Monday, May 25, 2009

From Mormons to Mines (Mesa to Superior, AZ)

The mighty Superstitions

Memorial Day. It is a tradition of mine to do a longish ride in the morning. Typically a century but seeing as I am planing on running my Legends, Superstitions, and Ruins permanent on Saturday I opted to keep it down to a simple 80 miles. I had thoughts on Sunday of doing even less since I have a project overdue and I was going to work all day but wouldn't ya know it, one of my co-workers froze the database environment last night and they are having trouble getting the DBAs to come off of vacation and fix it! Aw shucks! Dang! Guess I'll have to fix my attention elswhere, like, a ride out to..... lets say... Superior Arizona?

I have never ridden my bike out to Superior before. The new road is done and the shoulders are nice, wide, and smooth. The shoulder coming back from Florence Jct is a bit of a bear but with a rearview mirror and sturdy wheels it is doable. most of the way has beautiful shoulders.

Anyway, I got out the door at 5 am and opted to leave the headlight behind but put the taillight on. I made good time heading east despite the tailwind. I kept a speed between 15-20 mph most of the way out to Florence Jct. which is a gentle climb, it's the headwind that normally gets you in this part.

The temperatures were just beautiful. I started off in the mid 60s and would just be peeking into the 80s when I got home. The climb up Gonzales pass was very similar to the backside of Usery Pass, with the exception that it maxed out at only 4% grade. The smooth pavement almost made the bike pedal itself it seemed. About halfway up the hill I saw 4 or 5 other riders going down on the other side of the divided highway. I wonder why this isn't a more popular cycling route?

A picture looking back where I came from. The first picture in this blog entry is of the other side of those mountains in the distance.

Yours truly in the final throws of climbing Gonzalez pass above Superior

All I need is a good bike and a wide shoulder to steer her by.

Picketpost Mountain

The Arboretum (it's also a state park and has some really crazy plants)

You are on a scenic road. Be sure to watch out for pine trees, cacti, and yurts (or is that a mosque?)

I pulled into Superior just after 7:30 which I was quite pleased with as I thought it would be closer to 8. The lady cleaning the rest area assured me it was open (I didn't even ask but she was eager to tell for some reason). Cold water on a sunny morning after riding 40 miles uphill is a wonderful thing Ladies and Gentlemen. Being acquainted with desert riding I chugged down a quart or so in preparation for the return. I had only drunk one of my waterbottles on the way up here. I refilled the bottle with maltodextrin and water, "Freshened Up" , in the restroom and then headed over to the Superior city historic park. For a few minutes.

The busy and hectic Superior Airport.

Watch out for Giant Pedestrians in the sky.

Mining cars leading into a pile of rocks made up to look like a mine entrance/potato cellar.

My bike takes a ride.

Little red caboose. (Little compared to what?)

Around 10 to 8 I was out on the road again. Coming out of Superior it is 4 or 5 miles before you get to the good shoulder again. This is where the rearview mirror comes in handy since I can ride the side of the lane until I see cars behind me and then I can steer off onto the rough shoulder until they pass. Passing the Arboretum again I am once again on that beautiful brand new smooth as a babies but pavement. The bike kind of climbs the hill on its own.

Gonzalez pass looking out into the desert above Florence

After Topping Gonzalex pass the crosswind would slowly become a tailwind as I passed Florence Jct. I couldn't believe how cool it still was this morning. Usually this time of year it is getting hot around 8:30-9 ish. I made fantastic time heading down the 60 despite having to jump onto the shoulder frequently as traffic passed. This shoulder has extremely bad expansion cracks that are several inches high and make for a bone jarring ride. The area just to the side of the white line is smooth though so between groups of cars one can have a smooth ride. Fortunately it is early enough there is not a whole lot of traffic. I did get passed by 15 RVs in a row just getting back into town though. That was really annoying.
As I cruised down Broadway I noticed my avg speed kept notching up as I was maintaining around 25-26 mph. By the time I got to Walgreens for my quart of chocolate milk recovery drink I would have an average speed of 18.1 mph over 79 miles and my bike computer said I had 4 hours and 20 minutes of riding time. I am quite pleased with that time. I sipped my milk for the last mile to my house and felt really good pulling into the driveway. A lot better than I thought I would feel since I rode a pretty hard 75 mile ride on Saturday. All that eating must have done the job. Anyway, it was a beautiful ride and I will do it again sometime.

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