STATS: 57.1 miles; 4,600 ft. of climbing; 5:09 moving time; 1 flat tire; 0 wrecks
This Saturday, I decided to go ride my mountain bike in Redington Pass, a network of singletrack and jeep roads to the northeast of Tucson, nestled between the Catalina and Rincon mountains.
Like most rides I do, I start at my house. Fifteen miles of pavement later, and I am getting close.
Accessing the Redington trails requires climbing a steep dirt road (the one you can see etched into the side of the approaching hills).
About 1300’ feet up over 3 1/2 miles. Those passing in four-wheelers feel compelled to jeer or cheer.
Up at the top, now in the heart of Redington, the views get good.
And the jeep roads get rough. Nothing but steep ups and downs through a welter of exposed rock. Now the four-wheelers give props as I pass them.
I approach an outcropping of rock domes that I call “Birthday Rocks.” I dubbed it this after making a middle of the night ascent to them in the first few hours of my fortieth year.
Sinewy singletrack climbs higher and higher to a point affording good views in all directions.
The desert grasslands one finds at slightly higher elevations in Arizona have a beauty all their own.
There are “Birthday Rocks” again, now fading in the distance.
The trail snakes through hilly grasslands. One feels hundreds of miles from anything, anyone.
I travel west on the Arizona Trail for twelve miles, crossing into the Catalina Mountains. The only way out is down the treacherous La Milagrosa (“The Miracle”) Trail, thick with babyhead rocks, big ledges, and steep slickrock faces.
A majestic sky accompanied my descent.
On a perfect mountain bike ride, I get off the trail just after sunset, as twilight turns to night.
Flick on the headlamp and the rear red blinker. Seventeen miles of pavement and traffic before I am home. I hope my family is hungry too.
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