We're on the way to the mountain town of Oracle, Arizona. For the last eight years John has held this ride on New Year's Day. I believe this is the fifth or six time I've ridden. Mt. Lemmon is in the background and I'm sure it's packed with skiers today.
We pull into the gas station to regroup and get water.
The day starts a bit cool in the morning, but the wind is not with us today.
Somebody needs to buy some new tires! Dave has the first flat of 2009. We're heading North up Oracle Rd in this photo. You can see Pusch Ridge in the background and if you follow my blog, you know that my commute route in on the other side of the ridge, up Ina and Skyline Rds.
We can feel it getting colder as we start to climb the last stretch up to Oracle.
Gerry and I talk about what we want for lunch! I'm getting very hungry!
John and Cathy on the tandem. We pull into the entrance of Biosphere 2 so we can regroup and give Eric, Larry and Joan a quick call. They are just a few miles ahead of us. We all left from different points this morning to converge at Noon in Oracle.
At 49 miles into the ride, we arrive at Lunch. Mt. Lemmon looms far in the distance.
This place is North on Hwy 77 (Oracle Rd) and then just after mile-post 100. Turn Right on Rockliff Rd and you're there!
Wing riding strong...
Gerry and Susan. Susan did a ride down by Mexico the other day. This is rest day for her, so she met up with us for lunch.
Wing and eldest daughter.
Larry, Joan, Wing's two other daughters.
Cathy and John.
Dave Peashock and Gerry Goode. Peashock will ride with me on the 200 Km this coming up weekend.
Cathy, John, and Dave Glasgow
Larry and Joan have come up on their tandem as well.
John and Cathy get ready to roll as Susan says farewell. Lunch was satisfying and everyone is ready to get back home. Susan will be running the 200 km brevet in Casa Grande this weekend.
I feel like I'm riding strong after a few weeks off for Christmas and traveling back home. Good food my weakness, Gentle Reader! I put on a few pounds, but since I've got back on the bike, that extra weight is slowly falling away.
Larry and Joan are riding strong on their tandem, and this is their neighbor, Dave--we fly back to Tucson about 25 MPH for about 12 miles! It was fast. They keep going down Oracle Rd for a route back to where they live--I pull out and wait to regroup with everyone else that got dropped!
2009 will be tough. I need to find a new job and get going into this profession. There's a lot of old school types in the way--and I don't want to be one of them. The new school types are savvy and learn fast. I don't want to get left behind. Looks like those jobs are not in Arizona, mes amis--and not in Tucson, that's for sure.
There will be hurdles. But you can do it! Back in November, I climbed Mt. Lemmon and I felt strong and confident--as I climbed higher, my confident in myself grew and fear and self-doubt were left behind.
What seems impossible is possible. Like everything, the journey will be steep. You will pass other cyclists as you climb. Stronger cyclists will pass you. Sometimes you will drop your friends--you may find yourself having to abandon yourself, and turn and head back down. You will have another chance, I can assure you!
I made it the first time, but my friends, who were much stronger, dropped me within the first few miles and I was quite discouraged because the mountain was so overwhelming--but I did make it to the top and I did finish.
Keep going. Help others and be positive. Accept that you will need help--accept that you may have to try again. Keep trying.
Best for 2009.