After the Grand Canyon hike on Monday, I took Tuesday off and then joined a group ride on Wednesday. The guy who manages Tom Danielson's house was there and quite chatty so I was looking forward to the midway stop to ask about things that are curious to most of us but alas, I had my first flat and urged them to continue. Finished with only 27 miles. Saw a bobcat walk by our unit so grabbed my camera and jogged after it. Emerging from between buildings, someone shouted it had jumped the wall and so, thinking pursuing it farther was a mistake, I took this image of it walking away. Beautiful animal.
Thursday, I headed to Saguaro East to ride the 8 mile loop a few times and saw my second Gila Monster, this one bigger. Also headed out Old Spanish Trail Road to Pistol Hill and returned, finishing with 48 miles. The temperatures have been inching up and with a forecast high of 89 on Friday, time to head back up the mountain where it would be in the 60's.
Mile 0 of a 26 mile ride to Summerhaven. From there, another 2 to Ski Valley and then another 1.5 to the top of Mount Lemmon and the observatory. My goal was "just" Summerhaven, while breaking the one hour mark to "7 Cataract Vista" at mile 10. Unfortunately, the winds were against me out of the east so I gave up early on the latter goal, just settling in to the grind.
I reached the Vista turnout at 1:05 so not my best but fighting wind along with the grade is a bit much for a good time.
The road winds down and is a thrill to follow on the descent, if not the ascent.
I stopped a 2nd time at "Windy Point Vista", mile 14ish. I was low on fluids. I asked a group of guys if water was turned on at the Mt Bigelow parking area at mile 20, the ONLY location that has water (it was still seasonally plugged last week when I was up there). They did not know but one of them had filled both of his bottles and still had plenty so he emptied one into my empty bottle. I immediately gulped 1/2. Later reaching Bigelow, not only was the pump still not open, it also was not there, a group of orange cones over the cavity.
After leaving Bigelow, it's only about 1/2 a mile to where the road flattens and begins a 2+ mile descent, a 1.5 mile climb and soon the descent into Summerhaven. I rode to the Cookie Cabin just to take an image, had no interest in actually eating one of the monsters and retreated to the Sawmill Restaurant where I.....
....ate a Chicken Caesar salad. My eating habits the last couple of weeks have been unusually good. With all the activity, you'd think I'd loose a lot of weight but I usually offset activity with excessive mouth stuffing. Not the case this visit and it makes a difference.
It's been 12 years since the Aspen Fire and still easy to see evidence of the destruction. Practically all the homes were destroyed and what you see are rebuilds. From the parking lot at the start, I had come 29 miles with 5900' of climbing, eventually finishing with 58 and 7000'.
It makes for an enjoying ride down, hardly ever having to apply the brakes, hardly ever having to pedal. Just sit and enjoy the views. Well, need to take Saturday off and then a big hike on Sunday to "The Window".
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