Two right-sized rides - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

December 18, 2020 to December 19, 2020

Two right-sized rides

Thursday and Friday found us out on the Loop again, on similar rides - both were 42 mile out and backs to the northwest of town.  The Loop is actually a misnomer, or maybe it’s just that the network has grown well beyond its original conception as a cycling route that completely encircled the city.  It also includes a few significant branches radiating out from the loop itself.  To the northwest, there’s one that runs along the Santa Cruz River until it connects with US Bicycle Route 90 and continues west toward Phoenix.  I rode this as part of my 75 miler Wednesday, and on Thursday Rachael and I rode it together.  I knew this was a ride she would be delighted with, and it was just the sort of flat, relaxed riding I was looking for after the long day before.

The ride I had mapped out was a perfect 42 miler, but Rachael had to pack another mile on for reasons best known to her.

Attractive artwork on West Sunset Road.
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Eastbound along the Santa Cruz River, with Mount Lemmon ahead.
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Today we biked off northeast again, but followed a different branch, the Cañada del Oro River Park Trail up the Oro Valley.  I think between this and our last visits to Tucson we’ve covered every mile of the Loop now, but I think this trail must be the best.  It’s relatively new, so the surface is smooth and a pleasure to bike on.  Biking northeast you cycle straight at the near end of Mount Lemmon, so it’s scenically dramatic.  It’s very popular, and today we’re constantly passing or being passed by other cyclists.

Rachael packed a very nice lunch for us as usual, which we planned to enjoy sitting at some scenic spot along the way.  Partway through the ride though, we passed a large depression formed by what I assume is an old quarry.  It’s surprisingly scenic for what is essentially a waste site, a small green oasis in the desert.  Rachael asked me to stop so she could mount her GoPro and take a video of us passing it, and then realized she didn’t have it with her.  It was in her pannier, which she left back in the casita - a mistake I think has never happened to us before.

We quickly cataloged what was left behind: her GoPro, her phone, her spare tube, our lunch.  I didn’t carry a spare tube either, so we’re a bit exposed.  We have a patch kit though, and feel comfortable continuing the ride.  Lunch is a bigger concern - now that she realizes we don’t have lunch, she’s naturally suddenly starving.  Fortunately I have my wallet and cash along and there’s a Subway just off route.  

The ride is saved.  We grab a sandwich, find a picnic bench in the shade to enjoy it at, and then cruise back home.  A fine ride, that I’m sure we’ll repeat before we leave town.  And, at 42 miles, in all aspects perfect.

And, there’s even a replacement for the missed video.  We rode essentially this same route last January.  Rachael had her GoPro woikin’ that fine day and came up with one of our all time favorite videos, worth a repeat screening:

Video sound track: One More Bridge to Cross, by the Supremes and the Four Tops

An old quarry along the Santa Cruz River trail. Scenic, yes?
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This Gila woodpecker has drilled out something succulent. He was quite excited about it, waving it around, stabbing it, nipping it off in bits. Any idea what it is? Looks like a pizza ingredient to me.
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Eastbound on the Cañada del Oro River Park Trail.
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Looking up Cañada del Oro Wash at the near end of Mount Lemmon.
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A composite of the two rides.
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Ride stats today: 85 miles, 2,200’; for the tour: 1,032 miles, 38,100’

Today's ride: 85 miles (137 km)
Total: 1,032 miles (1,661 km)

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Bob DistelbergWhew! Good thing you had that old video available. As I was reading along and hit that part about the missing GoPro, I started to feel very sad that there wouldn't be a video in this post. Very happy that you saved the day.
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4 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Bob DistelbergWhat a nice thing to say! Thanks.
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4 weeks ago