Mt. Lemmon

Today was our ride up Mt. Lemmon.  This is a legendary climb and a must-do when in Tucson.  It's not really a ride I would choose to do this time of year (I'm generally not doing epic climbs/long rides in March), but how could I pass up the chance?  Here's a teaser; the elevation profile from our ride:

Jason rode the first five miles to the base with me, then headed off on his own.  I rode with a couple of Swiss guys for a while, but at mile 3 (of 25) I said goodbye as I knew there was still a long way to go, and I didn't need to be pushing the pace that soon.  The ride was basically just climb climb climb, breathe, try to bring heart rate down, and climb some more.  It starts in the Sonoran desert, which is full of saguaro cacti that look like they're cheering for you.  I was surrounded by hundreds of my "fans" as I climbed, and then as elevation changed we moved out of the desert and into a pine forest.

A "cheering" saguaro.  (not our picture BTW)
I concentrated on cadence and watched the mile markers tick away.  At about 6500 feet I was pretty much at my limit, and feeling like crap.  I stopped to let my heart rate come down, eat something, and jumped back on the bike.  I started fantasizing about a cold Coke, and at just past 7000 feet Jason came heading down towards me with some fluids and a package of Clif Bloks that I inhaled in about 0.3 nanoseconds.  He rode with me to the summit that tops out over 8000 feet - my Garmin read 2475 metres (8120 feet).

Jason self-portrait. 

Me riding at my limit.
I was stoked because I heard there were giant cookies waiting at the top.  Now, for anyone thinking of doing this ride that hasn't before - let me fill you in on a very important detail.  The cookies are not at the top.  No, you have to ride an additional five miles of climbing and descending, and actually descend down to the "town" of Summerhaven (2303 metres / 7555 feet).  The cookies were amazing... but it does mean that you have to climb back UP afterwards another 600 feet.  This is information I wish I had beforehand.  Wait, who am I kidding?  As if I would have passed up the chance for a giant cookie.

The Cookie Cabin.
After inhaling a Coke and half a cookie (I sent Jason in to the cookie cabin and he decided we should SHARE one...), I was refueled and ready to go.  The descent flashed by, and the heat at the bottom hit us right in the face - after the balmy high 60's farenheit at the top, it was mid-80's back at the parking lot.

Me & Cookie.  A match made in heaven.
A classic ride for sure.  Highly recommended, but I sure wish it was a time of year I was actually in shape for a ride like that.  Not that I would consider riding in Tucson in July or August :)...

Done - and spent.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing...great job making it all the way to the top. I had heard the legend of the cookies that are the size of your head. you certainly earned yours today. Way to go!