First Climb of Mount Lemmon
I'm about 3 weeks behind schedule because of unusual weather but after the climb of Kitt Peak last week and today's forecast high of 83 in the valley and 60 up top, I made my first foray of Mount Lemmon.
I reached 7 Cataracts at mile 9 and checked out the.....
….rusted hulk of a van that had tumbled into a ravine a long time ago. The ravines are still running strong from the snow melt. I stopped again at Windy Point Vista at mile 14 and had a long talk with a cyclist from Phoenix as well as being approached by the usual curious tourists who can't believe anyone rides their bike up the mountain.
Such a relief. At mile 21, just above the Palisades gift shop, the road finally and mercifully bends down. Of course there is that 2 mile descent and then a 1 mile ascent before rounding a curve and dropping into.....
…..Summerhaven where I stop at the Sawmill Restaurant for a salad. I had carried a 3rd water bottle but still surprised I had so much left in the remaining two. Across the road is the community center and newly built homes on the hillside which had been wiped out during the 2003 Aspen Fire.
I had a ping pong event at the Culinary Dropout (more on that below) beginning at 5pm so I elected not to make a left and ride up to Ski Valley. North facing slopes still retain some snow, here at about 8000" elevation.
Evidence of the fire is still visible and yet it also allows for sweeping views that otherwise would be hidden. I descend the 1 mile and struggle through the 2 mile ascent and then a wonderful, 21 mile descent that is not technical and one can simply.....
…..enjoy the views which are dampened by overcast skies. This being a Wednesday, traffic is fairly light.
One of my favorite sections that includes.....
….this iconic rock hoodoo and its unusual shape.
In the distance is a very slight uphill, just about the only one on the descent and it is welcome to stretch the muscles briefly. Toward the bottom I encounter....
….some serious rock climbing. Yikes, it is getting late so I resume the descent and arrive at my car at 4:30pm. Have to be at the restaurant for ping pong at 5pm but no time to go home and change. I take clothes into a nearby McDonalds and take a quick cat bath at a sink, change and drive to the Grant Avenue location. Had a fun time but always aware I probably smelled like 10 day old road kill. Finished the ride with 59 miles, 6400' of climbing and a ascent time very distant from the record ascent of 1:21:)
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