Rio Verde Loop counter-clockwise, the “Cowboy Way”, starting from the Gainey Village Shopping Center (Scottsdale & Double Tree Rd). Approximately 2,500 feet of climbing.
The Cowboy Way around Rio Verde Loop
On Sunday I led the newly dubbed “Los Coyotes” ride, taking the pack around the Rio Verde Loop, featuring a climb up Nine Mile Hill. This made for a 58 mile, 2,500 feet-of-climbing adventure, and I think all were all glad it was a nice cool morning to go out and tax our climbing legs (48 degrees at the start, warming up to the lower 70s by the time we finished.)
Going counter-clockwise on this popular route in the Fountain Hills area, up Nine Mile Hill, isn’t the easy way, but it is the Cowboy Way, (props to the band Riders in the Sky for that expression.) Most groups do this loop clockwise, down Nine Mile Hill, and while it’s fun speeding down the endless miles, it’s just as “fun” (I think so anyway) to go the other way – a kind of “Feldenkrais” exercise. (Hey, google it buds!) The sense I’m talking about here is to purposely move in an “opposite” way than you are used to, in order to get to unstuck from your habits, and develop more flexibility and functionality of body and mind.
Relax into Infinity
The Rio Verde Loop makes a good route to toughen those climbing legs. I tried to keep the group pace at an aerobic effort, though the short, steep climbs through Fountain Hills made that difficult to do, and several kept “hammering” off the front. (They shall go nameless, ha ha!) But kudos that they could even do that! Me, I was often last up the really steep stuff through Fountain Hills, ironically, (what with being the so-called lead coyote), and mid-pack on the long climb.
If you’ve never climbed the arrow-straight Nine Mile Hill (Rio Verde Dr, on the eastern, downhill slope of Dynamite Blvd), it’s not a steep hill (mostly a steady 3% grade), but it goes on seemingly forever, with an endless line of light poles fading into the uphill distance. It’s a good place to test your yoga-mind and see if you can stay in yoga-zone and relax into infinity.
Good group to hang with
Eight riders made the trip with me today, and it was a good group of riders to be hanging with: Tom, Ted, Eric, Tabitha, Phil, Kevin, Lynsey, Roland, and myself. It’s been a dream of mine to get friends to come out and do rides like this with me. It’s the reason I volunteered to be head coyote on the Los Coyotes Sunday rides – an offshoot sister-ride of the milder Los Freeloaders Saturday adventures.