Mt. Lemmon as the Sun is coming up just after 5:30 a.m.
A 54 mile round-trip bike commute is not really that impressive, Gentle Readers of This Blog. I mean, all of us can ride 27 miles, right? Just that here in Tucson, at 5:30 a.m., it is so gosh darn beautiful outside—perfect temperature—pastoral sunrise—open desert—no traffic, I mean it makes me feel great to be alive!
One less car this morning...
Going home—it can be a living Hell. I’m sure you’ve had your share of those rides, eh? Lots of heavy traffic—over 100 degrees (107 for my ride home) and for me, about four major long climbs to get back.
I enjoy the cool morning air as I start my ride...
I guess my point is that both rides are short—the going home part, if it’s the long commute, is just under two hours. If I’m riding to the YMCA, the time I’m in the heat is just under an hour. This week I rode 140 miles commuting.
Heading East on quiet Moore Rd, as the clouds start to roll off Mt. Lemmon.
Several dozen pairs of woodpeckers and wrens live in just this one saguaro--there's quite a commotion as I ride by, on my way down to Oro Valley.
Now heading South down La Canada, the heart of Oro Valley.
At the top of the hill, I'll make a left on Calle Concordia. Maybe by the end of the Summer, the construction that's just past here will be complete, and I can take the road here all the way to Ina. That will make my commute faster and shorter, mes amis.
East on Calle Concordia with Pusch Ridge up ahead.
All the fast early miles in the beginning of my ride are behind me--now for the next half of the commute, I'll be climbing in the Catalina Foothills for about eight miles.
Probably just getting into the Desert San this morning, I ran over a big industrial staple—those big ones that are used to hammer 2x4’s together, and as I rolled the Grand Prix out of the bike locker after work to head home, my back tire was flat and I discovered the staple.
I was struggling with my repairs mostly because I was dripping with sweat and everything was slipping out of my hands—it was 107 degrees. My frozen water bottles to get me home were quickly melting, and I was over-heating quickly.
I lucked out because Bob, a friend from the San, saw me, and threw my bike in the back of his truck. Thank God for that! We drove to Pima Street Bikes so I could have Phil or Judy quickly fix me up—but the shop was closed—a note was on the door but I didn’t read it—they’re probably on vacation. So good-natured Bob drove me up to the top of Swan and Sunrise to the new Oro Valley Bike Shop. The guys there lent me a floor pump and let me fix things up inside where I would have some AC—that was very cool of them to do that—thanks guys!
To make a long story short—I rode home arriving at my door at 7:30 p.m. I was very tired, mes amis. I have to tell you that maybe it helped a little that I was on the road an hour later, as maybe there was a bit less traffic, and maybe it had cooled down to 103 or 104—but I had to climb down and then up and out of Oro Valley on La Canada.
Calle Concordia in the evening as I'm going home.
In the morning I’m fresh and riding fast, and I zip through Oro feeling like a pro—Tonight, it was so hard, and so long, and so steep, and so hot—that I wanted to stop and just walk up the hill. (Big Clyde do you have a truck, mon ami?) I made it, but one more long climb still on La Canada to Moore Rd before I could really say this ride is about over.
On Moore Rd as the sun is setting.
If I can just make it to Moore Rd, then I can descend down the last six miles down Tangerine and into the Sunset—which is what I did, Gentle Readers.