First, this is a day late because it was a campout night in the middle of no where. No cell and no verizon services. Sorry everyone I couldn't let you know I was safe. Of course, 5 miles into today's ride I met up with someone new, Aaron and Aleena. They are nice young couple from Arizona, Aaron graduated from University of Illinois and grew up just north og Bloomington IL. Aaron rode this route east to west 4 years ago and now he and his wife Aleena are going the other direction. Since we both were needing to camp out ( or climb 4500 feet on 2 mountains and then ride 110 miles), we stuck together today and camped out before headed to Silver City NM tomorrow. Tonight we camped along the road in a National Park service camp ground about 1/2 mile from the New Mexico border on state road 78.
Today was a double climb day. After 15 or so miles it was uphill for about an hour and a half and 1,500 feet. That one was fairly flat slow steady climb. Then there's always a reward. This time it was a 6 mile or so 6-7% grade ( pretty steep ). Got it up to 38 MPH I think in there somewhere before we got to Three Way AZ. Quick 20 minute snack break and refill on water and it was off to a 2,500 foot climb over 14 miles or so. This was an insane climb that started like the first one of the day and then it was a dive into a canyon on a very winding road. At the bottom was the first switchback that basically turned us around 180 degrees and took us up the side of the mountain. I walked all that one. Another 180 degree turn and we were on a plateau for 2 miles or so. Stopped at a small church that had a nice gazebo, had another snack and rest and then off to the 1,300 foot climb in 4 miles. The pictures pretty much tell the story of winding around back and forth, back and forth. It was a little riding and a little walking, but an hour or so later we hit the top.
Now the crazy part is that on the west side of the mountain its all desert and barren rock for the most part. But when we hit the top, we went right into 80-100 foot tall pine trees and forrest. Very fun winding downhill ride for 5 miles to the campsite and then decided to call it a day. Just the way the maps and towns setup is why we just called it an early day. But I'll be very fortunate to have a clear western sky and whistling wind through the pine trees tonight.
(ok here's the day after addendum).... IT WAS COLD at 6,000 feet. I think it was in the 40's. For the most part I was warm enough, just totally uncomfortable. Then getting up out of the tent, and getting going was worse. Downhill cold ride to start off wakes you up. 1 more thing..got a morning lecture from a 60 year old in his Corvette "you should be careful on these roads, the drivers don't expect to see you. I go 100MPH and somethings coming at me and you're there, could be bad". John - "Thanks. 1) did you know this is a national bike route and there are always bikers on this road?". Covertte guy -"I never see any bikers and I go through here every week". John - "Well why don't you slow the f' down on these winding mountain roads?" (that's what I wanted to say, but remembered everyone out here may just shoot you).
Stats - 53.6 miles (629)
Calories - 3554 ( 35366 )
Time - 5:12 (50:35)
Total Climb - 4711 ( 24,603 ft )
Fix Flat #1 after not paying attention to bike for 2 days, loading it all up and checking out of hotel so you can fix it in the parking lot... check.
Pick up a new wolf pack for the journey and camp out.... check.
Climb, enjoy the beauty, repeat repeat repeat.... check.
Puke your guts out after climbing 4711 feet... check
Call it a day because there's now where else to camp.... check.