Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Apache Dreams

It is before dawn and I am riding off into the darkness on Broadway road heading out to do a repeat at the end of the pavement past Tortilla Flat again. The air is chill and I am glad to have my knee warmers on. Somewhere in Apache Jct. I see a southwesty housing division called Apache Dreams and I start to think about what Apaches might dream about. Perhaps they are dreaming about a bunch of white folk wallowing in misery on a reservation suffering from diabetes caused by a glut of government surplus cheese. Perhaps they are dreaming of a million pale faces with empty wallets leaving a casino. Perhaps I am on the wrong tack with this Apache Dream idea.

Leaving Apache Jct and starting into the earnest climbing the sun is peeking over the horizon. The tops of the hills are warm and the valleys are cold. A couple of boats pass me heading up to the lake followed by a handful of motorcyclists here and there. The lake is beautiful this morning as always.

My knees are a bit achy but I am bound and determined to do a repeat of the 1000' hill at the turnaround. I think this was a mistake but oh well. I am soon to Tortilla Flat and feeling strong. I have been sick all week so it is nice to be out and about.

I am over the blip before the real hill with hardly a thought and I launch into the real meat of the ride. The hill rises 1000' in a little over 3 miles with long stretchs of 7-8% grade. I figure this is a bit steeper than Mt. Lemmon and should be good practice.

mile from the top I spy a beat up car on the side of the road with no one around. I figure it is hikers until I round a few more corners. Suddenly there are skateboarders carving wide turns down the road towards me. I give them plenty of space as I pass. It never occured to me to skateboard down a highway with a fairly steep grade. They look like snowboarders without the snow. With each turn you can hear their wheels struggle to maintain a grip on the pavement and grit slightly as they slip. Around another corner is a BMW with a bunch of skater bumper stickers on the back. Dad must have bought it I figure. What kid who could earn the money for a bmw would put bumper stickers on it? Anyway, they were nice enough kids.

Having turned around at the edge of the pavement I spy a dark crawling spot on the road as I just start to speed up into the descent. It is a Tarantula! I would see 2 more before the end of the ride but I stopped and took a picture of it and it is at the top of the page. Around the top of the hill I also ran into the Brumbys out for their Saturday morning jaunt. I haven't been riding with them the last few weeks as I have wanted to mix in a little more climbing to prepare for the lemmonizer next week. My knee started aching pretty good on the repeat and I think I should have left it off but oh well. It got worse heading back to town but I figure I have 2 weeks to let it rest and besides, I had only had a week and a half since the hilly 300k I rode last week. It was a little soon to pull a 70 miler with 5000' of climbing I think.

Next week the big hill. I don't know of any climbs bigger in Arizona than the Mt. Lemmon climb actually. A 5500' hill is a humongus hill in my book. We'll see what I make of it. Last hill that big I climbed was Mt. Nebo last summer and it left me feeling pretty tired.

1 comment:

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Show 'em who's boss on Mt. Lemmon come Saturday November 15th!

You will enjoy the ride. I will see you there, mon ami!