Leaving the house at 4:30 was prepped for a long day in the saddle. Extra bottles strapped to the back, lights on and loaded up with
snacks. Heading out on the road, warming up, light pedals into the sunrise. Stopping at the start of the rolling dirt road and now the efforts begin. Climbing trying to keep the heart rate in the zone, driving, hurting to keep the effort going. Trying not to think about the day ahead, push it.
Coming to the top of the first real rise of the day and entering the rollers, pull back the effort and catch ones breath, try to let the heart drop down as the miles slowly pass. Riding past the burnt remains of the Frye fire, one side of the road starting to already show green from the recent rains and the other side a black wasteland from the back burns and the fire.
Drink, eat, pedal, look around, time to hit the pressure again second effort for 20 min of tempo, heart rate up, keep driving down the hills, pace the early parts of the gradients, it’s pace keep eating, drink. Heat starting to come up, sun is rising higher.
Tempo done, now just pedal, on and on and on. Past Reddington pass. Flat roads again couple of muck crossings. The fire and the rain have combined to fill the low points of the washes with nothing but black deep silt and muck. Rolling on the road and spend some time trying to explain to a mom in a low slung beater heading down the start of the dirt road toward the pass. “But the phone shows that this is the way to Tucson.” Well yea but not in that car and not the way the roads look today. Finally her kids and I convince her to head back to the pavement and the long way around. Although if she had kept going it would of been an infinitely long trip…
Roll along the pavement for a few miles then turn off the pavement and back to the dirt/ gravel road up the hill head back toward the mountain. Water starting to look a little short, temperatures rising above 105, sweat, suffering, reflections… Time to ponder the next step, left turn up the mountain, more climbing, sun on the back, enough water, these are the questions. Or do I go right and head back down to Pepersauce, Oracle and the odds of seeing more people starts to go up. Phone has signal, one bar… make the call. Time to pull the plug, not enough water to get to the top safely if something goes wrong. Right turn mostly down, more people, that is smart. Gets hotter going down, drink the last of the water, pedal on, pedal on. Take a quick break, jeep rolls by, offer of water. Gratefully take it, drink deep. Pedal on, up and down, up and down. Last climb, then just down and roll. Hey there is Eric. Ahhh smart move.