Lately I’ve been out riding more, prepping to do the Taylor House Century Ride in Flagstaff next month. That route features a nasty looking 20-mile climb and since it’s pretty easy to never see a hill anywhere in Phoenix, I’ve been purposely seeking them out to prepare. One training route I came across is the dead-end road out to Bartlett Lake. It’s about 20 miles from Cave Creek, and features the climb up to the Carefree “towers” — one of the highest points around the East Valley, and where most people turn around — followed by a 14-mile trip down to the lake.
To get there, essentially you fly down a big hill, go right back up a steep climb, and then keep going down again to the lake. So, really, riding back is when the hurt sets in. But the scenery is amazing, and once you make it back, you’ve put in around 4,000 ft of climbing over the 40 miles. For Phoenix that’s pretty much as good as you can get, and it is, as far as I’m concerned, plenty.