Saturday – Saguaro Loop (and Stuff)

What a day. The hours of spinning in the basement are all about days like today.

Brother Al’s bike was delivered without incident this morning, and everyone was itching and all ready to ride. Except me, because I had no bike yet. So we agreed to meet at Fairwheel Bikes in downtown Tucson where I was renting my bike from. Alan, Ben, Brian, Michelle and Scott rode their bikes there while I took the much less enjoyable (and far more expensive) taxi option. I had tried to convince Ben to give me a double to the shop but he refused. Sissy Ben.

The bike shop was great, and while my bike was getting set up with the saddle and pedals I brought from home, we had a chance to do a little shopping.

As you may know, my saddle is yellow, and goes quite nicely with the yellow and black Giant. Last year, when I wasn’t able to remove the pedals on my bike, I was forced to bring the purple pedals from the hubby’s old 1980’s Look road bike. As you also may recall, the resulting technicolour bike assembly delighted Michelle to no end and she coined “Princess Andrea and the Clown Bike”. When I asked the hubby to get my pedals for me the night before I left this year, I came home to the purple pedals sitting proudly on the table, and a hubby looking very pleased with himself.

This years’ rental is red and black. With the yellow saddle and purple pedals attached, Scott said it looked like a peacock threw up on my bike. Michelle is elated.

The bike fits fine this year, and compared to the Giant, shifts like a dream. It will be a good bike. It has no computer, which, after a winter of riding dictated by numbers, is a strange thing. I’ll ride this week by feel, a welcome change. I don’t always need a number to tell me when it hurts. With everything set up, and some decent shopping done as well, it was time to do some riding.

But not before having breakfast and cappuccino’s outside on a patio.

After demolishing our breakfast and liberally applying sunscreen, we rode out of town through downtown and then residential Tucson. Residential Tucson is strange, with Mexican villa-style homes, little in terms of lawn, and gardens full of cactii. I think even I could have a nice garden here.

We rode to Saguaro National Park, which is famous for its saguaro cactii, the type you see in Roadrunner cartoons. They are huge and very, very old. So needless to say the park rangers are a little fussy about where you pee. Thankfully in this heat, peeing does not seem to be an issue.

When we arrived there was some sort of Mexican festival going on, complete with dancers and a mariachi band.

It was a nice send off for our ride through the park, which was nothing short of spectacular. The one-way loop was winding with gentle ups and downs, and everywhere you looked there was a view that belonged on a postcard. But no roadrunners, coyotes (sorry cat, I’ll keep looking) or boxes of dynamite from Acme.

All that hard work called for a visit to the Circle K on the way back for some well-earned recovery beverages. Thankfully, Ben can easily ride with only one hand on the handlebars. I bet he could carry two cases next time. Practice makes perfect.

Today we rode a pretty leisurely 50 miles. Tomorrow the real riding begins, with an 87 mile ride to Tombstone. It will be a challenge in this heat, but I think we’ll manage.