Today was a lovely mixture of stunning scenery, hard work and simple landscapes. There are now two groups of riders. The fast group – Marco, Francois, Morton and Todd and the not as fast – Jen and myself. If you use Strava, you can find the four men listed – their routes and times are shared with other riders. They have been ranked in the top 10 of all riders using Strava on some of the roads we have biked. As on previous rides with ABB, the slower group will start out with one of the team leaders 30 minutes before the others. Today, Judy, Jen and I started at 6:15.
With a little planning, I met my dear friend, Dr Dan Goldsmith in Sedona! What a treat. And the scenery in and around Sedona is spectacular. Please go if you have not been. Bring your hiking boots!
The route from Cottonwood to Flagstaff is mainly uphill – especially the switchbacks east of Sedona. Fortunately, I had trained sufficiently and had my best “time” of the three rides that I have done on that route. From Flagstaff, it was a slow descent to Winslow on Interstate 40. The surround is mainly prairie grass and a few scattered scrub trees. The trains often run along the Interstate with hundreds of cars behind 5 locomotives. Also, we saw one of the first signs marking a stopping point of Route 66 just outside of Flagstaff. Of course, we stood on the corner in Winslow, AZ as in the song by the Eagles. I finished the day at 4 pm.
Working on video of the ride – waiting to resolve technical issues.
Tomorrow, day 6, we have breakfast at 5 and leave by 6 for a long ride to Gallup, NM. We have been warned to expect flat tires and carry extra inner tubes. Mike had 6 flats today.
Starting in Wickenburg this am, we had 3 large climbs followed by wonderful descents on the other side. Our first climb was to Yarnell Pass at 4850 feet. We saw signs for the ‘Hot Shot’ firefighters, 19 young men from Prescott, who died in the Yarnell Fire, June 30, 2013. From there we had a beautiful descent to the valley filled with ranches, prairie grasses and scrub trees. A slow, steady ascent lead to our next hill top just beyond the town of Wihoit where we had lunch.
Our next city was Prescot, a busy town where all of us had an unpleasant encounter from drivers. Following more riding on the highway, we turned onto 89A. It took us up Mingus Mtn with a summit for traffic of 7023. Then a fast descent with technical turns for most of the next 7 miles. So much that my hands cramped from the intermittent breaking to control the bike. We stopped for a nice sandwich at the Haunted Hamburger restaurant in Jerome with a commanding view of the valley below. Then, a step descent the the valley below Jerome and another 7 miles to our hotel in Cottonwood.
During our trip we have enjoyed the multitude of scents from crops, vegetation, fruit trees and flowering plants. Today, we enjoyed the lovely scents of sun warmed pines, Pepper grass, farm crops like alfalfa and spring flowers. A reminder for me that biking does bring me closer to nature.
Today, we biked 111 miles with 8,700 vertical feet of climbing. I can honestly say, I feel sore everywhere! Tomorrow, up for 5:30 breakfast and start by 6:15. We are tired and it will be a long ride through Sedona, Flagstaff before ending in Winslow. So, I’ll put my legs up for a few minutes to help with lymphatic drainage and then head off to bed.
At this time, I do not have the Relive video of today’s ride and photos. I will try to get it by tomorrow. Thanks for your understanding.