Today was the day we all feared. Our 4th ride of over 118 miles in a row...with 11,000 feet of climbing. Last night everyone was icing knees and guads...to get ready! First up was Yarnell Pass on Hwy 89, about a 10 mile climb. It's 2 lanes going up and 2 lanes coming down...plus a wide shoulder so there was plenty of room. Most of my pics are being shot from the bike. Rob, Judd and I have been riding together and it's tough to stop for a photo op and then have to run them down. My original plan was to stop and shoot everything I found interesting. The new plan is to keep the camera in the Bento Box frame bag (thanks Cori!) and shoot what I can. Hey, this is supposed to be a vacation...ha! I am perfecting my ability to take photos while bombing down hill. Rob, Judd and I all climbed together today. We thought we would duke it out for King of the Mountain (KOM) all the way up Mingus. We kept the pressure on each other the entire way up. We had to stop at the top to put on cold weather gear for the descent, so we decided to award KOM via a sprint finish at the Cottonwood city limit sign. Our lunch stop was early today to get everyone fueled up for the big climb up Mingus Mountain. It worked out great, because I was ready for a really decedent lunch after all that climbing...and Jerome had just the place. Perched on a hillside overlooking the valley and Cottonwood...is Haunted Hamburgers. As we got there we saw another cyclist...it was Ken (one of ours)! Since he had clearly beaten us over the mountain he won the KOM...at 55!!! Good work Ken! Seems he passed on the last SAG (food) stop in Prescott and we never noticed him. Rob and Judd are maniacs when it comes to bombing these downhills. The last one was 12 miles long with speed over 50mph...tons of very sharp 180 degree swithbacks...but these two were flying! They had about 1/2 mile on me at the bottom. They are younger (and way crazier than I am...clearly!). My buddy Iain was particularly worried about his climbing today. Happy to report he did great! I've renamed him
"I-Man" (short for Ironman)...having not been able to train as much as the rest of us...his efforts are amazing!
The scenery today was absolutely spectacular. Everywhere I turned...looking up or looking back was amazing. This is a beautiful country...and I am very fortunate to be seeing it this way. Yesterday, I thought about how boring it must be to drive these roads in a car, insulated from the world listening to music. When you are on a bike every inch of the road seems different. Your senses are so tuned into your body, the truck flying by you at 80, or a small beautiful wildflower. It really is hard to decribe!
That burger is wearing off...it's time to eat again. I love to eat! dd