Getting Lost in the Desert

My family and I trekked out to Scottsdale, Arizona to see my father over Thanksgiving.  We’ve been out there many times and I’ve always wanted to ride (cycle) out there.  So this year, I borrowed a bike case (thanks, Chris!), took my bike apart and loaded it up with all our other crap for a short trip to the desert.

On the first day, I did a round trip to Carefree, AZ on a crowded road with loads of construction.  Of course, everything seems to be under construction there as the Valley of the Sun is expanding faster than the universe.  The MotionBased entry for the 27 mile ride is here.

I did a much more interesting, 47 mile ride on Friday.  It wasn’t supposed to be that long, but I got lost in the desert.  The picture above is at a point where I was thinking that Scottsdale was well on the other side of the mountains in the background and I really didn’t know how to get back without backtracking, which I refuse to do out of principle.  To add to my concern, I was only about 10 miles into the ride and I had already given up almost 1500 feet of elevation, with more to go.  I just hate when I leave all the work to the end of the ride, I’d much rather do all the climbing when I’m fresh.  As can be seen from the elevation chart below, it didn’t work out that way.  You can check out that ride here.

In the end, the climbing out there isn’t bad at all.  There are few steep climbs (you can find ’em if you want ’em, though), but the desert floor is not as flat as you might think.  You find yourself moving slower than you expect to and in a lower gear than seems right, until you realize that you’ve been climbing for 10 miles.

I’m going to travel with my bike more often.  I really got to see much more of the place than I ever had before and TSA and the airline were much better about the whole thing than I had expected.

BTW, if you haven’t checked out MotionBased before, it’s a pretty cool site (I’m not affiliated, just a user).  You upload the data from your GPS unit and MotionBased analyzes it and stores it.  You can have private and public data.  The two rides mentioned here are public, obviously.  I did a search through the public rides of others to get some potential ride routes before heading out to Arizona.  It’s a cool way to get introduced to an area before you arrive.


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