Sunday, March 27, 2011

I've Been A Bad, Bad Coach

You know how sometimes an idea sounds really great, but the execution -- not so much?

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My darling new friend, T wanted to experience one of my favorite rides yesterday -- EOP.  EOP stands for "End Of Pavement," a ride that takes you from the corner of Lost Dutchman and Brown Road, through the meandering canyon of the beautiful Superstition Mountains.  The single lane road winds its way next to cactus and wildflowers past the breathtaking waters of Canyon Lake, and finishes up at the crest of a mountain top, where the pavement literally ends.  A dirt road continues on from that point, so road cyclists turn and make the quick descent home.

Great idea, right?  Well, we got T all squared away on a loaner bike.  She clipped in for the first time ever in the Dash In parking lot, and did a couple of laps around the gas station to make sure she could handle it, and we were off.  
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The ride out - uneventful.  It was a gorgeous day. The sun was just illuminating the sky over the Superstitions.  The yellow daisies on the side of the road were bursting with color.  The desert landscape was lush and green.  Yes, everything was simpatico, my friends.  

T made it to the EOP without a hitch.  
"Yeah, I made it!"

And now for the descent.  T was solid, steady and smiling as she made her way down the mountain to refill bottles at Tortilla Flat, a sort of tourist attraction for Snowbirds trying to get a taste of the wild, wild West.  Tortilla Flat has a restaurant and a gift shop, which I personally have never seen the inside of, because it's always been closed.  In fact, most of the time, because we ride so early, Tortilla Flat is  a ghost town, and the few parking spaces in front of the shop are empty.

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Boy was I in for a surprise.  When we turned the bend to Tortilla Flat, the road was crammed with cars and motorcycles and gawkers.  The Corvette Club was out in full force for their weekly road extravaganza.  Not only that, it was Arizona Bike Week (and no, I don't mean road bikes) and anything with Harley or Davidson on the fender was out in support for "Keep the Lost Dutchman Trail Open Ride," kickin' it along Highway 88, which has exactly this much shoulder...

Um, yeah.  When the trucks pulling motor homes whizzed by and I could take out their windows with my elbows, I know I had made a wrong decision.  With my heart palpitations racing, all I could do was pray we made it out of there alive.  I thought about stopping to ask for forgiveness here...

"Please, oh please, let those big trucks and crotch rockets see us as they are zooming around those blind corners."  

But T finished the ride all smiles and happiness.  She was so proud of her big, bad self for accomplishing something so cool she had barely noticed the parade of traffic over her left shoulder.  She thought rides like that were NORMAL!

Whew, I was glad to get out of that canyon.  I was happy to get off my bike.  And I was happy we were both alive.  

So here's my tip: ride to Canyon Lake, and ride to EOP.  You will absolutely love it.  I think it's the best ride in East Valley.   But don't ride it on Saturdays past 10 a.m. in the morning.  Don't ride it during Arizona Bike (not road bike) Week, and don't ride it when the Corvette Club is in town.   

That being said, you CAN allow yourself a little treat after all that climbing.  And it's not very far from where your ride ends.  

Thank you.  And amen.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, so that's how it really went :) Sounds excellent. I think you can redeem your "bad coach" self by taking me there with her some time. Maybe after I kick some serious butt in Oceanside. Whaddya say?


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