They sure like to start the rides early. Sunrise is 6:57am, group ride starts at 7:00am, some at 6:30 still! Above the rising sun begins to hit the peaks of the Santa Catalina mountains. Our starting point was an area between McDonalds and Circle K. It's different here. All my cycling life I have shoved off from places like Canal Winchester, Granville, New Albany, etc... and after a few pedal strokes we're out in our marvelous network of lonely country roads. Here it's bike lanes and berms throughout Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Green Valley and very little on lonely country roads. Not bad, just different and it requires constant focus on cars entering and exiting hundreds of businesses, approaching stop lights, etc... After Saturday's Mount Graham adventure, I chose GABA's 62 mile option rather than the 90 mile group, starting elsewhere. Only 15 of us showed up, which I thought odd.
There is no shortage of debris on the roads and so one of our group stopped to fix a flat. Seems as if everyone has "Gatorskins" on their wheels. As we were watching him fix his flat, group after group of cyclists passed us. Suddenly, someone yelled, "There's the 90 milers." and with that, the flat tire fixer was left alone. It took me a moment to figure out what was going on but yep, everyone abandoned and raced to catch.....
....the 90 milers. Maybe 50 of them. I caught up and we approached a pretty steep hill on Oracle Road. I was pleased that I stayed with the front but we kept overtaking other groups who would fill in with ours, drop back through, it was chaotic with plenty of near wrecks. Still, no one really seemed to mind. You know how our groups start, the herd is culled and that's it but out here, groups come in and out throughout the entire 60 miles. We turned left on Rancho Vistoso Road, following the Tour de Tucson route. There was a long, long but shallow climb and at some point, a gap formed. I jumped out and chased, working with another guy but while we gained, we never overtook. My buddy dropped off and I rode alone until "Cody" and "Marie" caught me and we rode together for quite awhile until.....
.......the above truck passed us with horn honking. Then the Richard Cranium suddenly braked directly in front. I passed and pulled to the right in the berm, frantically pulling my camera out. Meantime, Cody stopped at the passenger door and asked what was up. The driver shouted something about us not paying taxes and began to drive off when I got the camera out and took the image. The three of us resumed our road work.
We pulled in to a market at mile 35. Usual antics typical of every food stop prevailed. We headed west on Tangerine Road, crossed I-10, spent a few miles out in the country and came back through Marana.
At about mile 45, a huge group exited a gas station and formed up with us. Finished with 61 miles.