet categories. It's an unprecedented day of great weather for early April so come out and ride.
After joining a group ride last week and enjoying the pavement and surroundings, I returned to the town of Oracle. In the distance, Mount Lemmon still carries snow.
Rather than follow the 45 mile route of last week, I rode to the southern end of Oracle on West American Avenue, turned around and thus added 10 miles to the course.
The usual 6 mile descent on Webb Road followed, then through San Manuel on Reddington Road, descend 3 miles and head to the end of the pavement. I think I crossed 10 cattle guards in total. Some fit perfectly to the road, some do not so it can be bone jarring at times. Otherwise, the pavement is fabulous.
My time on the 6 mile ascent of Webb always sucks. But, to my left are the mountains so between that distraction and the rare car passing, it is an enjoyable climb to the extent that is possible.
I finished with 55 miles and 3300' of climbing so a good workout. I've ramped up cycling but that has come at the expense of hiking, as is the norm for me in the spring. I've ridden 3 of the last 4 days and rather than rest, am joining a group to do KItt Peak for a 2nd time this visit. More to come on that.
One day this week when a dry front rolled through and brought with it wind gusts of 35mph, I thought better of riding so joined a small group hike at Catalina State Park, which is less than a mile from where I live. The snow melt has diminished enough that the washes can be crossed without getting our feet wet.
The area is very green as we.....
….follow the Sutherland Trail to a canyon with a nice flow of water. It seems each day a different species of plant is flowering but one.....
….the Ocotillo has not yet flowered but is on the verge of doing so.
Have no idea what this is called but looks like some kind of hydrangea plant.
Locals call this one "Angel's Breath". There were plenty of them bordering the trail along with.....
…..many others. It being snake season, we walked carefully as a rattlesnake had been spotted crossing this trail prior to our passing. Nothing would ruin a visit more than getting snagged by one of those.
A beautiful bouquet is passed as we finish our 6 mile, fairly flat hike. Back to cycling.