The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

On the Road……Climbing Mt. Lemmon

with 3 comments

On my second attempt, I finally made it to the top of Mt. Lemmon! This time, I started earlier in the day (8:30am at the base rather than 12 noon on my first try). Still, the temperatures climbed into the upper 90s during long portions of the ride and I wasn’t really in the kind of shape to make the ride carefree and enjoyable.

It helped that I went with a friend (thanks Marc!). He’s in good shape and runs 5x a week and described this ride as very, very tough. We took our time. Well, I took my time. I stopped 4-5 times, 10-20 minutes each time to rest, refuel, drink water, and desperately find some tiny patch of shade. And, once again, I still didn’t bring enough water. My two bottles were virtually depleted after the first 20 miles of hot, uphill riding.

Plus, the altitude is a factor. I noticed the air above 6,000 feet is palpably thinner. I honestly thought I might abandon midway through the ride. Nonetheless, I soldiered onward and upward.  After 4+ hours of riding and stopping, I had a re-birth and actually began to feel pretty good. But that was when my friend Marc had his trouble spot. He wasn’t drinking much water and was eating little if any food (while I had consumed an apple, a little cheese, two small granola bars, some nut bars, and even a power gel). So I found a package of powdered electrolytes in my handlebar bag and poured this in his water.  That seemed to bring him back to life for the final 5-mile climb to the summit, which took us over 8,000 feet in altitude.

At the top, we each savored a pizza at the pizzeria in Summerhaven. Best pizza ever — we both agreed.

Not feeling too good at this point and appreciating a spot of shade.

These are Ponderosa pines. When you see this tree species you know you are getting closer to the top. Here we’ve made the transition from a desert to a forest ecosystem.

I force a stop on the descent to make this image. The descent is about 60-minutes of pure downhill riding in which the air progressively grows hotter and hotter until, dare I say, it feels as though you are riding through an actual oven.

Written by fridaycyclotouriste

July 26th, 2012 at 10:29 pm

3 Responses to 'On the Road……Climbing Mt. Lemmon'

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  1. what beautiful views!


    26 Jul 12 at 11:45 pm

  2. great post, Nathan! Really enjoyed all the details.


    27 Jul 12 at 11:48 am

  3. Meli/ tucson has some stunning views – it’s also a wild place and i miss it…(btw, i’m so, so grateful you’re sharing your images and words with us all once again at Muchas gracias!)

    Ingrid/ gracias crepe-ista!

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