Wednesday night work meeting means I have time to luxuriate in a longer weekday morning ride. I choose my usual route up to the foothills, then west and north to the Rancho Vistoso Loop. Climbing starts early on Via Entrada through desert landscapes under wonderfully overcast skies. (Click on photos below to elarge for full big sky, big mountain view). Or big pricly pear view in the first picture.
These phone photos make the desert look darker than it really was at 7 a.m. The rolling road wakes up my legs and I continue to climb up First Ave. I soak in the Catalinas as I wait at the traffic signal at Ina Road.
First and Ina cloudscape above Pusch Ridge.
I turn north onto busy Oracle Road and come around the west side of Pusch Ridge.
At Oro Valley's First Avenue, I head west then north up more hills to Rancho Vistoso Blvd. The climbing continues through the stucco and Mexican tile roofed houses. A totally different sky meets me as the road curves east again, toward the Catalinas.
It's raining in the upper elevations of the Catalinas as I sweat in the valley floor below. Some clouds seep into canyons on the north side of this range.
More excellent views on the cruise downhill toward Oracle Road. Will rain come to Tucson today?
Morning commuter traffic increases south on Oracle Road toward Tucson. I take a final photo at a shopping center traffic signal.
The sun bursts through the cloud cover to heat up the rest of my ride. I pass a couple "Team in Training" cyclists who weave and bob uphill and wish them a good morning. I retrace my path through the foothills, back down Via Entrada and its assorted quail families, and home. Thirty five miles in about 2 hrs and 15 minutes. Endorphin and desert high.