Saturday, May 15, 2010
Cottonwood, Arizona to Flagstaff, Arizona
What an incredible ride! What an incredible day! As far as scenery, weather, and road conditions are concerned, today was a perfect day for biking! I don't have the vocabulary to describe how fun today was, or how breathtakingly beautiful this area is. I seriously doubt that I will die today. If I do however, I do so with a smile on my face.
Today is the end of the first week of biking. This was the third of three consecutive days of relatively low mileage, but serious climbing. We did 46 miles today but, rather like the past two days, this was almost constant climbing. (I know that there must have been some downs, to partially balance off those ups, but I only remember the ups.)
We left Cottonwood at 7:15 AM, the usual time. Traci won't allow sign out before then. It was cool and very pleasant. We were on Arizona 89A pretty much the whole trip from Cottonwood to Flagstaff. Nice road. I must ride this road again, hopefully with Marsha. I don't think that I have been on a more beautiful ride.
The ride to Sedona was comfortable, not too strenous, and mildly pretty. Arriving near Sedona however, most of us found it necessary to frequently stop just to drink in the beauty. There are enourmous sandstone mountains and cliffs all arround Sedona. Neither my words nor my photos will ever do this beauty justice. The rocks really do glow a remarkable red color in the sunlight.
Sedona seems to be at the base, or entrance, of a huge canyon. We traveled that road, as it wound uphill to the Flagstaff elevation level. That's when the ride got really steep. Even the many mountain switchbacks did not prevent this from being steep. On the last 2.2 miles before the SAG, I felt that we were climbing up a wall.
The SAG was at a scenic overlook, that located roughly 10 to 12 miles from Flagstaff. We were able to look back and actually see the road on which we had been riding. It was incredible. You could see the switchbacks that had been carved into the mountain side. It was actually rather cool to stop and see how far below us the road was, and then realize that we had actually ridden up from there! Tired as I was, my ego was nicely thereby fed.
After the SAG, we rode on to Flagstaff. I am there now, this at the end of a remarkable week of riding. We started at the Pacific Ocean on Sunday morning, and we are now at 6,906 feet in elevation above that. This week we rode 532 miles. More amazingly (disturbingly) we did 23,926 feet of climbing this week. (My quadriceps will not contest that number.) My bike is working great. My knees are fine. My wrists are sometimes a problem, but I can live with that.
I have heard it said that pain is just the feeling of weakness leaving the body. I suspect that I will soon have a very un-weak butt.
When I got to Flagstaff today, I felt great. I took a shower, and then I washed my bike and re-lubricated the chain. Without warning however, I suddenly felt remarkably lightheaded. Before collapsing, I made it to Sizzlers. Their chicken, diet Pepsi, and unlimited salad bar brought me back into the game nicely. They have a great salad bar. I should know, as I surely was there enough. Why don't we have Sizzlers in La Crosse?
Tomorrow is a full day of rest. I plan to nap. A lot. No riding tomorrow. Monday morning starts week number 2, that ending in Santa Fe!
Posted by Dan at 4:56 PM