All dressed up and some where to go, today. It has been a weird March weather pattern, at least strange from what I have experienced. California is being visited by many fronts which arrive here usually with no precip but clouds and cooler temps. Winds have been different too. Anyway, climbing Mount Lemmon is easier if the wind is out of the southwest, the normal wind direction, since the majority of the road is headed in the northeast direction. The first 6 miles of the climb into an east wind....ugh. Today though.....
....all indications were a go, Southwest wind, light, warm start of around 70 at the bottom so as I climbed, the temperature dropped of course but would be around 60 at Summerhaven, 26 miles distant from the mountain's base. Above, Thimble Peak in the distance.
Reaching Windy Point Vista at mile 14, I topped off water bottles from a spare I had been carrying in my back pocket. I was glad to get rid of the bulk along with a Cliff Bar. As usual, the road was filled with cyclists including a pro team from Canada.
Lots of people driving the route and I always receive the same question from the uninitiated, "Is there a race or event going on here today?" Nope, it is like this every day.
Of those on Strava who were riding at this point, you can see there are a lot of us on the mountain.
A well known rock formation above Geology Vista Point. This stretch....
....of the highway I find to be the most scenic. The road levels a bit so the descent allows quick glances to appreciate the far off views. Note these images were taken on the way down cause on the way up, I was simply grinding away. Tommy D has the record time at 1:19. My record, 2:58...quit laughing please.
I have learned not to expect much after an off season in Ohio and then tackling this monster but I have also learned not to expect much after a season of riding in Ohio and then tackling this monster. However, I later saw I missed my PR by under 4 minutes and realized I could put a big dent in that the next time if I put in the effort. Just before descending into Summerhaven at the 8000' elevation point, above. Such a great feeling to reach the point where the road curves down.
I stopped to eat at the Sawmill Restaurant and met a couple from Canada. The man's rear wheel had delaminated so he could not ride it down. His wife, becoming increasingly cold (the doors were open so we are sitting inside at 60 degrees), headed down. Mean time, he took up watch close to the white van that was being used to ferry cyclists. He had to wait no more than 5 minutes when the driver approached and gladly took the bike and provided transport off the mountain.
After my lunch of salad and fries, I took a left and headed to Ski Valley, reaching it after 1.5 miles. A few small patches of snow is all that remains. In the foreground, more visitors from our neighbors to the north. People from Canada and our Midwest are always so thrilled to be here and there is always talk of the weather back home. A couple walked by and....
....there is the proof. I did ride my bike and not drive the car to this point. Pounds are dropping off rapidly now and I think I have gone from obese to just fat, ha, ha. Finished with 61 miles and 6800' of climbing. Really fun day. Thinking about doing Mount Graham next week, a 2 hour drive to the east.