As I have done many time in previous weeks, I made plans to get on the road by a certain hour, but my plans didn't work out that way. I hoped to be on the road by 10:00am, but it was well past 11:30am by the time I finally got on the road. My late start also meant that the temperatures were considerably higher than if I had made it on the road when I had originally intended, and that made parts of the ride a little uncomfortable at times.
The reason for my late departure time is easily explained: I recently installed Bontrager Bzzzkills in the handlebars of my road bike in order to help cut down on road vibrations. (These are something of an experiment at this point, but I really hope that they help out.) However, by installing the BzzzKills in my drop handlebars, I lost the only mirror that I had, so I spent a long time in the garage trying to see if I could come up with another way to attach a mirror. My efforts yielded no success, so I reluctantly got on the road with no mirror. (Which made me very nervous throughout the ride.)
I needed to get in a long ride for the week, but I was nervous about re-injuring my hands and wrists. With that in mind, I intentionally took it easy on today's ride, and I did not attempt to beat any of my earlier ride times. I have been averaging almost 17mph for my most-recent rides, but for today's ride I was averaging closer to 15mph. In addition to backing off on my speed, I also cut the length of today's ride a little shorter and settled for a 40-mile ride instead of my usual 50 to 60-mile ride.
I began my ride by riding to Saguaro National Park and completing a single loop around it, and then heading out to Pistol Hill Road, and coming back by riding down Houghton Road (instead of my usual route of Camino Loma Alta and Old Spanish Trail). As I mentioned earlier, it was a fairly warm day, and the temperature was hovering around 97 degrees as I rode through the National Park. As I completed my loop, I stopped at the hydration station to refill my water bottles, where I bumped into another cyclist who I see on the road fairly often. I commented that I usually see him somewhere near Pistol Hill Road, and he asked if I was headed that way next. I said that I was, and he encouraged me to be careful since the day was still growing hotter. I thanked him and wished him luck as he headed off toward his next destination, then I got back on Old Spanish Trail headed south toward Pistol Hill Road.
I was hard to tell if the BzzzKills were helping because the road is so awful at points that the only way to dampen the road vibrations would be to mount front shocks on my bicycle, but I just moved away from a bicycle with front shocks because they add too much weight to the bike. So I was forced to simply endure the pain. However, I did keep my hands moving around the handlebars so that I wouldn't injure my hands through repetitive stress on a single area.
Despite the rough roads, I am enjoying the road bike. I intentionally chose a bike that is better for hill climbing, and I sincerely appreciate the many ways that the new bike has helped out for both climbing and general speed. Because of the heightened temperatures, there were fewer cyclists on the road, but I passed a lot of the people who were out, and that's always a great feeling. (I hated being the guy that everyone else was passing a few months ago.)
My route to Pistol Hill Road was the same as always, but as I descended down the far side of the hill, I passed Camino Loma Alta and stayed on Pistol Hill Road until it became Mary Cleveland Road, which took me all the way to Houghton Road, which would eventually take me home. I had not ridden that route before, and I didn't really like it. For starters, the road past Camino Loma Alta headed over a rough-hewn bridge, which was painful to ride across. Then I had to contend with an uphill climb from the bridge, and then I spend a long time riding along Mary Cleveland Road in the bike lane with cars whizzing by at high-speed. This was sub-optimal, but the conditions were worse after I turned onto Houghton Road, because there was no bike land and barely any shoulder for the first several miles. This meant that I was now sharing the road with cars who were speeding past me at 50 to 60 mph and all-too-often missing me by a mere a foot or two.
I eventually made it to the two-lane multi-use road that runs parallel to Houghton Road, and I quickly pulled onto that. This road is part of Tucson's Loop project, and all of the roads that I have ridden on which are part of this project are great; they are well-paved, clearly-marked for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and far away from cars. The only downside to this part of the ride was that the path did not extend all the way to Mary Cleveland Road, and it had a lot of Stop/Yield signs whenever it had to cross the various roads throughout the area.
In any event, I cycled down Houghton Road to Irvington Road, where I turned east and rode to Harrison, and then I turned north to ride the last few miles to our home.
- Primary Statistics:
- Start Time: 11:36am
- Distance: 40.9 miles
- Duration: 2:46:03
- Calories Burned: 1,561 kcal
- Altitude Gain: 1,786 feet
- Average Speed: 14.8 mph
- Peak Speed: 30.8 mph
- Average Cadence: 64.0 rpm
- Average: 95.2 F
- Minimum: 75.2 F
- Maximum: 100.4 F
- Heart Rate:
- Average: 154 bpm
- Maximum: 179 bpm