Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tucson - Day 1
Woke up at 4:30 AM and left to pick up Rich and Lou to carpool to the airport for our 6:30 flight. A 2 hour layover in MPLS and a 3 hour flight to Tucson put us on the warm soils of Arizona around noon. The Tucson airport was a lot smaller than I was expecting. Evidently you're either flying into Tucson or leaving it (kind of like Des Moines). Snagged a rental car and headed over to meet Chris at Sabino Cycles. We loaded the bikes up, bought some sundries, and made a breakfast run to a nearby Safeway store. 30 minutes later we were at the townhouse we're staying at (thanks Kirby!!), putting the rest of the bikes together, and getting ready for the shakedown ride. We left around 4 PM or so for a ride out to Colossal Cave Mountain Park. Temps were in the upper 80s and we had a tail/cross as we headed SW out of town. The ride out was generally downhill, although it was hard to tell with the mountains looming off to our left. The excitement of being able to ride someplace warm hit just about everyone as we drilled it from the start and all of the way out to the park. I found myself off the back at multiple points, not being able to deliver any power to the pedals and my heart rate stuck at around 165 as long as I continued to pedal. I was definitely paying the price for the exuberance as we left town. The group took a breather at the park entrance so my heart rate could come back down to normal, then we began the ride back into town. Lou handled the pacemaking chores most of the way back while the rest of us sat in and recovered. My heart rate was averaging around 140 for the ride back in, which was a much better place for me to be this time of year. We arrived back to Kirby's around 7 and relaxed, stretched and rubbed the lactic acid out of our legs. A quick shower and a change of clothes and we met Lou for dinner and a couple of drinks at his hotel.
47 miles for the first day out here. Not having been on the bike since Thursday, my body was shocked by both the heat and the effort. I think things will be a bit more sane today. We have a morning ride scheduled with the four of us, and then a larger afternoon ride once Pete, Pig, Sergey and Bobo get into town. So far Tucson seems like an OK place. Lots of cactus, lots of dirt, sand and rock, and plenty of cacti. More deciduous trees than I was expecting. Aloe plants the size of a small group of children. Grass is a rarity here due to the arid weather. One of the best things so far are the number of bike lanes, the sign-age, and the drivers' ability to obey them. In town, we had a bike lane that was generally two bikes wide, and where it intersected with a right turn lane, we had the right of way to go straight. Quite cool, and we had no issues getting right hooked, despite heavy traffic.
Photos from the day.