It wasn’t supposed to be a bike weekend. My parents planned a trip to California, and I’d saved the dates.

Then, the Arizona Bicycle Club rescheduled the McDowell Mountain ride, and we changed the plan: instead of them traveling to see me, I’d toss the bike in the car, drive over, and do a ride benefitting their local bike club.

The night before, my mom and I pored over the route maps, trying to suss out whether I’d ride the metric or full century, but even when I arrived near dawn, I was still quizzing the other cyclists about the elevation, the scenery.

Ultimately, three factors tipped me in favor of the metric:

1. Only one state? I only need 50 miles. Even riding 69 is overkill.

2. When you ride 98 miles, it’s not a century. Why suffer to miss the milestone by two miles, especially if it’s not taking you to any extra beauty?

3. I’d come to see my parents. The 29 mile difference would mean more time to spend with my parents. And yes, that factor might tip the decision the other way for other people.

Greater Phoenix has a lot of bike lanes, but that doesn’t mean they’re hazard-free. Some had the narrow ruts that run parallel to your tire line, and it’s easy to get stuck. I heard later that some riders had been injured falling.

The skies look ominous in these pictures, but cool and cloudy is great riding weather.

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Nutella and banana sandwich!!!

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