I don’t think there’s much question that the road up Mount Lemmon is one of the greatest possible bike rides in this area and probably one of the best in the state and country! I could contain the fascination no longer… Even attempting this was an interesting choice for me since, at 300lbs. and not in very good shape, I generally suck to an amazing degree at any kind of hill climb. It’s something like 16 miles from my apartment to the base, so Ifigured I’d ride out there to warm up and so that if (when?) I failed miserably to climb anything, I’d still get a good ride out of the ordeal.
I set out going east on River Road… had someone filled the tubes of my bike with lead? I felt terrible and slow. This was not going well. Somehow I managed to avoid turning around despite nearly doing so many times and found myself at the “Mile 0” sign. I called Susan to give her my last goodbye and set out.
After literally about 100 yards of riding in my lowest gear (a 36/26 of all things) I had to stop. Truly, this was not good. After a few cycles of riding and stopping for a few minutes, I was not even through the first turn… oh boy.
Then, a sign – encouragement sent from above! An overweight and aparently quite elderly woman rode by me and said hello. Not far behind came her (I assume) husband who looked to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 years old… This sort of thing (including a girl that looked like a 14 year old version of Susan on a mountain bike) happened a few times as I sat on the side of the road and drove me to press on.
Soon I was at the Babad Do’ag parking area and vista near the 3-mile point. A joke by the standards of people who do this sort of thing, but a pretty satisfying accomplishment for me. The real reward was the way down… gravity likes me, it was insane fun carving out the turns at 40mph.
Lesson learned: windy roads at 40mph on a bicycle is more fun than 150mph on a motorcycle (and probably more dangerous…)
Distance: 39.6 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.2 mph