Up at 7. My legs, sore from the previous two days work, certainly felt better after a night’s sleep. Continental breakfast in the lobby: cheese blintz, ham, hash browns, coffee, water.
At 8AM Mary Ellen called and I soon met up with her at the Super 8. On the way I ran into Jesse leaving Legacy Suites. Jesse commented that the Legacy Suites was so basic they didn’t even offer a drinking cup in the room. At the Super 8, we messed around taking pictures, and Jules showed up around 8:10AM.
Clear blue skies this morning and cold, and SUCH an improvement from yesterday. As we rolled west on Cottonwood, I passed by a sign, and ¼ mile later turned back to take a photo, essentially losing the group for the rest of the morning. But I couldn’t pass it by, a sign that said, “Villas by Mary T.” – something my stepmother would like.
Up Pinal Avenue, I finally caught Denise and Mary Ellen and rolled with them all the way to the junction of 187 & 87, where the sag van and most of the group had congregated. Group photos were happening and plenty of general socializing. Everyone was already sensing the end of the tour.
I managed a slow restart, and it took me about 4 miles to finally catch Mary Ellen and Denise again. Mary Ellen slowed at Gilbert Road, considering options. One of the tandems rolled by asking for directions, and she told them Hunt Highway was only 1 mile further. Eventually she took off up Gilbert Road on her way home, to rejoin us for lunch.
Denise and I continued up 87 and decided to test Mary Ellen’s 1 mile estimate, which turned out to be 3.8 miles. Denise used to be a long time Motorolan, and we enjoyed sharing memories of our tenures there.
We finally reached The Good Egg. I’d been talking about French Toast for at least 20 miles already. The group took a nice big table in the back and my French toast and eggs were sublime. I learned with some amazement that Denise has her degree in Materials Science. The two of us share many similarities: Materials Science major but working in semiconductor packaging, long careers at Motorola, our interest in cycling, and even a shared taste for broccoli. Pretty cool.
Group photos and hugs in the parking lot, then a continued cruise up Alma School. I peeled off at Ocotillo, heading instead N up Alma School towards home. Jules came with me, interested in getting in an additional 30 miles. Because I know she is usually concerned with speed, I did my best to generate a good pace up Alma School, between 18 and 20 mph. Why, with a 70 lb bike I pulled almost the whole way I’m not sure, but it really didn’t feel too bad.
It was just a gorgeous semi-cold sunny day, a great ride home, and I seemed to comment on this at every stop light we didn’t make. We ran into Jesse on Alma School somewhere around Elliot. He was stopped and not feeling well, gamely fighting that chest cold or bronchitis or something. Still some 45-50 miles from home, he’d decided to catch a ride, either through a bike shop or elsewhere. I learned later that he caught a bus at McClintock and Baseline and made it home no problem.
Jules and I parted at Extension and Main, almost exactly 15 miles, for her plan to ride back on Dobson and back to Chandler Heights Blvd.
I arrived home with tight quads, but otherwise felt great. I report this because, unlike the last two J&P tours, knee pain or twinging was never an issue, and this with nearly a full load for the entire tour, and some increased workload due to the weather and the periodic pulling. This all tells me that me that the leg muscles are getting stronger and more balanced, and that perhaps I’m finally getting the bike geometry dialed in.
A great thanks is due to Jane. Such rides take much unseen effort, and that is very much appreciated. I really love the manner in which the tour is conducted, in a laid-back social fashion without pomp and circumstance. Count me in for next year.
Final odometer: 3766.1
Miles today: 63.4
Tour miles: 225.9