I called on my friend and fellow Randonneur, Gerry Goode, to get some details about this ride. I calculate that it will be 100 miles from my house to Mammoth and back. This should be about right as my house to Saddlebrooke (Gerry's house) is 50 miles.
3 a.m. Steve leaves Scottsdale for the drive to my house.
4:30 a.m. - 4:45 a.m. Callie and I play fetch at the park.
"You will not ride your bike. You will play fetch with me at the park all day. Look into my mystic hypnotic eyes--and obey!"
Okay, one more time, then stop buggin' us!
The best part of our ultra training is stopping for breakfast! At about 20 miles we're in Catalina and at the famous Claires's Cafe, a hub for cyclists.
We'll need fuel for the climb up Oracle Road (Hwy 77) to the town of Oracle, Arizona. I've only ridden up to Biosphere 2. Oracle will be another 6 miles.
I recommend the Turkey, Swiss, Bacon, and Avacodo omelet--C'est bon!
Steve in training...
Mount Lemmon lies majestically to the East as we ride up Oracle Road. Its humid this morning, but a nice cool rain makes the trip comfortable.
Just as Gerry said, we would climb to Oracle and then begin the ride down to Mammoth. Gerry said to be careful of sudden gusts and crosswinds. Stef had told me to watch for traffic as people will be heading on up to Globe, and the White Mountains. He was right because many people were pulling large RVs and boats.
Just past Oracle, this sign greets us--let's go, Dude! And I should mention that about here the shoulder narrows to no shoulder--so we got to share the road with the cars and trucks! Allez! Allez, mon vieux! Want to mention here that at this point many riders turn around for the fast ride back downhill.
The ride down is fast--and scenic--just the way I like it. Traffic is okay, and for much of the way there's passing lanes for the Simi trucks--plus you can see/be seen pretty far ahead so there's time for cars and trucks to pass.
12 miles to the Junction where you can go to San Manuel. 5 more miles to Mammoth and the Circle K. We only saw a few riders coming back up to Oracle--and they looked like they were suffering!
Almost there! The power and phone lines give you an idea of the grade of the road. My top speed going down was 38 mph. I took it easy because the pavement was a still a little wet from the rain.
Steve and I didn't waste any time at the Circle K, and Mammoth looked like an okay little town, but we still had to climb back out. We filled up with water, ice, and Gatorade--ate a few snacks, and hit the road for the return. My computer put the distance to the Circle K at 45 miles--with the rain starting up again, we thought we'd just turn around and not keep going down to the river to make it 50--next time, Gentle Reader...
The rain kept us cool, but it was extremely humid. On the ride back up to Oracle, sweat was dripping off me like crazy, and my clothes were soaked. I could taste the salt on my lips as the rain washed the sweat from my head. But I have to say, Steve and I both felt strong and we climbed back up in no time. The climb was kind of nice because it went in four stages. After a hard climb, the road leveled out and you got a rest and your legs back, before you started again. I took the opportunity to use the IPod for this climb, and enjoyed listening to Gorillaz's Demon Days--my favorite tunes for this summer!
Salt pills are working for us and I always carry a few. Oh yeah, in this photograph you'll notice Steve without his Camel Bak--he left it at a little market where we stopped at the top in Oracle. Bummer--but he wanted to buy a new one anyway...
We're almost back to my place, and we take Moore Rd to avoid construction on Tangerine Rd. Mount Lemmon is in the background and you'll be able to see behind me the last stretch of Moore Rd as a dirt road. For a few years now I've ridden this stretch of road up to Rancho Vistoso, and for many miles it was unpaved and pretty much cow pasture--but still beautiful open desert. Now the up-scale developers have moved in and the 3 acre lots start at $500,000!
We had a good ride, and we got home before the afternoon started getting hot. Thanks to Steve for driving down and doing this ride. It turned out to be challenging, fun, and we both felt strong.