It's a dog's life on The Loop - Forty Two Miles A Day And Going Nowhere. - CycleBlaze

December 21, 2020

It's a dog's life on The Loop

Artwork along the bike path.
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Roadside artwork in Oro Valley.
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47 miles in and smiling!
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Jacinto’s photo climbing Gate’s Pass.
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Jacinto’s photo overlooking Tucson.
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jerry witherspoonJacinto is becoming quite the photographer ✌️
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezIt’s getting him to stop long enough to take a photo that’s the problem!
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2 months ago
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I had hardly entered the bike path when I saw a woman pushing a dog in a stroller. Next up was a tandem, pulling a kid trailer with two Pomeranians. That was quite a set up. I would have loved to get a photo, but they were here and gone. I also saw a man with some sort of wire carrier on the rear. Presumably with an animal inside? His set up wasn't as fancy. Best of all was the woman on a cruiser bike with a pink wicker basket with a teacup size terrier sitting at full alert, paws on the front edge of the basket. That would have been a great photo also. 

I've always said people in Colorado love their animals more than kids, but Tucson might come in a close second!

Today Bertha was not on her game. She gave me poor instructions so many times I lost count, starting right at Campbell Road next to the motel. It got so every time I came to any sort of intersection, I pulled my phone out to check the map. Luckily I had the map. Even though the bad cues were annoying, I was happy with myself for being able to proceed with frustration rather than fear of getting lost. I haven't yet ridden south on Santa Cruz Parkway.  The last time I rode that direction I got a little lost and a little scared of a homeless man who was doing nothing, other than being right where I got lost and hadn't figured out where I was. I need to ride that area again and get some confidence.

Most of the washes along The Loop have bike paths on both sides. Sometimes they come and go and you need to cross over at the appropriate time. Bertha needs to make note of that information.

Today it seems that I spent a little too much time on navigation. I decided that I'm not a city rider. I'd rather be out in the country on the one road available between me and the next town! 

My long bike isn't well suited to tight turns. There were a number of times I had to get off and turn my bike around because of a directional error. Or I had to get off to navigate a sharp turn on the bike path. 

Today I followed a route suggested by Hank's friend as a favorite. It followed the bike path with a road ride portion on Twin Peaks Highway to the Canada de Oro bike path. 

Twin Peaks was an experience for this country girl. I exited the bike path straight onto a seven lane (just my side) highway. Holy moly! That is a lot of cars! This is a recommended ride? I followed the cyclist in front of me (who had a jersey saying Old Farts Bicycle Club) right into the melee. We had two turn lanes on the right, going to the interstate. A bike lane (us). And then five lanes of traffic going our direction. Thankfully once we got past the busy of the interstate, the lanes started dropping off until I was on a four lane (two directions) highway. At all times I had a good, clean,  marked lane to ride. It was a lot of cars though. 

I was trying to decide how fun this ride was as I pedaled along. I came to a sign that said Oro Valley. Ah! The promised land. I know enough about Tucson to know this is 'the' area to live in. My interest in the surrounding houses increased. Yes, all of these houses look very nice with tile roofs. They are probably way out of my budget. 

A bike path appeared to the right that I didn't know about. Should I get on it, or will it disappear or head somewhere I don't want to go? It was difficult to say. I stayed on the road. That piece of bike path did disappear. A mile later, here was another one. I looked at the phone and decided I would take a chance. Most of West Tangerine Road had a bike path running along side, as did West Naranja Road. This whole area was city riding with 4-6 lanes of traffic across. Oro Valley is desirable, but it's a busy area. I thought fondly of my local rides at home, where I could be out into the country within five minutes of home. We might not have all of the big box stores and restaurants, but the riding is fine. In the summer, not the winter. Right now it is winter and I'm happy to be riding. As a fact, I think my face feels a little burned, despite applying sunscreen. Today's forecast was for a high of 78 degrees. It was grand.

Finally, finally I was to the Canada de Oro. I've been thinking about riding this section of path for months. Better yet, I was on the down slope. I zipped right along. There were many riders heading toward me, but there didn't seem to be many going my direction. My opinion is that the Canada is slightly narrow. My handlebars are wide and my bike is large. There were a few spots that I stopped pedaling and coasted with concentration to be able to pass someone coming towards me.

I stopped at a rest area and called Jacinto. He hadn't left the room until after noon. He would be back late. I had ten miles to go. Let's see if I navigate the return to the motel more easily.

I was feeling good on the return. There hadn't been a headwind today. Although the climbing ended up being almost the same as yesterday, I hadn't felt it. I had finished all of my drinks, but decided not to break out the extra bottle. I could make it to the room. The bike path heading west right in front of our motel is closed for construction. There's a sign that says 'path closed in one mile'. What the heck, I'd like a couple of miles in the bank, I went on past the motel and turned around. My original goal was to ride Rachael's 42 miles a day. Then I looked at ridewithgps's recap of my year. I am close to 7,000 miles for the year (thank you COVID for time off work). That is a personal record for me. If I up my miles per day to 45 miles, I can top 7,000 miles. Thus, the couple of extra miles helped my goal.

I got back to the room, anticipating several hours to putz around before Jacinto arrived. I did the usual getting to town things and checked the fridge for food. Who ate my chicken? It wasn't me! It's a mean trick to eat a hungry cyclist's food . .  . I settled for last night's left over Mexican food and a banana.

I have to tell a story on myself. When I'm hungry, I'm hungry. As we were sorting things for this part of the trip, I found a baggie with a mouthful of crumbled cashews in the corner. I started to throw it away. Then I decided one day when I'm hungry, I would appreciate a mouthful of protein. I saved the bag. Today I ate that mouthful and it was tasty. Jacinto says I'm not near as picky about food when I'm hungry. He is correct. But I sure would have eaten that chicken from Panda Express if someone hadn't eaten it for me!

Jacinto came in before I even started this journal. I thought I had all sorts of time and he was riding like the wind. He went over Gates Pass Road. He was following Komoot as a navigation system and said that Komoot also sent him the wrong way several times. Maybe Google is the real problem?

Let's see where we eat dinner tonight. I'll update later.

Today's ride: 48 miles (77 km)
Total: 143 miles (230 km)

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jerry witherspoonI’m with you girl! Don’t think city riding is for me. I’d much prefer a road route from here to there. Would love it if you guys struck out on a road trip. Donno if I’d find it fun just to ride in the city every day of my vacation. Nevertheless your prose makes reading about it fun.

spoon
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2 months ago
Sue SchragSuch familiar routes and roads and bike paths! Tucson is a fabulous cycling city, our all time favorite especially when it’s cold at home! And I agree about the narrow Canada Del Oro section of The Loop. But oh well, when the sky is blue and the temps are warm, who’s complaining?
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2 months ago
Dave CardarellaHi Kelly,
I'm curious why you switched from the other journal site.
Dave
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezI was banned in the most recent kerfuffle. I should have left on basic morals long before that . . . it was a tough decision, members felt like my family after 15 years there. It was hard, but right.

Kelly
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Sue SchragSue,

I'd be interested if you have any favorite rides to share. Tomorrow I think I'll go south on the Santa Cruz bike path - see how far I get before I get lost. I like the Julian Wash section - but now we are on the north. What is your favorite area?

Kelly

Kelly
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2 months ago
Dave CardarellaTo Kelly IniguezFrom another journal that site was referred to as...The Society for the Upholding of Purity in Cycling.
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2 months ago
Sue SchragTo Kelly IniguezEast and then south of where you’re staying. The Rancho Vistoso area, north yet of Tangerine and west of Oracle, has some awesome hills (I know, you love those!). We rode up 77 to the little town of Oracle once upon a time. Long climb, not steep, and a great sail down!

Do go for breakfast at the Baja Cafe, on Campbell just south of River. Yummo!

I am soooo jealous!! Enjoy, enjoy!
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2 months ago
Sue SchragTo Kelly Iniguezhttps://tucson.com/news/local/a-map-and-almost-100-photos-of-tucsons-beautiful-murals/collection_3543709a-6f3c-11e8-bd83-e7539f28be25.html?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_Arizona_Daily_Star
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Sue SchragSue,

Jacinto agrees with your assessment of the Rancho Vistoso area. He rode that direction today. I looked at the menu for the Baja Cafe - it looks like breakfast is the meal to eat there!
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2 months ago