Departure: 6:35 a.m.
Arrival 5:10 p.m.
Climbing: 4,500 feet
We awoke this morning to a cool 57 degrees with an expected high in Springerville of 63. Most of us were in arm and leg warmers of one kind or another, at least at the start. After I shed my leg warmers later in the day I forgot to put on sun screen so ended up getting some unpleasant sun burn.
I think we rode on nearly every kind of road surface a road bike can handle. There were a couple of stints on I-40 (more flats for many people, fortunately today was not my day for a one). Then there were a few opportunities to ride on Old Route 66 whose surface made the "rough grooved surface" of roads under construction look like a smooth, finished product. There was chip-and-seal with rocks big enough to break a window; cracks in the pavement 2-3 inches wide; and then there were some truly lovely roads.
The terrain was, again, spectacular. Today we were in the vast prairies of northern AZ, rolling hills with those little brillo pad bushes sprinkled over every hill and dale. Funny thing that most of this expanse was also fensed. I never saw anything inside the fenses that needed to be retained. Hmmm.
The challenge of today was the wind--the same 20-28 mph wind that was our friend yesterday was now a head or cross wind for 122 consecutive miles. The downhills, which weren't steep but enough to move us around between 3,000 to 7,000 ft of EL a few times, weren't even fun because of the cross winds. All of us arrived in Springerville with stiff right arms and legs from forceably holding the bike steady against the cross winds. I saw many, many miles of 5-7 mph. Finished up with an average of 12.8 mph. Takes a long time to ride 122 miles at that dogged pace.
I was totally whooped when I got in. By far the toughest day for me physically, mentallly, emotionally, and spiritually. I'm praying for some speedy recovery over this short night to be ready for our 157 miles tomorrow to Socorro. We also change time zones early tomorrow. We have already switched our clocks to Mountain time--meaning that we just lost an hour. I still need to go repair a tire that got a little bite taken out of it on one of the rough roads today. It's 10:50 Moutain Time as I write. The alram will get us up at 4:00 a.m.