Day 13 – Douglas, AZ to Rodeo, NM – 58.17 miles – Elevation: +1,161 / -1,037 feet
Had another night in a hotel with a real bed. It doesn’t get much better than that. The weather forecast was for thunder showers and it was about 48 degrees in the morning. Today’s ride was 58 miles of nothing but scenery. And I mean nothing. No stores, no gas station, no phone service, nothing except for one tavern that was closed.
We had a nice tail wind for a portion of the ride and we were cruising at 20 miles an hour with little effort . Everything was great as we passed out of Arizona into New Mexico. That is until the thunder storm hit and we had to finish the last ten miles in the rain. Tonight I am sleeping inside an aircraft hanger on the McAfee estate. It’s not warm but I’m dry.
Tombstone, AZ to Douglas, AZ – 49.55 miles – Elevation: +2,090 / -2,421 feet
We were living in luxury last night and spent the night in a motel with a real bed. The best part was I didn’t have to share a shower with 40 other guys. I woke up to spectacular sunrise. I can attest to the saying, “red sky in the morning cyclers take warning.”
It was a bit chilly in the morning but I got up extra early to install my new tires on my bicycle, or I should say Chandler did. Unfortunately, I can’t say that they were good climbing tires for the 25 mile climb this morning, but I didn’t get any flats today. I was looking forward to the 25 mile downhill to end the day, but the temperature dropped to 51 degrees and it started to rain. I got soaked and needed a warm shower to warm me up.
Day 11 – E. Tucson, AZ to Tombstone, AZ – 72.84 miles – Elevation: +3,517 / -2,188 feet
Today is a long day with a 73 mile ride with a 25 mile climb at the start. In fact, my bike computer reported that today was a new personal best for me with a 3,500 foot ascent. We are leaving for a shoot out in Tombstone now but all I can think of is dinner and bed.
Day 10 – Catalina, AZ to E. Tucson, AZ – . 42.59 miles – Elevation: +1,289 / -912 feet
Today was supposed to be an easy day with only a 40 mile ride. Unfortunately, I started the day by sleeping through my alarm and waking up about a half hour later than I planned. So I was feeling a little rushed.
We stopped at the Tucson Jewish Community Center so Udi could do some fund raising and have a few photos taken. We also past the Aircraft Boneyard with 2500 acres of aircraft. The ride was mostly flat but we did get some strong headwinds.
Today was a greatly needed rest day. While some of the riders went hiking in the Catalina State Park or off to conquer Mount Lemmon on their bicycles, I was off to Walmart to buy the necessities I forgot to pack. The downtime also gave me the opportunity to reorganize my things to better match my daily routine. I packed my cycling clothes for each day in a separate zip lock bag along with any energy gels or snacks I might need. That way I could just grab everything I needed for the day. In addition, I made a morning bag with my toiletries and sun screen for a quick start each morning. It didn’t take me long to figure out the earlier I start each morning the less time I sent riding in the hottest park of the day.
Day 8 – Casa Grande, AZ to Catalina, AZ – 68.45 miles – Elevation: + 1,503 / – 312 feet
While I wasn’t able to get new tires as planned, the good news is that I didn’t get a flat tire today. The bad news is instead my air mattress went flat in the middle of the night. Luckily there are a few mattresses set aside just in case that happens. Nevertheless, I didn’t get a great night’s sleep for what turned out to be a very hard day.
We gained elevation all day, starting with a gentle gain to the first rest stop at about 25 miles. From there we had strong headwinds the rest of the way. At the end of the day we had a rather steep elevation gain into camp. It was a hard push. The last rider made it in at the end of dinner and was welcomed by a standing ovation by the other riders.
It is always a challenge to find your clothes on laundry day. Since all the clothes are washed together, each rider must sort through all the clothes to find their stuff. After dinner you could hear a pin drop and a few snores in camp. Thank goodness tomorrow is a rest day.
Day 7 – Gila Bend, AZ to Casa Grande, AZ – 78.19 miles – Elevation: + 1,145 / – 525 feet
Looking at a 79 mile day with a forecast of headwinds, we planned to get on the road by 7:30. Unfortunately that plan was ruined when I woke up and found that I had another flat. It looks like I will have to invest in new tires and tubes tomorrow. Today was tough and there was little talk at dinner, since most of us were fighting to keep our eyes open. Looking forward to another 70 mile day tomorrow
Day 6 – Dateland AZ to Gila Bend, AZ – 52.30 miles – Elevation: + 643 / – 259 feet
“CHANDLER” is the cry of my fallen fellow road warriors. Chandler, the bicycle mechanic, has been faced with and has resolved all types of mechanical problems offering a reassuring smile and generally a joke too.
Today a member of the group I’ve been riding with found himself locked into his pedals when one of the small bolts from his cleats fell off his shoe. Chandler to the rescue. If Chandler can’t fix the problem on the spot, he helps the rider get to the camp for the night. The next day he has the bike fixed and ready to ride . I doubt if any of us would make it to the end without Chandler and the rest of the support crew.
Day 5 – Yuma, AZ to Dateland, AZ – 70.17 miles – Elevation: + 748 / – 502 feet
I woke up to the spectacular Yuma, AZ sunrise. We rode through America’s salad bowl where approximately 90% of America’s winter greens are grown. I had the opportunity to watch cauliflower being picked, cleaned, washed and packaged right in the field to be shipped directly to the market. The ride was over 70 miles long today and ended with my third flat tire as I reached the camp grounds.
Day 4 – Calexico, CA to Yuma, AZ – 63.49 miles – Elevation: +650 /-502 feet
Today is the last day in California and the road surface was dreadful. I think it rattled a few of my fillings loose. It was unbelievable! I had the opportunity to stop for lunch and view the exhibits at the Official Center of the World in Felicity, California.