Believe it or not, this is a fake tree. Looks normal, but if you look closely you might be able to see it is a camo'ed cell phone tower. Sign of the times. :))
75 Degrees sounded awfully enticing after the severe weather most of us have had this season. 56 riders and about a dozen crew, coaches, and guest speakers arrived at the Country Inn and Suites near the Tucson airport on Saturday, March 3rd ready to ride in shorts, short sleeved jerseys and short fingered gloves.
Sunday morning, with bikes assembled and ready to ride to Sierra Vista 87 miles south east of Tucson, we were greeted with a morning temp of 37. Tights, fleece, mittens, ear covers--hey this is not much different than Chicago! Then again, I hadn't been able to ride outside in Chicago since December. The Weather Channel announced the winds would be from the East/South East, 30 miles an hour with gusts to 40.
It was all of that, with every wheel revolution for the full 87 miles. Add to that the climb of about 3,000 feet and cresting an elevation of just over 5,000 feet and it was a very hard day. I would say well over half of the riders sagged part of the way.
It was oh, so reminiscent of Day 6 of the transcon. (See September 15, 2006 post re: Day 6). But the big, big difference was that we had not spent 3 days in the 120 degree desert heat and climbed the California and Arizona mountains before hitting the challenges of Day 6. Nor did we have 20 more intense days ahead of us.
It's early in the riding season to have that big of a push. I was truly beat by the time I got in--no sagging here. :))