We brought our road bikes just for this ride. We started from our rental house, which made me very happy. After pedaling for about 10 miles, we reached the bottom of the mountain. The climb was the longest – 25 miles – I had done, and for a while it did not seem that it would ever end. I underestimated the ride as I did not bring any food or gel with me planning on lunching at Mt Lemmon Cafe on top. I just had two bottles of sports drinks. While in town, the temp was very pleasant when we left the house around 11am. But it got colder and colder as we went uphill. And it started to get windy even before we reached Windy Point. Once it got so cold, I slowed down in drinking. By the time, I reached the top, I only drank one bottle. I was paying for it though; I think I bonked a little bit. But when we reached Summer Haven, where the cafe was supposed to be (it got closed half a year ago), I knew Tom was way behind us riding at his pace dictated by his powertap. So, I motioned to Erik to go up to Ski Valley, another 1.5 miles of climb, steeper than any part earlier. On that climb, Erik said in his next life, he would marry a girl who would let him sit on a couch eating macaroni and cheese sticks (Edit: Erik just pointed out that those were cheez whiz and pepperoni sticks). I was happy to reached the gate though — there was no more climbing to be done. Tom pulled up after we returned to Summer Haven. Perfect timing. I had hot chocolate, chili, and cookie at a pizza place.
A Ride Up Mt Lemmon and Back:
Online resources: Ride-Strong
Navigation: Follow Catalina Hwy/Mt Lemmon Hwy all the way.
Stats and Map (Click on Trip Details below the map for links to GPX & TCX and other files):
Distance (mi) 73.3
Elevation Range (ft) 2494 – 8365
Total Ascent (ft) 7774
Total Ascent Distance (mi) 31.9
Total Descent Distance (mi) 41.4
Mei's Subjective Ratings (all out of 5 star system):
Overall Rating 4 stars (Great Scenery and nice road)
Technical Difficulty 1 stars
Aerobic Difficulty 3 stars
Grin Factor 3 stars (would be higher if I didn't get so cold)
Photos: All are in this album