May 22, 2013

South Mountain: Got HAB??

I work next to South Mountain (SoMo) Park so it's super easy to hit the trails. I had a 3 1/2 hour ride window before I had to be at the airport to pick up K from her return from SFO. I knew I was going to ride SoMo, but what route? One trail in particular has been on my radar lately: Pyramid. Specifically, UP Pyramid. Why? I don't know, I like to put the hurt on myself sometimes just to see if I can withstand it. It was also 101º for the ride, time to start the summer afternoon suffer series in earnest.

The route I concocted ended up being a test run of the mid-section of my SoMo Sawtooth 70 route I've attempted on a couple of occasions. I had yet to make it to this portion of the route, but I know this will be a huge hurdle in completing the full 70.

I parked at the Ranger trailhead and made my way across Los Lomitas over to Kiwanis trail. That trail was about 50% HAB up to the park road at Telegraph Pass. From there I descended down Telegraph, HAB'ing the first section of stairstep downs. A couple easy miles followed, then the real fun began.

First was a climb up Gila View and over the saddle. I was pleasantly surprised to see some trail work has been completed on a few of the degraded turns and steep wash crossings. This section was 95% rideable! I started the W->E climb up Bursera trail, whew! That was awfully steep about 2/3rd the way up, time for HAB.
Near the top of Bursera, Pyramid looms in the background.
I was still making fairly good time in spite of the HAB, I just needed to summit Pyramid in a timely manner. The Bursera downhill was as fun as I thought it would be, that too was in really good condition.  I made the gradual ascent to the Pyramid split, half keeping a watchful eye on the clock.
How many switchbacks can you count?
I made it through the lower portion of the climb, then I came to a 90º left with a step...nope. I dismounted and started the HAB. I thought the grade gave way at some point, but alas, it did not. I kept pushing...all the way to the top. 25 minutes had passed and I needed to keep moving.
Golden hour setting in over Telegraph Pass & the TV towers.
I caught my breathe, made my way across the ridgeline to National trail then headed west to the Ranger downhill. A few short HAB's on National kept progress slow, but once on Ranger I was able to let 'er rip. Ranger is an often ignored gem at SoMo, great climb & fun descent. I'm glad I finished the ride this way.
One very particulate heavy day in the Valley of the Sun.
3 hours & 20 minutes later I was finished. I scrambled to get changed and head to the airport just as K was calling to inform me that her plane had landed!! Almost perfect timing, I just didn't have enough time to meet her at the gate! Still, this was a fun, but brutal route. Bring your comfy HAB shoes!!

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