I drove to the corner of Catalina Highway and Tanque Verde Road where there is a large parking lot and the popular hangout, "Labuzz". This is the shoving off point for the 100+ who each day tackle Mount Lemmon although that was not yet my destination. A guy passed me riding a mountain bike and he was headed to the top so I, naturally, pulled in behind and drafted for a couple miles until my turn.
The 8 mile loop around Saguaro East National Park is rolling with a nice 1+ mile climb which has 300'+ of elevation gain. On my 3rd time around my legs were getting kind of wobbly so I stopped to take a pic of the distant Tanque Verde peak. I left the park and....
...even though at this point I had only 5 miles to go, I stopped to sit in front of a gas station and enjoy the view. Finished with 47 miles and almost 3000' of climbing. A good first effort with lots more to come.