This winter there were three separate fires in the Atascosa Mountains, which lie just west of my home. My favorite ride winds its way down Arizona Highway 289 to Pena Blanca Lake which rests at the base of the mountains.
I hadn't been out there for a month or so and we've had a very plentiful monsoon season. The mountains were greener than I'd ever seen them. The trees are almost entirely gone, but over most of the mountain is now a blanket of thick, dark green grass. Strangely though, there's a significant portion, maybe a third, that is still ashen and grey.
I decided to take the ride easy today. There are a few significant climbs on the ride (for me anyway) and it's the second toughest ride I have ever done. I usually have to struggle to complete the thirty mile round trip in two hours. In addition, I needed to take a detour to a gas station to buy some gatorade. This added a few miles to the trip as well as another hill.
When it was all said and done, I completed the 32.5 mile ride in 2:07. I stopped at the gas station and also stopped twice at the lake to look around. I stretched briefly on the bike on the way home too. I saw a doe and fawn standing in the road not sure what to make of me. I saw a few other riders too, which is promising. I'd like to join, or start, a local group ride.
In other news, tomorrow I should begin my half-marathon training...but am still struggling with the same leg injury. I am going to increase the ice and stretching, and decrease some of the running, again. I'll run for time, not distance again, at least for the next week. Then I'll reevaluate and see how things progress.