Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday Washout

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.

Sink to your ankles in places on the air field.

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.

Dolomites or Santa Catalina's?

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.

View of Rincon's I believe from near Sabino Canyon

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.

Looking back down Sabino Canyon

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.

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