Thinking about riding the Mount Lemmon Gravel Grinder race in October so better check the routes. First up, the 40 mile option. I park along Mount Lemmon Road, just above the town of Oracle. After a few miles, I reach the AZ Zipline business and the end of the pavement. By the way, event info can be found here: https://www.mtlemmongravelgrinder.com/
The dirt road is in good shape as I dip down and around Peppersauce Campground, nestled beneath the trees. Some where around here is the Peppersauce cave.
Good views of the Galiuro Mountains. Some where along that ridge is Bassett Peak. One heck of a hike to that beast. Only done it once and should do it again.
Hey, there is Mount Lemmon and the north facing slope of Ski Valley. Still some snow on a day after taking this pic they received another 12".
After the first 10 miles I've gained over 1000' but then there is a long descent. I'm passed by a couple of 4-wheelers but otherwise, no traffic.
With all the rain, I'm surprised the grasses are so brown but the views continue to be good.
Those grey shapes are mine tailings. Used to be a lot of mining back in the day in these mountains.
The road continues to wind around but always drawing nearer to Mount Lemmon. Rather than go all the way up, I am looking for Forest Road 4450 where I am to make a left turn.
Reaching this sign, I find the road and hang a left. So far, the road condition has been very good for a dirt road but.....
…..people ride gravel bikes down this? Actually, doesn't look bad from the image but it is worse in person. I had to walk the bike through here, remounted, coasted, got off to walk, over and over. Wherever the slope steepened, the road condition worsened. Too bad because it is a beautiful descent and to have to brake and walk so often, kind of sucked. Later, I viewed this down hill segment on Strava and I was tied for last place. lol. I finally reached pavement and.....
….rode into the small town of San Manuel. I took a break there before climbing out of it via the 6 mile ascent of Webb Road. Finished with 40 miles and 3600' of climbing. Geesh, I don't have the skill set for that FS4450. Maybe in a few months.