Sunday, March 27, 2011

PAC Tour"s Desert Camp Century Week

One of Many Rest Stops








Lon, Veronica Beagan, and me









Bisbee Architecture

This was my first time back with PAC Tour since my 2009 Transcontinental ride from Portland, OR to Tybee Island, GA. Since then I have, at least for now, resolved my forever-expanding nutritional issues of dietary intolerances which had really compromised my performance on the Transcon.

It was so good to be back with the Fold, or as someone called PAC Tour--somewhere between a Cult and a Family; I'll stick with The Fold. It doesn't take long before you have a bunch of riding buddies from all over the country as well as the UK, Canada, and Australia.

It was also amazing to feel and see the difference in my ability to veritably power up the climbs that had daunted me in 2009 when at Desert Camp that year. That's a tribute to resolution of my nutritional/fueling issues and an especially good feeling as I'm now two years older--65 and some months.

PAC has been leading bicycle tours for exceptional cyclists for over 30 years and with a 75% return rate of satisfied customers it stands to reason that it's an older bunch of folks. I was struck with how many of our riders on Century Week had experienced life-reorganizing events in the last year: knee replacements, broken hips, hip replacements, bike accidents, Lyme's Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, spouses with end stage Cancer, professional disappointments, and still they ride. Victor Gallo is well into planning his Team RAAM in 2012--a 4-man team with the average age of the rider being 80. That is a pure and simple statement about the commitment of these riders to their health, cycling, and the gifts of ultra-riding.

The contrast between our group of svelte cyclists was never more apparent than when a tour bus arrived disgorging about 25 tourists, all overweight Americans, most of whom were our same ages, and who needed help with their luggage. Hmmmm.

This week we saw BIG winds as well as the towns of Bisbee, Tombstone, Coronado Monument, Ft. Huachuca, Sonoita, Patagonia, and desert glory every day.

I learned hubbing out of one town, in this case Sierra Vista, works much better for me than riding point-to-point: better restaurants and decent grocery stores which helped with my nutritional issues, as well as the opportunity to mix and match routes rather than feeling compelled to follow the prescribed route of the day.

It was glorious to get out of the Chicago's endless winter and to know that I'll call Tucson home in exactly 6 months.

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