Friday, September 15, 2006

Day 5 Cottonwood, AZ-->Winslow, AZ

Departure: 6:30 a.m.
Arrival 4:30 p.m.
Weather: Pouring rain during breakfast, then blue skies and temps in the low 70's all day.
Climbing: We thought it was to be 3,000, but we got a bonus--we ended with 6,425 feet

The first twelve miles were busy with morning commuter and truck traffic. Once out of traffic the skies brightened and I found myself riding with Donna, a young woman, (comapred to me) who's riding this ride as a fund raiser for the breast cancer foundation. It was great to hear her story. She's taking lots of pictures as we go, one of which was of this HUGE tarantula (sp??) that was wandering across our path. She has promised to email the pix so maybe you can see it too. Wonder if that counts as one of the animals to watch for in the next 87 miles??

All of us were so looking forward to a "rest day" with only 3,000 feet of climbing but by lunch at mile 65 we had already 4,600 feet with more "ridges" to take before we got to Winslow. But shortly after lunch and after a little more climbing we got an unexpected gift: a) a downhill, and b) a tail wind. Not just any tail wind, but a 25-28 mile per hour tail wind that literally blew us the last 46 miles into Winslow. There were times when I would be coasting at 30-35 mph! Somehow that made up for all the added feet of climbing.

The only person who wasn't thrilled with the monstrous tailwind was Steve who is riding a fixed gear. For you non-cyclists that means that he has only one gear/speed (the rest of us have 27-30 gears to choose from), and he can not coast. His legs must continually spin. So his poor quads were simply on fire by the time he got in. For those of you who are cyclists, he is running a 49/19.

The scenery, once again, was spectacular! Very lush and green. I kept thinking I was in the Pacific NW. Then I'd remember we were in northern AZ and not far from Flagstaff and the GC. Once I heard this loud whoosh, whooshing above. I looked up to see a bird flapping its large wings. Sorry, I don't know what kind. I realized the only time I had heard that sound was in the IMAX movie, Winged Migration. One of the downsides of living in such an urban area that such sounds are not common-place in my sound-scape.

Dinner was a special treat, too, tonight at La Passada. If it isn't rated by Fromers as a 4 star, it should be. Truly a pleasant way to finish off the day.

Winslow is on Historic Old Route 66. Much of the town, other than La Passada, looks like it dried up when I-40 came through. I don't think the motel we were in could possibly have had an upgrade since the interstate came through. I know for a fact I got up close and personal with nearly ever coil in the mattress. The railroad is still alive and well in Winslow--90 trains come through each day!

Tomorrow we're off to Springerville which is truly supposed to be an easier day--rolling prairies and 4,500 feet of climbing.

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