65 Miles, 3,500′ And Too Much Freeway

Leaving Albuquerque was much like entering it: far too many off and on ramps with cars and trucks blasting by at 70 or so mph. However, Nick did reduce the amount of distance we were on the freeway at the start by leading us on a route that I protested right up until we – he – finally found an on ramp that was farther north – thus farther out of town – than the one that was near our hotel.
The entire day was spent on the shoulder of Hwy. 25. While most of that was a decent surface and wide enough to feel separated from the traffic, we will both be glad to get on roads that aren’t freeways.
Yesterday was marked by the absence of the headwinds that dogged us on our previous 2 riding days. That made a significant difference.
However, we did gain over 1,100 feet of altitude from start to finish with total climbing of 3,500+ feet. And although much of the temperature was comfortable, it did get to 104. That, together with the lingering effects of my stomach problems and accompanying lack of eating much left me wiped out near the end of the ride. I had previously been feeling good enough to make up a significant amount of distance I had lost to Nick while negotiating the off and on ramps – I stopped at each one to make sure the traffic cleared before crossing lanes whereas he timed his crossings without stopping – but at the end I couldn’t keep up with him.
I thought I was going to call for SAG help after I entered Santa Fe but about 7 miles from where we are staying. The thought of bailing with just 7 miles to go – even though I could say I made it to Santa Fe – was pretty distasteful. But given the way I was feeling, I thought that continuing to push might not be too bright (with consequences likely to be similar to a week or so ago when I continued to ride 20 miles after Nick had the good sense to call it a day because of the 114+ degree temperatures),
However, when we took the off ramp from Hwy. 25 towards our condo – Nick had waited for me at the off ramp – the road started to descend and even the way I was feeling I could do that. A bit of downhill and knowing that we were getting close to the end helped revive me. Not quite enough to beat Nick up another climb – what, a bit of competitiveness even while bonked? – but enough to finish the ride without feeling I was over stressing myself.
Now we are in Santa Fe for 2 whole rest days. If you have never been here, you should plan a visit sometime. At least if you like art galleries and a very laid back atmosphere. Sort of a cross between the high end galleries of Carmel – with more Native American art – and the casualness of small town USA with a town square around a park, street musicians, Native American artisans, what once would have been called “hippies”and, of course, tourists, which include us.
We feel good about what we have done but also talk about the 14 days we have scheduled to cross Texas. That will be a test of our determination. And of Sarah’s and Alejandra’s. However, we have a number of says of riding before that starts.
So far, we are on schedule, a copy of which is attached. You should be able to view it by clicking on it.
Well, we are on schedule with our riding. But the fund raising has stalled. We hope something happens to perk that up because raising funds to support breast cancer victims is of course what this is all about.

 

A Thought (I looked up “rumination” and it doesn’t fit)

Start1 RoadUs

The Start                                                                                             More Endless Road                                                Nick’s Selfie
Yesterday was 75 miles. Although a local had promised us it would all be down hill, my Garmin disagreed because it registered over 2,000 feet of climb. Not that that is much, especially over 75 miles, but I would hardly classify it as all down hill. And when we were at a stop within 20 miles of our goal, another local told us we were about to start what the locals called the “9 mile climb.” Well, with memories of David Wall having mentioned a miles long 12% climb in Europe, that sounded pretty intimidating to me. Thankfully, this surprise went in the other direction. While the climb probably was about 9 miles, the grade topped out at 4% so we didn’t do anything to brag about.
More than the climbing, the head winds were a nuisance. But for both of us, the biggest discomfort was our butts. Not chafing, just a lot of hours sitting on very unforgiving surfaces. However, after the stop I mentioned (at which both Nick and I had triple scoop Dairy Queens, but only 1 each, not 2 like Nick’s last time), we were both thoroughly revived and the rest of the ride, including the 9 mile climb, was a breeze.
With 2 exceptions. One was that I got my 4th flat of the day, 2 happening before we even left the room. (I responded by buying 2 $20 tubes that are both thick and filled with sealant. I’ll see how those work.)
The 2nd was the entry into Albuquerque. We were on the same highway – 40 East – with good shoulders but both the traffic and number of on ramps and off ramps increased significantly. Crossing over a lane with numerous 65 to 75 mph vehicles whizzing by is no fun at all. I got so I would come to a complete stop – on the shoulder or the space between lanes – to wait for a long break in the traffic before crossing over. The good news is that we both made it to our hotel where, once again, Alejandra and Sarah had already put our bags and cold drinks into our rooms.
Dinner in an Italian restaurant was great. The food has definitely been better in the more urban areas, at least if Palm Springs qualifies as urban. However, as much as I liked my dinner, something didn’t agree at all with my syomach and I spent too much of the night in the bathroom. I am just very thankful we aren’t riding today because I am feeling totally wiped out, though I am definitely improving. However, I am staying in while the others go to Old Town. At least I was there once before.
We had intended to take a sunset hot air balloon ride today, but when I called this morning, I was told that it is too windy this time of the year to fly in the evenings. Too bad.
We took our bikes into a shop to get serviced. We both need new chains – which we brought – and Nick needs new brake pads, which he also brought. I certainly hope this isn’t necessary every 2 weeks.
Ah yes, the rumination. There is a lot of time to think while pedaling mile after mile. Some of that time – maybe too much of it – is taken up by taking inventory of various discomforts. Butt, hands, shoulders, toes, gneral sense of well being, or the opposite. Surprisingly, not often my legs. That is no doubt because I try not to push them too hard.
Sometimes the thoughts aren’t just about how I am feeling, or about what I am seeing. Sometimes it is the satisfying rhythm of pushing out pedal strokes that make you feel like you are flying over the road. Or of pumping like piston strokes up a hill.
Yesterday I was thinking how most of the people I ride with at home are at least as strong, and frequently stronger, riders than I am. That led me to the conclusion that so often in life, what matters is not what one can do, but instead what one actually does. I am not saying that we are any better than anyone else because we are doing this ride. There are a lot of reasons for not doing it. Maybe you don’t have the time, or the money. Maybe there is no interest in doing this day after day or in being away from home for so long. But the primary distinction is not that we can do this and the other riders can’t, but that for whatever reason we have set out to do this. We certainly haven’t done it yet, but what we have done is certainly more riding than I have ever done before. And unless I have more dinners like I had last night, or more reactions like I had to that dinner, I have every reason to expect to finish what we started.
An All Too Often Scene                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dave
RepairDave

Seeing The Continental Divide

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Today was a 65 mile ride that started on old Route 66 in Gallup and soon turned into a ride on the shoulder of Hwy 40. That wasn’t a bad thing because most of the shoulder was in good shape and was remarkably clear of the debris that gave us 3 flats yesterday.
Although we had about 1,000 feet of climb, that was all rollers because Grants, our destination, is 8 feet lower than Gallup, our starting point.
Notable events on the ride: Nick falling and hurting his left calf enough that he had to skip the last 10 miles of the ride though he rode at least 20 miles after he fell. (His fall was a classic rider’s embarrassment; he was stopped when he couldn’t unclip and ended up on the ground.) We stopped at a Dairy Queen and Nick realized he could barely walk on his left leg. Although we both got on our bikes to leave, he had to call for SAG help within a mile or so.
While I initially doubted that he would be able to ride tomorrow, Nick benefitted greatly from his application of “RICE,” his acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevate. He is now walking almost normally and expects to make tomorrow’s ride to Albuquerque. That we lose a net of 1,100 feet doesn’t hurt.
Before Nick stopped riding, he got extremely excited about seeing the Continental Divide. Since we haven’t gone over any mountains, we don’t think we have crossed it yet.
Also, today I saw Dave again. I first saw him on my ride to Peach Springs when I caught him on a hill. He started in Santa Monica, I think on the same day, and is riding, unsupported, to Chicago (the classic Route 66 trip though he is often bypassing the old 66 for Hwy 40). Today I caught him about 12 miles outside of Grants. This time I won’t attribute it entirely to the weight he is carrying because he was also very leisurely going downhill (like I had to ride my brakes to stay with him, which I did for only so long). Nick then caught up with him, got his name and took his photo. Then we saw him briefly at dinner – he has a friend in town – and said hi again. By the way, seeing another traveler at dinner in Grants isn’t too unusual given the minimal number of restaurants, a number that diminishes to 2 or 3 if you eliminate fast food.
Another interesting “event”, at least to me, was after we passed Dave and Nick and I met up at the Dairy Queen. I indulged myself with a banana split – the potassium in the banana sounded good – and Nick got a triple dipped in butter scotch. It’s size was impressive, but that isn’t the “event” I am talking about. No, the event was when Nick finished that triple and asked me to get him another – another TRIPLE – which he also put away in short order. (He asked me to go get it because he was then barely able to walk. No, not because of all of the ice cream he ate, but because his calf had swollen.)
The temperature was good today, barely reaching 100. It is surprising how cool 88, or even 94, feels now.
Our main nemesis was a very constant head wind. It was strong enough that on a 3% descent I wanted to see what my coasting speed would be and it was 14 mph. All of you who ride know that it would normally be above 20 mph, barring bad road conditions.
When we saw Dave at the restaurant, he agreed with our comments about the wind and his friend said he was surprised because the wind normally blows to the east, not the west. I guess we were just lucky.
Sorry, because of some technical difficulties, I am not posting some photos I wanted to.

Eating Up The Miles

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The bluffs in the distance were prettier than these photos show                                      Into our third state

Today was 95 miles. Unless you are like Nick, who turned left out of the driveway instead of right (he left before I did so I didn’t know what he had done until later in the day). However, he wasn’t lost; it was just fate directing him to a shop that had beautiful petrified wood where he had Ale buy him a piece for his backyard.
So, I started the ride a few minutes after Nick. I kept expecting to catch up with him. When I still hadn’t after 12 miles I wondered if he was riding aster than usual and\or if I was slower. The latter was a real possibility because I couldn’t get comfortable and got sleepy. At about 30 miles I took an off ramp, found some place I could sit with a backrest and slept for around 15 minutes.
Although that helped, I still wasn’t right and riding was a struggle. In another 10 miles I stopped at a C-Store and had a sub. While I was there, someone asked where I was headed and said that another bicyclist – wearing yellow (the color of Nick’s water jacket) – was about 3 miles back. I tried to call Nick to tell him to meet there but it turns out his phone was on mute and he also didn’t see my tm. After waiting a while I figured he must have ridden by, so I headed out. I caught him after about 5 miles and we stopped to reconnect. We then started out and for the first time all day things felt right and I picked up speed.
Until I got a flat. Then back on the bike, feeling good again and then another flat. Although the road surface was generally good, there was a lot of debris, including disintegrated truck tires that shed small pieces of wire that specialize in flatting bike tires. But, I had a couple of extra spares, so I was off again.
My average speed started increasing from the 15.5 I had when I caught Nick and I got it to peak at 16.2, although it dropped back to 16.1 by the time I finished (my total ascent was 2,600 feet and we did gain about 1,400 from start to finish).. Although the last 3 miles were miserable because my feet started hurting, from 50 to 90 miles I felt great. Part was the road conditions and part was because of some descents. However, I would like to think that the major reason was simply that I was feeling better.
I considered today mostly a mile eater because I didn’t enjoy most of the landscape (the one exception is in two  of the photos) although Ale later said she thought it was pretty. However, you have to take into account that she has said that every place we have been is pretty.  What a great attitude.
I forgot to mention that Nick and I discovered in Flagstaff what a pretty voice Sarah has when she played her guitar and sang for the 3 of us.
So, 92 miles (and 1,040 of climb) followed by today’s 95 miles and 2,600 feet of climb. Not too shabby. Tomorrow drops to about 65 and then 85 to Albuquerque followed by 69 to Santa Fe.
The weather was definitely better though it did hit 110. Mostly it was below 100 and that was manageable.
Keep up the comments. I enjoy them and they keep me writing (I hope that is a good thing).

 

Turning 59 Miles Into 91 Miles

 

Flagstaff House

Flagstaff House

Shade In Joseph

Shade In Joseph

Helpful Irene

Helpful Irene

Yes, we were scheduled for 59 miles today. And yes, we ended up riding 91 miles. Oh, so you figure we were at it again, missing a turn or otherwise getting lost? Well, as justified as that conclusion might be based on our previous rides, this time you would be wrong.
Two days ago when I rode from Williams to Flagstaff along Highway 40 South, I spent most of my time cussing the Arizona Hwy. Department for the horrible shoulders that shook me so badly that most of my body hurt. Today, however, Nick and I were singing the praises of the shoulder along Highway 40 South out of Flagstaff because it was so smooth that we were flying. When Nick caught me at a rest stop about 20 miles from Winslow, our original destination, we decided that stopping in Winslow would be too soon. (That we decided that after both of us suffered flats – me 2 and Nick one that required him to get a new tire from the SAG – is further testament to how fast the ride was when we were actually riding.) So, rather than stopping in Winslow, we continued on to Holbrook, which was another 32 miles and had been tomorrow’s destination. For all of you doubters, then, the additional 32 miles were intentional and got us 1 day ahead of schedule.
It was a relatively easy ride; the temperature didn’t get over 104 and there was little climbing with only some 2% rollers. However, 91 miles are 91 miles, so I won’t claim I wasn’t happy to pull up to the motel. Because our riding styles are different, and because Nick got yet another flat, I was showered and ready for a massage when he pulled in. He then went to a Saturday evening mass so he can ride tomorrow.
Yes, Nick is back riding and, especially at the start, with a vengeance. He was so determined to complete the ride – even the extended version – that he turned down the SAG’s offers of a ride when it caught him while he was dealing with flats.
Nick says that the heat didn’t bother him but I can’t make that claim. Although it wasn’t horribly hot, and I wasn’t suffering badly, the heat did take a toll. There were times when I pushed it a bit and my body asked me to slow down before my legs did and that isn’t what usually happens to me. I hope that the heat is the culprit.
Riding on this trip, at least for me, is different than what I have done before. On my recent rides with our group, I have often tried to power up ascents. And there are frequently sprints near the end of our rides. Even on a couple of recent centuries there have been times during the rides when I pushed hard enough to get a good leg burn. On this trip I am making a conscious effort not to push too hard. Now there are lots of miles yet to be done and I don’t want to use up any more reserves than necessary.
The first photo is from the house we stayed in in Flagstaff. It was not only spacious but in a beautiful rural setting with a 2 mile dirt road to get to the house, We traversed that via the truck.
The tree was the first shade I found in about 30 miles and I appreciated it. It was in the “town” of Joseph. I use the term advisedly because there was virtually nothing there. There is also a photo of Irene who resides at the property the tree is on. When I asked if I could fill up a water bottle from her hose, she said “yes, but the water in the house is better.” It was, and it was cool. Thank you, Irene.
Keep the comments coming. They are inspiring. And motivating.

Catch Up, Photos Later

k2Gh22
Peach Springs
Hi again.
Why the delay? Well, remember the air conditioner problem I mentioned? It deserves the blame.
I set out from Kingman for Peach Springs, what is essentially an Indian town of slightly less than 1,000. Aside from continuing heat, and what was no doubt the residual effect of overheating on my previous ride, it was really pretty uneventful. I rode alone because Nick was suffering from severe chest congestion. I rode expecting the SAG to join me in Peach Tree that evening. Only the Air Conditioner wasn’t fixed so Nick, Ale and Sarah spent another night in Kingman while I was in Peach Springs.
That was somewhat inconvenient because I had nothing with me exceot the clothes on my back. I was able to buy a T-Shirt in the gift shop, but that was it. When I asked where people bought clothes, I was told in Kingdom. Well, I had no desire to ride 50 miles to get back there. So I washed out my bike shorts and tried to dry them with an iron and hair dryer. When I went to eat I wore my riding socks – a gift from Annie and Paul – that are, to say the least, colorful, as my shoes so I didn’t have to traipse around in my bike shoes. I did get a compliment on them. No blog that day because I didn’t have access to anything I needed.
Check out was noon the next day so I brought my bike into the lobby and staked out a place. But there was nothing to do. There was no place in town to buy anything to read except travel guides. So I sat and waited. And waited. Then Nick told me that the truck wasn’t going to be ready and that he extended the rooms in Kingman another day. Easy for him to say with all of his clothes, etc. So I called the mechanic and was told it should be ready by 4 unless the part he received was defective. That didn’t seem likely so I called back and said not to cancel our reservations at the Grand Canyon. Well, the truck finally arrived and we got to the GC just before sunset. It was spectacular. Since I was the only one of the 4 of us who had seen it before, I wanted to see the others’ reactions. All I can say is that if you haven’t seen it in person, you should. Pictures, as beautiful as they might be, don’t do it justice. No blog that day because we didn’t get back from dinner and get unloaded until nearly  11:00.
The next day I set out for Flagstaff (Nick was still trying to get rid of his horrible cough). I even had the SAG lead me out for the first couple of miles. It left me at the start of a bike path that even a local maintenance person said was the right way to go. And he was right if I had had a mountain bike because the pavement ended and I had to walk some stretches where the geavel got too deep. Thankfully that didn’t last long and I got on the highway.
That was frustrating because although the surface of the highway itself looked good, the shoulder wasn’t and there was enough traffic that I didn’t often get on the road. That lasted around 50 miles. And then – I can do this without Nick’s help – I missed a turn. I had hoped that the SAG was going to be ahead of me in case I needed support or some direction but since they didn’t leave the hotel until after noon, that didn’t happen. So I ended up riding 95 miles. That wouldn’t have been too bad under most conditions. For one thing, the constant head wind didn’t help. But the major problem was the condition of the shoulder. I don’t often swear but one wouldn’t have known that yesterday. Much of the ride was so rough that everything hurt: my hands, my arms, my neck, my feet and my butt. Glad I don’t have to do cobblestones!
The saving grace was that about the last five miles into town had a good surface. With nothing else different, that let me increase my speed about 5-7 mph, both up hill and down And it was comfortable and fun. That is the riding that I love.
We are in a beautiful house in Flagstaff (I got i\t in exchange for the use of my LA condo) and will drive to Sedona today to do some exploring. I also hope to finally buy some more bike clothes.
Because we are heading out, I am posting this without photos. I hope to post some after we get back.
Oh, I forgot to mention. The temperatures were greatly improved and were, relative to the last couple of days, comfortable with nothing over 101 and as low as the high 80s. I had to continually remind myself that I still had to keep on drinking.
f2a2

Another Typical Day (In Hell?)

We scrupulously followed Google Maps and headed north on a paved road that was said to go for a number of miles. We were doing a constant 1.5 to 2% grade which was really pretty easy, especially since we were taking it very easy in deference to the weather.

The pavement then turned into hardpack which wasn’t comfortable but really wasn’t bad. After a couple of miles we came across a sign that said the pavement was going to end in 600 feet. I was surprised because I thought the pavement had already ended a few miles ago. What it really should have said is, “Road Conditions To Further Deteriorate.” Which they did.

And then we hit sand. First I went down and, not wanting me to feel alone, Nick followed suit. We then got off and started walking to the crest of a hill. Nick said that if we had to continue walking over the crest, we should turn around. Unfortunately, the sand ended at the top – the top of that roller, not the top of the road – and we got on and kept riding. You have probably guessed why it was unfortunate that the sand ended. Because we continued riding down a road that would never get where we wanted to go. We found that out after about 14 miles. Fortunately a truck was going our way and Nick asked him about where we were headed. When he was told he should turn around and go back to where we started, Nick told him that his buddy was up the road and asked him to stop me. So a honking truck came up behind me and pulled me over and told me we were headed in the wrong direction. He then gave me his last bottle of water after having given Nick a couple bottles. Thank you Steve, His canine companion was so hot that he really wasn’t interested in saying hi.
Oh yes, “hot.” Well, at that stage hot was a constant 114.
So, we turned around and headed back to Goffs, which is where we started the day. By the time we got back to Goffs, Nick’s competitiveness won out. As I had mentioned, I had fallen in the sand a couple of times, once on the way to 29 Palms and once today. And Nick had fallen once on the way out. But when I stopped, he mentioned he had fallen a couple more times. But he didn’t get the scrapes that I had. And oh, he also leads in flats, 4-0.
Nick decided that continuing to ride in those temperatures didn’t make sense so we called the SAG for support. Nick, perhaps exercising better judgment than I, got on board.
After loading up on ice and water, much of which I poured over myself to get my body temp down some, I got back on and headed toward Needles. I didn’t intend to ride to Kingman, our original destination because that was another 90+ miles away (the ride had been scheduled at 77 miles).
Now is when it really got hot. 117. 118. Up to 123. Most of the time it wasn”t too bad, but at times there were gusts that felt like they burned my hands and uncovered legs. After about another 15 miles, I called for help. But the drivers had been overly ambitious and were a long way ahead. So I kept riding. It was hot, but my legs really felt pretty good so I was at 17 to 21 mph.

And then, after about another 5 miles I started feeling hot and pulled over and got off. The only shade was the width of a sign post and I stood leaning with my helmeted head on that, waiting for the SAG. Finally I sat, leaning on the post. I guess I looked so spent that Lowell pulled over in his pick up and insisted that he take me and my bike to the closest service station\C-Store. At first I declined, saying that I was going to be picked up. But thanks to his insistence – including stating that I could die in 10 minutes (I was HOT, but not THAT hot) I finally agreed and got into his truck , while he put my bike in the back while giving me a huge bottle of cool water, much of which I poured over myself. His air conditioner had blown, but the ride to the service station was greatly appreciated. For a while I sat on a bench outside. It felt so much cooler, and my thought process was apparently sufficiently impacted, that it took me a while to think to go into the air conditioned store. That delay was pretty dumb because the cooler air helped me get a bit closer to normal.

Unfortunately, my ride with Lowell wasn’t the only unairconditioned ride I was going to have. Because although I had had my air conditioner rebuilt for the trip, it went out yesterday evening. The estimate looks to be north of $900 with no assurance it will be ready tomorrow. We hope so because Nick and I intend to head out to Peach Springs tomorrow on what is supposed to be a 49 mile ride but, as things have gone, who knows?
Today I did 56 miles; 77 had been scheduled, but not many were the miles we rode. According to Google Maps, our ride was not going through Needles, but that was not what any of the locals told us. (After we got back to Goffs, we saw a road that another Google route had suggested and we could see the end of that road; that would have been WAY better than having to ride 14 miles before discovering the error.) Oh well, that, and the 123 degrees, is all part of the adventure.
Keep the comments, and donations coming. We truly appreciate your support.
FullSizeRender (3)FullSizeRender (4)Lowell
Endless, no pavement                                              Thanks, Steve & friend                                       Thank you, Lowell!

One For The Heat; Make Up Photos

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Sarah’s stud                                          Hollywood Blvd.                                                  Universal Studios

3P3A0372Rte 66

Last sighting of Rick’s bike clothes                     Venice Beach                                                  Going to San Bernadino

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L.A’s China Town                                                 San Bernadino                                 Hiking in Palm Springs

We beat the heat yesterday by finishing our ride and even adding on some extra miles. But Mother Nature always wins and the heat got a point back by causing me to cancel my ride today. Nick wanted to attend mass this morning so had decided not to ride. I thought I would go by myself. However, although my legs feel ok, I woke up feeling a bit light headed and concluded that it was a hangover from yesterday’s heat. So, figuring that discretion is the better part of valor, we decided to just push things back a day so that we will head out for Kingman tomorrow. The casualty is likely to be the rest day we had scheduled for the Grand Canyon, both because we couldn’t get 2 rooms for the 2nd night and on the theory that one can see the canyon in an hour or so if you aren’t hiking down into it. However, the fact that we are to ride 113 miles to get to the Grand Canyon may have us rethinking giving up that rest day. We will see.
I don’t know about Nick, but I am at the stage of riding where the miles have somewhat of a cumulative effect. So, rather than getting stronger, I start out the day a bit weaker than when I am fresh. I hope that at some stage that turns around so that I get progressively stronger. However, at the pace we are riding, the strength is likely to be in terms of endurance, not speed or power because we aren’t riding fast or with much power. Just keep pedaling along. And drinking. And drinking some more. Though I am convinced that having cold water to pour down your neck is also important. Speaking of which, at today’s breakfast, Nick heard that the area is having its worst heat wave in 30 years. Thanks a lot, global warming!
I had said that I would use a rest day to catch up with the photos so I will post some today.
Oh, yes. The photos are going to force an admission. Those of you who ride with us may notice that I am wearing one of Nick’s jerseys in one of the photos. That is because on our very first day – while getting started on our drive to L.A., the “casket” (as Nick has colorfully christened our roof top carrier) flew open because I hadn’t properly latched it. We knew that we had lost a step latter and Nick’s sea weed iron supplement, but it was only on the 3rd day of our ride that I discovered that the bin with all of my bike clothes had also been a casualty of my locking efforts. So, until we get some place with a store with some decent bike clothes – hopefully in Kingman – I will supplement the 2 kits I had set out to start the ride with Nick’s extras and frequent trips to the laundry. Even more than the cost of what I lost, I mourn the 6 jerseys that came from various rides I have done over the years. Those I can’t replace.
As a heads up, one of the photos is a close up of Sarah. If you look carefully, you may be able to see the nose stud she got at Venice Beach, something she had long wanted to do. At least one of us will be able to say that their body was changed by he trip, though both Nick and I hope that our changes are due to losses, not additions. Yes, we both hope that the ride lets us shed some unwanted weight.
aBrieRoad 2
Enjoying a sushi lunch                                                                  Brie, our sushi waitress                                  The start of endless roads
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More endless road                                                   Finally, an anticipated change                           A route seemingly to no where
May the next posting be of us conquering the heat. Or at least peacefully coexisting with it.
Keep your comments coming, they are appreciated! (As are your donations. of course.)

Two For One And An Intro To The Inferno Of Hell

It was late and I had no energy, hence no post yesterday. And the same factors are my excuse for why no photos now because I don’t yet have them. Hopefully I will include some on a rest day. So, I am sorry, but instead of getting the photos that you probably prefer, you are stuck with my ramblings.
So yesterday and today we started out with no directional problems.
Oh, wait. I must be confusing us with someone else. Because both days we added some unnecessary miles. I guess the scheduled rides aren’t long enough.
Yesterday was Palm Springs to 29 Palms. It was hot, but I forget the numbers because today burned them from my mind. More on that later.
The ride was 44 miles with 3,200′ of climb. Not bad, but packed into a relatively short distance. There was wind, but none as scary as on our Cambria to Solvang ride. However, there were times when the tail winds definitely sped things up. So far, the wind has generally been at our backs. Generally, but definitely not always.
We have discovered that a major element in arriving at an ETA is the time we spend stopped rechecking our directions. Or asking locals for help. So far the advice has been right about half the time but we have done a good job of rejecting advice that we later discovered was wrong.
Today started as all of our days have started – except for day 1 when Manuel so graciously guided us – with us missing some turns. Once it wasn’t our fault. Once it was because 2.1 miles got read as 21 miles. That will show you the importance of decimals.
Today was notable for a couple of things (in addition to reading 2.1 miles as 21 miles). One was the long stretches of road that stretched just about as far as one can see. That can play some games with your mind as you keep pedaling and pedaling and the end seems to stay as far away as when you started. But what really plays with your mind – at least with mine; Nick claims to have been unaffected – is when you are riding in temperatures so hot that when I stopped for some water and was told that it was only 103 in the shade, that felt cool. The high that our Garmins registered was 114 and virtually the whole day was spent at 103 to 107, with times well above that.
Drink, drink and drink some more. Great advice. However that doesn’t stop you from getting hot. At about mile 86 I ran out of water after having filled up from our SAG about 35 miles earlier. I pulled into a shop that sells tires – because there was no place in sight that sold beverages or anything you would wand to ingest. The stop proved fortuitous for me because although my legs felt pretty good. I was feeling light headed and a bit queasy. After pouring numerous bottles of tap water (which means it was fairly warm) over my head and sitting and talking to the 2 guys who seemed to run the shop for a while, I started feeling more normal. After a stop at a truck stop for some more cold beverages – contrary to the local’s advice – we were told we had 20 miles to go when we had expected 10. Well, wishing for 10 didn’t seem to have any effect so we had to adjust our expectations and just start riding.
I was feeling fairly strong at this stage – relatively speaking – and the constant 1 to 2% grade was pretty manageable, especially when the pavement improved. However, at mile 98 – 5 miles from the expected end – my Garmin died. Since the finish was in the thriving metropolis of Goffs – population of 23 with no open businesses – this caused a problem because I couldn’t keep track of how far I had gone so that I ended up speeding right past where I should have stopped. I finally got concerned when I was sure I had gone more than 5 miles, which proved to be true. I finally managed to reach Sarah and Alejandra who told me that Nick had arrivved, but from their app they could see I had gone well past town. It was a good thing they located me because my phone died soon after.
So, the total was 108 miles and about 3,500′ of climb. But for me, probably the most significant numbers were the regular readings of 110+ degrees. With up coming rides over the next 3 days of 77 miles, 50 and 113, many in comparable temperatures, this week is going to be a challenge.
I have to express the thanks here that Nick and I have expressed directly. Ale and Sarah have done a great job. When we get to our room, all of our bags are waiting for us and drinks are in the fridge. And I have had my first ever – and now second – 4 handed massage. Thank you ladies!