Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Bullshit Here, Amigos

I recently learned the Spanish word for “without” which is “sin”

So when Boss and I were riding near his place, we passed the above gate house, and I said, “I know that sin means without, but what does vacas mean?” Boss said, “Cows.” And I was like, “Without cows?” and Boss said for him it always meant, “No Bull Shit To Step In.”

If you are wealthy enough to live in said gated-community, you can be assured that cattle are not grazing in the neighborhood and leaving cowpies in your driveway…

My friends from Mexico that work at the San tell me that in some places in Tucson, the long Spanish names that sound like music when you say it (if you can even say it) or look astute in print or on signs, actually mean quite mundane things.

Some pretty home, in a development, on a well kept street that curves into the foothills might be on a street with a name like, “throw dishwater into the ditch.”

On the South-side of Tucson where all the Mexicans live, the street names are all Anglo—like 23rd Street, or 37th Pl. But you ask them to translate the Spanish into English for the street names where the wealthy white folks live and the streets have names like, “Pedro Needs a Shave.” or “Amigo—Where’s My Horse?”

Sun coming up over a sleepy Mt. Lemmon as I make may out on the road.

Jersey of the American Randonneur--C'est moi!

Heading East on Moore Rd, early in the morning air.

Me and the Boss...

As I rode out to meet Boss Man, I hooked up with a few groups of riders going up Oracle Rd. After leaving a slow group and moving up ahead (people just started out and talking, etc) I ran over a roofing nail, and with a "BLAM" I was stopped dead in my tracks. People offered to help but I had everything I needed--and I sent Alan a quick text where I was. Just as I finished up changing out the blown tube and putting on the back wheel, the Boss rolled up and we were on our way.

Wind picks up for our return back to Tucson.

Everything is green because of monsoon rains recently, and Alan and I had a set a quick pace for ourselves for our climb up to Oracle Junction--but a strong head wind came up so we had a bit of a slog for the way back.

A beautiful summer morning in Tucson, Arizona.

The Catalina Mtn Range as a thin vail of green from the rains. As I'm thinking I'll have a tailwind home back to Dog Mtn, I ride with Boss to his place where I get some water. Taking off back for home, about 30 miles, the wind changes and there's a tough head-wind for me. Not really what I was expecting on my day to rest and sleep in after a week of commuting to work.

Oro Valley and almost home.

I actually did get a bit of break on the way home and had a rare tail-wind through Oro Valley and that big climb out. For the rest of the way home, I pushed myself and soon was flying West on Moore Rd.
While moving along, two women on what looked like triathlete set-up bikes saw me coming up from behind them, and as I flew past they sprinted and jumped on my wheel. We made good time and they thanked me for an awesome draft they said. I was pretty tired when I got home--ate a bite, then slept a few hours...

Cheers! Bruce

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Champawat Tigress

Plastic laundry bag from the San helps keep the mud and oil and sand off my back as I ride home in the rain.

What I thought were routine flights of the jet fighters from the near-by air force base were in fact heavy crashes of thunder. A massive monsoon storm descended on us here in Tucson, Gentle Readers of This Blog, and it rained cats and dogs. The wind was fierce as well and trees snapped on the campus here of the Desert San—the grounds guys told me there had been several micro-bursts to cause the mayhem.

There was no doubt in my mind that the storm would blow over, and things would be clear for my ride home—but that was not the case. It would rain hard for most of my trip.

Earlier in the day, I had been doing some research for one of the physicians originally from India, and I happened upon some statistics for fatal tiger attacks in India and Nepal. This led to the US and mountain lion attacks on Mtn bikers too. This did not help me out when on the bike path, I flatted.

I had read where a cyclist was stopped and either fixing a flat, or putting the chain back on his bike, when the lion pounced on him. The guy probably had a heart attack they think while fighting the lion, and the lion pulled him up into the vegetation—and ate his heart. Other riders found his bike but couldn't’t see him—so they put it up against a tree, thinking the rider would come back to get it later.

So while I’m dealing with a flat tire in the rain, on the remote part of the bike path with no one around—in the back of my mind, that and what I read about the Champawat Tigress lurked. She was watching me and waiting for the best time to grab me. Because she was old and had lost teeth, she couldn't’t hunt her normal prey, so she started hunting humans so they say—and she got pretty good at it. You can read about her here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champawat_Tiger

The bike path.

I watched the river's water raise quickly as I worked on my repair.

Back on the road with about 70 pounds in my tire from my hand pump, I made my way quickly—no tiger sightings for this Randonneur today, mes amis!

The solitude of the bike path, in the rain, and on the bike--making good time I might add!

Rain pelted me as I made my way up La Cholla for that long climb to Ina Rd. I’d have to make that dangerous left turn and head West to the YMCA and my car in this weather. As it was a bit later and there was more traffic, I knew this would be tricky—but when a opening appeared in the flow of cars, I was able to sprint into the left turn lane and get a green arrow—all this happening a few seconds—and I was home free!



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mt. Lemmon by Bike--or Pizza Pie in the Sky

There's no rush to get to the top of Mt. Lemmon, Gentle Readers of This Blog--just take your time and float up with the clouds...

I was having camera problems, mes amis, and thought that I'd have no photos and post for you this trip. Le Tigre and I went up and I have to say--it was hot--even when we started to climb at Mile Marker 0 at 7 a.m. We had parked down by Le Buzz and made the warm-up trip of a few miles before the real climbing began for us.

Le Tigre had to turn around and go back to Tucson, but he powered up to Palisades with my empty water bottles, and would bring me back filled ones. I should have had my Camelbak, mes amis because I went through three bottles with only a few miles to go before Palisades at mile 19--but they were hard miles and I don't know if I would have made it if not for Ryan dropping off water for me on his way down.

I keep pushing to Palisades.

It's cooling off up here at 8000 feet...

I would not have made it had Le Tigre not rode up ahead and then brought me back two bottles filled from the Palisades Ranger Station!

Palisades! Take a rest and load up on water--if you have time, ride to Summerhaven!

Keep going! You can do it! Almost there!

Riding Mt. Lemmon--go early, bring enough water, eat for energy, over come your fear of wanting to turn back. That's the hard one, mes amis--I always struggle with the desire to turn around at least three times. Try to keep going! You can do it!

Mt. Lemmon, AZ Post Office.

There's a restroom in back and nice and cold water fountains too. The volunteers in the center were very friendly and helpful.

Pie in the Sky!

Bike parking at the Community Center--rest rooms and water in the back...

My Buddy Mike at tucsonvelo.com--mind if I use your reserve parking spot, Mike?

It will take me an hour to ride down and back to my car--I'll need to watch for bears!

Big Guys go down hill fast, Gentle Readers of This Blog! With no traffic today on a week-day, I push my speed limit a bit beyond my comfort zone...

Looking back, I'm thinking to myself, "Did I really climb that road?" YES! So fast coming down--enjoy the feeling of flying, mes amis!

Thimble Peak in Sabino Canyon up there ahead.

Saguaro seem to cheer you on!

Tucson is site! Also starting to get hot!

Thanks to Brad's mom and dad for the safe shoulder we have to ride on.

The temp now is 103--it was 70 in Summerhaven about an hour ago!

I just dumped all my gear in the kitchen--I need to take a shower, get some food, and sleep a few hours, mes amis! I'll clean up all this stuff later.

Cheers! Bruce

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Commute to Work--with Girls

Callie has finished her breakfast, now she waits for me to make mine--so she can have some/most of it. Can't I like even comb my hair first, Callie?

One week not on the bike so it was rough dragging myself outta the sack.

East on Ina Rd about 6 a.m.

Look out! Here I come!

I pulled up to a light and behind this woman on her road bike. I said good morning, and she just turned around and glared at me. When the light changed, she took off as fast as she could. This is so typical Tucson roadie it seems--like I'm gonna rob her or something right there in the intersection?
I caught up to her quickly and she tried to ride away and pretend I wasn't there. So I just hung right on her wheel for the climb up Ina to annoy her. Sweat was running down her face--and when I saw that she was starting to struggle, I took off. Have a nice day!

Looking back West--I'm on the fast rollers on Skyline Dr.

Double Century!

East on Sunrise Dr. making the last long climb to Craycroft.

Sunrise Dr. is right! Man the Sun is up, mes amis!

Looking back up Craycroft to the foothills.

Getting ready to dive down into the Tucson Valley at 35 mph!

The old Desert San water tower from 1927, a Tucson Landmark.
Cheers! Bruce