Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fast Desert Training Ride

Racing out into the Western farmland of Marana, AZ.

A call came in from John and Cathy and they wanted me to meet them for a late afternoon "fast ride" out West of the city. I dropped everything for the moment and then was on the bike, flying down out of the Tortolitas where I live, to meet my friends out in cotton fields and ranch lands West of Marana and Tucson.

No wind, and flat roads--with no traffic--makes for some fast riding.

Out on these roads you can ride fast for long stretches. I kind of know my way around out here--I have heard riders refer to it as "The Big Square." Now I know what they mean.

John and Cathy on the tandem.

John and Cathy ride fast--and I was able to hold my own with them for most of the ride. You can ride a five or ten mile stretch with out a stop sign or any other obstacle to slow you down. You just pedal fast and furious!

The Seven Sisters.

These palm trees out in this field are familiar landmark. If you look further back, you can see the ears of the Great Owl Head.

We've been riding 18 to 20 MPH for most of the course.

The famous Arizona sunsets.

This is looking East toward the Tortolita Mtns. My house is located there on the right in Dog Mtn, and further back, of course is Mt. Lemmon, the Regal Queen of Tucson. We're maybe about 20 miles West of Dog Mt.

Time to get back before dark!

To be on the safe side, I clipped on a tail light and small head light--the fast ride with John and Cathy was a blast, but now I need to get me-self back home before dark, and before the thunder storm!

Heading Northeast on Sanders Rd back to old Marana.

East on Moore Rd that turns into Tangerine Rd. The big farms out here now only seem to grow housing developments.

Thanks to my friend Dan, from reading his blog regularly, I recognized a short-cut through Gladden Farms. This saved me having to ride all the way out to the Marana Exit off Interstate 10 and instead put me heading due West back to Dog Mtn. It probably saved me about six miles. I was also out of water by now--taking a short cut to save some time to get home before dark--I miss my chance to fill up the water bottle at the Circle K there at the Marana Exit.

Not cold but water all the same.

I also recall Dan talking about this park out here. And my hope would be I'd find water--which I did, thank goodness!

The roads are installed and the developments will follow in a few years, when the economy picks up. Nothing out here now, but this road is new and flawless--and I was able to ride very very fast! Just what I needed to do!


Just where I want to be!

In this photo, this is right where I needed to be. I'm West of I-10, and I'll go under the over-pass, and then make the six-mile climb to Dog Mtn--and I believe I'll make it before dark. You can see the faint headlights of cars on Tangerine Rd there above. The sun is setting quickly too, and I can smell the rain on the wind.

The lone traffic light at Tangerine and Dove Mtn Blvd!

Once you've see the lights up there, you know the climb is almost over! You can just see the green traffic lights on the rise of the road. I've been able to ride strong and fast up Tangerine--I'm feeling pretty fit this weekend.

I'm almost there--the sun is going down.

I made it! My reward--a golden sunset, and sweet-smelling gentle rain drops on my driveway as I pull in to finish the ride.


Sir Bikesalot said...

Finishing a long ride under a sunset like that has to be one of the best things in life. Most folks don't get to know that though while sitting in their smog belching cocoons.

Big Oak said...


Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Hello Gents,

Thanks for stopping by the blog--this was a fast 46 miles and we averaged 17 MPH for most of it. Best part was sleeping in Sunday morning as well.

Cheers! Bruce

Doohickie said...

Awesome pictures, as usual. The panda shots reveal your rippling quads.


Bruce's Bike Blog said...


I have stick legs and a double chin!
The panda shots I use for me inner dialog; a device I borrowed from reading comic books as a wee lad.

Cheers! Bruce