The boys ascending the hinterlands
There is a pretty standard training ride around here that is well loved among roadies. I have included it in a number of blogs. I've ridden it with scouts, I've ridden it in the pouring rain, I've ridden it in the dead of night, I've ridden it in the raging winds, and I've gotten heat exhaustion on it in the steaming dregs of summer. Until today though I have never ridden it with my sons. A few weeks back we nibbled at the skirts of the frontside of Usery and since then I have speculated whether or not my boys could in fact make the whole loop without a catastrophic tantrum born out of boredom and exhaustion or even a full stop due to a complete inability to keep forward momentum. So, can a pair of 8 year olds do the usery loop?
Proof Positive, a sign, a thirsty boy, and a smiling Dad.
Seeing as some have finished the El Tour De Phoenix short course in the past it must be possible. I figured we drive to the Walgreens outside of Las Sendas and do the mini-loop which everyone knows and loves. As we pulled up there were three or four other sets of cyclists getting ready to go Mountain Biking. Seeing as one of my boys had slicks on (and the other one got his in the mail when we got home), mountain biking was not an option today. The boys were to get their first taste of a big hill. Well, ok so it's only a 6 mile gradual climb of 600 feet, it's still a daunting task for an 8 year old. Every few miles they would stop for a drink (I have no issues for them stopping for drinks since they don't ride so well with one hand yet). Towards the top they got a little discouraged and I had to keep helping them along. The top of Usery plays mind games with you as it has a bunch of false tops. I am pleased to say that after stopping to take a picture they made it to the top and I shifted them into their big rings on the front.
Not ANOTHER picture Dad!
I didn't have the heart to tell them that 20-22 mph wasn't that fast going down the backside because we had a headwind. They really didn't care, they just had a ball rounding the knob at the top of the hill and then gazing in awe and wonder at the valley far below and asking me if we were going ALL the way down THERE?
Granite Reef on the Salt River, w Red Mountain behind
I found it highly amusing that after we turned the corner we were going almost as fast as we had come down the backside because of a wonderful tailwind that blew us along down the bush highway to Granite Reef where we would stop for their final "airhead" break before they would attack Kong. We actually hit 26 mph heading down little kong into the river bottom. My son's say that was their favorite part.
The woods are long and dark and deep but.......
Both of them had to hike a bike Kong (which I had planned on). I was pleased to see my one son made it 3/4 of the way and he only stopped as his chain came off. My other son ended up climbing about half of the hill. Just between you and me, that's a bit better than I did the first time I tried to climb it.
Dig that stylish jersey.
Final damage? We went 17.3 miles, climbed 870 feet, in about an hour and forty minutes of riding time (we did stop a bit though and ended up at around 2 hours elapsed time). Not bad for 8 year olds. I think they will do fine on the 40 mile route at el Tour. The hills they climbed today are much worse than anything on that section. Maybe I should volunteer for bike patrol? I am a bit of a crossroads. I don't want to jeopardize my son's finishing but we all know I will end up stopping to help people anyway so I'm thinking of riding as bike patrol officially but I'm still on the fence. What do ya'all think? Should I just enjoy this event with my sons, or should I try and do 2 things at once?
Guess who got new gloves this morning?