When Life Gives You Lemons You Make Mt Lemmonade
Coming to Tempe from Monterey, many people told me I had to bike Mt. Lemmon.
I had no idea what kind of climb it was, but it was one that I wanted to do, especially because of my love for climbing. I'd heard so much about “the cookie cabin” and the wonderful, long climb with the scenery changing from cacti to pine trees.
Finally, after about three months of living in Tempe, Andre told me we were going to do Mt Lemmon. Unsure of what to be excited for, I was excited mainly just to ride somewhere new and leave Tempe for a couple days. We decided to head up Friday night and camp overnight so we wouldn’t have to wake up crazy early. So, after everyone was off work, and school, our little 5 person and 1 small dog crew; Andre, Emerson, Victor, Jonny, Daiki (the small dog) and I packed our bikes, cameras, and gear in the truck, and we were off. Well, after a lot of waiting, attempting to vlog, and arguments of music preference.
Mt Lemmon is couple of hours drive from Tempe and as we drove we were told all about the mountains around us, which were too dark to actually see. Victor found a campsite a couple miles up Mt. Lemmon and we set up camp, unpacked, some vlogged and took pictures, before getting a good night’s sleep under the amazing stars.
Morning came and according to some, it was freezing!
After what seemed like hours of getting ready, we were packed up and descending down to the very bottom of Mt Lemmon so we could officially climb the entire mountain.
Our group of four set off and about five miles in, it was down to three. We climbed at a nice speed, not too fast, or slow, just talking and enjoying riding our bikes. After about one hour and 11 miles of climbing, we got to Windy Point where we met Jonny. We ate some food and saw cool rock climbers, before starting up again.
Riding again hurt a lot! I totally regret stopping that first time before stopping again to fill up water. But after filling up we continued on for the next 15 miles to Ski Valley. The cacti, rock, and desert were disappearing, and pine trees were appearing, leaves were changing color, and the temperature was cooling down. The road continued going up for a while longer before it descended for a little and then came back to being even steeper. Due to cramping, we lost another rider, and it was down to two. Getting steeper and with pain in my legs we got to Ski Valley and were ready to go down to Cookie Cabin to get giant cookies, rest and get ready for the descent.
It was nice to climb for a long time since I hadn’t been able to do that since I got to Arizona. Victor got to the top after cramping, and still decided to go a little further up to the observatory - crazy. But I went down, met Jonny with the support truck, and waited for all to get there.
And the reward at the top? A giant cookie and pizza.
Ready to head down, we put on arm and knee warmers, and jackets to descend. Thanks to Jonny we were able to have awesome support, pictures of the adventure, and change our clothes for the change in temperatures. Immediately after leaving, the road climbed before going down, so I got really warm, but cooled off once we started the descent. I was told to stay on Andre’s wheel or else, so that was the plan – for me to work on descending. It wasn’t too curvy, the road was nice, and I was on a familiar wheel, so all was well. We stopped halfway down at a super cool spot of take pictures, fly the drone, and take off a few layers before we continued down, sticking mostly together for safety, awesome GoPro footage, and to go faster.
Getting to the bottom of Mt Lemmon, it flattened out and Victor decided to go faster, so we all got on his wheel to do one last effort. Ending on a good note, Andre won the “sprint,” kinda, and everyone arrived safely. We met Jonny in the mall parking lot and had finished our ride after about 4 ½ hours of riding, 73 miles, and 7,000 feet of climbing. I had completed the Mt. Lemmon I had heard so much about. Returning with 4 happy and tired cyclists, Jonny, and Daiki, we had already talked about the next time we would return, and head back to the long climb, a mountain which people who don’t even like climbing like, a fun descent, which I even really enjoyed, and seeing the beautiful creation.
It's not official until it's Strava official, so here are Christina's grabs from the ride: