Legend Trail out-and-back, starting from the Coffee Bean, Gainey Village Shopping Center, SE corner of Double Tree Rd and Scottsdale Rd. 47 miles, with approximately 1,500 feet of climbing.
Some fine downhill riding
Legend Trail, a road that drops down from Stagecoach Pass (Carefree area) and curves round in a half-moon shape towards Pima Rd, is one of my favorite areas to ride. From Stagecoach Pass, it’s downhill, with good views of the McDowell Mountains and the Phoenix valley. Legend Trail is a divided four lane road with good bike lanes, and at least for now, little traffic. If there’s no headwind, you can easily ramp up to 30-32 mph down to the intersection with Pima Rd. And then, you can continue the high speeds down Pima – though this road has a lot of fast-moving traffic these days, and is not quite as nice for cycling as it used to be.
I went up this way last Sunday, with three other friends. (Two of them, ahem, wimped out halfway up, so it was just me and Tom for the whole distance.) We started from the Gainey Village Shopping Center, which makes a good staging point, as there is plenty of parking, and easy access to the northeast valley. Plus, there is the Coffee Bean coffee shop for afterwards, or Paradise Bakery if that floats your boat.
A New Sunday Ride?
The four of us got to thinking we should start a Sunday group ride from the Gainey Village center. (I know at least one other group does this – the women’s only No Women Left Behind group). For many of my Saturday riding friends, which tend to live further south, staging a ride from Gainey Village would give them the opportunity to try more routes in the northeast valley, which is a great area for cycling in the Phoenix area. You can ride up to Reatta Pass, or up to Carefree, or over to Rio Verde / Fountain Hills, and keep the rides in the 45-65 mile range.
While it’s possible to do more of a loop on the Legend Trail adventure shown above, taking alternate roads back, (such as heading west on Pinnacle Peak Rd over to Hayden and then south to the Scottsdale Airpark area), on this day we decided to just do an out-and-back, since the roads taken on the way up make for the best route anyway.
I actually started from home, adding 12 miles to the trip, making a 59 mile day for me. And I needed the miles. After not having ridden much this year, (only six, count-em, six rides so far!) I’m feeling fat and slow. This ride, on a beautiful day — sunny, temps 45-65 – reconnected me with my cycling spirit, and made me remember that yes, I really do like cycling!