Luna Lakes 2008: Preface

I’ve been riding with the PMBC for a couple months off and on, and I’ve started to meet other riders, particularly those who ride about the same speed I do. We call ourselves “tweeners” since we can’t quite keep up with the fast group, but always pull away from the slower group. One is Mary Ellen, a device manager who works for Medtronics. On our Saturday rides, she is a popular and sociable member of the club, and a strong rider.

In April, she mentioned the Luna Lakes Tour, a GABA sponsored ride out of the Tucson chapter. I was interested, but I needed to investigate. I learned that the ride is 3 days, in a big loop starting from Springerville, AZ and into wilderness New Mexico on rarely traveled roads. There is healthy altitude and decent climbing on this ride, termed as “moderately difficult.”

As we enter May, I am usually ramping out of the cycling season, but due to my riding with PMBC, I’m still in some decent cycling shape. On the May 10th club ride, Mary Ellen asked again for Luna Lake riders since she was looking for a roommate to share hotel costs, and possibly carpool to Springerville. Looking again at my calendar, I’ve got that weekend open, so I decide to give it a try.

I registered for the ride, and in parallel I officially joined the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club. I guess I have freeloaded on their weekend rides for long enough. Very reasonable costs for this event, only $125, including 3 days of full ride support, SAG stops, luggage hauling, dinner the 1st and 2nd nights, and breakfast the 2nd and 3rd mornings.

In the next eight days (May 10 thru May 18), I rode over 170 miles, including 2 PMBC Saturday rides, one extended solo tour through Mesa and Gilbert, and another 10 mile sprint before a round of golf.

Week before ride:

Sunday May 18 – Club friend Jules and I met Phil at Desert Breeze Park and cranked out 35 miles in southeast Gilbert, Chandler, and Tempe on a hot Sunday morning. I was stoked that Phil made it for the ride! Certainly, downing some Coronas and limes afterwards was the best part.

Monday May 19 – I rested today and work on the bike. Due to wear, I rotated the back tire to the front and put a new one on the back. Rode a couple of miles, adjusting my pedals to click in better with my new cycling shoes, and to generally test out the tire spinning. Cleaned, lubed, and checked everything.

Jules, a physical and cycling trainer, told me by email to stay on the bike this week, not to rest all week. She recommends a long distance / easy ride Tuesday should be followed by a medium distance / medium intensity ride Wednesday, then a short hard workout Thursday, followed by a medium distance / easy ride Friday. I don’t understand the logic in all this but she clearly knows a lot more than I do. Still, it sounds like a lot of miles and I don’t want to get worn out.

Tuesday May 20 – According to plan, and to give the new tires and cleats a longer workout, I did a 25 mile loop around Usery Mountain, going clockwise so I’d catch the hill going upwards. A good workout that felt good too.

Wednesday and Thursday May 21-22 – Weather turned windy, and then nasty, so I punted my plans to do more riding. Linda, Phil and I spent Thursday afternoon out on the golf course, and just about froze ourselves in the blasting cold wind and rain. Clearly the weirdest May weather I’ve ever seen here in Phoenix.

I checked the high country weather forecast and learned of chilly temps, steady winds, and a 40% chance of precipitation the 1st ride day. Ugh! I headed over to Performance Cycle and picked out a cycling rain jacket, full finger riding gloves, a skullcap, and another pair of bike shorts for good measure.

Friday May 23 – Left around 2PM and picked up Mary-Ellen at her apartment. We took US60 through Globe, then up through Show Low (patches of snow still there!) and finally into Springerville. Dinner at Los Dos Molinos was forgettable, except that Mary Ellen was wonderful company.

At Salt River Canyon
At Salt River Canyon
Mary Ellen at Salt River Canyon
Mary Ellen at Salt River Canyon
Salt River Canyon
Salt River Canyon