Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bellota Trail epic ride

I just downloaded the demo version of TopoFusion. Oh my gosh is it fun! I downloaded it and started clicking away (too excited to read any directions). Very easy to use. And the best part is, it can take files from my Forerunner 305 and put it on a real map! No more cheesy maps from Garmin's training center! I think I shall be purchasing TopoFusion soon.

On Saturday I decided to do the Bellota trail from the Catalina Hwy side. For some reason, if I'm not racing on the weekend I find other ways to punish myself. And I dragged Zac along, so that he could enjoy the punishment too. Here's where we rode that day (note fancy topo map from TopoFusion!):
In a nutshell we started at our house at Soldier Trail and Ft. Lowell, rode up to Catalina Hwy, climbed the road up Mt. Lemmon to Molino Basin, climbed over the saddle, took Bellota trail to FR 36, climbed the death climb on FR 36, descended down Redington Road to Tanque Verde, Tanque Verde to Wentworth, and Wentworth through to Ft. Lowell and back home. The map kinda almost looks like Texas. We considered descending down Milagrosa, but I wasn't happy with my pedals so decided to do the section of the Arizona Trail on the Bellota trail that we hadn't done yet.

Here's the black & white 3D map of the start of the climb up Mt. Lemmon (looking north):
And if you spin around and look south, here's the rest of the climb up the road and the climb up the saddle (the saddle is in red):
Ok, time for pics. I decided to take armor to wear, depending on what trails we ended up on. Here it is all packed nice and tidy on my pack:
Proof that we did ride the road up and didn't shuttle:

Zac at the turn at Molino Basin, ready to leave the road and start the trail:

The start of this section of the Arizona Trail, with the saddle climb looming in the background:
View of the road from the saddle:
Rest break at the saddle:
View looking down the other side of the saddle:
Zac starting the descent:
Me starting the descent:

Towards the bottom:

The rock cairn in the background leads to the La Milagrosa trail. We decided to continue on and stay on the Bellota section of the AZ Trail.
Zac forging the river:
This section of the AZ Trail had tons of wildflowers blooming. It was also the first time we saw other people on the AZ Trail. There were 2 mountain bikers going the opposite direction, and later 2 hikers also going west. Nice to see the trail getting used by all.

On the AZ Trail map there was something called "The Lake". Wonder if this was it?
The end of this section of the AZ Trail:
At the end of the singletrack we decided to climb out on FR 36. We had done this road before, which has a horrible climb that seems to go forever. And each time I'm on this dirt road it's hot and I'm low on water. Way in the distance you can see part of the climb:
FR 36 intersects Redington Road at Mile 10. We stopped at the OHV staging area to remove our armor, eat some more food and use the restrooms. Then it was 8 miles of dirt road. Most of it was downhill, though the few uphill climbs on the road were not fun at this point.

We took Redington to the pavement of Tanque Verde, and it was pavement for the rest of the way home. On Wentworth I gave Zac what was left of my Gatorade in my water bottle, since he was out of water. We turned onto Ft. Lowell and I hit air in my Camelbak. "I'm out of water, the ride is over" I told Zac. Perfect timing. We were less than 2 miles from the house when I ran out. I had filled my 100 oz water bladder all the way that morning, and carried another 20 oz of Gatorade on the bike.

Overall we covered 30 miles in 4.5 hrs of rolling time. I immediately crashed on the couch after the ride with cold Gatorade and Girl Scout cookies.

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