Green Valley Loop: The guys are driving, we are riding in 80 degree temps! - The Squealing with Glee Tour - CycleBlaze

December 28, 2017

Green Valley Loop: The guys are driving, we are riding in 80 degree temps!

We woke up this morning in our luxurious $53. USD room. Not that it's all that. But by spartan but adequate Mexican standards, this is the life.

I had a poor night's sleep again for some reason. Maybe I'm just reaching the age where a full night of sleep is not a guarantee.

I hopped right out of bed when the alarm went of at 7 AM, got in the shower, and went down to ask at the desk about switching to a room on the first floor. The lady totally understood that we wanted to put our stuff in the new room so we could go there to shower when we got in. The man thought we wanted to shower in the old room, then sleep in the new one. That would be a problem for housekeeping. Exactly - that's why we wanted to put our things in the new room this morning. We got it straightened out.

I also asked for a rag to clean my chain. Not Jacinto's. He has that nifty belt drive and internal gears. No cleaning necessary. The rag was a bit of a problem. The cleaning lady didn't understand what a rag was. I tried asking in Spanish, but she didn't speak Spanish. All brown people are not Spanish speakers. In this area they could be Native Americans.

Jacinto was surprised that I'm not going to load my bike and then ride today. Why would I want to ride unloaded when I go take the extra weight with me? Not that I'm noticeably speedier without gear on my bike - but why NOT leave our gear at the motel?

It looks like Jacinto's finally getting around. It is 9:04 -departure was 9:00, but it's windy outside. Jacinto is delaying hoping the wind will die down since it's a headwind. 6 mph says the computer. Not significant, just annoying.

My sincerest sympathies to all readers back east with their 60 inches of snow and bone chilling cold. If it makes you feel better, I am appreciating every degree of warmth here.

I had Bertha (ridewithgps) ready to go. I was intimidated about riding on six lane East Valencia Road. It had bike lanes, but . . . . I told Jacinto he was the leader and off we went. Within two miles we took a turn onto South Nogales Highway. That was equally busy, but only four lanes. We still had a marked bike lane. Everyone played nice. We soon got outside of town. Traffic continued to move fast, but there were fewer cars.

I looked around. There wasn't much to see in this area. It appeared to be a poorer area of town with small run down buildings. Lots of second hand stores and old trailer parks. Scenery was lack luster compared to the past few days. Oh, well we would get in our miles in warm sunshine. In December!

Last night while making the route, I looked at Duval Mine Road. Ridewithgps didn't want to take it. The google guy would look at the road. It seemed fine to me. But perhaps there were big trucks? I did a ridewithgps search for Green Valley (our turn around point). I found a number of routes. None of them took the Mine Road. It was a total of three extra miles to route past it. We saw quite a few road bike riders in full kit, moving fast. All had on summer riding clothes. We had tights and long sleeves. I'm sure we were obviously tourists. I was comfortably warm, but could have easily been as happy in shorts by mile ten or so.

We got out of the Tucson area and down to Sahurita. There was a large, new expensive housing development. Right next to it were a number of businesses that would appeal to the affluent. That was a good marketing job by someone to put together the housing and businesses out here so close to the run down area. The houses looked very fancy. Quail Creek was the name of the development. We had a couple of miles with raised cracks on the shoulder. Ugh. Thump, thump. I was happy it didn't last long.

So far I wasn't impressed with our day. I did see a big pecan tree farm and a road runner. Besides that I was mostly happy to be on the bike in the warm sunshine. We've had traffic the past three days. Everyone was polite, but being constantly on alert is wearing.

We had a couple of consultations on what Bertha was doing in comparison to what we ultimately decided to ride. So far so good. We crossed under I-19 and passed the last business development. We lost our dedicated shoulder. Now we were on a two lane road with no shoulder. It looked like Ajo with a big difference- no cars! Hmmm. Things were looking up. No traffic and the cactus came back. I saw barrel cactus for the first time. With flowers!

The road took a tilt up. Looking at the mountain side, it appeared we were heading into a mining area. The traffic was so light we rode side by side. Slowly, slowly. Way to slow for Jacinto. He didn't say anything - but I knew this was a painful pace for him. I could tell this was my fifth riding day in a row of touring length days. My legs were working, but my quads were letting it be known that this was not the expected.

As a side note - my end average was 11.2 mph. That's above my 10 mph minimum. I'm good. Jacinto? Embarrassed.

Here's where Bertha failed us. She said go right. I went right. Then I got a beep, beep. That means I'm doing something wrong. Looking at the map, I've gone right when I should go left. Written directions say right. Ha! We had a bonus half mile before I figured that out. Jacinto has been very suspicious of Bertha since she sent him the wrong way in Yaak, Montana. He is so opinionated that he refuses to listen to Bertha anymore.

Now he asked if I trusted her to get us back to town. It looked like we would be ok. We were on Duval Mine Road (the same road that no one was taking) for a short distance before spending 18 miles on South Mission Road. Now THAT was a lovely ride, similar to riding back home. A narrow two lane road with little traffic besides bicycle riders. It wasn't in good condition with occasional cracks and holes. Since we were the only ones, we could ride side by side and weave around the holes. We were even climbing! That made Jacinto happy, even if it guaranteed we were riding slower than he liked.

I could see from the map we had one peak, some rolling climbs, then another peak and a big downhill. We met a couple right at the top of the downhill who announced to us we would soon be going downhill. I told myself it wasn't really that big of a downhill because it was 500 feet of descending. Heck - I got the most fun out of 500 feet of downhill than I've ever had.

All good things must come to an end. We had a couple of turns on small roads before getting back on the major feeders. Those small roads? Bertha failed us there. We committed to a horrible majorly cracked and bumpy road for one mile. But our next road didn't exist. Or perhaps it did, but it appeared to be a gravel driveway. We did more consulting over the map and figured out how to get where we needed to go. 6th Street was busy-ish. Then we were back on Valencia. I felt more certain now, having had a good experience earlier in the day. Yes! This works.

We were back to the motel, starving as usual. I ran through my emails quickly. Don and Marilyn had arrived. Why, I think that's their van with Colorado plates that say '4R bikes' - good one. We showered quickly and ran right back out before we keeled over in hunger. Jacinto was very happy to discover that a restaurant he had been to before was only a few miles away. We had seafood at Mariscos Chihuahua. I ordered ceviche for an appetizer. I was very happy with my fish tacos. Each one had two generous pieces of fried fish. Jacinto took his entire order to go, the ceviche was so large. We might eat here again this trip.

I wanted to go to the grocery, but we still needed to check in with Don and Mariliyn. I didn't have a phone number. The store was only a mile away. What did we do before google search? I floated the idea of ice cream. I was sure Jacinto would say we hadn't earned any - but he agreed. They had Blue Bell Pumpkin! I love pumpkin. Blue Bell hasn't gotten anyone sick lately . . . but it only came in a half gallon. No pumpkin for me. Deciding on ice cream was almost as time consuming as deciding what type of nuts to buy for a snack. Ugh. Maybe this should have been a day off activity.

Back to the motel. Now we have collapsed on the bed. I do believe we are ready for a day off. I'm trying not to think about our first day with the gang. We have 3,500 feet of climbing. I'm surprised how tired my legs are for the mostly flat riding we've been doing. I think my first two days of pushing hard, playing race with Jacinto have caught up to me. I hope a day off will freshen my legs. Then I will need to ride my pace and not let all of those testosterone machines trick me into riding too fast!

All the sudden, I feel an urge.
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There was a large pecan farm in Sahurita. When I stopped for this photo, I scared a road runner. It looked like the one in the cartoon, but it didn’t go beep, beep.
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Barrel cactus were plentiful today. Only a few had flowers. Actually, I think they were tunas, not flowers.
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Yellow fruits here also.
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South Mission Road had a real climb. My Garmin gave grades up to 9%. Jacinto is sure that is not correct. Neither of us used the granny gear. I have to agree that Garmin was wrong. But we did climb.
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Bertha steered us wrong. She said to go right on Duval Mine Road when we should have gone left. Jacinto wasn’t happy with the bonus miles.
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We wouldn’t have seen this view without our accidental side trip.
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Today's ride: 56 miles (90 km)
Total: 268 miles (431 km)

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