Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 3 - Wichenburg to Flagstaff, Arizona

Andrew Puddy - Our Aussie rider and nice guy

Almost done - entering Flagstaff

Birthday Boy Rob - 59 today!

Lon Haldeman (PACTour), Randy, LynnLashley, Rob

Today was the last day of the three initial epic rides of Elite Tour. We only rode 151 miles, but this included four major hills of 2,000’ feet each and total climbing of 12,500’ overall.
Our group today started with Randy, John Newton, Jon Batek and Lynn Lashley. Of course no bike ride is complete without a flat or two so we had our share again today, but only three for the day – a big improvement over yesterday.
The temperature worked in our favor today, starting at 65 in Wichenburg, finished at 60 in Flagstaff. The wind was our friend also, pushing us along. The breeze was very cool on the higher elevations but quite warm on the desert floor, where temps were in the low 80s.
Our first climb of the day was Yarnell Grade, about 19 miles from Wichenburg. We climbed about 1,000’ to get to the base of the hill. Yarnell Grade is about 2,000’ and 8 miles long, reaching nearly 5,000’. Long stretches of this hill are at 6%. We got up this hill pretty quickly and headed on to the Prescott climb, which was a lot more fun, climbing about 1,000’ then going through several up and downs to get us up to 6,000’ before dropping into Prescott.
After Prescott we headed downhill and across a desert plain to Mingus Mountain. By now we were getting a little tired so agreed to take it very easy up this hill, which turned out to be a good idea as it was a real grinder.
After a much needed lunch break at 7,000’ at the top of Mingus, we faced a screamer six mile downhill over some of the roughest roads we have ridden, down to Jerome. It is always fun to go downhill but this one was very hard on the bike and hands. After Jerome we continued to roar downhill, dropping all the way down to 3,500’, easily going over 40 mph on this long run out hill. While it is great to blast downhill, this also became very depressing, as I knew we were going to have to re-climb all that elevation again to get to Flagstaff at 6,900’. On the other hand, the views were spectacular.
A little after we descended the Jerome hill, Jim and Lara on the tandem, melted their carbon rear rim and had to have a replacement delivered by the support crew.
After we reached the desert floor again, a short climb got us into Sedona and the start of the Oak Creek Canyon hill, the last of the day. The views of the cliffs and canyon floor as we climbed were beautiful. About ½ of the way up the canyon, a Dairy Queen appeared in the middle of nowhere. We had to stop! This turned out to be the best move of the day. After this, Randy, fueled by a caffeinated milk shake, took off like a rocket and pulled us up the remaining 2,000’ to the last rest stop. From there a quick 13 mile roller coaster got us into Flagstaff and our hotel for another great day of riding. Randy and I are working really well together on the hills and pacelines and having a fun trip.
Scott Luikart is back on the road, with a new crank set, and only a few bruises from his accident yesterday. Len Zawodniak took a spill, bruising is already cracked ribs.
Tomorrow is a ‘rest’ day, with only 151 miles to ride, but we actually drop 1,000’ on the way from Flagstaff to Kayenta. It will be 33 in the morning, so we will be bundled up, but 74 in the afternoon, with a good chance of a tail wind. Things are going well.

1 comment:

  1. If I had known there was a Dairy Queen, I would have signed up for this ride too! What a memorable birthday. Have a great "rest day".