Turning forty three is pretty irrelevant, you know? I mean, forty was big…I guess. Fifty will be big. But for now, you are just…middle aged. Back when I was riding in the 90s I would go for big rides, weather permitting, on my birthday, just to sort of spit in age’s face. So since I’m back on the bike, I decided a few days ago that I would set a pretty tough goal for myself—esp. since most of my family was going to be gone anyway, so I pretty well had the day to myself. So I decided I would ascend/descend South Mountain three times in one day. I estimated that would be right at 43 miles (appropriate, given my age) and around 4100 feet of climbing. Well, I made the mistake of telling others about it, so I really had no choice but to go for it! In fact, two of the dear believers at PRBC, shown here, not only baked a cake for my birthday with a picture of me “going over the hill” on South Mountain 3x, but then, precious folks that they are, they showed up on their tandem to ride with me! That made the very difficult task so much more enjoyable (no less exhausting, but so much more enjoyable). It felt to us like it got colder as the day went on. I know, I know, we live in Phoenix, so how can it be cold? Well, it’s cold when you spent the summer getting up at 4:20am just to get an hour’s ride in before it hit 95, and more than that, those who are cyclists know what I mean when I refer to the climb/descend dilemma: you work hard up the hill, get all warmed up and sweaty, and then you head down and simply freeze to death. In any case, here I am at the third ascent–looks a bit goofy since I was trying to make an exhausted face, but forgot I had my sunglasses on. Oh well, you can tell how dark it is. Some of the cars coming up the hill on that last descent already had their headlights on, but it was only about 4pm. In any case, my estimations were fairly close: 43 miles, but I missed the ascent figures. Came out to exactly 4,400 feet of climbing! Something tells me I will be a tad bit on the sore and tired side tomorrow.

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