I haven't been cycling a lot lately. Mostly just the commute into work but the weekends have been either devoid of riding or a small ride or two. This is because I am studying hard for job interviews so I can get a new job quickly after I get Laid off on Oct. 10th. Incidentally if anyone out there needs a Java developer and knows of a job please email me. Now, back to the blog entry. I was eager to finally get a good Saturday ride in since I had not had a good ride in for many weekends and job interview or no it was time for a good ride. After all if you don't loose the bow once in awhile it loses it's spring. That being said, wanting to go riding the next morning on a Friday night and wanting to go riding at ten to five AM on a Saturday morning are often two different things.
Fortunately the cyclist prevailed. I would be late but the group usually hung around for awhile and since one of the guys had a flat they hung around a little longer than usual and I met them before they left. Todays route would takes us down across the Salt River bottoms to the Beeline highway and then up the Beeline to the Saguaro Lake turnoff and back. Surprisingly enough I was able to hang with them up the first hill this time (the hill where I had been dropped most heinously last time we went this route) although, technically I was in a split off group that came off the back. I count it as staying with them because another guy and I managed to catch them before they got to the gas station where they stopped to top off bottles. I was glad they stopped as I was intending to go a little farther than they were today. Afterall, I had not had a good ride since August. So, leaving the gas station outside of the cliff castle casino we headed up the beeling and I actually hung on for a few miles but a few miles from the turn they dropped me and a few of the previous dropped people passed me as I was totally shot and was doing some pretty serious recovery pedalling at this point.
Further up the road they all waved to me from the top of the over pass at the turnoff. I hadn't realized there was going to be a regrouping but no matter, I had decided I was going to head up the Beeline further this morning and since I had plenty of water having topped off a few miles previously I entertained the idea of going further (besides, I had hung with them for almost 30 miles which is pretty dang good in my book). At first I was thinking of doing a repeat on Usery Pass since I needed to start mixing hills in again in preparation for the Mt. Lemmon ride in Nov. Then it occured to me that the hill between the four peaks exit and the next exit would give me just as much elevation if not more. So, in the name of further exploration and beautiful scenery I pressed on from the four peaks turnoff.
The beauty of the hill after four peaks is that you get to climb 400 feet up a 5% grade and then you have to go down the other side as there is no way to get across to the other lane since it is divided highway so down you go down the otherside. I have seen a lot of motor homes over turned just over the top of this hill as people misjudge the turn but interestingly enough the accident was at the bottom of the hill this morning. A motorhome had rolled over just past the turn at the bottom of the hill. I didn't stick around but it looked like the police had things well in hand. Climbing the backside of the hill there is almost no shoulder but on a Saturday morning the traffic was very light and everyone gave me plenty of room. On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon though you probably couldn't pay me enough to ride this stretch of road.
My legs were feeling the pain a little as I had really blown them out earlier chasing the Brumbys. Still, I kept at it. I was going to have a good longish ride dang it! Even with legs a little tired I managed to stay out of the granny gear the rest of the morning. I went back by way of Saguaro lake and saw a few cyclists heading up towards the Beeline but I was surprised not to see any climbing the backside of Usery pass. I saw a few Mountain Bikers but no roadies. Usually this area is crawling with them on a Saturday morning.
Anyway, at 9:40 I pulled into the driveway having covered 72 miles in just over 4 hours having an average speed of nearly 17 miles an hour with 3200 feet of climbing. It was not a shabby way to spend the morning. It's good to be back on the bike. Today my legs are a bit tired but tired in a good way.