Mt Lemmon after rain storms is a different place than any other. On Tuesday, Sharon and I rode from 7 Cats to the sounds of running water. Imagine, running water in the desert, but there it was. We could hear the waterfalls at 7 Cats in the distance, and as we ascended the mountain, we cross over a well disguised bridge just before mile post 10. Now to our right the stream that flows down from what I believe is Bug Springs cascades over rocks and small falls. Birds chirp, ravens caw, Sharon and I chat about the fires in Sonoita and how lucky she and Rick were. At around mile post 10.5 there is a waterfall on the left. It’s wetting the rocks, but earlier is was probably cascading over those rocks and it was really a waterfall.
On we go, chatting about all sorts of other things, but mostly enjoying each other’s company. Neither of us are particularly spritely today so we ride side by side where we can. Before Windy Point Sharon is talking about her back surgery and I, smartly, ask how far she wants to ride. She’s sort of non-committal, just going along for the ride. I say that I was figuring to stop at Geology Vista to assess things. Since she had driven up from Sonoita straight to 7 Cats, she calls for a nature break at Windy Point.
I wish I could get this selfie thing down.
We get back on our bikes and don’t stop at Geology Vista but keep going. We pass mile post 15, then 16. Sharon notices that we are at about 7 miles up the mountain and says we ought to go to 7.5 since a 15 mile ride would be saying that we actually went for a ride. I realize that if we go just a little bit further, we can make the turn around at the Rose Canyon entrance. Sharon agrees, that would be fine. So we get to mile post 17. She just keeps going. I’m not egging her on, she’s just having a good time. We keep going, she’s asking me how far it is to Palisades, and I say about 2 and half miles just before we pass a sign that indicates Palisades is 3 miles. One of us is a liar. We keep going. Just after mile post 18 we go around the right hand corner there and there’s a parking pull out and Sharon finally calls Uncle! I’m happy to have ridden up this far with her and she has a new record for riding the mountain after her surgery. Previously, she had only ridden to Donald Duck and she was now about 3 miles further up. Celebration selfie.
She complains about her wrinkles and I should be complaining about my fatness. She looks great. Me I still need to figure out this selfie stuff. Perhaps I need to get one of those sticks. By the way, on the way up to 7 Cats I passed 27 cyclists either going up or coming down.
On Thursday, Jim Ostrem joined me. On this day there were 52 cyclists either going up or coming down. I think there is a group ride on Thursdays, since there was a 5 gallon water jug at Molino Basin.
Jim and I started out, each saying we were tired and or stiff, etc. Last year, I made the mistake to telling Jim that an exercise that I was thinking of doing was to stand for a mile and sit for a mile. I did that once. Now everytime we ride the mountain together, he’s standing and sitting. He starts the standing part at mile post 10. Did I tell you that one of the steeper sections of rode beyond 7 Cats is from mile post 10 to 11? I’m happy to sit, while he pedals away from me. Around Middle Bear, he’s riding back down to join me. We hit 12 and he’s out of the saddle again. I decide that I’ll try this as well. I make it a half mile. During this time, a rider comes up to ask if I’m Rob or Ted. I respond, Ted. It’s Rhett Taylor a neighbor of Bob Koomar. Bob’s been trying to get Rhett to join the team. I think Bob has ulterior motives because Rhett is an EMT fireman.
In any case, I’m huffing and puffing, standing trying to carry on what little conversation I can manage. I tell him that up ahead is Jim. Off he goes. Jim’s up there out of the saddle and the two of the disappear around a corner by mile post 13, where Jim is getting a sit down. I can see the two of them in the distance. I stand again for about a half mile and then again just shy of Windy Point, but it doesn’t last long. I’m rounding the corner at Windy, but they aren’t there, darn! At Geology Vista they are along the wall, discussing who knows what. Jim had already told me that he was time constrained today and would probably only go to Windy, what’s this Geology Vista then? I properly introduce myself to Rhett and take a picture of them.
Jim is much better at this selfie thing than I am as evidenced by his pic of the three of us at Geology Vista. Thanks for the pic Jim.
Jim looks at his watch and says that he needs to turn around in about 20 minutes, so the three of us are off again. Jim and the 20 something are gone after the flat section after the vista. As they pass me, I tell Jim that I’ll turn around when he comes back down. I think I make it up to about 16 and a half and Jim is slowly coming back down. I take the lead back down. I’m faster on the way back down, because I probably weigh 40 pounds more than Jim and I probably take more chances. On the way down, just below Windy Point, going up are Penny and Sharon. Hope they had a good ride.
We get back down to 7 Cats without incident and Rhett come down as well. We exchange greetings, talk about this Tuesday Thursday thing and Jim says that Rhett should think about racing the Cotton Classic TT the week before ours in August. Turns out that one of the things on Rhett’s bucket list (can you have a bucket list being that young?) is to do an Ironman Tri. So, he is training for that. He figures he needs to get it done before he and his wife have kids.
Anyway, two great days on the mountain. Till next time…