Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A fight with a cat, or a bike ride?

Saturday the training plan called for a 3.5 hr ride, so around 7AM Zac and I left from our front porch and headed to Redington Rd. We climbed and climbed and climbed. What is it with Saturdays and climbing lately? The climb didn't seem too bad compared to Mt. Lemmon. And it's nice that Redington Rd has mile markers. The not-so-nice part is that they roll by slower on a MTB.

The road isn't in too bad of shape, and traffic wasn't terrible. We did pass a truck that was hauling dirtbikes and quads several times as they stopped every 20 feet to check their tie-downs. Around Mile 6 we hit the shooting area, and my pace quickened as we rolled by the shooters on the side of the road. I could just see getting hit by a stray bullet. That would be a good excuse to end my workout early. We made it through unscathed and were greeted by a nice breeze at the top of the hill as we rounded the corner. The fields and hills were amazingly green from all the rain we've had.

We climbed until Mile 12.5, where we hit the intersection of the Arizona Trail. We didn't have enough time to do the Italian Springs side, so we decided to hit the Bellota side and take that trail to FR 36, which would bring us back to Redington Rd. The AZT was all singletrack, and about 4 miles long leading to FR 36. After over 12 miles of climbing, it was SO worth it! The trail was a blast! Honestly, if you have not hiked, ran, biked, or ridden a horse over a section of the AZT, you are truly missing something awesome. We are so fortunate to have such a cool trail in AZ. As we rode, the wheels were already turning in my head to figure out a way to start at our house and ride down to Liane's house on the AZT (except where we can't go in Saguaro East). We would then shuttle back to our house, as Liane would have to come and get her truck because she'll be coming with us. She just doesn't know it yet. He he.

The Bellota stretch of the AZT was quite overgrown with grasses. Ankle-high and I figured no big deal. Then it got to mid-calf and I was starting to notice. Then we got to waist-high and I was just hoping I was still on the trail and not disturbing any sleeping snakes in the grass below. The cat claw and other stickery bushes and trees were also growing into the trail, so we did our share of trail work by pushing them back with our arms and legs while riding. Needless to say, we got a bit cut up.

The AZT intersected with the FR 36, and we decided to head back as it was getting really warm out. The climb up the 36 SUCKED. Holy crap it was steep. I was beginning to think it would be better to continue on the Bellota trail to Milagrosa. It took us 20 minutes to climb to the intersection at Redington Rd, and then we were able to enjoy the downhill. Because it was close to noon, there was much more traffic out. Two older guys on quads pulled out in front of us and peetered along. I got tired of being behind them, so I hammered on the downhill and passed them. Awesome! They, of course, caught us on the uphills. But after Mile 5 it was all downhill and we were able to dust them. I hit a max speed of 28mph on the road down.

We hit the pavement and Zac and I had about 4 miles to our house. We turned onto Wentworth, and Zac pretty much died there. I think he's realizing that nutrition plans matter. So I waited and he finally appeared, and we rode the final mile back to our house. 33 miles and 4 hours on the bike. Not bad for a long trail ride. We inspected our arms and legs and realized people will probably think we own very mean cats. This is how my friends always know I've started riding my mountain bike again.

This coming Saturday we are planning on getting up MUCH earlier and riding up Redington to do the Italian Springs side of the AZT.

The start of the Bellota section of the AZT:
I love the AZT signs and how they made them in the shape of the state. And of course, idiots have to shoot at them. This is a really cool map. We can find our intersection where our house is on it.
Me heading down the trail. Grass is only ankle-high at this point:
View of Mt. Lemmon from the trail. Hi roadies!
Zac on the trail in calf-deep grass:

Scraggly trees (Zac is a fan of scraggly trees):

Zac rolling by some cool rocks:

This ride may have compromised me modeling for Leggs pantyhose:

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