Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shhhhhh, Don't Jinx me.

So lately Mrs. Randocommute has taken an interest in cycling.  Nothing crazy mind you, it all starts with that neighborhood ride and an easy going attitude riding with all the kids.  From there, a query is made about perhaps crashing onto the end of my Tues Thurs workout on the tandem.  Pinch me.  This morning I cut my workout to an hour,  got home,  adjusted the backseat of the tandem for my sweet Randocommutess and then we were off, and not just into the neighborhood either, She asked if we could ride up to Red Mountain Park.  This is kind of cool because when I first started riding again, and arguably my first serious roadbiking,  this was my staple ride.  It's only 8 miles but 8 miles for someone who is not a cyclist is quite a start.  I remember being quite proud of that 8 miles at the start.  Eventually that 8 turned into the 26 mile usery loop with a scorching time of 2 hours and 30 minutes,  I was very proud of that at that time.  Not too long after that I bought a road bike.  She mentioned a desire to go up Usery someday but wants to start with Las Sendas.  The funny thing was, we didn't go as slow as I thought we would when climbing up to the park.  I think something good might be happening here.  This tandem might be worth the money.  Slow and steady's the rule.....can't jinx this.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tortilla Crisp

Sunrise behind the Superstitions
 With a forecast of 110 degrees and a need to get another 100k populaire done for the month of June I was determined to get out of bed at 4 AM.   I actually made it at about 4:07 which wasn't too bad.  I didn't get to the start until 4:40 ish though.  Nice thing was,  there was not even a breath of wind out.  I was able to keep the speeds over 20 most of the way back to the Sups which is really good for me.   Seeing as it would get hot pretty quickly once the sun was up fast was good.

Either I was out really early or the guys with the speedboats were lazy but there was not much car traffic to speak of.  That would be different on the way back of course (doesn't matter as much when I'm going the other way).  I was also stunned to not see any cyclists out.  I think I was just out early.  Temps in Mesa were a toasty 80 degrees before dawn.  In Apache Jct. we would almost get down to 70 before we got to Canyon Lake.

Yours Truly
 The Marina was closed still when I got there before 7.  The guy in the watch house said I could use the water spigot fortunately.  You can't get enough water in you on days like these.  The folks at the Marina are really nice to let us get water.  Heck,  I'd even pay a couple of bucks for water if they wanted it but so far they have been really good about letting us have water.  I'll have to take D'Net on a steamboat ride there or something one of these days.

For some reason I actually felt really powerful this morning on the hills and I made good time.  I got passed by at least a dozen motorcycles climbing up to the end of the pavement.  One of them would not be going home I would later seem, which is unfortunate as most of the sport bikers gave me a friendly wave.  Not that it wouldn't be unfortunate as well if it was one of the harley/cruiser types but they weren't as friendly with the waves this morning for some reason.

Is it just me,  or is this cactus giving me the bird?
 I was very surprised to arrive at the end of the pavement without having seen anyone else out cycling this morning.   Usually I either see someone heading back the other way or someone catches up to me.  I wouldn't see anyone until I was heading down the hill and I would see some of the Two Wheel Jones riders coming up the hill.  I figured they would catch up to me on the way out but they never did.

Climbing the hill was warm, after the turn around things started to get hot.  I got pretty hot climbing out of Tortilla Flat and the sun was putting on it's chefs hat for a full day at the bakery.  Fortunately, I had that water spigot at the marina I could use.  Where there is water,  there is life.  At 7:30 in the morning it had already passed 90 degrees and was heading for 100.  So I downed all the water I could.

He went that a way!
Climbing out of Canyon Lake I had a doofus in a silver pickup run me off the road.  Thank goodness I had my mirror.  He was 1 of maybe 4 cars that would pass me on the way out.  It wasn't like I was blocking traffic.  Anyway,  some people are just stupid and there's nothing you can do.  Their stupidity 24/7 probably causes them more pain than the few moments you get to experience of them.

After dropping down to the weavers needle overlook,  I was stopped by police directing traffic around an accident scene.  One of the motorcyclists had missed a turn.  He's lucky (assuming he lived)  he didn't goof up a few turns back where the cliffs are.   Since the Ambulance didn't pass me until I was well along Brown road it took them a long time to get him loaded up.

You know,  for all the whining and complaining I hear from motorists about cyclists being dangerous on the road to canyon lake I have yet to see an accident involving cyclists (other than silly rainy day mistakes).  So far I have seen two motorcycle accidents,  and a mini-van that went over the edge on a missed turn.   I also have seen many cars lined up behind folks towing boats but hardly ever see folks lined up behind a cyclist.  Anyway, just a few thoughts.  I know I'm preaching to the choir here but thought I'd share em anyway.

A tall cup of ice water and a cherry shake were very much enjoyed at Sonic where I was joined bv a guy on an expensive time trial bike and his (I assume)  girlfriend.  She was wearing tennis shoes so I figured she was probably just getting into this biking thing,  although she might be one of the folks who refuse to go clipless and uses the toe clips.

I weighed more when I got home than when I had left so I did good on the water.  I ended up with a time of 4 hours and 30 minutes which isn't too bad for a solo effort for me.  It's not my best time,  but it isn't too far off. I'll take it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Midnight Special

Yours Truly Headin to the North end of Town
Occasionally,  the busy desert dweller finds a night ride necessary as a result of busy lives and the heat of the day.  Night rides are good for the soul.  Especially once you leave the city lights and the clock moves on and clears the roads.  It's you the moon and your headlights out in the desert with the crickets and night birds. 

The dashboard at night
 Passing the Salt River Recreation building,  the daytime anthill is quiet.  Across the street at the Sherriff's branch station all the Breathalyzers are tucked into their beds for the night.  There is not a soul on the road.  Down at the parking lot by the river all is quiet but memories of a run in with a man on the beach making threats about having a gun spook me and I am heading back up the road into the safer solitude of the anonymity of the open desert road.  I pass sillouettes of saguaros backlit by the moon which illuminates the desert.

Usery Park
Cresting the pass there is a vast array of city lights making sillouettes of the foot hills of the mountain.  Moving on, the residential areas are all dark and silent with the occasion of the occasional dog registering their opinion.  I wander through quiet back roads along the front of the goldfield mountains.  Then it is time to return.  Good night.

Sharp corner,  slow down blind dude..

Wednesday, June 1, 2011