Gates Pass, McCain Loop, and a Special "Jason Detour"

For our first Tucson ride, we decided to tackle the Gates Pass/McCain Loop.  It comes up on every search for "great rides in Tucson" and was literally just out the door of where we are staying.  Plus it's billed as 1.5-2 hours, so I thought that would be a nice spin for the legs after yesterday's long run.

Ready to ride!
The ride starts with a gradual climb pretty much right away.  You kind of wind westward, without really seeing too much ahead because of the hills.  There was lots of traffic (at least compared to our island roads at home), and it just seems to keep climbing.  Then all of sudden, you come around a corner and pop over to the other side - where you can finally see what you've been doing and all of a sudden start a fun descent.  One of those keeping-up-with-cars descents that I like.

I was rolling along after Gates Pass and Jason came riding towards me, saying the loop we were adding on was just ahead.  So I followed his wheel for a bit of draft practice, and we made the turn onto Kinney Road.  I thought we were turning the wrong way, but Jason was confident that we were indeed heading along our chosen route.  For some reason I had forgotten the number one rule of Jason navigation - the more confident he is, the more wrong he is!  By the time I had sorted this out in my head he had pulled away, so I had to keep riding the wrong direction to not loose him.  He finally looped back to me and I had us turn around.  Oh well, what's an extra 20-25 minutes on a nice sunny ride?

Finally we found McCain Road, and split up again (with specific instructions for Jason as to which direction to turn).  The ride didn't seem to have any flat sections, but rolled and rolled it's way back to Gates Pass Road.  Jason was riding longer, so I made the turn back up the pass on my own, and suffered my way up a short enough but steep enough (my Garmin topped out at a 13% grade several times, and even flashed 14% for a second!), and I'm pretty sure the cars passing me could hear me breathing.

Looking up the back (steep!) side of Gates Pass.
Once at the top, it was a quick fun descent back to our condo.  Great ride - highly recommended!

PS - Jason took another wrong turn on the way home and ended up with a second "detour" around the outskirts of Tucson.  But he made it back in the end...


  1. I"m so glad on the Thirsty Beaver day that Jason's navigational system was working stellar:) Looks like you are having fun, wish I was there.

  2. Ah, I wish you were here too! We will return here someday, no fear!