March 22, 2019

Mt. Ord: Climbing Drills

One thing lacking in the Phoenix area is the abundance of steady, long climbing hills to train on, there's a few, but in general there really isn't a go-to location like Mt. Lemmon in Tucson. Luckily, Mt. Ord isn't too far away, only one hour from home and the top sits at a perch of 7,129'.

Kurt had prescribed a series of longer, more intense climbing drills for my Friday and Ord was the perfect place. The question would be: How much, if any, snow was still up top?

This was the scene one month ago:
That's Mt. Ord from way down in Sunflower.

Up at the parking area for Mt. Ord, people were sledding!!

The snow was heavy and deep.

Instead the white was replace by green & gold.

I parked at the upper trailhead. Snow patches visible in the trees below the summit.
The goal for the day was to do 4-5 10 minute steady Z3/Z4 efforts after a 30 minute warmup taking a 5 minute rest in between bursts. The 30 minute warmup went by quickly and I was able to maintain a solid Z2 HR sans one pitch on the road, so I walked that bit.
Somewhere during the second set, I saw snow.

The upper road meets the lower road here. This is where I'd stage my remaining intervals, just below 6,000'.
I figured I'd multi-task and get some altitude training while I was at it. I'd ride up the road for 10 minutes, then come back down to here and repeat until I was on my 5th interval where I'd continue up to the top of Mt. Ord regardless of road conditions.

Not a bad view on the return to the staging area.
I felt really good and consistent during my intervals. I didn't even mind doing a 6th on my way to the summit.
The north facing upper reaches of the road were encroached by snow.

Another side bonus: Northern Montana hike-a-bike practice!!

The shaded, north facing slopes were still covered in 8" of snow, while the sunny side was clear & dry.

Fire lookout tower and tons of communication equipment up top.

Nice, clear view. Four Peaks with the snow, Pinal Peak to the left.

Roosevelt Lake and many lesser known peaks other than Mt. Graham.

Looking southwest towards the Phoenix area.

Prime placement for this stuff, practically a 360ยบ view.

Almost all downhill back to the car.

Mogollon Rim lines the horizon towards Payson.

The peaks of the Mazatzal Mtns.


There was almost 4,000' of gain packed into 18 miles of riding. I felt great and decided to do a cooldown spin at Hawes on my way home.
Golden hour setting in over the desert.

Split the uprights!!

Two hours earlier I was pushing through snow, now I was surrounded by the warmth of the desert.

Beetle Roof, Beetle Roof, Beetle Ro.......
I love AZ!!




  1. Nice work John! You will be glad of the climbing training come TD. Keep it up as that feeling of POWER is soo worth it. ;)

    1. Thanks Dave. I'll need to refresh my memory & re-read your TD blog. I need to remember those hidden water spots in New Mexico!!