Mike Sturgill didn't have a receipt yet so he took off to go get one while I finished getting my gear setup. I passed him while he was in CIrcle K getting a receipt but he soon caught up to me and passed me. I would see his taillight ahead of me down through Eloy but That is the last place I saw it. Other than the bitter cold it was actually a nice morning. Winds were low and there wasn't any traffic to speak of. It was a good morning to just lean back in the seat and ride.
I managed to get through Milligan and Picacho without getting caught by a train. I was surprised to make it to Picacho peak still under the cover of darkness. Usually it is getting light when I get here. I guess it is due to the fact I was about 20 minutes ahead of what I usually arrive at coupled with the fact we are running this a few weeks earlier this year. All in all it was a little depressing to ride out of Picacho in the dark. I don't know why it seemed that way it just was. I was a good ways down the frontage road before the first crack of dawn happened and then I noticed a funny sign I had never noticed before (or maybe it didn't strike me as funny before)
"Hey Natasha! Where we find top secret Missile Base to kill Moose and Squirrel?"
"Boris Darling! Look, there is sign showing way to top secret Missile Base!"
But seriously, isn't it just a little obvious to name a road "Missile Base road"? Or maybe that is just a decoy. Hmmm. Anyway, I was in Marana before the sun peaked over the horizon and the day was going ahead of schedule. I didn't really have to stop anywhere other than to take pictures so I just kept moving on up to Saguaro national park.
"Master Rando Ninja!"
Turning up onto Sandario road there were some Balloons flying about. I was only able to catch two of them in a frame at a time so here is the best picture of those.
Balloons over Marana High school
Recalling last year I enjoyed climbing Sandario road without nuclear headwinds. I was doing great on liquids and things so I decided to forego the stop at Picture rocks and push on to Mission road. I stopped to snap a picture at the edge of Saguaro National Park and moved on.
The Brevet Mobile at Saguaro National Park
I did really well gearing down through the next hills to make sure that I didn't go out of zone 3 on the heart rate this time. It saved the day in the end since other problems would make things difficult later on. At any rate, it was really nice to have extra energy riding through the Tucson mountains and not having to recover through that whole section.
The south end of the Tucson Mountains
On mission road I took my first rest stop at the Circle K that is a control on the return on the 600k. It was nice to sit and take a break for a bit.
I steeled myself down for the long slow climb up Mission road to Helmet Peak which I think looks more like a lazy dog laying down but oh well. I stopped near the top to snap a picture of an interesting shack I always think I should get a picture of every time I pass it.
And to the Victor go the spoils
Heading out of Robles Jct my energy picked up and so did my speed. I managed to stay up at 18-19 for most of the rest of the ride with drops down to 15 along the frontage road in a few places.
Along Sanders road I had two dogs come at me. When I yelled "stay" one of them stopped. The other one came over and started circling me, I couldn't figure out what he was doing, and then It occured to me he couldn't figure out a place to bite me since my legs were up in the air and butts were for sniffing not biting in the eyes of a dog. So I moved on and left him puzzled in the darkness behind me.