Not a girlfriend ride

Oh-dark-thirty start, riding straight down Speedway

Riding down the backside of Lemmon has always been somewhat of a dubious prospect. Adventure trails, every last one of them. They’ve all epic’d more than a few mountain bikers.

And that’s if you shuttle them. We were up early, on a perfect day.

To climb the mountain.

By trail and by inclined plane.

It’s a fair bit of work to climb six or seven thousand feet in one push.

From the dusty desert basins to the pine covered crags.

Summerhaven snack break — the tallboy didn’t treat Chad so well

There’s really no ride quite like it — anywhere.

But it’s not a ‘girlfriend ride’, by any stretch or interpretation of the term, as lame of a term as it may be.

yellow aspens!

Even the shuttle version is not, so don’t even think about telling your girlfriend you think it’s a good idea that she come along for the all-day pedal version.

going down! waaaaaay down

Unless your girlfriend is a total badass on the bike, master of so many long and difficult rides.

Record holder of pretty much every long distance MTB record worth holding.

But even then, it may not be the wisest course of action to have two of the fastest and most skilled riders, both well versed in backcountry Lemmon travel, along for the ride. Hmm, maybe make that three.

“All unhappiness comes from comparison.” — Steve from Oregon, who arrived shortly after the CDO epic.

fall color soup, yumm, and creek crossing 31 of 45

We climbed and rode trails to the top just as fast as last year’s boys-only CDO epic.

Everyone rode well on the way down. It’s not easy riding, and Eszter was riding more than I thought she might. She got frustrated with herself, and I was sad that she wasn’t able to enjoy the day and the beautiful place we were in more fully. But I understood the reasons.

We got to enjoy a ripping descent down ‘the Gap’ — far more fun than I remembered, especially on the Mammoth. There was much airtime, and hooting and hollering.

The return ride on pavement was long and a little tedious, maybe a little unsafe as darkness fell. But in the macro view, it was a fantastic day to be outside and on the bike. I had finally kicked my lingering cold / sinus infection and was feeling good.

It was Eszter’s biggest ride in a long time. That was so cool to see. We were both keeping a good clip back into town, moving into hour 14 of the ride. She bounced back from it quicker than any of the boys on the ride, riding all over the place the following week.

Health and the ability to even seriously contemplate joining a ride like this are two things not to be taken for granted. I’m glad she decided to come along.

2 comments to Not a girlfriend ride

  • Val

    Oh the Lemmon Drop!!! I’ve done it twice, and it IS epic…and I shuttled it. So much fun, I love how you start in the snow and finish in the saguaros. So badass!

  • Scott

    Hey Val! Actually we went down the north side of Lemmon, on the rarely used and barely-trails.

    Lemmon Drop has also epic’d many, many a rider over the years, though. Lots of chunk and lots of climbing going down that one.

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