Got up around 7 AM, ate some breakfast and then headed out to meet Lou for coffee at the Starbucks in the UofA campus town area. Looks like there is an electric cable car that runs in the area, but it wasn't going on Wednesday morning. Plan was to head out towards Starr Pass and Gates Pass for a 40 miler with some extended climbing to warm ourselves up for Thursday's run at Mount Lemmon. Once the rest of group arrived, we'd head out for an afternoon ride with them. I opted to give my new road shoes and pedals a test, figuring that a 40 mile ride wouldn't cause me any issues if the fit was off. At 10 bells, we took off at a reasonable but deliberate pace.
This was my first time out in anything I would begin to call a mountain (and what the locals would likely just call a big hill) and I spent a lot of time looking at the houses and scenery as we headed towards Gates Pass. Part of the way out I had to stop to fix an issue with my chain. A pin had worked its way loose, and was causing the chain to pull my deraileur up. The pin was loose enough that I was able to push it back in with my fingers, so we pressed on. First clue that it was going to be a long morning. As we hit the base of the climb, my heart rate hit the 170s and I decided to back off a bit and wave goodbye to Lou, Kris and Rich. I kept soldiering on hoping that they would stop and wait for me on the other side of the pass. I had to stop again briefly to put my chain back on as it kept falling off the chain ring. Second clue. I continued the climb up towards the top of the pass, where I could see the gang waiting for me. About 200' from the top of pass, I heard a loud bang, and then suddenly I was stopped. I fell over trying to unclip and figure out what had happened at the same time. A quick glance confirmed that my chain had finally had enough. Since I didn't have a chain tool or a spare link with me, Kris called his cousin Kirby to come and pick me up before he headed to the airport to meet the rest of our group. While the guys continued on, I coasted back down the way that I came and waited for Kirby. A few minutes at Fallen Wheel bicycle had me fixed up, and I cruised back through the UofA campus to our home for the week. 26 miles or so for the morning.
Kris and Rich arrived about an hour later, having decided to head a different direction, and ending up with 70 miles for the morning. We ate some lunch and recovered while the rest of the guys unpacked and got ready for the afternoon ride. Since My mileage was a bit short for the morning, I took off for a 30 minute spin through town while we waited for Lou to show up for the afternoon ride. Around 3:30, we headed through town and then southwest towards Saguaro National Park. Lou, Kris and Rich pulled off at the edge of town so they could save something for Thursday's ride. I opted to head out for a loop through the park with the Pete, Sergey, Mark, Pig, and Pig's friend PJ. The loop through the park is an 8 mile one way road, that starts out with three miles of twisty downhill with some sharp rollers thrown in for good measure. Afterwards, there is a climb up out of the valley and then a generally flat ride back to the entrance. The climb out gave me a short taste of what might be coming on Thursday. Our loop done, we headed back into town, picked up the other three guys and made our way home. We showered and then headed out for some food and drink before hitting the beds early so we would be well rested for the Assault on Mount Lemmon on Thursday.
Photos from the rides
GPS tracks: morning afternoon