A nice lemon – Ode to Mount Lemmon, Tucson AZ.
By Maghalie Rochette
She’s made me humble.
This place is special to me. This mountain, she’s seen me at my worst, and at my best. She has seen me cry out of discouragement, she has seen me nervous and scared and thirsty and helpless. But she has also seen me euphoric, happy and proud.
She’s made herself vulnerable too, showing all her sides.
I’ve witnessed her in beautiful madness of cold storms of snow and hail as well as in magnificent sunny days and temperatures hot as hell. She is beautiful, diverse and unpredictable. Arid and hot at the bottom she offers a unique landscape of rocks and harsh vegetation. However, as you climb up her sinuous, beautiful road, you discover an alpine and fresh environment with forests of pine trees and flowing water stream.
Everywhere you look, that mountain is full of life and full of opportunities.
She’s been a great teacher.
On many occasions, she has allowed me discover new limits for myself along her 42km of paved roads. She let me expand my sense of exploration on her many kilometers of gravel roads on her backside, and she has offered me the opportunity to push myself and break through my fears on her challenging and oh-so-fun downhill trails.
She really offers a beautiful playground and I’ve learned that if you give her the respect she deserves, she will help you to discover and respect yourself in return.
She’s full of zest and surprises.
Her name doesn’t come from the yellow citrus fruit and it isn’t even written the same way. It is actually named after a woman botanist who trekked to the top in the 1800s – Sara Plummer Lemmon. But to my ear, her name sounds like the fruit and every time I think about that mountain, I can’t help to think of the freshness and the zest she brings to the city and to the people who spend time in her company.
My experiences on it have been sometimes sour and difficult, but most often they have been pretty sweet and they have made me stronger in the long run.
Every day I spend playing on Mount Lemmon contributes to build my character as a person and as a cyclist. Like an old friend, she sometimes uses tough love and throws some sour lemons at me, reminding me who’s the boss…but with all the sweet ones she sends my way, it makes for the perfect combination of ingredients to create my own recipe of lemonade.
I am grateful for all the experiences she made me live and all that she has taught me about life and about myself. Yet, I’m even more excited to discover how she will continue to shape me in the future.
Cheers to many more adventures, Mount Lemmon!