Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lemmon Drop 2012

Its been a few years since I had completed the full Lemmon Drop and I felt like this year was my year again. Problem was when the time came around this year to get in on the shuttle for it I was down with an injury. Thought I had missed my window to get the Lemmon Drop in this year but as luck would have it the weather has been amazing and there was a second shuttle scheduled. This was my chance only 5 weeks after separating my shoulder and I was gonna take it. Checked around to see if I had any friends left that were willing to go with me after trying to kill most of them off throughout the summer and was able to scrape one up. Jonathan Buchanan was the man and maybe one of the few people that enjoy hike a bike as much as me.  He would would act as my camera muse on the ride and provide the fashion sense we needed. We booked the shuttle and were on our way. Couldn't have asked for a better day to be on our bikes. Tucson in December can be a mix sometimes weather wise but this year its pure gold. There are not enough hours in the day to get in all you want to do when its this nice out. Just chili enough at 9000' to wear longs sleeves and just warm enough at 2500' when you finish to make an ice cold drink a necessity. We parted ways with our fellow shuttlers and head off down our first of 10 trails on the day and to start chipping away at the 10000' of elevation loss ahead of us. Sounds rough right?

Aspen Draw. Not a soul in sight and barely a leaf left on a tree. 

J-Bake Bumming down the road. He was mugged as you can see for all his lunch money. Guess I'll have to share mine .

 Finally starting to warm up on Sunset Trail. Think maybe J was dressed to subtle though.

Making good time blazing thru the trails. Onto Bigelow now. Already go the warm clothes off. 

This sign pretty much sums up all my feelings for the incinerator trail. 

By the time we got to Green Mt. spirits were high we were having a great ride.  We were about 1/3 of the way thru the day and our run had been perfect. The day was turning out to be perfect. 
 J and I both nailed this crazy hard switchback on Green. There are three water bars leading in with a super tight turn. It looks like you are gonna go straight off the edge if you fall. Not the easiest switchback on the mountain thats for sure. After nailing this one though I was feeling pretty good mentally but after the barrage of water bars we had just went thru my bad shoulder was on fire.

After finishing Green and the Bugs Hike a Bike we decided to take our lunch break. J had brought nothing but a bag full of candy and I had almost did the same except for one turkey, salami, and cheese burrito. Traded half of it to J so he could have some real food for half of his chocolate chip cookie. Best trade ever. After chatting with what I think were our first hikers and bikers of the day on bugs and grubbing down we continued on. Its amazing that we had already been riding for maybe 3-4hrs and this was the first time we had come across any other trail uses on such a beautiful day. More people should be out enjoying themselves on days like this.

J-bake throwing up some Hero Dust on Bugs.

After you finish Bugs/Prison Camp all you have left is one last trail. Problem is its HARD. You are tired. beat down, and hungry when you get to the Molino parking lot. Many a Lemmon Drops have ended in the shade here at Molino. We were tempted. Even though we were laying on hard asphalt the shade made it the perfect place to throw in the towel and take a nap. There was even a redneck carrying a dead deer on his back in the parking lot. Why would we ever want to leave. We could just get on our bikes right here and coast all the way to a chicken quesadilla and a chocolate milk. Not today though. We were gonna finish and this was the ride. It had been perfect so far and we knew we were finishing the ride. We got up outta the shade and headed towards Millie.

 Hike a Bike. Its one of the only guarantees on the Lemmon Drop.  Well that and it won't be easy.

Being glad we never skipped Millie. The views are spectacular back there. The trail is brutally hard but its pretty to look at. 

Home stretch we know we are getting close to the end. At times you could see the bottom. Plus we had a special surprise waiting for us at the finish. 

Best roadside come up yet. I had spotted this little Kool-Aid gem sitting on the side of the road way back near the top of Bigelow. J stopped and picked it, carried it for the whole ride, then we enjoyed it at the bottom. It was pure sugar heaven.  Just what we needed to fuel us for the 5 mile road ride to the car.

Finishing up in the perfect lighting of the setting sun. 

Stats on the day.
35 miles
10,204 ft of descending
4024ft of climbing
8:10 minutes from Bus to Car.
1 mechanical. Me broken chain. Couldn't handle my raw power on Millie.
 Best part was I didn't even lose a riding friend. Lately my crazy long rides have ended in tragedy not this time.

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