Rainy ride home in the late afternoon this week.
Days in Tucson have been muggy, Gentle Readers. Monday I drove in with all my clothes for the rest of the week. That always saves so much time on the commutes--all I have to do is get out of bed, feed Callie (throw the ball for her a time or two) and get going. I've been parking at the YMCA and riding 16 miles into the Desert San.
Tuesday just as I was leaving the bike locker, it rained pretty steady at the San. I decided to fore go riding up Swan Ave in the rain, and the fast traffic-laden route home--because people in Tucson get all weird when it rains--so I took the River Bike Path.
Cool rain for the ride home tonight.
On second thought, I wish I would have taken Skyline/Ina, mes amis.
On the bike path where its muddy and sandy--but out of the traffic.
Since I was pretty well soaked within the first few miles of my ride, when the rain stopped, and I rode on to River and La Cholla--I got covered in a gritty film of sand and dirt. Everything stuck to me and my bike. Getting to the YMCA was okay and pretty safe--just right when I got to my car however--it started to rain buckets. Ah, the Monsoon!
First things first--I had to take the hose and spray the Super Grand Prix down to get all the sand and dirt off the drive-train. I also had to clean out my bike shoes as they were full of sand--then dry everything off the best I could. Later I went back out in the garage after I cleaned myself up, and re-cleaned and re-lubed the chain. All this took quite a bit of extra time--as well as a lengthy telephone call from Little Egypt needing to talk to me, made for a late evening.
But I got everything done, cleaned-up and things ready and packed back up for my Wednesday morning ride.
Pack and un-pack for the ride into the office.
Just as I started up the last climb on Sunrise, on the way to Craycroft, Colby pulled up beside me and we had a nice chat. Colby bought his Trek 2.3 the same time I got mine (My Trek 2.3 was a replacement frame for my LeMond frame that cracked) and we agreed that they were good bikes.
We met several times when we were both riding to work via River Rd. and later I'd see him on the bike path as our paths crossed here and there. He asked why I wasn't riding my 2.3--well, mes amis--I have to admit; I don't want to get it dirty. Really not a very good excuse, as the Trek is fast and such a sweet ride. But after getting home the other night covered in sand and dirt--the Raleigh will do.
Colby and I climb up Skyline to Craycroft Wednesday morning.
So we shot down Craycroft and Colby headed back home and me to the San. Colby was riding strong and I drafted off his wheel heading down the hill. When I got to the bike locker a bit later, I saw that my average speed for the commute in was 16 mph--a bit faster than my usual time--plus, before I met up with Colby, it seemed I was having to stop at every light. That usually slows things way down. But no worries because it was a beautiful morning and I was not running late--which is the case most morning.
We're about to descend Craycroft from the Catalina Foothills down into the Old Pueblo.
During the day I checked in on the dark clouds brewing over Mt. Lemmon, and I was certain there would be a repeat of Tuesday's ride--wind, rain, mud, dirt, and traffic. But when it was time to go, I felt a tail wind in my favor--so I decided I'd move out and take a chance on my fast route home and try to beat the rain.
Making sure that motorists see me, I've got my disco Mapei shorts on, and my bright yellow jersey. If its going to rain cats and dogs, I want to be seen on the road.
The tail wind didn't last long, mes amis, so there I was making the long climb up Swan to Sunrise. And while making the climb in the cool air, I spied a scattered line of cyclist making there way up Swan as well. A few riders--women--where riding commuter bikes, with racks and panniers and everything. That's a good sign because the more bike commuter on the road, the more visibility and acceptance from car drivers. I rode up and said hello--my old steel Super Grand Prix is not quite a tank, but I kept moving. Then I was upon two other riders, a young man and woman, struggling up the hard part of Swan. We chatted for a few minutes and they were asking me if they were over the hard part of the climb yet. Unfortunately no--still a mile to go. They had parked at the San, and were a doing a loop up Swan and then down Craycroft. I did not think to tell them that the mile climb up Sunrise to Craycroft would be just as difficult, mes amis. Feeling strong, I pushed on ahead--because once I get my carcass up to the top of this climb, I can do speed interval work all the way back to the YMCA.
From here, all the climbing is done, and I have a very fast ride back to the YMCA. This is about a mile past Ina and Campbell--maybe just past Orange Grove--looking West on Ina.
With a little bit of tail wind, and a gap in the rush hour traffic, it seemed eerily still, cool, and silent. I blasted down Ina, heading West, at 35 mph--which is pretty fast for a big Clydesdale like me. I'm always worried that someone is going to turn in front of me, as has happened to motorcycle riders and cyclist many times here, especially around Westword Look. There's a blind spot for drivers I believe.
Anyhow, I got to the YMCA, and got the Raleigh packed into the car--rain waited just for me I think, as when I turned the key to start the car engine--that sweet Monsoon Rain tapped the roof.