The last time I attempted cycling Mt Lemmon, I was with Trev, Tom and Paul, and we instead ended up on a steep dirt road with impromptu shooting ranges on either side. This time was the real deal.
I met teammates Brad and Nick, and fellow Albertan Cody, at Le Buzz, a bicycle-friendly cafe conveniently situated a couple of miles (I have to acquiesce to imperial units eventually) from the start of the Mt Lemmon climb. The day was supposed to be very warm, a nice change are Sunday`s `winter storm`. People were driving down, as we rode up, with snow on their rooves...the guys said the locals are so fascinated by snow, they go up to the snow line and put in on and drive back down. Weird.
The riding itself was pretty straight-forward. Engineered grade - I guess it`s about 5% almost the entire way, but the crazy bit is that this goes on for 45km (28 miles)!! Beautiful winding roads, stunning views from the saddle (so no excuse to stop!), and a good climb up to cooler temps. Occasionally, tour-guide Nick would point out the road we would eventually make it to, thousands of feet above. Pretty neat, but I think I liked looking down to the road I just rode/I would be riding soon!
We reached 8,000 feet, which is about 5,500 feet of climbing, at which point the road starts rolling down to Summerhaven beforing finally climbing to the summit at just over 9,000, but we'd heard the cafe there was closed today, and I was out of food and water by this point, so we clicked off some happy snaps and pointed out wheels downhill.
I was warned that it would be bitterly cold on the descent, and I did lose feeling in my shins and a couple of fingers on the way down, but hearing that Calgary is experiencing a -31 (I realize I`m switching back and forth between units...please bear with me!) cold snap right now gave me reason not to complain. :) At the bottom, it was back to Le Buzz for croissants and coffee, and baking in the 30 degree heat.