A day late, but finally WiFi.
Leaving Vaughn was incredible. While Nick called the ride boring – I agree that there was nothing worth stopping to photograph – I thought that the first about 70 miles were amazing because of the riding conditions. If anything, the wind was mostly at our back, the highway was great – 4 lanes with light traffic and a mostly very good surface – and we had a net decline of about 2,100 feet. It made for the fastest riding of the trip and I loved it; I could do 23 – 25 mph without feeling I was stressing my legs. Nick chose to take advantage of the conditions by coasting whereas I enjoyed pedaling, which meant that we soon separated.
I was averaging above 22.5 mph after more than 50 miles and that included good times on levels and even on the rollers that were generally around 2%. That dropped to around 21,5 mph after a couple of climbs that were gentle but long enough to shave my speed, especially since throughout this trip I have declined to power up any kind of incline to save my legs (there was an exception yesterday when Nick and I “raced” up one climb, only to say that we shouldn’t do that).
We had asked the girls to leave 3 hours after us so we could refuel at about 50 miles (I hadn’t realized we could ride as fast as we did).
Then hell returned, or at least a preview of it, The temperature started increasing and hit 104.8 on one of my ascents (not good timing). The problem was that I didn’t time my drinking quite right and ran out 5 or 10 miles before the truck reached me with the temperature at about 106. I was steadily slowing, both because my body made me and because I was trying to be somewhat prudent, especially since I remember what the heat did to me through the Mojave.
Although there was absolutely no shade – and there hadn’t been any since Vaughn – I decided to stop because my radiator was overheating. Just as I was going to call the SAG to see where it was, Ale called me to try to figure out where I was (they had already refueled Nick). They looked me up on an app, hung up and then saw me standing by the road with my bike leaning against a pole (that did not afford any shade).
Having the girls and the truck appear was a godsend. I can’t tell you how many cups of cold water I drank while eating most of a sandwich that they quickly handed ne, but I know it was a lot. And that doesn’t include the water I dumped on myself.
[A quick aside: while lying in bed typing this a couple hours after the ride, Ale knocked to ask for the laundry. When I started to get up, I hollered because of a cramp in my right calf that prevented me from being able to move. When I was finally able to stand, my left shin started to cramp, a part of me that I didn’t know could cramp. As Ale said, now I know. After handing her the mesh bags of our dirty clothes, I took a shot of the anti cramping dose that I had brought but thankfully hadn’t needed. It is horrible tasting, but my legs aren’t cramping now. It works on the theory that cramps are governed by nerves, not muscles, and that certain stimuli to our taste buds can help control them. Which is why many use pickle juice to deal with cramps.]
When I got back on my bike with my bottles filled with ice water my Garmin was registering 120 degrees. That did drop while I was riding, however, all of the way down to 110 where it stayed for the rest of the ride. Although the SAG and the girls were a great help, the heat had pretty much sapped my strength. By the time I finished the last 15 miles, including stop and go through Roswell, my average speed was down to 19.4. Although this definitely isn’t a race, I had wanted to finish the 95 miles at 20 mph or more.
Oh, well. At least I finished.
As, of course, did Nick. After 3 flats. He needs to get the super thick, sealant filled tube that I have been running in my rear tire flat free since Albuquerque. At $20, it was a bargain.
An observation: With all of the riding we have done, I have encountered only one other cyclist who was riding in our direction, Dave (who we have mentioned previously). I don’t mean cross country riders, I mean any cyclists at all. And other than a group of 5 who rode by the plaza in Santa Fe, I have only seen 2 other road cyclists, one who was on an over pass and another we saw on a freeway in Arizona who was going in the opposite direction. I have been surprised by the lack of others riding, though maybe it is partly because of the temperatures?
Speaking of which, it is too hot to go outside. In fact, Sarah said that they bought some cheap gloves so that they could hold the truck’s steering wheel.
Nick has commented – orally, not on our web site – about the detail in my blogs. I hope I’m not putting anyone to sleep with my rambling.
This is going to be posted later than I wanted because the WiFi isn’t workimg here at our Best Western.