Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mt. Lemmon Attempt

Distance: 20 miles
September Total: 118
It has been a long time since I haven’t felt exhausted on a Friday afternoon. Saturday is usually my sleep-in day—but a call from John encouraging me to climb Mt. Lemmon was something I couldn’t pass up! I accepted the challenge whole-heartedly.

Later, the logistics started to make me a bit nervous. I would have to get up at 4 a.m. Saturday morning to catch a ride from John’s house at 5 a.m. Whew! So I got home and started packing my gear—very carefully—as my dog Callie was expecting her full weekend at the park (she is demanding at times but the best dog I could ever wish for) so I talked to her and let her know I’d be back and everything would be okay. But really Gentle Reader, a trip up to Mt Lemon is an all-day affair. I didn’t really think about that—so an early start is best.

I made it to John’s place at 5 a.m., then we had an hour drive to meet Larry at the base of Mt. Lemon. Oh yeah, I slept most of the way to the rendezvous point where we would start at 6 a.m.
This would be the first time for John and Kathy to ride up to Ski Valley, where we would have lunch. Larry said he would buy so cool… Since there is only one stop to get water, after 19 long miles, we had to carry a bit of water with us.

I see a lot of riders just ride up to certain points then turn around. I’m realizing they do this because they don’t want to carry the extra weight, and they probably want to get up and back down before all the traffic starts to pick up. Really, after you get about half-way up, the climbing isn’t so bad—so I figure the other riders do the tough parts and scoot back down.

On the way up my one of my old supervisors from my AHSL days saw me and stopped to say hello. Dave Piper, with his dog, was on his way up to hike and enjoy the cool temps on Mt Lemmon. Dave is held in high regard at AHSL. Among other librarians in the profession he is known as “Jedi Master Dave.”

Jedi Dave on Catalina Hwy

This ride might have been a little too much too soon for Yours—about halfway up I started to feel not so good. I thought best to call it a day and head back down. I was going to get John’s truck and drive back to my car. Larry would drive everyone else home later in his truck.

I had to borrow John's extra helmet--I forgot mine on the kitchen table...

After I got going, I spied Stef and Jeff of Team MooneyTriathlon fame. Stef and Jeff had started their ascent at 5 a.m.—in the dark! They rode to the 19 mile marker and back down. We were going to meet and have a cup of coffee and chat, but the place was too croweded--But it was good to see them. Just then I got a call from the gang--Larry was having some problems so I drove back up to pick him up, and it was decided that we'd all have lunch together afterall up in Ski Valley.

Kathy is riding strong and here she is just reaching the top of Mt. Lemmon.

The ski lift is right across from where we'll have lunch, mes amis!

The Iron Door restuarant is right here.

John and Kathy's first ride up to the top--Success!

I never thougth of this but many people, like Kathy, do not like going down. When I picked up Larry with the truck, we met a few other riders who enjoy the climb--but think the downhill dangerous. I think its because of the traffic--there can be some unfriendly motorists on the Catalina Hwy, Gentle Readers, and I think that's when many riders do the tough part to the halfway mark, and ride down.

Larry enjoys the fast descents--he'll go without us!

It was a beautiful day on Mt. Lemmon!


Red Bacchetta said...

I have always wanted to climb the lemmon. Maybe next spring I can get down there and spend a day on it.

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

I will buy you a sandwhich at the top, mon ami!