With a resource like Mount Lemmon a mere 7 miles away, one must climb it not once, or twice or thrice but many times and so I have. While the miles would impress no one, the climbing, that's a different story. Above is Snyder Rd and the road in the distance is also Snyder Road but that brushy area in the middle.....
....is the infamous Snyder Road wash and I've gotten so I can ride the entire wash other than through the first of two river crossings that is kind of rocky.
So I arrive, yet again at the base and 21 miles of climbing to the Pallisades Gift Shop also known as the summit of Mt Bigelow, kind of a shoulder of Mount Lemmon. From the Pallisades, it is 4 miles of rolling road to the village of Summerhaven. Reaching the Pallisades, you are at the same elevation of Summerhaven so maybe most cyclists who reach that point just turn around rather than ride the final 4 miles to Summerhaven. Unless, you want to hit the "Cookie Shack" or the restaurant.
About 7 miles up is the Thimble Peak vista. On Tuesday, I noticed the road was crammed with cyclists, many of whom were passing me so often and so speedily that I wondered if.....
.....why yes, they were pros. There were at least 5 men's and women's domestic teams riding up Catalina Highway to Summerhaven. I had a good talk with the guy that drives the "Octane" van. The Tucson Bicycle Classic was Saturday so they were all out experiencing the climb.
Two days later, wind had whipped dust into the air and the views were quite muted. From this point, one should be able to see 7 distinct mountain ranges but I could see only one. On this day, Thursday I rode up to "Rose Canyon Lake" at mile 18. On Tuesday, inspired by the pros I made it to Pallisades at mile 21, 5000+' of climbing.
Of course, the views are fantastic all the way up. Below is the final vista prior to the Pallisades where you can see in to New Mexico. On my Lemmon climbing days, I pocket 50-60 miles with 5000+' of climbing. This, coupled with the hiking. each day, has the weight evaporating off me. Unfortunately, I use all this calorie burn as an excuse for eating so for every 2000 calories burned I am consuming 1999 calories. Yep, headed for just another season of being a schlep on a bike but with some good memories of AZ.