Monday, July 09, 2012

The Lemmon Vanquished

Mt. Lemmon sits waiting 15 miles east and a little north of home. The Lemmon has beckoned nigh every road bike rider who lives in Tucson; many come from afar just to vanquish her 25 miles straight up 6,300' to Summerhaven at 8,000'.

The Lemmon has beckoned me since moving to Tucson 8 months ago. I rode eight miles up the the Lemmon last December with Bob Klenke's Tuesday morning group, but that was not intended to be a summit, just a ride up as a few miles and back down in time for a Christmas luncheon. I did intend to summit the Lemmon in May with my son, Daniel. But alas, neither my lungs nor my legs showed up for the ride that day. Daniel, however, summitted with aplomb. 

My new plan: summit with my two recumbent buddies, Mark Doumas and Wayne Cullop, both of whom also ride Bacchettas on Friday, June 29th. When the day finally came, Wayne offered to SAG for us hauling water up the mountain for us. BIG help. Thank you, Wayne!! 

We summitted with ease in 4 hours and 40 minutes. Grand Joy!!

Thoughts and lessons learned on the mountain:
  • Know your demons. One of mine is feeling "less than" in the presence of others who seem to be excelling easily. So, for example, the day that our Club hosted a Mt. Lemmon Climb and there were 2-300 riders on the mountain and I'm the only recumbent...I felt less than. Yes, my legs weren't working that day nor were my lungs, but most importantly I was feeling less than. I know that there were some riders who made it up in 4 hours and others in 12. So, in reality...
  • Knowing the above demon well, I planned this attempt with Mark with whom I'm well matched. We chose to ride it on a Friday when the traffic, both bike and car, was light.
  • Having a SAG person on the road was HUGE so we didn't have to worry about water. Each of us went through 4 full bottles in 25 miles + the 4.5 from the start to the base of the mountain. If we had to carry 4 bottles that would have been weighty, and what if we needed an ounce more??
  • We planned ahead of time to stop every 6 miles, once we started the climb, so dividing the mountain into 4ths. That worked very well. We were ready for a breather every 6, and 6 seemed oh, so doable compared to 25. You gain 1,000' every 4 miles.
What we missed? Well, we didn't stop and enjoy the many vistas along the way. We were quite focused on getting to the top. But being Tucson residents, we can stop and see the vistas anytime whether biking or driving. 

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