This morning we ride in Saguaro National Park, East.
I meet Dave Glasgow at his place, over by the UofA, and then we drive on over to the Nat'l Park. I meet him at his house as if I drive the whole way out the to park, it's like almost a 100 mile trip for me. By riding with Dave, we save on the entrance fee.
Friendly Park Ranger at the entrance--Welcome Cyclists!
Le Tigre lives about 10 miles or so from the Park, and he joins us for a few laps as well.
It's been a while since I've been out here in the Park--the pavement improvements have just been finished, and special attention was payed to have a good surface for bikes. I'm glad that the Park Service had finally gotten some much needed stimulus money to pay for the Saguaro Nat'l Park's roads and exhibits, mes amis.
One of Dave's many friends, Mike is on the road with us as well. The 9 mile loop in the Park is challenging and all riders, what ever fitness level, will enjoy the beauty. Best to start out early because it's starting to get hot.
Le Tigre will do a few loops with us and then he'll head back home.
Dave is recovering well from a separated shoulder from a spill on the bike several months ago. His tire blew out and he crashed here in the Park.
The Rincon Mtn Range is the back-drop for the ride this morning.
We ride two loops on the 9 mile course, and stop in the Park's Ramada to get some water. Ryan will need to ride back to his house before the Sunday morning traffic picks up here in Tucson.
The Ramada has shade, cool water, and a place to rest. It's just outside the Park, so there's no entrance fee. Many riders meet here for a quick water re-fill, a chance to use the restroom, etc before either heading home, or riding further up Old Spanish Trail to Colossal Cave and Pistol Hill.
Ryan and Dave at the Ramada, Saguaro National Park East.
Dave and I ride two more laps in the Park.
Dave, like Alan, knows how the heart-rate monitor works for training, and Dave sets a pace for me and coaches me on ways to improve my riding and workouts--and I am working quite hard. Dave and Le Tigre are light and fast, and I'm a Clydesdale--there are some challenging climbs in Saguaro Nat'l Park, Gentle Readers of This Blog, and I'm always pushing myself to the limit.
There are also some fun rollers and fast descents. Today we didn't see Rangers with speed radar, so we were riding a bit faster than normal. The new pavement is oh so smooth as well! Just some of the best riding I'm done all summer!
The 9 mile scenic drive is only a small part of the larger Park, which is vast and incredibly breath-taking. I truly love it out here, Gentle Reader.
Dave Glasgow is one of the legendary Ultra Riders in the United States--Super Randonneur, Ultra Cyclist of the Year, Furnace Creek 508, Fireweed 400, are just a few of the ultra rides Dave has under his belt--and he's a great friend!
I'm climbing the hard part of the course, at about he half-way point, mes amis--but I took a quick photo for you because, although the climb is challenging and it's very hot, you seem to get encouragement from the stately saguaro, which stand silently in the summer sun.
Dave met some friends and does another lap, but I sit this one out at the Ramada. I'm tired, I've ridden hard, and it was a long week. It was also that time of day when everyone was headed for home, and no traffic was in the park. I enjoyed the solitude and the stillness of the desert. As I sat quietly, all the birds and lizards came back by the Ramada to get a drink, and cool off in the shade.
I took this pictures of the saguaro that are near the Visitors Center for you.
The flowers have wilted and now the fruit begins to ripen. The Indians still use long poles to knock the fruit off to make jams and other foods.
A close up of saguaro cactus for you. Click on the image to see why you don't want to get too close to these gentle giants. The spines are very sharp!