(And on behalf of my friend Mich who works for the other airline I am supposed to say: Damn West Jet.... damn damn West Jet. There you go! By the way when I picked up my bike, there was a gentleman ahead of me picking up TWO bikes. HA!)
But there were so many other rides to do and I was bone tired. Mt Lemmon is one of those rides where, especially the first time you do it, you should take a day off after and recover but with only a week in the town that has multiple rides you need to do before you die, there were a few other rides to be done. And one damn good hike.
Picture Rocks and the Saguaro National Park Tucson District (there are two of them as you will see)
The Desert Museum was a cross between a small scale zoo and any desert you can see in Tucson for free. Highlights of the day were mating doves and phallic cactuses. Stig and I politely walked around for about 30 minutes before, and I think it was me who spoke up first (because I am less polite than he is), “Alright, I’m ready for beer.” And so started the desperate search for beer. So in addition to stinking hot temperatures, animals that were hiding from the heat (why weren’t the humans also hiding?), all the restaurants were closed by 3PM and there was NO BEER TO BE FOUND. We eventually wandered into the coffee shop and found Kim W., Chris, and Sean in the same state (minus the search for beer for 2/3 of these folk). Michael wandered in about 10 minutes later looking like death and the consensus was, Why are we here when we could be in a bike shop?
Saguaro National Park Rincon Mountain District; Old Spanish Trail, Colossal Caves
Wednesday had us once again sleeping in and driving East this time to a Safeway parking lot. Total km for the day amounted to about 88 for me. I did not last long keeping up with the boys this day. They even tried to create a double pace line for me and put me on the leeward side of the wind in the back left corner. We had wind coming from the side and a little bit from the front and the whole way to Colossal Caves was uphill. Deceivingly uphill. I just thought I was losing my touch the whole way out because it really really looked flat. I was about 10 minutes behind them or so by the time we arrived. I batted my eyes and said I was with all those boys over there and they didn’t make me pay to get in. When I mentioned to the boys that I got in free and that it paid to be cute, Jim T. asked which one of them was I talking about. I knew then, officially, I had been accepted as one of the boys. It warms my heart to think of it.
We rode up a steep hill to get to the touristy part of the caves, fondled the statue of the cave worker who had the most humongous disproportionate arms – kinda like Barbie’s breasts.
It was a nice night of alone time for Stig and I which sounds all fun and romantic until I tell you that we did laundry and watched Sideways and could barely move all night.
Catalina State Park
On Thursday the gang had to move from the Ranch to a hotel. To make a long story short there had been a screw up in the booking and the ranch double booked itself. So they moved to a gorgeous high end hotel, the Hacienda Del Sol which was probably typically $400 per night. We did however spoil ourselves later that night by going out for dinner at the hotel restaurant which included free intermediate courses and dinner served in unison with 8 waiters. Wow.
It was truly a much needed day off the bike. As hard as it was to do that while in biking heaven, my legs told me a different story. But the day was spent hiking up a mountain. So much for recovery. It was so worth it though. We hiked to the pools on the Romero trail, described as a 7 mile hike with a 1600 ft elevation gain. I’ll say it in pictures. We had lunch at the pools and then lunch again after the hike at a happenstance found Danish Bakery conveniently located in a strip mall with two, count em, TWO bike stores. I told you I was in heaven.
I really wanted to climb Mt. Lemmon again. I probably should have as Sophie and Margaret did and said it was far easier than Monday, but I had no legs. We went out instead and did a repeat of the Colossal Caves ride and Saguaro National Park part II..... and it was so worth it. I even did a brick after riding 60 km and it felt OK which was surprising given that the run was downhill on the way out and uphill the whole way back. I decided to do a 20 minute run and I was feeling so good at 10 minutes out I decided to run for another couple minutes, knowing it would take me longer on the way back.
By the way. I negative split that run.