So if you go back to December 17th (or thereabouts…depending on weather, travel, etc.) since 2005, you will find posts from yours truly about a tradition I started five years ago now (here is the first year’s post, here is another). I decided to climb 100 feet for each year of age, riding up South Mountain in Phoenix. Well, this year I’ve dropped a ton of weight (literally) and am on track right now to ride about 60% farther than last year (currently on track for 8,700+ miles for the 10/11 riding year). I have set a goal to climb 264,000 ft. (50 miles) this year. So, climbing only 4800 feet would have been…too easy (in fact, I had climbed 8200 ft. in two rides earlier in the week). What to do? Easy: head out to Tortilla Flats, out in the Superstition Mountains, and climb yourself silly. Goal? Well, the most I’ve climbed in one day before is 6,177 ft (Mt. Lemmon outside of Tucson). So, I set my goal for 8,000 ft. of ascent in one day. I figured that would be a nice round number, and leave room for improvement in the future! So, I started out long before sunrise this morning, arriving around sunrise, and began a five hour, 16 minute ride, including six ascents from Tortilla Flats to EOP (End Of Pavement—riders in the Phoenix area know where that is), providing me with the grand total of…8,031 feet of ascent! If I pull off a quick 25 miler tomorrow with only 773 feet of ascent (that’s flat!) I will finish my birthday week with 170 miles and 17,000 feet of ascent (get the theme?). Today I listened to hours of debate preparation material, as well as the Dividing Line debate I did back in 1999 with Thomas Holland (I don’t see it in the A&O store yet…should be there soon) over the course of the ride. But for the last two ascents I needed up-tempo riding music to keep me going (Islamic lectures just don’t quite keep you pushing up the mountain real well). Thankful once again for the measure of health the Lord has granted!

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