Sunday, May 02, 2010

Climbing in the Tucson Foothills

Catalina Foothills.

Alan has me come along for his "Hell in the Hills" workout. We're not putting in miles, we're doing three hill workouts this lovely Sunday morning in Tucson. I still don't have the Trek 2.3 so the Raleigh will have to do the job.

Boss and I take a warm up on Ina Rd. before climbing in the Foothills.

I have not taken Ina Rd, my normal commute route, for several months, as they're re-paving. A good deal of that work has been done but there's still Ina and La Canada, which I can't ride through at this time. But a few miles up, the road is done and I have to say it is great for bikes!

This is riding East on Ina Rd.

Bike lane is perfect!

We'll get in some miles before the wind that's forecast picks up later today.

Magee, looking East.

The climb starts just off Oracle Rd and onto Magee. I've never been up the road, Gentle Readers of This Blog. Traffic will be light, we hope, and we'll end up actually doing a few loops up in this area, so says Alan.

I'm not a strong climber, but now its time to try and work on that.

There will be a lot of short climbs and then quick descents with hair-pin turns--oh and speed bumps. The roads are narrow and rough. This will help sharpen my bike handling skills this morning. The thing that is a bit un-nerving to me is that its residential, which means there's always somebody pulling in or out of a side street or a driveway in their car and they probably won't be expecting cyclists.

Climbing into some of the older more affluent neighborhoods up into the Foothills.

Made it--and holding my own!

Another start to an even more difficult ascent, mes amis! The Boss keeps a steady fast pace for us...

After the first set of climbs, we begin one section, the hardest, in which we'll have two steep grades one after the other. I make it up the fist hill, but it's pretty tough--and my heart is pounding in my chest like a hammer. The next hill I can't quite make it to the top with the Raleigh--just not enough gears to match the hill and with my weight, I have to dismount and walk up the hill about 20 yards.

Living the Life in the Tucson Foothills.

Just to left of the center and towards the bottom corner you can see the narrow road we climbed, and the neighborhood we weaved in and out of--at one point in the day we road back down into these same neighborhoods--at some pretty fast speeds. Alan uses this as a training area, so he's off like a rocket. I use a bit more caution, Gentle Readers--still, tons of fun!

This is the very top and end of Campbell Ave. Tucson is straight South--then Old Mexico...

Another shot of looking down Campbell Ave from up at the turn-about here at the top.

Many of Tucson's roads looked like Campbell up above when I got here 10 years ago. This stretch down to Ina reminds me of Dog Mtn and then down Thornydale--narrow and all beat up, except there wasn't all the 50 mph traffic riding yer ass.

We take Campbell down to Ina, and then do another set of climbs up in the neighborhoods again--not as difficult as the first round. The other really challenging climb we skip today, futher up Swan, we doubt I have the gearing on my Raleigh to make it up. We'll try again sometime after I have the Trek, and a triple ring, which is what you need to climb with up here.

Heading home and cooling down...

A Hummer backed into us as we were leaving Petsmart.

I have to tell you all that early Saturday evening, Ricky, Callie, and I were leaving Petsmart. Callie had been to the doggie beauty shop and we were picking her up. I backed out of my parking spot, and then a fellow in huge Hummer started to back out just as I was shifting to 1st gear to leave. He didn't see us--and I honked frantically--but he continued to back up and then into our car. He kept backing up and I kept honking as he didn't even realize he had hit us! He was quite embarrassed and apologetic--I felt kind of sorry for him too. It was an unfortunate accident. The Hummer didn't get a scratch, oh course. So, his insurance will have to pay to fix me up. I'm glad they don't make Hummers anymore--kind of symbolizes American over-the-top--using up everything like it will never run out. The guy that backed into us was not arrogant by the way, just a normal bloke who was okay.

Cheers! Bruce


Red Bike said...

Isn't it annoying the way photographs always make hills look flat!

It's been ages since i've hit the hills around here. I've been riding single speed / fixed wheel bikes for months and therefore avoiding steep hills.

The hills here in the Pennines of England are somewhat different in nature. They're shorter but often quite a bit steeper. 20%+ climbs are quite common.

Michael said...

Check out this route:

20 miles and 2500 feet of climbing. Lots of steep hills!