Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mt Lemmon Century Ride

I had to wait for a phone call today. So instead of doing the planned overnighter on Mt Lemmon this weekend (mountain bike), I decided to ride Lemmon today on the road bike, not really planning on doing something epic today. I blame today's ride on the Tour de France, as usual, I always seem to begin riding more road about this time of year.

I started about 11pm today, despite temperatures expecting to be 100+ degrees in Tucson. The hottest section of the ride up was Molino basin. I managed to ride the entire way up to Summerhaven without really stopping for a break, something I almost did last week (flat tire at Alder, if you recall, slowed me down a bit along with some rain)

At the Summerhaven General store, I brought a tall boy Coors Lt with the $5 that I had bought. $2.11, not too bad for being on the top of Lemmon. I began to descend Lemmon, contemplating the idea of riding back up to Summerhaven. At the bottom of Mt Lemmon, I turned around and began to slowly climb Lemmon for a second time.

Honestly, the first time up Lemmon was somewhat of a breeze...not the second attempt. It was hotter at Molino this time as the sun began to sink down and hit me right in the face. There were few sections on the road to escape the heat, save Bear and Molino. I had to stop and cool down at Bear and Molino; soaking my jersey and headsweat/helmet. Ahhhhhh..... I stopped at Palisades each time I passed, up and down, to refill my bottles. Additionally, I managed to limit the amount of sunburn by reapplying sunscreen/chapstick 4 times during the ride.

I got up to Summerhaven during this second attempt a little after 5pm. I still felt pretty strong. Another $2.11 and I was off to check out the view out Windy Point. A few people laughed as the rode by me. I guess putting the beer in the bike of my jersey was not the best idea I had all day. Windy Point, 86 miles into the ride, and a Coors Lt. Good times.

Check out the profile below. The colors represent my speed. It is interesting to see how I descended faster (shown in red) the second time down the mountain...with beer on my mind and then in my belly...

With no hurry to really get back to my car, I enjoyed the view for a little bit before finally descending to my car off of Snyder.

Stats from today's ride:
100.25 miles
Moving time: 7:35
Elevation climbed: 13,754**
Average Speed: 13.2mph
Max speed: 40.6 mph

**conflicts with last week's elevation

Another view of the profile

Monday, July 28, 2008

New job=longer commute

Rough scale of the new route: Orange Grove-La Cholla-Rillito Bike Path-Mtn-Bike Path-UA Tunnel-3rd Bike Path

The new bike gig is now 14.5 miles away from my house, good news for the daily workout. Today, I logged in 70+ road miles since I went to work and did my nightly ride. The new commute has 3 different bike routes on it (3rd, Rillito River, and Mountain), 4 water fountains, and 2 public restrooms available. Tomorrow, I have an interview for a Spanish teaching job at a nearby private school. This Wednesday and Thursday are my last two "vacation days" of the summer. I am planning on a overnight trip with the Leviathan on Mt Lemmon. I need to make the tyvek bivy sack tomorrow (stole the idea from Siren's Brenden) and put on the new saddle that I got from The Path Bike Shop. More info and pictures later.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ice Cream or bicycles?

I got tagged from Nathan for this bike survey....

If you could have any one — and only one — bike in the world, what would it be?
My two dream bikes are a Lenz Leviathan or Mooto-X YBB with dropouts, i have the former and now content with not every really buying the later. My next bike most likely will be a Siren singlespeed 29er.

Do you already have that coveted dream bike? If so, is it everything you hoped it would be? If not, are you working toward getting it? If you’re not working toward getting it, why not?

Yes, it is everything and more.

If you had to choose one — and only one — bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
The Arizona Trail end-to-end would be a great route to ride continuously. I ride some of the AZT on a weekly basis. A quick recap of the history that this trail and I have: 2 DNFs on the AZT 300 and another during the Kaibab Monstercross. The only two races that I have ever DNFed in AZ were on the Arizona Trail. I plan on riding a time trial on the route someday, if not this fall then later in the Spring.

Also, any route on the Adventure Cycling website would be tons of fun.

What kind of sick person would force another person to ride one and only one bike ride for the rest of her / his life?
Sick, that is not sick. Sick, by definition, is attempting a race like the GDR, CTR, or AZT 300.

Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrowminded?
I prefer mountain although I do ride the road bike throughout the year. The mountain bike allows me to see the outdoors and go over obstacles. It is basically like a downsized monster truck for me.

Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why? If not, describe the circumstances under which you would ride a recumbent.

Have you ever raced a triathlon? If so, have you also ever tried strangling yourself with dental floss?
Yes, I am in fact a triathlete. I came into the sport of mountain biking as a runner, a damn good runner before I got injured. After the injury, I picked up mountain biking while living in Mexico. It only seemed natural to add swimming. I like doing triathlons since it allows me to switch up my weekly routine. Anyone that thinks they have what it takes to do a triathlon should do this in La Jolla on September 7th.

Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why?
That is easy, ice cream. I never eat it.

What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it.
What is your favorite color on a bike? Can you post a picture of the color?

You’re riding your bike in the wilderness (if you’re a roadie, you’re on a road, but otherwise the surroundings are quite wilderness-like) and you see a bear. The bear sees you. What do you do?
The situation is a little vague. Assuming it is far enough off the trail, I would try to slowly ride by it. Otherwise, I would be very cautious in retracing my steps back if it was on the single track.

Now, tag three biking bloggers. List them below.

Dave S

Thursday, July 24, 2008

If you rode a bike, you'd be home by now

"You know what Washington DC need....? More vigilante bicyclists."

John Stewart on the Daily Show in response to the cyclist that stopped Robert Novak after hitting a pedestrian. Oh but wait, there is more.

He [Novak] says he didn't realize what happened and continued driving until a bicyclist stopped him. David Bono, the bicyclist who witnessed the incident, told The Associated Press that the pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk and was splayed across Novak's windshield. Read more here.

More noteworthy bike-related links:
Critical Mass in NY get aggressively chased by NYPD.
NPR: All things considered... Riding bikes around high gas prices.
Ghost bike stolen
If you rode a bike, you'd be home now. Cycling on LA Freeways.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Treehugger Hammock

With new plans for overnight bike trips in the works for this fall, I have been combing the internet for the best way to sleep after 10-15 hours in the saddle. I found the Treehugger Hammock online today. Not sure if I'd rather sleep on the ground or above, but this seems like a lightweight. Anyone have any experience with biking and sleeping in a hammock? A search on MTBR results in a thread on shelters, the hammock or an a-frame tent that doubles as a poncho were suggested.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stage 17: Alpe d'Huez

If you have not watched any of the stages this year in the Tour de France, don't worry because the best stage is tomorrow. Make sure to watch it tomorrow. If you do not have cable, I highly recommend you ride your bike to a bar, drink a beer, and watch one of the re-runs that is on in the evening.


I have been taking the GPS during rides the past few weeks in hopes of providing some insight on the amount of climbing I do during a given week. Additionally, a few big races in the next few months at high altitude (VT125 and Tab) pushed me into doing more climbing during the week (riding up Mt Lemmon once a week). Weekdays work the best since there are less cars (somewhere in the range of 30 cars passed me today, whereas on a given weekend, 30 cars pass you in about 10-20 minutes). I was also one of 5 roadies on Catalina Highway today.

The ride started out humid from Udall Park, before becoming hot, after it was cold and rainy, before finally becoming hot again at Prison Camp while returning to Tucson. I peaked out at Alder Picnic area before succumbing to a flat tire (I left the old tire on the bike when I bought a new set, it seemed like it still had some life in it) as some dark clouds moved in.

I changed it fairly quickly in hopes of continuing on to Summerhaven, although loud thunder made me make a quick U-turn back down the mountain. After passing Bear Wallow, the rain and hail began. I escaped under a tree for the first onslaught, then I rode down to the visitor center in the rain to escape the cold. Wet and a little cold, I waited about 20 minutes for the onslaught to slow to a sprinkle before shooting down the mountain, enjoying the waterfalls that cascaded onto the highway.

61.17 Miles
9107 feet of climbing
1 flat tire
4 hours 11 mins moving time

Next Tuesday's Mt Lemmon Ride: Udall Park-Palisades-Summerhaven-Palisades-Summerhaven-Udall Park... It should be in the neighborhood of 75 miles with 11-12k of climbing.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Samaniego Ridge

Photo courtesy of Scott Morris

From the top of Mt Lemmon, we descended off the backside of the mountain on Meadows. Not before long, the cloud cover begin the slowly dissipate, revealing Catalina and Oro Valley some 7,000 feet below. That was temporary. For the first 4 hours of the ride, we were riding in the clouds.

The trail continued to Sutherland before we re-routed off trail to bushwack down Samaniego. It was slow, very slow. Some hikers had previously marked the next section of the trail, although had failed to do any real trail work. Louis hunted for the trail markers and blazed a trail, often choosing some nice freeride lines. At one section, I went ahead (big mistake) and tried to ride a line down a steep rock. Disaster. My derrailleur and hanger bent back so far into my spokes when I hit a tree that we had to turn my bike into a singlespeed (much to the patience and help of Louis).

After about 30 minutes, we continued down some nice singletrack (see picture above). More sweet single track followed as we neared the 50-Year Area, although the few sections of uphill on Baby Jesus forced my skip to jump up and cause some minor problems. Louis' family made me feel like home with some gatorade and pizza. We chatted a bit about the ride. His house is on the edge of the 50-Year Trail, so we had a great time eating and drinking with the route in front of us. I kept looking up and following that crazy line down the mountain, thinking that took us 7 hours and we only rode 12 miles.

12.68 miles
7 hours total, GPS said 5 hours of "moving time" although that might be with all the route finding we did
2381 feet of climbing, 8,005 feet of descending
You can see pictures from SunDog and Krein's last ride here.

Louis gave me a ride home back to my car at Starbucks. The benz managed to start after a few turns. I was not really tired from the ride, although I was a little hungry. My roommate and I dined at Sushi Garden and decided that we would try to have Sushi Sundays when we can. I love Sushi.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Machetes and knee warmers?

Mt Lemmon is the mecca of mountain biking in the summer months in southern Arizona. During the past few months, I have ridden on it continuously on the front side. The front side is like the crown jewel of the entire mountain, technical single track and paved rides abound. The backside remains mostly a mystery for me, its trails are said to be overgrown with cat claw, brier patches, and downed trees.

Frankly, I know very little of the condition of some of the trails on the backside. My only sources are Louis and Scott, and their reports are from almost 1/2 year ago on Sammy. I rode Oracle Ridge and the Traverse of Death in February and recently I went down to the Sammy and CDO intersection of the Meadow Trail a few weeks ago.

Enter the proposed routes: Meadows-CDO-CDO east-Red-Danny-Control Rd or Meadows-Sammy-CDO/CDO east-Red-Danny-Control

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


430 am in Tucson

Instead of driving to the base of Mt Lemmon and riding up, I opted a nice ride in the Foothills. I was curious how much climbing my 40-mile hill route had, so I took the GPS with me this morning. I was pleasantly surprised to see some good climbing and nice grades, the highest being 18%. I skipped the morning coffee run in favor of a recovery milkshake, and breakfast, carrot juice and tea a bit later. The profile below shows the elevation/distance, the shaded colors correspond to speed, blue-green-yellow-red is 5-10-15-20 mph respectively (approx.).

Miles: 41.18
Climbing: 3319ft
Average Speed: 15.4 mph

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


It was hard to watch this today and not want to resume riding my road bike a few days a week. If you missed the past two stages, stop what you are doing, and find them on the internet. Now. Evans is simply amazing. This few stages combined with my recent trips to Lemmon and Flagstaff has led me to believe that I need to ride higher and climb more. The new plan: to ride Lemmon once a week on the road bike. Anyone care to join?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Around Mount Humphreys

A post a few weeks ago on MTBR sparked my interest for a ride along the waterline in Flagstaff to the inner basin. Later, this dream was fueled by Nathan's Crazy 88 race that will be held on the same route, although his route continued on from Inner Basin and circumnavigated Humphreys. I emailed Nathan to get the GPX track a few days before we departed for Flagstaff. The route was a 50-mile loop around Mount Humphreys with a touted 7,386 feet of climbing.

The route started up Waterline Trail, a jeep road that begins at Schutlz. The Waterline Trail was built in the early 1900s for routing water from the springs in the Inner Basin, once the heart of a 15,000 foot-high volcano. The route along Waterline is the only way of riding through this wilderness area. The slow and steady climb on this section of this trail has breath-taking views, aspens, and wildflowers. At one point, the aspens seemed to go on forever.

Dave riding along the Waterline Trail
Inner basin and Lockett Meadow with Humphreys in the background. Wildflowers were the highlight during the next section of the route.

The first section of the route could be summed up in a few words: amazing views, aspens, and forest roads. The second half was technical singletrack and green. The route veered off the jeep road to a singletrack used by motorcycles, known as Sherlock before cresting at the Snowbowl Road and continuing on Viet Springs.

We veered a little off the race route to ride Lower Super Moto and the Fort Valley singletrack to the camp.

We managed to dodge most of the rain that you can see in the above pictures (courtesy of Dave) until the last mile into camp.

Moving time: 5:29
Miles: 44.42 miles (GPS was turned on at the Schutlz Tank)
Average speed: 7.9 mph

During the Friday and Sunday rides, we logged in some good climbing on Elden, hitting up some of the best trails on Elden. During the weekend, we accumulated about 100 miles with 14,000 feet of climbing. This is probably the last ride that I had with Dave before he moves to Montana. Dave is not only one of my best mountain bike friends, he is partly responsible for my crazy addiction to mountain biking (Max and Scott being the other two).

Friday, July 04, 2008

Col du Lemmon: Climb or Die

After multiple failed, solo attempts at climbing Mt Lemmon via singletrack from Tucson, Scott M and I finally succeeded last Friday after a little less than 9 hours. We started from the bottom of Catalina Highway at 4am, before beginning the long trek up La Milagrosa. Humidity and nerves were high during the first half of the route, but both quickly began to fade once we completed Green Mountain, the 2nd hardest section of the route.

The route consists of approximately 90% uber technical singletrack, more than 12,000 feet of climbing and multiple road crossings that scream bailout, bailout, along with the tradition of drinking a mandatory tall boy Coors Lt before making the final push to Aspen Draw. Cameras were not taken on the route in order to preserve our secret formula for riding up such technical trails (that and my camera is still "drying out" from a canyoneering trips two months ago and Scott forgot his in the car).

Miles: 30.27
Elevation gained: 12,506
Some of the trails climbed during the adventure: La Milagrosa, Sunset, Bear Wallow, Aspen Draw, Secret, Bigelow, Butterfly, Prison, Molino, Bugs, and Green
Average speed: 3.8 miles
Moving time: 8:40:27

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Dave has a sweet design for a bike t-shirt, check out them out here. Not only will I be sporting one soon, I plan on buying more in the future. One can never have enough bike t-shirts.

I heard some interesting facts on the Pentagon with gas prices today on NPR.

Lt. Col. Brian Maka puts the Pentagon's fuel expenses in perspective. "Generally, a $1 increase in the price of a barrel of oil on the open market translates into an increase for the whole department of $130 million," Maka says.

Over the last six months, oil prices have increased by roughly $50 a barrel. That translates into a huge spending increase.

More reason why we should be driving this around town. It looks like a bike can fit in the trunk.

Finally, it is time to buy a new saddle. Going on some suggestions from Dave C., I hope to have a new saddle in the next few weeks. Some other future purchases in the bike department now that money is flowing in: customized tubeless wheels and overnight bags.


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