Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tucson, Day 5

One more attempt to make it up Mt Lemon. I left at 6.30 to avoid the heat. Part way there I rode off the side of the road when the pave shoulder just ended. Seems like I missed a turn when I head down and wasn't paying attention. Nothing looked familiar so I asked a guy at an intersection how to get back to the hill. Once back on course I stopped at mile Zero for a bite to eat before subjecting myself to stupidity of climbing while still sick. One hour down, many more to go...

Being the weekend there were more people on the mountain, unfortunately, most of them behind me. Why would you want to climb during the full heat of the day? Seems like only 4 people had the same idea as there were 3 on the mountain already and a woman passed me while I was munching a non-peanut butter infested cliff bar.

I started the stopwatch and rolled up the hill in search of the well filled spandex that had just passed by. I wish she was a little faster as riding alone is boring and she made a fine view while drafting. However, at her pace I am not sure I would have made it by night fall. I pressed on and around mile 3 passed a couple older gentlemen chatting away while wobbling all over the road. At this point I was averaging around 9 miles and hour and was looking to finish in around 2.5 hours. It was kinda nice having some people ahead to pace off of but they were too far and too few in between. Somewhere around mile 9 I passed another senior citizen riding a beautiful flat black campy 6/13. From then on it was boringsville and smokers hack the rest of the way.

Turra and her parents were going to meet me at the fudge shop at the top and have a picnic lunch at one of the overlooks. I was in fear of them getting there a long time before me and forcing me to get in the car with them not allowing me to finish the climb. So every time I heard a car coming up behind me I hoped it wasn't white. The mentally hard part was, there was a white car that kept passing me, repeatedly, as he was stopping at all the overlooks. At mile 14 I passed him for good while his hood was up with a jug of water sitting on the fender waiting for the radiator. WOOHOO - I WON!! Man beats machine!! (A faulty machine!)

Around mile 16 I started to feel good and for the 1st time thought I would really make the top with ease. About 500 feet past mile 20 where I had stopped a few days earlier I started to feel the dreaded bonk crawling up my legs. I looked down and saw I still had 2 more gears to go so like a girly girl, used them, a lot! I pressed on changing between sit and stand trying use my 200 pound butt to make the pedals go down. At around mile 22 the terrain leveled off and even had a down hill to help me relax. The turns were fast, fun and lined with snow, the cold air chilling me pretty good making the legs feel heavy on the next climb. It's amazing how fast you can row that shifter from high gear to panzyville riding at a clip you are sure a desert tortoise could out run.

The longer I rode, the longer it seemed to take for the next mile marker to pop up. At one point I swear I saw the number 18 go past twice! I finally started to see civilization and the sign near mile 24 noting the town of Summerhaven, time 2:28:15 a hair under 10 mph. What a relief!!

I continued on into town and then headed up to the ski slopes. Holy Cow, this road is steeper! I was down to gear 1 and starting to wobble like those old men. The sun was at full mast and blaring down like a blow torch. If it hadn't been for the sun, I would have thought it were raining from all the sweat. I think this portion has the the steepest and hardest climb that ended at a gate. I should have went further but I turned back for town to meet up with the crew and lunch so they wouldn't call out the rangers to come find me. By the time I made it to the meeting place I had in over 4 hours of riding, most of it up hill including the climb from the valley floor to mile zero.


  1. you are a very good bike rider you can do it climbing a mountain is not easy but i think you can do it

  2. hard rideing sounds like you had fun