I took a day off from cycling but yet another day with sun and 80 degrees but something gnaws at me and so I give in and ride to Sabino Canyon, which allows cyclists on the 4 mile paved uphill road through the main canyon after 5:00pm. I ride easily but then some guy passes me so I give it a dig, catch him and pass, holding on but gasping, have to give up the goose and he passes about 1/2 a mile from the end. Coasting back down canyon I stopped to take the above image. Tomorrow.....
....I leave (Wednesday) at 10:00am, cross the Synder Road wash, reach Catalina Highway and begin the long grind towards Summerhaven, 25 miles distant. I am determined to make it this time with wind, temp and sun working in my favor.
I stop at Windy Point Vista for a break at mile 14. There are dozens of people from the Midwest in town for a baseball tournament. So many are shocked that people ride their bikes up the mountain and a couple from Utah tell me, "I've never seen anything like this," referencing their surprise that so many are riding their bikes. Just another day of, by my count, 80+ going up and down. Wind us brought dust into the air so the views are not so good but the Midwesterners are in awe anyway.
Reaching the Pallisades Gift Shop and the top of Mt Bigelow, a shoulder of Mount Lemmon, I was about out of water but a couple from British Columbia insisted I take some water and I did so eagerly as the pump here is shut for the winter. About 1/2 a mile above Pallisades the road dips down for about 2 miles, then climbs again, flattens out and then drops down to Summerhaven. The feeling of finally reaching the village, after exactly 3 hours of riding and gaining around 5500' of climbing is one of the best, slightly better than reaching that final climb on Mountain Mama at mile 98. I ate a salmon club sandwich and ice tea,
Slightly down from the village on the return, I had to stop to take an image that does not do justice to the view. Note the trees that are left from the Aspen Fire of a few years ago. While devastating, the area is recovering and plenty of acres were untouched.
There are a couple of points on the descent that cause me to gasp and state aloud how lucky I am. Just so rewarding but interesting at this point, it appears, in person, the road swings up at around a 10% grade but as I look at this image, it appears flat or slightly uphill which it is, only a 2% rise ahead. Weird. About at this point also is the interesting rock formation below. Finished the day with 63 miles and 7300' of climbing. These shortish routes have been good but probably I should start doing some longer ride and then......damn, California is so close and so tempting. There is a road there, Ballard Canyon, that I'd like to see again, like for the upteenth time but so cool, what to do, what to do.....