Sunday, October 28, 2007
South Mountain Park, Pheonix
Friday night, Susan, RBA of Arizona Brevet and Randonnee, readies for her training ride up to Mt. Lemmon. Susan will complete scouting the 200Km ride coming up in November. Callie, my dog, hopes she'll take a moment to throw the tennis ball out front in the street. I'll head up to Scottsdale for my ride with Steve.
We need to rise early to ride across town to the base of South Mtn. The sun comes up just as we're arriving in Tempe, AZ near the campus of ASU.
Across the bridge into Downtown Tempe and Mill Ave.
Still a bit chilly--just need arm warmers.
The Old Mill--on Mill Ave.
Riding through sleepy Mill Ave.
The happenin' scene must have already happened, mes amis!
Somebody needs coffee!
We are parked outside of US Egg, our favorite breakfast stop.
A lovely morning in the US of Egg.
Steve, Star of the Blog--ready for some climbing!
We are in the Park and one of the "Vistas" that Steve says we'll do today is the top of South Mtn at the TV Towers. There will be three vistas and the TV Towers are the last and most difficult.
We'll get water here at the old Ranger Station.
You can ride very fast, Gentle Readers--faster than cars. And the Rangers will fine you and you are therefore warned. Of course, that won't be me today--at least on the way up!
Riding out on to San Juan Vista in South Mtn Park.
South Mtn with the TV Towers--about 8 or 9 miles East of this photo. As you drive North to Phx from Tucson, South Mtn is visable from pretty far away. When we do our Marana-Scottsdale-Marana Ride (130 miles one-way) we can see South Mtn as we leave Sacaton.
The mountain range in the background is on the Gilla Bend Indian Reservation--this is looking West from the Park. Steve and I have often ridden on the hwy that runs East and West along the base of the range.
This part of the park has no motor traffic, so its great for roadies and mtn bikes. The road goes out about seven miles from the old Ranger Station, with fast rollers and awesome scenery.
From this vista, you can see Downtown Pheonix--and the Diamondback's stadium there on the right.
Turning around from the shot of Phx, here's the road we came up. There'll be some climbing to get back but this road has been a blast. October morning is cool, but it seems to be getting warm as the sun's coming out.
Grandpa and Mr. Mono. Steve is now a Grandfather. For the first time I feel like I have my lungs and legs. We're riding strong and solid--now the ride begins!
South Mtn from the NW side.
Mountains all around--here come the Randonneurs to give them the answer!
Fee fie foe fum--
Look toward the bottom in center, just to the right of the saguaro--Steve the Star of the Blog coming up the mountain. We are headed to Dobbins Lookout for the first of the three vistas up here on the top of South Mtn.
Dobbins Lookout--I belive at 2300 feet elevation. That's Camel Back where all the wealthy Scottsdale people live. Papago Park is to the right and center of the photo. We've left for our ride at 5 a.m. North on the other side of Camel Back. Steve says we're at about 48 miles from his house in Scottsdale.
The TV Towers are behind us. We have one more vista to visit--just a quick short climb called Buena Vista--I'm didn't snap a photo and not sure why--but the real reason we're here it to make the last tough climb to the TV Towers.
On Top, and I have to say I felt pretty good because there are two very steep and gut-wrenching climbs before you reach the top. It takes a minute to get your breath back.
Steve is right behind me.
Here's the road we came up to reach the TV Towers, looking West from the top. It's a blast going down, mes amis!
Take a minute to discuss if we want to stop for lunch in town, or keep going back to Scottsdale.
We ride down, get to the Circle K to eat a cliff bar, drink some chocholate milk, and fill the bottles with ice and water. Now we have about 30 miles or more to ride back through the heart of Pheonix, Tempe, and Scottsdale.
As we rode through Tempe, it looked like a triathlon was setting up. Streets were getting blocked off, so we got on the bike course and just acted like we owned the place--police and officials waved us along, then we cut out and made to Papago Park.
About four miles from Steve's fancy digs in swank Scottsdale, Arizona--Steve, the Star of the Blog gets a flat. Bummer, cause we are moving pretty fast. Actually, we start to hit every light which start to show up at every half-mile interval. Pretty frustrating when you just want the ride to be over. Then a flat to top it off.
There is only one tree with some shade and I say we go for it to fix the flat. The Phx sun is already starting to blaze... As we get under the tree, a huge Rottwieler in the backyard sees the top of my head from over the fence. She, as I find out later from her friendly owner, runs to the fence and then jumps up to the height of my head to bark at us and see what we're doing. Gentle Reader of This Blog, I can feel the cement block fence strain from the weight of "Puppy" as she pushes off to jump. My first thought was that the wall was going fall, and then trap Steve and Yours--and Puppy would tear at our limbs and we struggle to free ourselves from the rubble of the block wall.
Friendly owner called to said puppy, and she happily went to owner's feet and plopped down like a good dog. Friendly ower asked if we needed anything--as he had a cold beer in his hand--I thought for a moment about that request--but Steve is ready to roll.
It was an awesome ride, and nice to be out of Tucson for a time.