Doug McConaha arrives for today's ride and with him, the French Climbing Machine. Philippe chose to correct my spelling for the title of this post so now that his comment is part of the record, I have to leave the poor spelling or else his comment would not make sense.
The Gus & Peggy show arrived too as we prepare to shove off in what turned out to be a dry ride. Surprising given the forecast.
Dang it! At mile 2 some of us are already off the back, including Gus' friend Norman from WV. We managed to jump back on the train.
Couple of new people, Max and Billy were part of the group and always good to have new people come out for the rides. We arrived in Martinsburg where.....
....Doug parked his bike in front of the only bench. Group ridicule quickly solved the problem so now I had a place to sit too.
Max and Billy patiently wait. This being mile 30, we soon headed south where those intending to ride the 68 mile route turned right on Bell Church while Steve Nelson, Jeff S and me stayed straight and eventually finished with 56 miles and 3100' of climbing.
Jared discovers, after pulling his bike from the car, his rear tire is flat. Hate when that happens. Jared is doing a 300k event this weekend.
Wow! Sokha's new bike. He has another set of wheels that have yellow accents to match the frame. The HH guys did well in a series of races in IN last week.
Deniece making a rare appearance. Work and commuting to/from work, prevents her from appearing more often.
A rainy forecast cut into the turnout and only 5 Riveters came out. When I asked the Rivet group to depart, they informed all they were riding with the A group. Ken, Paul, Pete and Ron got a chuckle out of our reaction. Many disbelieved they would ride like A's but in fact they did. I headed out with the A group, looking for a story for the blog.
The pace was moderate and we arrive in Alexandria with a 20.6 average. Then things got toasty as we made a left on Hardscrabble and that long climb but we paused at the top to regroup. Don't think everyone made it on but it was a legit regroup. Then off to Northridge and a right, ugh, for the Stone Quarry event. I hung in to the last climb and then......
....emerged from the pack to attack!!!! Actually, by the time I reached the front of the group with Pete and Paul leading, I was almost out of gas but I kept going while giving Pete a long stare. No doubt reminded everyone of the above image. I had a good gap for 5 seconds....ok, maybe 2 before Pete and all others swept around me. I went from first to last in an instant. We made a right on Louden and then Dry Creek where.....
....I was not feeling all that fine at Burg Street so I went right while the others stayed straight. After the Hardscrabble and Stone Quarry climbs, my average had gone up to 20.9. I stopped at the bottom of Beechwood, in Granville to catch the B group. I waited and....
....waited. After 20 minutes I began to despair. Just then.....
....Shannon K came by on a solo ride and I got caught up with him. Then the A group came through and I jumped on with them. Soon, we caught the B group and all yelled, "On your left!" so proper etiquette was performed and I was witness to it. At the top of the climb on Moots, I bugged out and jumped in with the B group. After crossing 310 on old 161.....
....in front of the construction site, Kim his a clod of dirt or other debris, going down. Kristian and Kristie also went down. Kristie is ok. Kristian had a deep cut in his ankle and subsequently was stitched. I think Kim's injuries are mostly scrapes but with no broken bones. Probably 15 of us lingered with most helpless to do anything but watch. Calls were made, a driver stopped and gave us a First Aid kit then Kristie suggested a get a group together and 8 of us headed to New Albany. Finished with 42 miles and a 20.5 average.
I passed on an opportunity to ride Tuesday morning. So many forecasts of rain had missed so I thought it would be dry for the evening, New Albany ride. I also thought an earlier storm may have taken energy out of what I saw on weather radar and the storms would dissipate. Alas, it rained hard as I look to the west and the view to....
.....the east is somewhat encouraging but of course, that is where the storms are going, not from where they come. More opportunities in the coming days and I hear of a good ride for Saturday.
What good fortune! I pull into a parking spot, Kristie does too, next to mine. She hops out of her car, opens the trunk and.....I am the proud recipient of one of 18 loaves of bread. Let me tell ya, it is bakery quality good and won't last long around my house.
Kirby on the left, Mike Weber, Don and Chris I, all happy to be out here on a beautiful Saturday morning and...wait.....what's this......
....Geoff from Veloscience pulls in too! Buzz C on the left.
Don gathers us together to describe what he expects from us. Some refer to him as a great leader but I know him as the "Great Leader" because while he may not be separated at birth from......
....Kim Jung=un, clearly they share some DNA, so similar in the facial features and leadership ability. Kim Don-un, our ride leader for today.
We head east with a tail wind. Turning left on Hardscrabble Road, Marty and Ron set a pace that few of us could match, thus violating one of Don's rules of the road. On Battee Road, I admonished them, sternly, They claim they were simply riding easy and chatting the entire time. Isn't that always the excuse? At mile 36 we entered.....
....Centerburg and paused to refuel. All 21 of us had hung together, for the most part, thus far and enjoyed the break.
Kristie pointed out she was wearing unicorn socks so of course, that, coupled with the ruby slippers, requires an image. Kristie was the only woman on the ride and wished others had joined. We fought a combination of head wind and cross wind on the return but it was worth it because....
....at the end, we had bread and cookies to share. Finished with 63 miles and a 19.1 average.
There ya go! The appropriate reaction when you see me with camera.
I announced that 15% of purchases at Rusty Bucket would go to the Honor Ride and then Jay P modeled a Honor's Ride jersey which someone claimed was a "club" fit rather than a "race" fit.
Steve Hewitt is here to lead out a C/D group but I think only one other came out for the group. We need to do better to recruit the newbie cyclist.
And off we go to the east, headed toward Granville. I rolled out with the A group and after being on the rivet throughout the Stone Quarry rollers......
....waited at the bottom with this group's KOM, Paul Stock and then decided at this point, mile 20.....
....to wait for my many buddies in the B group. Here they come in a long string of cyclists.
We got split up due to a flat tire but a good group of Katherine, Kristian, John, Ric, Flyin Tuna, Kevin, etc... headed back, into the sun to finish with 42 miles and for me, a 19.9 average. The Riveters finished the 48 mile route with an average of 23.5.
Wow, good turnout for Tuesday's New Albany ride, 30 of us. I know, you are thinking, "Only 30?" but all 30 are in one large group of B/B+ paced cyclists. It was great! I never had to take a pull!!! I know, you are thinking, "If there had only been two who showed up you still would not have taken a pull." Yeah, you got me there.
Ric preparing to join the group and telling me he took a buy-out offer and officially retires in one month. Great, yet another person who now will ride every day and kick my ass. OK, yes, he already kicks my ass but now it will be worse.
The famous shady spot was filling rapidly as we sought protection from a warm sun. Larry P holding up a tree.
Then Marty rolls in on the rarely seen "White Knight" bike. I kidded him by saying no one has ridden a chariot like that since the days of Ben-Hur. Marty arrived back from a winter in various exotic locales last week. He claims he watched my arrival and then knew it was ok to return.
Time is drawing near to shove off as Kristie takes a selfie. Hey! Wait a sec. Why is Peggy not on her bike?
Alas, she locked her keys in her car. Oh no! Gus kept his distance, not wanting to be drawn into something that would prevent both from riding but Chris I. was there to assist with finding someone who could gain access to the car. All Peggy could do now was watch and wait. Later, she would join us for the return.
We roll out with the eyes......
....of New Albany upon us. Kind of cool to be part of a large group that garners the attention of the restaurant goers who give us a thumbs up.
Out we go as I take an image of the tunnel that exists within our group. What a fabulous evening made special because of the sun, temperature, lack of wind and of course many of my favorite cyclists. Fun time. After Sunday's 83 mile effort, I hoped this would be a true B/B+ pace and so it was. Milt on the left, Larry P on the right.
We arrived at the left turn to 310 when someone just had to go. Got the 4" out of the shorts, took care of business and returned to the peloton, all before the light change. Way to go.
Screaming down Battee Road, we almost ran into the back end of a farm implement but managed to slow down. The fields were filled with tractors plowing or planting. What a nice evening to ride or plow. After the 37 mile ride at a 20.1 average we returned to the parking lot and descended upon Kristie's trunk for fabulous cookies and.....
....Mitchell rolled in from a solo effort, collecting booty from having won the Cat 5 State Championship on Sunday at Lake Hope. Way to go and now you graduate to the Rivet class on Thursdays. That is it for now my many fans!
I did not stress myself too much during Saturday's ride so I would be ready for a Sunday ride beginning at Alley Park, south of Lancaster. The route was to be 88 miles and 5000'+ of climbing. Arriving at the start, the ride leader announced the route would be 60 miles and of course different from what I had on my Garmin. This will shock you but I was determined to go long. Lot of new roads so at mile 14, I departed the group of Brent J, Andrew H, Bob S, Ryan, Dirty Dan and Sam. Then....
....(sorry for the out of focus image)....the group had a flat tire and my route crossed theirs and we regrouped in Logan. There, Dan too decided to go long so with my partner towing me around the route, we ended up in.....
....Laurelville. Along the way, encountered several new or seldom ridden roads, for me such as Mirgon, Mann, Nixon, a gravel road named Purcell, Ellis, Union, etc... Some big climbs in there along with Wagner Road and the climb to Thompson Ridge (nasty, that one). After the stop at Subway, we continued to.....
....follow the route. We got onto Bailor Road and say a sign stating it was a dead end. Impossible except, sure enough, it ended at a farm's entry. Dan whipped out his phone and plotted a return to Middlefork Road and back on the route. Once on it, I checked mileage and realized a direct route to Alley Park would give us 80+ miles so we climbed Buean Vista Rad, Revenge and returned to the park with 83 miles and 5100' of climbing. Now a momentous event....
....a child needed air pumped into his tire and with only a slight hesitation, Dan helped the kid out. I had an epiphany. This guy is no longer deserving of the "Dirty" moniker so hence forth, he shall be "Decent Dan."
Speculation swirled during the off season that Kenda Janet would abandon the traditional Kenda kit in favor of something more swanky, befitting her elite status but no, the Kenda tradition lives on.
A week ago, I posted an image of a woman's leg that had a mass removed for the purpose of eliminating melanoma. It worked and the leg did not belong to a woman in AZ as some surmised but to Janet. She is building her stamina and today's route of 67 miles would be a challenge.
Tym Tyler was here too and started with us.
Also here was Jeff S, Fred H and many others who were departing at various times. OK, I know, the MOC ride is flat and boring but a couple of years ago, Andrew Clayton created a new route and while it too is flat, it is at least much better.
We headed out and soon Miek Wray and his band of Team Sociale came by and we rode with them for awhile. Some of us tired of the pace so we regrouped and with a river on the left, heading north we saw....
....a large bald eagle's nest in the trees and an attendant eagle just above. I know, can't see it but trust me, it is in there. Very neat. We reached Marion, the northern most point for our journey and stopped at.....
....a Subway! Soon after we arrived, a group from Westerville Bicycle Club showed up, including Ted Miesky. It was good catching up with him. We got back on our bikes and rolled into Waldo where.....
....there were dozens of bikers, including the above rig with an interesting companion.
One of these is a cyclist, the other is a biker. You decide.
I love places like this but it was too crowded and too late to stop in but a unique bar/restaurant that has become an icon in the region. It is known for it's fried baloney but inside I could see the pies too are a draw.
After briefly pausing inside, we went back out and Janet realized she needed to refill a water bottle. Somehow, she struck up a conversation with a biker and got a bottle of water from him. We continued south and finished with 66 miles and get this....800' of climbing. Fun time with good people.
Saturday brings us a flat, flat ride out of Delaware, the COP Mid Ohio Century. Kenda Janet is leading a group which will shove off at 8:30am doing the 65 mile route. I plan to be there. Really hilly ride on Sunday so this B pace with pleasant people is a must for me. The 65 and 100 mile routes are: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27413290 and https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27413286
Also, Gus and Peggy Cook have organized this route with a 8:30am start from behind Veloscience in New Albany.
Closing a loop, Steve Hewitt, who had been knocked over by a car while kneeling with his bike on Tuesday, was happy to report that his bike is good and so too is he.
Members of Team Audi, the bad boys of the peloton. Just kidding guys. They have embraced the concept of group riding etiquette.
Lot of pairs of white legs at tonight's parking lot. Why is that? Ha, ha, I am such a kidder. Light turnout on what was a windy but beautiful evening. Probably 40ish cyclists.
A tradition like no other, scoping out the contents of Kristie's trunk. Oh yeah, lots of good tasting treats in there. By the way, that is a nice looking cycling kit.
Mike Weber wolfing down a double, Fig Newton. I object to this. Fig Newtons are to be savored, not gulped.
A new face and an able replacement for Luke Russell. LR will be missed. A great guy who moved to MN with Lori Nedescu. The Power Couple have moved on. Ben is from LA so just must refer to him as the Rajin Cajun. He'll be here for a year+ as his girlfriend completes her PHD.
The Riveters head out as we watch and then the A group departs. Later, the Riveters would finish with a 22.8 avg. Having ridden hard, for me, on Tuesday with the Canal A group, I was not overly optimistic about my chances.
We head out, Gus, Mike Weber, Will Paskett, Brandon H, Larry P, Sam S, Paul Stock, Dirty Dan, Joe T,....around 12-14 total. I was ok to mile 25 with an average of 21.4 but began to doubt I would still be ok after the Beechwood Bluff climb so made a left on Morse. Having forgotten the B group made a late switch to the route, I waited for them and then thought, "You idiot. They are not coming this way!" Alas, I soloed in for the next 12 miles, still finishing with a 20mph average. Entering the parking lot I was relieved to find.....
....Kristie had opened the treasure trunk. Kyle on the left, Ben center and Kim Don-un on the right. Recently, someone used hyperbole to describe Don's ride leader qualities, referring to him as a great leader. Hah, I can't allow that to slide so now there are two Great Leaders, Kim Jung-un and Kim Don-un. Dang, the cookies were amazing.
This Sunday is the Lake Hope Road Race, a classic event. Click the below link for details and get out there and compete.
Starting and ending a ride from in front of a brewery...genius! Although, getting out of Canal Winchester from the west side to the open roads to the east and south is not ideal. Good turnout for this evenings.....
....breezy ride. Winds from the southwest would aid us going out and had diminished somewhat for the return as the route went east/west mostly.
Lot of Kenda logos around here. Brent, in full Kenda regalia. Brent began with the A group but having already put in a hard mountain bike ride in the morning, ran out of steam and dropped back. Later, we found him laying in a ditch, resting. We fed him and sent him on a direct way back to the parking lot. He is really good at popping wheelies in the parking lot.
Yet another Kendaista on the right. Kenda Janet and Paul would have felt at home in this parking lot. We were sent out, I choosing to test my luck with the A group. Managed to hang in there to the very end, finishing with a 20mph average for the 43 mile route. Brent Jenkins was in there too, Joe Hall who I remember from years ago but other than that, mostly strangers. Good group of guys and it was a real group ride where we sat up a couple of times to reform.
Then things got weird (other than me finishing with the A group of course). I heard some unusual post ride noise and walking toward the sound, found a black Camaro had backed into a kneeling Steve Hewitt. He was thrown into his van, along with the bike but is ok.
Sunday, 12:30pm for an appropriately scheduled ride, given the temperature. The ride brought out 20 of us including Larry P, Lisa A, Peggy and Karla as shown. Peggy was glad to see I had returned from AZ while the others pretended not to care. Just kidding. Mostly everyone was glad I was back.
Sokha on the left, with Chris and Justin, Mitchell on the right. Maybe 52 degrees with a cold wind out of the northwest.
Eleanour paused to greet us as she was running errands. Too busy to join us I suppose.
And we are off! OK, my system absorbed the temperature shock and once we got rolling, I had made the correct clothing choices and was fine. We took a good route, organized by Don N, picked up Flyin Tuna along the way and arrived in Granville where....
...we paused. The roads have some massive holes, especially one on Louden Road where Lisa A hit it and flatted.
While in Granville, a guy entertained us by riding partially up the side of the building on a bike that had no seat. We returned to New Albany, finishing with 53 miles. Fun day on the bike.
Angie finished 4th in the Cohutta 100, mountain bike race in TN. There may be a report coming so stay tuned. Yes, that is a check she is holding so in addition to the pride of a top finish, she walks away with cash too.
If you ever hear me say I am driving to/from AZ, please kick me. Beautiful driving through the Rockies but then I hit eastern CO and then the......
....dreaded Kansas where the highlight of that agonizing drive was a grass fire. Be in Ohio on Saturday and looking for a Sunday ride.
I change from my usual duties of self deprecation, promoting the success of others...ok, that covers it all, to address something that concerns us all. Recently, one of us visited a dermatologist for her annual appointment. A mole showed unusual characteristics and was removed. A subsequent analysis of the mole showed melanoma had gone beyond the edge of the removal. A follow-up procedure to excise a larger area was performed. Above is an image of the stitches with another set of stitches present internally. My friend endured several days of anxious worry, who would not? The result came back clean. What a giant relief for her and her friends who were aware of her situation. The point of this of course is, readers of this blog are in a high risk category for melanoma and I hope you all have an annual visit to a dermatologist. My buddy, had she not been making the annual visit, would be facing a very grim future.
This is a good story so with Meredith's permission, I post it here:
My husband and I showed up 9:30 AM narrowly missing a highway trooper who gave in to only getting the guy behind us as we are speeding to the start of the Barry-Roubaix from our friend’s house in Perry Michigan. It was sitcom material for sure. My husband has never done a bike race before let alone a gravel bike race. We got to a park 1/2 mile from the start of the race. We did our unloading, checking the bikes, eating the last of the oatmeal, etc... We entered this ring set up by the race for warm-up. Hundreds of nervous riders were getting ready for a mass start. I decided it was time to go meet the 150 other women in Wave 13 doing the 36 mile race. Lo and behold I saw a familiar set of faces, Katherine and Amanda. Both were beaming and were so excited for what was going to happen. I could barely contain my nerves. Amanda exclaimed to anyone who would listen “This is my first gravel race!” The race announcer caught her glee in his mic to the masses. Katherine was so Zen about it, Whatever happens happens, we are just training, soaking it in….I could barely hear them because all I could hear were the voices of my race friends in my head, “Get on the podium!!” I knew I had more serious goals then my smiling friends. We moved up closer to the start line and Immediately a swarm of women take off as I just watch. Damn! I kicked into gear. We had about 2 miles of pavement and then the gravel. There was lots of weaving and passing and yelling “on your left”. This went on for a couple more miles before I saw the remnants of the first pile up. As I was rubbernecking while passing, two very serious women hopped on their bikes and took off like bandits. I followed. I didn’t know if I could hold on but thought I should take advantage of the train ride. After awhile I started feeling bad for them. I realized they were the front contenders and were very angry about their situation. So I decided that I would help them catch whoever they were chasing. They were younger than me and thought I could benefit from this. When I finally die I figured they would be dropping me further up the road. After watching and riding behind them for awhile they start looking at me…like who are you, what are you doing and are you going to help. They weren’t very nice. They were mad and serious. I pull through and help their cause but I wasn’t willing to kill myself for them. They weren’t very nice. After awhile we were in a rotation and they seemed relieved to have help. I never actually envisioned I would end up top 10 because of this. We head down a hill, Sager Road, that become instantly like a mountain bike path with big sand pits and deep ruts. That’s where I lost it…twice. First time I put my foot down. I was like Damn! Stumble, stumble, click, click, struggle “Ok, Ok I got it.” Then I encountered huge deep sand pit. My tiny 32mm tubulars laughed at me. Bam down. I watched the girls like Michigan deer just dance up the path away from me. Obviously they had been here before. There was a guy behind me who yelled, “Are you OK?” I was surprised by the kindness. “Get up you can do it!” I looked around, and struggled to get my foot out of the pedal. I stood up and started walking, then running and said to myself “I can clip in, come on..” I take a stab at it. It works then I was off navigating more sand pits and deep ruts with my cheerleader behind me. Wish I knew who that was. Anyway towards the end of that craziness, I came across a strong gal so smiley and happy to be racing on a nice day saying “Hi” to the local racers as she passes. I asked her how old she was. She was in her late 30’s. I said, “Well we can work together” she laughed and was in. I think we worked together for the last 10 miles or so. We had another gal latch on for a long while trying to get first in her division. The whole time I was just watching my heart rate making sure to not work too hard to then have my legs seize up at the end. She and I came in together yelling at the wall of guys in front of us to either move faster or get out of the way. Lol. I didn’t even believe we had a chance for podium. It was finally over and I had fun recounting our experience. We ended up talking to a guy who believed we were with the top 10. I hobbled over to a guy at the Newton Timing Tent and he was the one who said that I came in first for my division and 5 minutes faster than #2 gal. I was excited and ready to drink a Founders beer. I found my husband, we got cleaned up and went to the podium party. While talking with the folks there I found out that I would get a podium spot for being 8th overall. I ended up with two medals, a couple beer trophies and a set of gravel tires. I was satisfied with my efforts after this winter of healing from a November cervical disc injury and getting ready for a fun day racing at the “biggest gravel race in the US”. That’s my story I’m sticking to it.
This picks up where I left it from the prior post. I was low on fluids, having underestimated this hike, so upon reaching the base of Bushmaster Peak (so named after an army regiment) I went off trail, back to the parking lot. I returned to complete the journey. At the start, a lone hiker stands atop a boulder, looking to the west.
Soooo, at the saddle where previously I went to the right and down canyon, I headed up and slightly to the left. Kind of a cocktail of emotions for some reason. I think partly it is knowing now in late April, rattlesnakes are active, plentiful, I was unsure of the route but hey, with my experience, I knew one or another, I would overcome, kind of, sort of.
Wow. I climbed and found myself on a plateau with grand views in all directions and what appeared to be a not too difficult final climb to the peak. Yayyyyy.
OK, it wasn't all that easy. Once I mounted the peak in the previous image, there was another yet finally I made it and looked back to where I had come. Damn, it was so dramatic and so absent from the image.
A black helicopter flew beneath me over Gates Pass but I could not find it in this image. Hey! There is my car in the parking lot, way below me.
Although I had reached the peak, there was still a lengthy ridge to navigate and that was great fun. Narrow in spots with lots of exposure. Gawd I love this and the thrill of finding my way. I would be less thrilled if I fell, of course. On a windy day, I would not want to be hopping from boulder to boulder.
Let's assume you have found this page while looking for info on this hike. Little has been written about it and allow me to point out an important tip; DON'T KEEP FOLLOWING THE RIDGE WHEN YOU GET TO THIS POINT!!! If you do.....
....the ridge dead-ends with a view into the abyss. Plus, it requires some maneuvering to reach this point. Instead, just prior to the final knob, you may see a painted white line with an arrow pointed to the right. I looked at that and it did not look promising. So, I scouted to the left and sure enough.....
....there was a series of cairns (man made piles of rocks) headed toward the canyon there to the right. How about that and now I was feeling more confident I was going to make it off this rock.
I descended and looking back, whoa, really steep.
I reached a saddle and while the cairns ran out, the way forward was obvious. Hang a right and head down canyon. It is odd that while the way to the peak is a fairly worn trail, once beyond the peak, not so much. Just pick your way through the mildly brushy areas and boulders.
Nearing the bottom of the canyon, I look back. It was not all that hard but wish I had worn long pants. My legs were shredded and bleeding but a band-aid or two and I would be good.
Now it was simply navigating through the typical Sonoran landscape, watch for snakes and while a couple of Javelinas startled me, ok, scared me, I got through ok. 3.5 hours to travel 3.5 miles. Unreal.
Gates Pass Road where at the top, there is a small parking area with restrooms. Bushmaster Peak is on the right side of the ridge and the entire loop is only 4 miles. When leaving home, I brought two bottles, became thirsty and began drinking from one. I intended to stop at a market and buy another but forgot so now, miles from a store, I have a little over 1 liter. Hmmm, should be enough as long as there are no complications.....
There are a myriad of trails leading from the parking lot where visitors have scampered around but eventually I find one leading up a ridge. I also have a gpx track but it shows shoving through a ravine up to a saddle where the ridge trail meets. The gpx route is from 2003 and may predate the trail I am following. Windy day and a lot of dust in the air, obscuring the view yet still, a great view.
Hey! There is the Old Tucson Studio where many western movies and series have been filmed. Including Tombstone, Gunfight at the OK Corral, The High Chaparral series, Little House on the Prarie, etc...
Oh geez, Jumping Cholla cactus. Stay away! Those suckers seem to just jump at you, hence the name.
The trail is fairly easy to follow as I have risen above the park and now walking mostly flat along a saddle to the next major climb that will take me behind the mountain range seen in the first image. Note the mountains in the distance, barely visible where normally they would be vivid.
The trail climbs to the left and then to the right. Lot of loose gravel and at times, a small bit of exposure. Nothing too bad just requires that one pay attention.
This hike is in the Tucson Mountains, which I rarely visit as I find the hiking in this range boring but this was turning into an interesting event. I am walking behind the mountains and about to come out to a saddle prior to what I think is Bushmaster Peak, there in the distance.
At the aforementioned saddle, I can see the parking area where my hike commenced. At the time of the hike, I thought I had just been on the peak and thought the trail would drop into this canyon. Instead.....
.....it stayed on a narrow spine of rock and headed toward......
.....this wall where a faint trail went up. OK, now my fluid level became a concern. The gpx track did not go up this but rather well to the left. When I walked down to where the track showed I should be, nothing to suggest anyone had ever passed through. I thought it possible the faint trail went up to a peak but perhaps ended requiring me to turn around and come back down. I scouted around, considered my options. I returned to the saddle and.....
...studied the option of going directly to the parking lot, off trail. I know, looks easy but what you can never see is where the slope ends and a cliff allows no way forward. I look at the spacing of the Saguaros, which is encouraging so I decide to hike to that formation in the middle where I can study more options. Reaching it, I decide to circle to the right and head for that large boulder where it appears there is a break in the terrain. Sure enough.....
....there is but some sketchy down climbing. And yeah, always watching for rattlers. Don't want to place my hand on a ledge and have one of those snag me.
Hooray, I reach the bottom. Entirely different perspective from here. I continue hiking up and down small ridges until.....
.....yay, my car! I am out of fluids but for a camel like me, all is well. Later I found out, yes, I should have gone up the slope via the faint trail and then it follows a rocky ridge and descends to the parking lot. Oh well, a reason to come back and do it correctly. Fun hike with lots of boulder hopping and route finding. Finished with only 3 miles and 1100' of climbing.
Probably just that I have not previously talked to so many people but here we go again, most of the people I meet on this visit are from Canada and more often then not, the province of Quebec. The two on the left are guides, having arrived here 2 weeks ago and each week, greeting a new group. This week, 23, last week 28. They drove from Montreal and hanging out, showing cyclists around. How cool is that?
My ride took me to the southeast. 35 miles on Saturday, 65 on Sunday. One destination was.....
....Colossal Cave. I took a back way into the park, closed to cars but to a bike..... I'm sure the cave is worth a visit but judging by the condition of the grounds, yuck.
I head back to Saguaro Park and then on to Tucson. Beautiful couple of days with temps around 90 each day. Yet another front coming in Sunday night so Monday will be very windy and cooler on Tuesday. As I said before, really weird weather from what previously I have experienced. Still, way better than most parts of the US so not complaining.
Strava "Fly-by" illustrates a second of what transpired on the pavement, Thursday evening. Danny A, never known to short cut, must have missed the turn and so is soloing back to the parking lot. Meantime, Travis, Patrick, Jason and Jon H had gapped a strung out group of Riveters and finished with a 23mph average. Now, I have fielded and read some comments and there was some grumbling about a lack of a warm-up. The rule is to ride easy to Beech Road and then release the hounds, not before then. Also, this is not a race. Ride as hard as you want of course but don't take advantage of the corners to gap those still in the group. I am arranging for Rick Miller to make a guest appearance as enforcer of the rules to be there Thursday to scream at you.
Second windy day in a row but better tomorrow. Front came through and the mid 90's are gone but back by Sunday. Today, the high was 70 so I went for a hike at Sabino Canyon. The visitor center has a lot of neat displays.
In addition to signs warning of mountain lion sightings, active rattlesnakes a new one has appeared. A rabid fox wandered up to a guy and bit him a few weeks ago.
Lot of people out today enjoying the cooler temps as I cross a bridge and head to Blackett's Ridge Trail. Just wanted to take it easy which I find difficult to do, but did.
What impressed me the most visually (the steepness of the trail always makes an impression on me) was the fine display of flowers on the Ocotillo plants.
They are not considered a cactus, rather a bush with long canes. I stopped prior to the top and....
....turned around and headed back down. Didn't want to stress the legs too much so finished with a bit over 4 miles and 1100' of climbing.