Monday, March 26, 2012
As I alluded to in several post, we had less than ideal weather a couple days while in Arizona. Sunday the 17th was nearly a complete washout. It rained hard most of the morning. When the rain let up, Dave and I decided to hit the Pima Air Museum, since neither of us had visited it before. Worth the visit if you haven't been. I always thought the gravelly mix in Arizona drained well, but touring the outside displays suggested just the opposite. Uber greasy. No way could you ride on that. It was a good way to kill a couple hours on a bone chilling, wet day.
Late in the day it looked like the rain was tapering off and the roads were drying up. My legs were in a tight funk and I was itching to get on the bike for some recovery spinning. I thought maybe a ride up into Sabino Canyon would fit the bill, gaining maybe 800-1000ft from the hotel over eight miles. I pumped up the tires as high as I dared and headed off in near winter riding attire.
Sabino Canyon is a park and entrance fee is required. I saw bicycles were allowed on the closed to cars pave road up into the canyon. The park closed at 5pm, so I was sure to make it there before then. To my dismay, bikes are allowed in the canyon only after they close. That meant I didn't have to pay, but it also meant I had an hour to kill before I could ride there. I really didn't want to ride city streets. I thought about just heading back and calling it good. But hey, it was dry, I'm up in the foothills, so maybe I'll just bum around a bit. I toured some pretty nice neighborhoods, maybe a couple that I really shouldn't have been in. I wanted to see how high above the city I could get. I burned a lot of kilojoules, albeit at a slow pace, climbing in the foothills.
Approaching 5pm, I headed back to Sabino Canyon. After I figured the last trolley came down, I headed up on my bike. Many walkers and runners were on the path. It climbed gradually at first. The stream had some nice flow. A few miles in, the grade pitched upwards. This was more work than I bargained for. With the neighborhood cruising, I had climbed at least a couple thousand feet now on my "recovery" ride. I wondered what kind of doom this spelled for the next day's ride with James, Monte and Dave. I didn't care at the moment. I was rather enjoying myself on this otherwise wasted day.
I reached the end and prepared for a chilly descent. The snow line wasn't much further above me. There would be no people for the first mile or so, so I could let it rip. A cool road to get away from traffic on at the end of the day. Other cyclists were coming up as I made my way down. I had ridden enough to earn a respectable meal that night. Dave and I hit El Charro, another fine Mexican eatery.