Visiting Tucson, going to ride Mt Lemmon. Any advice, tips etc...
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  1. #1
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    Visiting Tucson, going to ride Mt Lemmon. Any advice, tips etc...

    I will be visiting Tucson this weekend and plan to rent a bike (milesaheadcyclery) and ride from the shop.

    Just wondering if anyone has some first hand knowledge or experiences.

    Thanks
    Gene

  2. #2
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    As a native of Tucson, I must say Mt Lemmon ride is awesome. Only advice I could give is be careful on the decent. Also, don't know how strong of a climber you are but might want to consider compacts. It is a grind to the top.. Have fun and good luck I am jealous. If you want some company, check the local meet ups, I always see training rides going to the top.. strength in numbers.

  3. #3
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    Beautiful ride. Later in the year I'd strongly recommend going up early in the morning, but this time of the year you'll still be fine even if you get started later in the morning. The climb itself is long, but the grades are rarely too bad (mostly less than 10%), and I never had an issue with a standard crank and cassette. Agree on the descents: You can get pretty fast, and some of the turns can hold surprises, if some car/truck driver going up suddenly decides they need to take the turn wide, so take it easy there.

    Oh, and don't forget to take a spare tube. There can be some nasty cactus thorns on the road which can get you.

    Other than that, enjoy the ride; it's always been one of my favorites.

  4. #4
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    Earlier this month I did a similar thing, i.e. rented from Pro Bike just down the road from Miles Ahead Cyclery. It's an easy ride getting to the base of Mt Lemmon from there with only a little bit of busy traffic in the first mile or so, but there's a wide shoulder. I actually took Bear Canyon Road to Snyder Road for a bit longer and quieter warmup.

    In my case it was only the 3rd or 4th time on the bike after not riding since last November. It was harder than I thought it would be. The grade is pretty steady, and I was mostly in a 39/21 and 39/23, but there were some steeper parts where I was grinding away in the 39/25. I ran out of water at Windy Point (about 14 miles up) and was tiring, so I bagged it only another mile or so later. Too bad, as I was less than a mile from getting into the Ponderosa pines at Rose Canyon campground. You can get more water at about the 18 or 19 mile mark at the Ranger station (possibly there is water at about the 7 mile mark too though?).

    Needless to say, I wasn't going too fast and it took me 1 1/2 to 2 hours just to get there. I had a lightweight long sleeved jacket in my jersey pocket, which came in handy on the descent. The day I rode was relatively cool, i.e. low 70's in the valley and probably 15 degrees cooler 4000 feet up. I think it took less than 30 minutes to get back down.

  5. #5
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    Bring a light windbreaker.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tschai View Post
    Bring a light windbreaker.
    Yep….the top of the mountain is usually 25-30 degrees cooler than down in the city. So low 90's predicted for Tucson this weekend will be low to mid-60's up there. I've often gotten the chills at the top after getting soaked with sweat during the climb up, especially if the wind is blowing up there.

    It is a fun ride though. Enjoy!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info.

    According to the bike shop their rentals all have compact setups. I haven't done any hill work in a LONG time so don't know if I'll make it to the top or not. Gonna give it my best though.

    The rental comes with a tire patch kit. I live in Hawaii and don't have a windbreaker. I was thinking of bringing an extra shirt and maybe some newspaper. I've used newspaper before when living in the mainland and riding my motorcycle in 30 degree weather. Just open it up and put it behind the outer layer and presto, windbreaker for the torso.

    Being that I'll be riding on a Saturday I'm sure I'll encounter other riders.

    Gene

  8. #8
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    There will be tons of riders up there on a Sat. It is a great ride and hopefully we will have good weather. It has been very windy here lately.

  9. #9
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    This is a great ride, but it was a little humbling for me. It's pretty steep, but that didn't seem to bother the pros who passed me with little effort. It was a reality check!

  10. #10
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    Well I did my ride. the bike shop didn't open till 10, so by the time I got going it was around 10:30 and already in the low 90s.

    I had 2 24oz bottles. Ended up to be not enough. It was HOT for the 6 miles or so out of town and then for the next 12-13 miles up the mountain. I was not prepared for the dry heat.

    I am also not used to riding a road bike. I do all my riding on a trainer (road bike with bolt on aero bars and a Trek Speed Concept. I like using the aero bars and find it to be more comfortable) So my hands would get tingly, my arms were tired and my wrists were getting sore.

    As for the climb. It was not super steep. There were a few sections that were fairly challenging and had I felt better I could have made it all the way.

    I made it to about the 20 mile marker. I refilled water at the 19MM (thanks Pima County Sheriffs!!!!). But by that time drinking water caused stomach cramps and a bloated feeling. I tried to go on but after another mile I knew when I had had enough. My legs were still pretty good at this point but the rest of me said no.

    So back down I went. I took my time, even stopped and rested going down.

    Maybe next time I'll be better prepared. Maybe log in some hours out of the aero bars, starting early would've have certainly helped. I think if I could've started at around 0700 I would have been in much better shape, stomach wise. I still would have had the sore hands and tired arms though.

    This was my first time on a carbon bike (a nice Felt of some kind) and WOW what a nice ride especially compared to my aluminum speed concept. The bike had a cologna brand seat that was wonderful. Nary a hint of a sore butt. No chafing etc... really nice.

    The bike shop, miles ahead cyclery was great. The owner set me up, and when I came back, saw how tired I was and gave me a beer and sat down and talked for a few minutes. That was nice.

    I saw a lot of cyclists, almost all coming down as I was going up and about 1000 motorcycles, too many crotch rockets doing 100mph plus. One serious car on car accident. Other than that no issues. Drivers are courteous and move over. There is little to no shoulder in many areas coming down the mountain. I wasn't too comfortable with that.

    Over all I'm glad I did it. Now I want a carbon bike.

    Gene

  11. #11
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    Nice. Lemmon, Graham, & Kitt were my favorite climbs in AZ
    Hawaii has some great road cycling too -
    Haleakela, Tantalus Dr, Mauna Kea, & Mauna Loa

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