A classic climb, from this point to the observatory (look closely, just to the left of "A" in Animals) at the top of Kitt Peak. The average grade is 6%, compared to Mount Lemmon at 5.5% but take out the opening 2 miles of 2-4% and then the average has to be 7%. It is 12 miles of, for a guy who has done nothing similar for a few months, brutal and painful.
We started at Three Points, a market and not much else, 16 miles from the base of the climb. Two had to abandon because once arrived, they discovered their cycling shoes were not in the car so only three of us made the trip, including John, pulling away from me above. John is a great guy, Cat 4, who likes to pull so..... Note the observatory is getting a little closer here at around mile 4.
The road completely encircles the mountain so the views change, including this one of Baboquivari Peak, at around mile 9. Miles 5-9 had a head wind and a grade that never dropped below 7% but never higher than 9%. It was in this section that I began fading like the final note of a song. The thought process of deciding how to describe this occupied me for a few miles and that last line was the best I could come up with.
At about mile 10, some of the structures come in to view and that is heartening. I began checking my time and gave up on doing it under 90 minutes.
The last few hundred yards the road becomes a more bearable 4% and I sprint to the top and hit the timer, 99 minutes.....sad. The final two miles took me so long I wondered if I would be caught by people starting tomorrow.
Tourists who drive up just marvel that anyone can ride a bike up the mountain so that always feels good to receive their congratulations. Nice views!
I think the building on the right is what can be seen from a distance. With the regrouping complete, we coasted down and John pulled all 16 miles back to Three Points. He races in the Tucson Bike Classic next weekend so I hope he does well in a very deep field. Ended with 56 miles and 4300' of climbing, practically all of that from the mountain as the road to/from is pretty flat.