Mount Lemmon, on top

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The day after arriving in Tucson I tried riding up Mount Lemmon with Shawn. It did not go well. By mile 13 I was feeling pretty horrible. Trying to climb another 14 held no appeal. “I’m ready to go back down”, I said.

As with many things these days (so it seems), I needed to go back and conquer that demon.

This time I rode it more sensibly, at a pace that would let me enjoy the view rather than one that made me suffer.

At mile 13 it occurred to me that I should be grateful — and happy — just to be able to ride like this. 10 months ago I wouldn’t have imagined doing such a climb. It’s not that Lemmon is brutally steep. It’s just so darn long: you keep going up and up and up.

Actually it’s the perfect climb for where I am right now: it requires patience.

I made it to the part where most people stop — at the Cookie Cabin — then made the right turn on Ski Run to go up the final pitch to the “tippy top”. That is also the steep part of the climb, the part that you can’t really fake.

25 miles of patience allowed me to to finish those last 2, out of the saddle most of the way in the 39×26. I was on top of the world, any way you want to interpret that.
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5 responses to “Mount Lemmon, on top

  1. Jim

    B Batke in a 39×26 for two miles?? OUCH!!!

  2. Jim

    Makes me remember climbing Beech Mtn a few years ago. Probably about 10% (give or take), straight, and hard. Only 3 miles but I wanted to turn around 4 or 5 times. Had a 25 (I think) and would have loved something more. A 23 would never have worked for me.

  3. Jim Nichols

    The longest (and really the only) mountain climb I’ve ever done was the 8-mile ride up Lefthand Canyon Road outside Boulder. At this point, I’m not even sure I could go DOWN a 25-mile hill without stopping to rest.

    Was it colder at the top in AZ? I froze (on the descent, anyway) in the Rockies, and it was April or May.

    • Brian

      It was cold(er) at the top, for sure. I had carried a vest, arm warmers, and gloves with me for the descent.

      Because it’s so long the grade isn’t super steep (like 5% avg), except for the last couple miles. So you don’t have to lay on the brakes all that hard except for a couple of turns (and even then it’s not too tight)

      Forgot to mention this: on the way up I passed a guy who was climbing on his Cervelo triathlon bike, sitting up, hands on the bullhorns. I can’t even fathom doing that for the entire climb. talk about torture.

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