Saturday, November 13, 2010

They're ready.

The last picture I showed you of this spot would have had those boys up to their chins in water.  It is late fall in the desert and the great thirst of the valley below is somewhat abated and the river is held back to store water for next summer.  My sons are still not too disappointed.  Our turnaround today has them getting distracted by some guys on the shore catching little guppies with nets and my boys decide that they must do it too.  As this was our turnaround I should probably fill in the rest of the ride.

Today had the grand distinction of being the last Saturday before El Tour de Tucson.  If we were doing one of the longer distances we probably would have slacked off a little this week but since we are doing the 40 I thought it would be good to get another 30ish mile ride in with some moderate climbing.  We mixed it up this week by adding mileage on both ends of our loop.  We started at Red Mountain Park to get us a few extra miles at the start and end of the ride,  and would add a brisk jaunt through the rollers east on the Bush Highway along those wonderful new stimulus shoulders.  Mmmmm Stimulus shoulders.  It didn't help my friends keep their house,  but boy it sure put some nice shoulders on our beloved Bush Highway.

So I had to coax my son with ADHD up the first long hill a bit (he gets a little intimidated at the beginning of these long rides) but after we got over the top he got into it.   My other son suddenly decided he was scared of going fast and so we descended the backside of Usery pass at a tepid 17-20 mph. 

Turning right at four corners was a new thing for them as was the wonderful world of rollers.  I was much relieved to find my son that was scared apparently had no qualms about zooming down one side of a gully so he could zoom up the other side.  They handled the rollers amazingly well.  They didn't even give me too much whining around the final several corners before we got to the "Water Users"  area where Salt River Rec puts the tubers in the river during the summer.

This was our destination today mainly because it happened to be where those wonderful stimulus shoulders stopped,  but the fact it had a cool little spot to go down to the river didn't hurt either.  The boys needed something to break the ride up a bit and this did quite well.

We did have a moment or two on the way back,  particularly when after a good long ride we were back at four corners again and they realized we still had all that way to go to get to Kong.  I finally got the youngest to drink his gatorade (always feed a grumpy mood in ultra cycling,  figured it would work here too).  Pretty soon we were bombing down little Kong and they were getting jazzed about climbing Kong.  The youngest did it today and the oldest had to walk a bit but I figured that was OK.  It's tough to climb a steep hill like that at the end of a tough ride.

They ended up with 30 miles with over 1000 feet of climbing.  Most of the 40 mile El Tour route is downhill or fairly flat so I think they will finish strong.   Excitement will help a lot I am sure.  In any case, they are ready and so am I!  I just hope they don't run out of shirts for us folks that can't get down to the expo before Friday afternoon (grumble grumble,  a few years back, despite having registered 6 months previously they ran out, meaning that the folks that registered late got my shirt!  They did eventually mail me one though).

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