This week's EPLS ride was to Rose Canyon at Mile 17. We had a HUGE turnout! As the ride progresses, usually the group starts to dwindle in numbers. But Saturday the Tri Girls and Honorary Tri Guys were out in force despite the reports that it was going to be 111°F in Tucson that day.
(I shall steal TJ's and Johnny's pics so that everyone that showed up is in a pic.) The group congregating at the bottom, getting ready to ride:
The purpose for the EPLS ride is to have a weekly scheduled ride on the Lemmon each week for 6 weeks so that we are motivated to get out early and do a challenging ride. The ride schedule progresses up the mountain each week until we reach the top as the final ride. But, folks are free to ride as far and as long and at whatever pace they want. For most of us, it's good that we are just out there riding. Most of the group made it to the Molino Basin area together and headed back. Mea, Robin, and Shari continued on to Mile 12, and Krista to Mile 14 at Windy Point.
This week I wanted to see how far I could get without a rest stop. So I rolled up the mountain with Johnny and chatted with him until Erik caught us. Erik and Johnny decided to turn in for a break at Molino, so I continued on and wondered how far I would get before they caught me again. Zac's strategy is to start last so that he can work his way up through the group and chat with everyone.
I got to Mile 9 and figured for sure Johnny and Erik would catch me there, because that's where Johnny caught me last time. But I took a quick look behind and didn't see them, so I kept rolling. Around Mile 11 there were a ton of runners going down the mountain, so I yelled and cheered them on as I passed by. The shade up to General Hitchcock was nice, but then at Mile 12 you turn and start the climb up to Windy Point in full sun. At least the sun was at my back. I was eating a Shot Blok every 3 miles, but by the time I got to Windy Point my stomach was growling and didn't want Shot Bloks anymore. I switched out my Bloks for my Cliff Bar while rolling and took a few bites and started the climb out of Windy Point.
I REALLY hate the Hoodoo to Geology area of the mountain. The sun was back in my face and this is where I climb the slowest. I just had to watch the mile markers slowly tick by. Finally I reached the shady area and right by the 7000 ft marker is where it is shady and cooler. I wanted to be off my bike at this point but still had another mile to go. I followed the signs to Rose Canyon, rode up to the Mile 17 mark, hit the Lap button on my Garmin, and rolled a few yards back down to the driveway to the lake where there was shade. I parked my bike and sat in the shade and waited for the others to arrive.
About 15 minutes later Zac and Erik arrived, and not long after that Johnny rolled up. Johnny had packed Leslie's cookies in his pack on his rear rack, so we dug in and got the chocolate chip cookies out of the bottom. We hung out for about 45 minutes before starting the descent back down.
Johnny taking temp and humidity readings. 85 degrees and 30% at this point.
Zac and Erik in the shade.
Out parking spot. We sat in the shade resting and watched campers go down the road to the lake only to find the campground was full and had to drive back out.
Around the Geology Vista area of our descent we found Cassie still climbing, and she continued on and made it to the goal point of Mile 17 that day. We offered cookies, but she was focused on the climb and wanted to keep rolling. As we descended down the road, we kept passing through curtains of heat as we dropped through the elevation. At the bottom at Mile 0 it was 104°F according to Johnny's gauge. We were all feeling the heat then and quickly split off and headed home.
Next week: Palisades at Mile 19!