|Distance||188.37 kms||116.82 miles|
|Climbed||1,970 meters||6,463 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||8.28||-|
|Avg speed||22.7 kph||-|
|Distance||993.77 kms||617.64 miles|
|Climbed||12,795 meters||41,978 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||43.15||-|
Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
I'm still tired when I wake up, which doesn't bode well for today's ride. First order of business is a huge breakfast down the street from the motel, then I find a coffee shop in downtown for a decent cup of coffee. I fill up on water at the tourist information office.
After the initial climb up out of Silver City I've got a long downhill going northwest. At a gas station I run into 3 French riders with bags mounted on 29'ers. I chat with them for a while about what they are up to: they are just finishing the Great Divide Trail which they started in Canada about 4 months ago. They all have flat tires and are pretty tired and fed up with all the cactus needles they've been fighting with since they entered New Mexico. One of them says he put 12 patches on the same spot on his tube... Tubeless is the way to go on a trip like that but I guess they got away with it until they hit New Mexico. They are debating whether or not to forego the last three days of the trip down to the Mexican border.
I'm fighting the wind across the plains as the road climbs west into Arizona. I comfort myself with the knowledge that I'll have a big downhill to 3-way at some point. I am definitely dragging today.
At last I reach the top of this climb; I'm standing at a pulloff looking down over the Sonoran Desert. I worked on a ranch in this area in 2011 so I'm very familiar with this twisty road. It will be about 15 miles of speedy descent until 3-way where I can look forward to a cold drink and a rest. I reach some unhealthy speeds going down the sweeping switchbacks. I'm still fighting the wind so it serves as somewhat of a brake.
At 3-way I drink a couple of liters of cold water and Powerade. It's about 10 degrees hotter at this elevation that it was at the top of the pass. There is one last climb from here to get to Safford.
I completely bonk on this climb. I have to stop to rest at least 5 times before I make it over the top. I'm just out of gas. I will myself forward in 500-meter increments.
Now it's downhill to Safford, but against the wind. Each crank of the pedal feels like an insult to my cramping legs. I've chewed through the last of my Rolaids. No stopping though, I have no choice but to get to Safford for a motel.
The sun is setting as I approach Safford. When I finally reach the motel it is dark. I stop at a convenience store for a few things to eat and some liquids. A guy out front asks me where I've come from. He can't believe I rode from Silver City in one day. I can't either...not so much for the difficulty of the ride, if I had started rested it wouldn't have been so bad but I've been running a sleep-and-rest deficit since the beginning of this return trip.
The only place to eat withing easy walking distance is a Pizza Hut. I have a surprisingly good pasta dish and a salad. I didn't know Pizza Hut had decent food other than pizza. Back at the motel I eat my desert and collapse into bed.