Route number- 27
Route name- Desert Mountain Tour
Distance (km)- 319
Climbing (ft)- 2600
Location- starts/ends in Mesa, AZ
Dates available- 09/01-05/31
Contact- Paul Layton
Date approved- 2004/11/09
Last reviewed- 2009/10/06
Description- View many of the desert mountains in central Arizona
Organizer's URL- http://www.cycleaz.com/
The route starts off at Albertsons on the corner of Power and Broadway in Mesa. It works it's way north to Brown and slowly climbs up to the foot of the Superstition Mountains (it doesn't look like you are climbing but your speed will show it). After turning onto the Apache trail the real climbing starts. You will get beautiful views of desert cliffs and canyons through this section.
Tortilla Flat is the first Control after the start. It is an old stage coach stop that turned into a store. If you get there before it opens there is a mailbox there you can drop a postcard in. After signing in at the control you are now faced with the prospect of climbing back up all those wonderful hills that made you smile so wide as you went down them. Just take comfort that once you make it back to the first summit you arrived at on the way in you don't have much climbing at all for the rest of the ride!
In this section you get to cross one of the few metal grate bridges in Arizona. Be extra careful if it is wet! Along this section are some gorgeous views of Canyon Lake that you get to enjoy before the next climb into Tortilla Flat.
Good views of the Weavers Needle can be had on the way back to Apache Jct if you stop at the overlook. After leaving the mountains and climbing behind you cross Apache Jct. and head out into the farms of Queen Creek. Taking Vineyard south and then Attaway road you end up at Coolidge where the Casa Grand Ruins are located and the second control (not counting the start of course) which is Walmart.
From Coolidge we cross the Gila Indian Reservation and pass the town of Sacaton on our way up to Chandler, we skirt the southern edge of Chandler on the Hunt Highway and take Lindsay north through more farms to finally turn on Broadway and head back to Albertsons for 200 kilometers.
If you can make it through the first 50 miles the rest is easy. The first mile climbing back out of Canyon lake is a pretty steep grade so I myself prefer a triple. The next 3 miles or so are also pretty steep but not as bad as the first mile.