Friday, November 20, 2009

Carr Road to Reef Campground

Virus Watch. Maybe it's not as bad as the seasonal flu, but the H1N1 "swine" variety is nasty. Amy started showing symptoms on Tuesday and began taking Tamiflu on Wednesday morning. Despite the medication, which is supposed to ease/shorten the illness, she's had intermittent fever, joint aches, chills, shivers, painful swollen glands and wicked hangover-style headaches. Don't catch this bug.

With a wobbly patient at home, I put my original plan--a recon of the Bull Springs passage of the Santa Rita Showdown--on hold. Instead, I took a quick exercise ride on the D460 up the Carr Canyon road to the Reef campground. This ride is an almost-continuous climb of about 1900' in the space of less than 5 miles.

Early in the ride, I noticed that the Forest Service has already put up the 'icy road' signs, a reminder that the upper reaches of the road will soon be unfit to ride until spring.

The grade is fairly consistent, and most of the way I was standing on the pedals in 32x21 (fourth gear on the nine-speed drivetrain). If I'm careful not to get too frisky, I can maintain this pace all day long. My usual pattern is to take a quick breather and a drink of water at the John Cooper trailhead, which marks the halfway point in elevation gain. I felt strong enough this time to skip it, but I did hop off for a gulp of water after the final switchback, about the 4-mile mark. This shows on the everytrail graph as a dip in speed to 3mph, since I continued to push the bike while I drank.

I arrived at the Reef in 51 minutes and change--a 2-minute improvement over my previous best time. Not huge, but I'll take what I can get.

Got a kick out of this carving in a picnic table at the top:

Now, the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question is: Am I doomed to get the swine flu, too? If so, I suppose the picnic-table advice will come in handy.

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