preRA: Bartlett Lake

Solo conditioning ride – loaded down even more than usual.  I anticipated high temperatures and climbing and got plenty of both.

Started at Thompson Peak Parkway in North Scottsdale and chugged north up Pima Highway to Cave Creek Road, and eventually out east onto Bartlett Dam Road.  I’d always wanted to try this popular route, knew it was hilly, and figured it’d be a good test for a lot of reasons.

It surely was a physical test, with about 4,700 feet of climbing and early afternoon temperatures that hit over 100F.  But in many ways, I thought the ride was more beneficial for mental conditioning.   On my road bike on club rides, it’s always push-push-push.  But here, one learns to stay at equilibrium.  “Infinity mode,”  I call it – you ride as if you have an infinite number of miles ahead of you.

Met a really friendly cyclist at the lake marina riding a titanium Davidson road bike.  We talked about touring for at least a half hour.  He’d been on tours all over America, all of them supported and in motels, and he shared many great experiences and tips.  He’s heading north-to-south down the Rockies this summer.

Temperatures rose a lot for the climb out from the lake.  By the time I hit Carefree I was getting a little crampy and dehydrated.  I brought lots of water  (about 1/2  gallon in the panniers in addition to 3 bottles), but could hardly drink it fast enough.

I can see why this route is so popular.  Fairly thin traffic – gorgeous desert mountains and rock formations – saguaro and cholla ‘forests’ – and plenty of climbing.

As I sat on a bench in Carefree, I couldn’t help but notice the constant mindless hammering of Harleys being driven all over up there.  Harley riders don’t seem to realize or care that their machines  greatly annoy everyone who’s not a Harley fan.  Senseless noise polluters.   Hey – take a look at my Surly – now this is a REAL bike! <grin>

Got a flat tire on the way home.   The tire actually started a very slow leak just south of Carefree, and I’d stopped twice to pump it back up, hoping to nurse it home.  When I tried this again on Pinnacle Peak Road, the stem failed in an open position.  I couldn’t find any reason for the flat and so surmised that maybe the stem was failing.

Total loop about 63 miles.  This day was hotter and had more climbing than almost any day we expect to encounter on our tour this summer, so I felt pretty good about it.