In a week, I’ll be leaving the hot, humid temperatures in the Midlands for the hot, dry temperatures in the Nevada desert. We’re going to Vegas!
The trip is oriented around family, but I should have plenty of adventures of my own. We’ll be flying up Tuesday, 6/2, returning Saturday 6/6.
And yes, I will have my bike. I have already rented a Scott Speedster 40, which is on the lower end of road bikes, but fits with my budget. I’ll have it for my entire stay there, although the weather and lingering issues from my injury will prevent me from riding too often.
The temperatures are going to exceed 100 degrees on most days. While I understand that dry heat is easier for riding, I’ll be playing it safe. One way to do that is via out-and-back climbing routes. I’ll leave early enough before the sun is at full ferocity. As I climb, the temperature should drop, and descending in the sun should feel exhilarating. I’ll carry extra fluids and wear lots of sunscreen.
Vegas has a couple lengthy climbs that should fit this strategy well. The granddaddy is Mount Charleston, 20+ miles at a moderate grade. The elevation profile looks similar to Clingman’s Dome — not a monster, but not one to underestimate.
Charleston will be my prize climb. Red Rock Canyon will probably be the one I’ll enjoy the most. It’s a scenic, 8-mile loop in a … ummm .. canyon with red rocks. Should be a tough little climb to get there, but comparatively not so bad.
Aside from that, I’ll play it by ear. There should be opportunities to ride through the strip as long as I can bear the eat. There’s also the Hoover Dam area, which has some moderate climbing and might be a good, easy ride for a recovery day.
While the cycling and tourist stuff might be fun, the more meaningful part of my vacation is family. We had planned to visit my 92-year old grandmother, who has lived most of her life in nearby Arizona. My wife had never met her, and I had only seen her a couple times in the last few years.
The timing did not work out. She passed away this weekend. What’s odd is that for a 92-year old, she was completely healthy. She was lucky to live a long time without having to deal with cancer, diabetes, heart problems, or any of the other various issues that plague us as we get older. She died suddenly and without warning.
She was the sweetest grandmother anyone could have hoped for. She was always very calm, very happy, and very considerate. She loved being around people, and frequently traveled to see family, but she did not want to leave her lovely, quiet Arizona. That was the life for her, and what a life it was! She will be missed.
We are saddened for her loss, and also the timing — a mere week and a half before we would have seen her again. Instead we’ll make sure to stop by to pay tribute to her life and memory.
Rest in peace, grandma. I love you.