After a 30 mile ride from Dog Mtn to Downtown Tucson.
I had one more long ride Friday Night--Saturday morning I'd be catching a shuttle to Phoenix and then flying into Kansas City. I thought for sure after the recon ride I did with Le Tigre covering the Rillito River bike trail joining up with the Santa Cruz bike trail, I'd be at Stef's place in no time. Unfortunately I couldn't find and missed the ways to catch on to the trail--which I could sometimes see from where I was--So Gentle Readers of This Blog I rode mostly South to Downtown via the old El Tour Tucson Death Route--on Silverbell Rd.
Down from Dog Mtn via Twin Peaks Rd. on my way to Silverbell to catch the Santa Cruz River Bike Path.
I had a pretty good hunch that I could save a lot of time by going West on the new Twin Peaks Interchange. Its all new pavement and I ride very fast, mes amis. I knew I'd be able to quickly catch the Santa Cruz--it was early evening and I had to be down town by 6pm. I gave my self just over an hour and a half to make the Mercado by 6pm and Stef's party.
I'm in familiar territory of Continental Ranch.
Silverbell Rd is fast and I know it from my rides with John and Kathy. Its also re-paved and I know I can use it to quickly get onto the Santa Cruz to ride to downtown before heavy traffic sets in. I certainly don't want to be on Silverbell during Friday-Night rush hour traffic.
Newly paved Silverbell Rd heading South. That's Pusch Ridge and with Mt. Lemmon behind--looking East.
I have to tell you that I did not see or could not see where to get onto the Santa Cruz--maybe some of you will be reading this and say to your selves, "Oh man, you were so close!" but after some frustrating dead-ends, the only choice I had was to ride Silverbell into downtown--that leg of El Tour that everyone dreaded back in the old days.
The road is beat up and narrow. Sand and mud wash out over the bike lane, and the locals are not friendly and they drive fast. There's also a grueling headwind to boot. To make a very long 30 mile story short, Gentle Reader of This Blog, I got the Hell beat out of me riding with a fury to get this Beer Party before sundown and/or getting run over.
I'm happy to report that I made it--and all that was on my mind was a cold beer that Stef would have waiting for me--and FOOD. I was starving mes amis! Anyway, Silverbell is a shit road and I'm glad I had the Old Raleigh with the big tires to help me get to Downtown Tucson without a flat or a crash.
Its a tough road and I had a tough bike. Also I begged my next door neighbor Brucie to come pick me up after the party. I had ridden 200 miles for the week and 30 more home in the dark is something that I couldn't do--especially after 30 miles of rugged Silverbell. Thank God Brucie agreed to come fetch me--I was able to enjoy a few more beers and relax.
I am just going to make it!
I am at the Mercado!
Yes! Where is the food?!! Where is the Beer?!!
I have to tell you all that while I rode the last few miles into the Barrio Del Tucson--and the rough pavement gave way to the old neighborhoods of the city--the sights and sounds of the Old Pueblo--and the aroma of burritos and tacos and frejoles cooking filled the evening air--oh how did wish I still lived here.
The food! The cool night creeping in like a fat grey cat to replace the relentless all-day glare of the Sun. For those few miles everyone was home, with the family, and setting in for the evening meal--which I could smell cooking from every kitchen on every block it seemed!
I was so busy busting my ass to get the Party--I forgot to find out where the Party actually was located... This is Stef and Angela's place, but the door is locked and no one's home. Lucky for me, Foxx, Stef's young son saw me and told me where to ride to--down the street!
Me and Stef.
I got to see and talk to many old friends. Stef's book will come out this November sometime--here is the link to a preview of Tucson Spokes mes amis. I hope you enjoy!
1977 Raleigh Super Grand Prix. What a bike, mes amis!
Just one flat the week I was in Tucson. Just over 200 miles for the week as well--that's the most for me in a long time. I have to say I was a bit sunburned and my legs were stiff and sore on the flight home. Needless to say I slept on the plane like a log.
Thanks for coming along on this trip back to Tucson. Thanks for reading my blog. I just get busy and can't always post in timely manner but I will try!