Like in New Albany, a Starbucks is a popular starting point. I'm glad the rides start at Starbucks since I don't drink coffee, I am not tempted to go inside. If the ride started at Dunkin Doughnuts, that would be a very bad thing for me. Only 8 people came out for the 7:30am start of a 44 mile ride that included an up and over Gates Pass prior to a return over a lower shoulder known as Rattlesnake Pass.
A mile into the ride, a guy somehow got a coat hanger wrapped around his rear hub. Took awhile to unravel it but eventually we got going again and that was the last unplanned stop. We got to the turn onto Gates Pass Road where I was on the rivet trying to keep up with an old guy. Dude had to be over 65 and later while we were talking about the Tucson Bike Classic he mentioned he won the 65+ category and has won several other races. Oh. He stopped to regroup but I kept going, preferring to stop at the top, so I missed finding out how large would have been the gap he put into me on the long climb.
While stopped and waiting for the others, I started talking to a young guy who had passed me like a race car. He said the Saturday Shootout ride out of downtown Tucson has been kind of mellow but things will pick up as more pros arrive for the winter. Above, the view to the east. As others in our group arrived, someone asked if there had been any sightings of the Yeti. Seems there is a guy who rides the area with no shirt and looks like....
.....this. We descended the back side of the pass, made a left onto the McCain Loop and coming toward us is a guy on a bike that had long wispy hair flowing from his back, head, face and honestly, looked a lot like the image above. I was too stunned to think to take a picture and that would have been awkward anyway. During a rolling climb out of a valley I managed to draft the old dude until at the last climb he rose and sprinted away from me and one other guy. Turns out he also won the masters category in the AZ time trial championship with a partner on a tandem. Good guy who gave up the information grudgingly while we were waiting. I like humble people.
We stopped at Saguaro West Park to refill water bottles and while there, I could see the observatory on top of Kitts Peak in the distance and yes, that is the yellow/black/white Trek winter beater bike. Luke Russell sent me a message that I should measure my bh bike so I could have the Trek adjusted to match since the fit is different. Unfortunately, Luke's message arrived the day after I arrived. The rain is gone and today it was sunny and 86.