Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 4 - Flagstaff to Kayenta, Arizona

Rob - Heading down the high plains desert road
Great PACTour Support people - Tracey, Susan and Bill

Randy's very waterproof, windproof, chemical proof gloves

Today was a 'rest' day of 151 miles across the high desert plains. The scenary was excellent, but eventually became monotonous (in a beautiful way, of course). We started at 34 degrees, but it quickly warmed up and was a great day, weatherwise (except for the shifting winds - which blew us around and kept us on our toes in some places. It was mid-70s when we arrived in Kayenta, a little before 4p, our earliest time in so far.

Our ride basically descended from 7,000' in Flagstaff down to 4,200’ in the high desert floor, then climbed back up to nearly 7,000’ before dropping 1,000’ into Kayenta at 6,000’.

At 33 degrees first thing in the morning, nearly everyone started out with multiple layers – see the picture of Randy’s heavy duty gloves, which kept his hands very warm, and could double as heavy duty chemical handlers. :-)

We are getting into the rhythm of long distance transcontinental riding. Get up at 5:45a, snarf down breakfast, fill water bottles, bring your bike out, bring your gear bag out, load the gear bag, get on the bike, go. Stop every 20-30 miles for a snack, drink lots of fluids, fill up bottles and go. At about the 60% point in the ride, have lunch at the rest stop, go. Continue with rest stops until you get there. Stop. Unwind and snack a little for a few minutes, take your gear bag to your room, clean and fix any mechanical issues with your bike, take it to your room, shower and clean up, find a place to get dinner, have a massage, catch up on email for a short period, be in bed by 10p. Repeat 19 times.

Lenny Z unfortunately had to withdraw from the tour due to cracked ribs and a twisted wrist that came after two accidents in the parking lot. It is too bad, Len and I rode together at a Desert Camp this year and had a good week.

Roads were generally very good, but US 160 into Kayenta was quite busy and the surface was quite rough in some spots. A large motorcycle club went by, many of them waving and giving us the thumbs up – very nice.

The long downhill into Kayenta was a great way to finish the day.

Tomorrow we head for Durango, with a couple of 10% grades and 178 miles to cover. Time for bed.


  1. Hi Rob:

    We don't know each other. I rode the '07 Elite Tour and raced RAAM on a 2-man team last year with Charlie Combs. Family and work prevented me from riding this year's Elite Tour, but thanks for the blog. I'm enjoying the ride through your writing. Sounds like you are riding well. Keep up the good work! I wish you continued success for the rest of the Tour and look forward to more updates.

    Richard Waugh

  2. Rob, I was very sorry to hear about Len Z's withdrawal due to injury. I know he must be very disappointed. But he (along with everyone else on tour) should be very proud of the accomplishment to reach the highest level in long-distance cycling -- anybody who even makes it to the start of the Elite PAC Tour has my highest regard and respect!

    -Tom Rosenbauer
    Eastern PA RBA

  3. Rob,

    I, too, have been following your entries with great interest. The Elite Tour is such a demanding ride, it amazes me what people are able to accomplish. I, too, was very sorry to hear about Lenny's withdrawal. it seems especially frustrating that both of these accidents apparently took place in a parking lot, presumably at low speeds. I know Lenny had trained hard and was in great shape. Good luck to you the rest of the way.

    Jud Hand