We started our July 4th Ride at 5 a.m. to beat the forecast 102 degrees. This is Eric and John and Kathy on the tandem. We're heading East on Cortaro Farms Rd, over the Santa Cruz River to start out the ride.
Heading South on Silverbell Rd, you can see the conditions of the road after the Monsoon Rains. This is part of the last 35 miles of the El Tour de Tucson course, mes amis--the road is rough with lots of fast local traffic. This morning those locals are sleeping off hang-overs so they're not around this early. Already its hot and humid.
From Silverbell, we're now on Sweetwater, and the climbing starts to reach Gates Pass and Saguaro Nat'l Park.
Rain clouds will quickly burn away in the morning July sunshine.
Up Gates Pass!
I'm taking out the Trek 2.3, Gentle Readers! It is my new frame with all the components of the LeMond. So far so good--except its a bit muddy and wet this morning. Already we're getting covered with a thin layer of grime and sweat. Climbing Gates Pass is a breeze, and I am feeling fit from my commuting during the week.
The road on the left is the way into the overlook parking lot. When you ride up you're on the road on the right, and you've come up from the Tucson Valley--you can see Tucson in the background about eight miles away.
After a short break at the top of Gates Pass, we descend down into Saguaro National Park for the fast rollers and then McCain Loop.
The new Trek feels great. I had heard that aluminum frames would be stiff and uncomfortable--so far on the test ride, the bike has done well--over rugged pavement and on fast rollers at 40 mph. The frame is the Trek 2.3 and all the components are Ultregra and up-grades from the LeMond. I'm very happy and the bike is quick.
The fast rollers of McCain Loop.
The Wolf appears to us on the Loop. Ride In Peace, My Brother...
In this part of the Desert you ride in two worlds--the Mystery of the Seen and Un-Seen are evident, and no words describe the time you're here and what you feel--but you do sense the difference. The Wolf makes sure all who enter are safe--it is not a world for mere men and women to tread recklessly, but carefully and respectfully.
Kitt Peak in the distance, about 50 miles away and near the border of Mexico.