The Loop - I'm Happy To Be Here - CycleBlaze

November 30, 2021

The Loop

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I  tried to talk myself out of riding The Loop today. My location wasn’t optimal. A much better choice would be a loop to Sahuarita. How could I visit Tucson without riding The Loop?

I’m doing it! I have no one to account to but myself.  Reasonable or not, this is my choice. 

I got out of bed with purpose. It would be a long day. I ate a generous serving of pre fab omelets with sausage at breakfast. Juice and oatmeal filled in the corners. 

Ice water in one bottle, electrolytes in the other. Two bars, an apple, and a banana. That should do it for snacks. I’m wearing shorts today. I remembered sunscreen. The high was 81 degrees! I’m loving it. 

Helmet and gloves were on. Let’s rock this show! My last action heading out the door was squeezing the tires. Guess what? Yep. A squishy tire in the back. Double damn! I already had my helmet on. I’m ready to ride!

I squeezed the tires multiple times. As if the result would suddenly change. I debated pumping it up and going like that. No. That wouldn’t do. I would be thinking about it constantly, and stopping multiple times to check. It’s better to change it here, where I have a full size pump. Damn. 

I walked the bike out to the van. I installed a new tire and tube both. Perhaps I hadn’t fully removed that thorn on the Canelo Pass day. Maybe it was something new. I didn’t even look. I just installed a new tire and called it good. 

I went back inside to wash my hands. When I came out, my bike had an admirer. The man admitted he was bored. Further conversation revealed he was a recent Arizona resident, but hated all of the pokey things that wanted to attack him. He was from Michigan and missed the green trees. They lived in Arizona to be close to his wife’s doctors. 

On that note, I departed. Today I went right down Valencia. I had two right turns, which I don’t mind as much as crossing multiple lanes of traffic. 

I entered the path at Craycroft. There is a little used bathroom there that I took advantage of. 

My riding day started heading uphill with a headwind. I caught up with a woman on a cruiser and mentioned how fun the wind was. She seemed a little surprised, and then did have to admit it was blowing. 

I was happy to reach Rita Road, where I turned and now had a side wind. I managed all of the appropriate turns to stay on route and was soon at the trail high point!

Yes! Downhill on Harrison Parkway.  To make my day better, while we were waiting for a street crossing I had a woman compliment me on my shimmering silver hair color. It takes so little effort to offer a compliment, and it sticks all day long. I need to remember that!

In general, I saw far less bicycle traffic than I expected. Around Rillito Park, it was a little busier, but not much. Some areas were plain deserted.  Over the entire day I saw perhaps 15 trikes. Half of those were riding together. 

I saw a green Azub style recumbent, although I can’t say that is the brand. I would have stopped, but the man kept going. The next recumbent I saw, the man stopped!

It was Doug, who had been following the journal. He was out for a spin on his new to him Azub. Doug was still dialing the bike in, and wasn’t feeling the love yet. At home, his Phoenix recumbent was calling his name. That is indeed a rough life. 

Doug and I talked for over a half hour, not only interrupting each other,  it being unable to complete a thought without starting a new one! We exchanged contact information and plan to get together in December. 

I had 25 miles in at that point. Not even half of my day! I needed to kick my horse, as AD would say. It’s a good thing I was still on a downhill slope. 

The path generally runs on both sides of the wash. Generally. Some pieces are missing. Today would not be a good day to have to backtrack. I paid attention to where I needed to switch sides. I looked longingly at the Dodge Street and Campbell Avenue areas, where we have stayed before. That part of town is excellent for Loop riding because you can go left or right and get a long ride in with few interruptions. If going west, then the options open up to north and south. All of this is smooth bike path riding. Key word being smooth. We have ridden some rough roads the past few days. 

I was eating my food at an alarming rate. I should have brought more! I didn’t have anything extra. Hmmm, I did have some Hammer Perpetuem tablets. I think of those as energy boosters, not sources of calories. But, my memory says they are about 100 calories each. I ate three over the afternoon. 

Don and Marilyn had ridden The Loop yesterday, with an average of 11 miles per hour. That’s more than my typical 10.  Could I match or beat them? I decided to hold steady and be happy if I finished in good shape. 

The miles were ticking away. I was approaching the difficult navigational area around the VA Center. I prefer this area on a weekend, for less traffic. Here I am. It all went fine. A man getting off the bus  said he needed a bike like mine. A nice man driving an old Ford pickup gave me priority to cross the street. I made it to Julian Parkway!

Hurray! Home stretch. Ten miles to go, and I shouldn’t get lost here. 

I pulled out my last reserve, a banana. That’s what you keep for reserve, correct?

I debated turning onto Valencia, but I would cut myself .4 miles short of riding the entire Loop. I need to claim the whole thing! I continued to Craycroft and doubled back on Littleton Street. 

From there I made a left on Valencia. Ugh. It’s 3 PM and this is crazy busy, with all of the lanes full of traffic. I had my lights on bright, I signaled, and took my left lane to turn.  Boy, I was glad to get out of that mess. Technically it would be shorter miles to stay on Valencia all the way down. There is a signed bike lane. I don’t mind riding an extra mile or two to get off of a busy road. 

The actual Loop is 55 miles, I got in some bonus miles, starting where I did. That’s ok. I was happy with my ride, and happy I still felt good when I arrived at the motel. 

Best of all, my tires still have air!

I’ve had a shower and some food. I’m going to do stretches and call my honey. He’s back home working. Someone has to do it!

Tomorrow Jan is seeing her husband off at the airport. He’s back to work also. The we are going to the Desert Museum. No riding tomorrow. On Thursday, we take off for Amado. 

Let’s see how the Ironwoman does with slowing down and smelling the roses. Or cactus. Something like that. Jan says her gear weighs 12.5 pounds without water. She has a Wheelie Trailer that I sold her over 20 years ago when I gave up Diamond frame bikes. The foam wheel that came on the trailer disintegrated, but Kurt found something else that will work. Jan is pulling the Wheelie with her competition bike. She even had the opportunity to fix a flat tire by herself. She is ready to roll. Maybe not at 10 mph, but, she’s ready!

What appears to be a senseless photo, has significance. This is the high point of The Loop, at Mesquite Elementary School. It’s all downhill from here, baby!
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View on Harrison Parkway. Not only is it scenic, I’m going downhill!
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Another Harrison Parkway shot. Note the razor wire to the left. Steve says that is part of the military base and occasionally when cycling past you can hear big guns being fired.
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marilyn swettWe saw signs saying that it's a firing range for the air base.
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7 months ago
This photo shows the build up of debris around the tree in the wash from the recent flooding in Tucson.
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I had the most pleasant encounter with Doug. He was riding his new Azub, but also owns a Phoenix. We should all be so lucky!
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I found a tunnel of trees in Tucson.
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Tell us how you really feel.
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marilyn swettSo that's what the sign says - good grief, some clear anger there!
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7 months ago
Rich FrasierGeesh. Are there really people out there who spend time on these things ? So sad.
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7 months ago
A mountain is covered in Sagueros. I had trouble keeping my eyes on the path.
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Path detail near the VA Center at Children’s Park. It was pretty, but bumpy to ride over.
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Today's ride: 63 miles (101 km)
Total: 435 miles (700 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 6
Kelly IniguezTo Rachael AndersonThank you, Rachael! I have my average miles per day up to 43 now. I keep your magic 43 miles per day in the back of my mind, even if I don’t always ride that far!
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7 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Kelly IniguezYou’re doing a lot better tan I am. I’m hoping my nasal surgery will improve my breathing.
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7 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Kelly Iniguez42. I have butter fingers!
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7 months ago
Kelly IniguezTo Rachael Anderson42 miles. I have butter fingers!
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7 months ago
Rich FrasierCongratulations on a great ride!
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7 months ago