I've been wanting to get back to Mt Lemmon for a while now, but trying to find a date that worked for everyone turned into quite the challenge. In the end we ended up with 9 people to start with us - 6 and maybe one possible last minute straggler (we worked our peer pressure magic all day long for one of the girls to sign up via Community Fund) all doing Ironman CDA. It was a perfect weekend to do a big climb before the epic Answer to the Challenge weekend .
The weather was VERY warm to start. Maybe creeping up to the 70s, but the sun felt crazy toasty. Within the first 2 miles of the climb sweat was pouring off my face and I was sucking water down like mad. Our group immediately split up with little Abby, Aka Mt Climber, heading out in front. We finished in the same time last year so I figured I'd just try to stay with her. I was already feeling my legs just an hour into the ride (guessing adding an extra hill run on Friday to my training wasn't my smartest decision as my quads and shins were SORE).
I was still moving at a good pace, and just kept Abby in my site using her as a pacer. The air was thick with pollution and and I actually had to use my inhaler a couple of times on the mountain. The mountain was PACKED with riders which made it kinda fun passing a lot of people (not so much the case last time I did this ride). My bike felt great, comfortable and honestly never had any pain until the last 5 miles when my low back got crampy from so much climbing. The last 4 miles of climb are more of up/down so got some good speed and got to coast down into the little town!
I ended the ride climbing the mountain 10minutes faster than last year! Very happy with this accomplishment and almost wonder what I could do if I wasn't 2 weeks post half ironman effort or with a rest week leading up to it? Hmm, might have to try this again in the fall!
Happy to be done we waited for everyone in the group to arrive and got to witness a very special proposal :-)
Note, last time we did this climb this entire area was covered in SNOW! Yesterday, not so much.
It took some convincing as most everyone was just ready to get back down, but we coasted a quarter mile down the hill into the town for the infamous Cookie Cabin . I just had to see what the hype was all about and let me tell you, the climb is WORTH it. Say hello to my super-sized peanut butter cookie. I wish I could say I indulged and ate every last crumb, however, I knew I would be a mess if I tried to eat it so I shared half of it with a friend and then put the other half in the RV sag (yes, only 6/9 of us did the descend and 3 were rescued by the RV) to pick up at the bottom.
My cookie somehow mysteriously did NOT make it back down the Mountain… Hmm. Guess I'll have to redo the climb again :-)
The descend was just as I remembered. A BLAST. Once again I fell in love with my bike all over again, and think my wheels are the key! The bike is smooth and the wheels make me feel in complete control. I only had to brake 2 times on the descend around a couple of sharp switchback turns. I would do that descend over and over again if I didn't always have to climb the mountain first :-)
My slave driver told me I had to grit my teeth and head out for 4 miles at a pretty good pace. I was able to get 2 others to tag along with me for the fun. Unfortunately by the time we started the run temperatures had reached 95 degrees and really got the best of us. We were all extremely dehydrated from the climb and warm air (last weekend we were in the low 60s for high so this was quite a shock to our systems) and I made the executive decision to cut the run to 2 miles. I'm not upset about it at all as my legs felt strong but I just would have dug myself into a really deep hole if I continuted to run in that heat when I wasn't at all acclimated yet.
After getting some food and fluids in my body I actually felt great. Changed into my compression tights for the ride home and continued to hydrated. By the time I got home & showered my wonderful husband had my favorites waiting for me :-)