The plan was to stay put for the Christmas break but an adventure called. We kept seeing 70s in the forecast for Tucson so we headed south the day after Christmas. After some research I found a great deal on a VRBO rental in the Ventana/Sabino Canyon area of Tucson. If you need a place to stay in Tucson you should contact the owners of this condo. They are easy to work with and the condo is newly remodeled and right by the heated pool! This area is also a perfect base for road riding and not far from the mountain bike trails.
This trip was mostly about getting some base road miles in our legs to start the year off right. We were able to each get in 200 miles. This is a huge week for us and we probably haven’t gotten that many miles in one week on the road bikes in since the birth of our first son. Tucson is an amazing place to ride a bike in the winter. They have bicycle infrastructure on what seems like every street. A lot of it starts off as “urban” riding but you can easily ride out of town to push up the ride mileage. The nice thing about getting in winter base miles here is the terrain; riding in the city is flat with rollers and short climbs. Then, of course, you have Mt Lemmon if you want to go big.
My favorite road rides for base miles:
Saguaro East National Park – I road this from the condo using the Tucson bike map to link up bike friendly streets. On the way back I headed out to Solider road to the base of Mt Lemmon to tack on another 15 miles.
Saddlebrooke Bike Ride – I followed the route listed but rode from the condo so it added another 17 miles.
Gates Pass – A little more climbing, incredible scenery and lots of other roadies!
Of course we could not forget getting the little guy out for his rides so we also hit the mountain bike trails. This year we tried the recommended easy trails at Tucson Mountain Park. I need to stop picking trails from mountain bike sites that say kid friendly. Besides Rustler’s Loop in Fruita these trails mostly suck. They are way too flat, unused and not well designed. These trails may have been easy but they were not well marked or used so navigation was difficult. Tucson did redeem itself on the mountain bike front with the Sweetwater Trail system. This area is well used, well mapped, and had great intermediate terrain. I don’t think people had ever seen a kid riding out there before based on their comments but Kalden had a blast and rode 85% of it. For easier riding in the area you can also check out Tortolita Preserve – Dove Mountain and a great section inside Saguaro National Park East. On a side note starting this month I am expanding this blog to include a bike guide for families. More on that later this week.
We are back in Colorado and the sun is shining. According to the forecast we should be able to ride for at least another 10 days without seeing snow (sorry skiers).