I have wanted to do this loop for far too long. Every day when I am at work, wasting away, getting weaker, I can see this climb from miles away. I’ve built a route from forest service maps, googlemaps, and topofusion topomaps. and scrolled around the satellite imagery hundreds of times. I’ve looked at the elevation profile for the route that I’ve created and have been concerned over the steep grades that have existed in the profile.
Finally I had a day free to go attack the loop. The idea was to start in Vail, AZ at HWY83/Sahaurita Rd and ride to Houghton/Sahaurita and then head south past Ocotillo Preserve and then enter the Coronado National Forest. Once in the national forest, I would climb primitive jeep roads all the way to the top of the pass. After reaching the top, a light descent to Rosemont Junction and then AZT back to the start. The route’s 43 miles doesn’t seem too tough, but the route has over 7000 feet of climbing since it is jumping over a mountain.
As soon as I dove into the forest service area, I could feel the remoteness of the land. Yep I am on my own now. I wish I’d remounted my rampage in the rear. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and ride light. I can’t wait for the 300. I can’t wait to do this all day. I can’t believe how much my tolerance for and pleasure derived over hike-a-bike has increased over the past few months. I wish I’d put my suspension fork on my bike. These gears are sure nice though. Riding in 20×36 is practically recovering uphill. Man, if I moved my stem up like 5mm I’d have perfect posture. Loosen up man, (shakes arms). Look how high I have climbed! OHMYGOD! GET AWAY FROM ME YOU F#%$#$! HAB FASTER TO GET AWAY FROM THE WASP! I wonder if I could do a tracheotemy on myself. I could use my camelbak hose as the breathing tube. I kinda know where to make the cut. Hey, a flower! I’ve only seen one so far. Totally not fair that the medians and shoulders of the roads in town are littered with Arizona wildflower mix and folks bumbling around eating burgers get to enjoy them while I am out here in the wilderness and only get to see one. Are they desensitized to flowers? There are bees practically waiting in line for access to this one flower and I think it is the best one. An anomaly. A flower that ventured too far. Pops 15th little chocolate donette into mouth. Riding doughnut powered endurance rides makes me smile. It makes me think of that John Belushi SNL skit where…see fer yourself:
This road is so steep. It is hard to keep going. This is the longest I’ve ever hike a biked and I am still alive! 20 miles in 4 hours? Keep pushing! Hey the road is covered in gold! Wow look at the size of these “nuggets”! I bet it is iron pyrite though, I’ll grab a small specimen to take to some rock-hounders I know. My dad would love this. There is turquoise just shooting out of the ground. Oh. I am hiking up towards an old mine. Wow! Look at that butte! This is amazing! I am so high up. Keep pushing! I am almost at the top! Here come some jeepers. They think I am crazy. I am crazy. Crazy high. Crazy close to the top. HAB faster. HAB. Push! HAB. Go Go Go. I AM AT THE TOP. The view up here is awesome! Snaps photos. One day these hills will be a bunch of dirt ziggurats. Big descent. Want to bail and get fried chicken in Sonoita with my wife. Gotta finish! I must always finish from now on. On the AZT, now I am about 2.5hours out. Flows. I flow. This is good. NONONONO! My front derailleur is rubbing my tire while in granny gear! Makes adjustments. Makes it worse. Squeaks home in granny gear. Finally sweet downhill. Embrace the flow.