February 19, 2016

Take the Long Way Home

This past Friday provided me an opportunity to make the most of my day. I needed to make up a couple hours at work, but we were down a car. So, I convinced K to drop me off a bit earlier than she would have liked. Of course this meant I'd have my bike and all me gear, ready to roll when the clock struck 9a.

I've only done one biking commute in the 8 years I've worked here, mostly due to time. On a direct route it's about 27 miles one-way. I had no intention of getting home by noon.

Phoenix is blessed with ample trail systems spread throughout the valley. One aspect that my get overlooked by some is the wide array of canals paths & bikeways that can be easily connected without the need to ride alongside traffic.

I had a little over 9 hours of available daylight, let's use it all. I spliced a few tracks together, drew in a couple of connections and I was off around 9:15a.

First up? Some real mountain bike trails at South Mountain, a pseudo Teacher of Terror loop of sorts. (Javelina-Mormon Loop-National-Telegraph Pass-Desert Classic) It's really not a terrifying route, but that's what it was dubbed back in 'the day' by Cosmic Ray and his trail book so many of us toted around.
Added bonus: overcast skies all day!!
The famous towers of South Mountain.
I love the middle section of National trail, empty per usual.
Since it was early on a Friday, the trails were mostly clear of hiker/biker traffic. I passed a fellow rider on my HAB down Telegraph, he was HAB'ing up. 'Great day for a hike, huh?' I asked. 'Yep!'

As I pedaled east on Desert Classic I was already starting to get hungry for lunch. At least DC doesn't require a ton of energy to blast through. I thought I'd grab a bite to eat down on Mill Ave, but after rolling through Guadalupe I opted for a Subway in south Tempe.
Showing DC some love.
Mural photo op.
Nice bike path in 'The Guad'.
All fueled up I rolled through the bustling Mill Ave just before 1pm. I had one more bit of trail to knock out before the long haul on flat greenbelts & canals. Papago Park, here I come.
It was nice cruising down Mill Ave faster than the cars.
Hunt's Tomb pyramid beyond the canal.
South Mountain already looking far away behind the Phoenix Zoo.
Fantastic view of Papago & Camelback Mtn. from Hunt's Tomb.
Uptown & downtown Phoenix in the dust.
Quite the contrast in terrain.
I made quick work of Papago then headed back south to Tempe Town Lake which would link me into the Scottsdale greenbelt. The Wedge along the greenbelt used to be one of my early AZ stomping grounds for flatland freestyle riding and inline skating. I was good to ride through there once again, it's been years!!
How the times have changed near Sun Devil stadium.
Scottsdale greenbelt.
The greenbelt would take me to my farthest point north on this ride. I then turned east on the Arizona Canal for a bit more greenbelt, then the Salt River Indian Res after crossing Pima rd.
Smooth dirt riding.
San Tan Mtns way off on the horizon. That's about where I need to go.
The dirt gave way to old asphalt, some washboarding, but otherwise ok.
It took a while to cross AZ87 on a busy Friday afternoon.
Nearing Red Mtn and another canal junction.
McDowell Mtns. starting to fade into the distance.
Sun soaked Red Mtn.
It was sometime around 4pm when I neared Red Mtn. K was calling to see how things were going. I thought I could make it home before sunset, perhaps under the 9 hour mark, but I had to keep a solid pace going the rest of the way. It gave me something to aim for, so I went for it.
My final canal home looked like this. One too many 'No Trespassing' signs for my liking, so I rode around to the next entrance.
There are still a few orange groves in east Mesa.
Looks like the Arizona Rattlers practice here.
This roadrunner wouldn't turn sideways for a better shot!!
One last snack break for the final push.
San Tan Mtns. finally looking close.
Bummed it came out blurry, but this is the final greenbelt next to our neighborhood. I had 5 minutes to make it home from here - almost a mile away.
Finished!! Still light outside and just under the 9 hour wire at 8:59:36!!
In the end my legs were pretty cooked. I don't usually hammer for that long or ever really, but I'm really glad I took the long way home today. Thanks Supertramp!!

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