Just about a year ago I attempted to Climb Mt. Lemmon. I ended up sick & having to turn around about a quarter of the way up. I was frustrated to say the least, and knew I had to get back and finish what I started.
When I got an email from our friend Karen that she was planning to head to Tucson for a training weekend and Sat climb up Mt. Lemmon, Shane & I didn't hesitate to jump in for the fun.
We met the group for a 9:30 am start about 5miles from the base. The weather could not have been more perfect. Sunny, 50s to start, 30-40s at the top and finishing around 80degs.
The mountain was PACKED with people. Cyclists the whole way up & down, families & kids sledding. While I spent most of the ride alone (everyone went their own pace), everyone I passed, or that passed me was incredibly friendly.
I was having a lot of back pain, so I was never able to climb too hard. My new bike was fantastic otherwise. Plenty of gears and some crazy way, NO saddle pain! From the start point 5miles out to the top of the mountain it was dead on 3hours.
Here I am pulling into a porta potty where I saw Shane waiting for me. I finished some nutrition, but didn't want to stop too long and cramp up. I knew he'd catch up to me anyway.
I have to admit it was sureal starting a ride surrounded by cactus & other desert life, and only about 12 miles later having SNOW all around. While there were areas that the snow was melting so there was running water, I never felt unsafe. You were climbing slowly so there was no fear of slipping. The elevation ticked away, and befor I knew it we were at the top!
Here's the group at the top - after 6000ft of climbing (from about 2500ft - about 8500ft)! We added all the layers we had brought with us and got ready for the descent.... Well, almost. We came down a couple miles before the the little ski town so we had a good 3-4miles of steep rollers before the fun began.
Here I am decsending with about 10miles to go. SO.MUCH.FUN. My new bike handled so well around the corners and just flew down the mountain. I felt in complete control and was never nervous or uncomfortable.
All in all it was a fantastic training day. My legs didn't even feel that bad after, it was just my back that was worked over. Nothing like 3hrs up, 1:15 down!
I would absolutely do this ride again, after a few bike fit adjustments for my back that would allow me to climb a little stronger. For just 6 weeks into training after a LOT of time of the bike I'm very happy!
And, of course the LaPan's wouldn't have the post ride any other way. Celebrating the Mt. Lemmon climb with Mt. Lemmon DROPS!
Thanks to the group for such a fantastic training day!