Things heated up quickly as the sun got a bit higher, and by the time I was through Brawley and into the Imperial Sand Dunes it was 108F, or just over 42C. That's hot. The worst part was having to drink superheated gatorade and water, it's just not the same when your water is hotter than body temperature, it's a tad awful actually. Anywho, I got through the afternoon surprisingly well with the heat, which bodes well since it will likely be even hotter in another six weeks...
Jiles and June caught up at the Border Patrol atop the 20 mile incline after the dunes, and I finally enjoyed ice cold drinks and ice packs to stuff in my jersey. We then continued along at a pretty good pace reaching Parker just at nightfall, still averaging just shy of 20mph. Through the night we pedaled on through Salome, Congress, up the Yarnell Grade, and then through Prescott National Forest, of which got a bit tricky as I was feeling a tad sleepy, as was Dave behind the wheel... "Jiles man, trouble with road biking is it's hard to stay awake sometimes, not like mountain biking. Or at least when you fall asleep on a mtb you generally just get a nice cushy faceplant into a rhododendron or something, not like on the road where you get all scraped up or worse." "Yeah", says Jiles, "I almost ran into you a couple times back there, and on the Yarnell Grade I'd just pull over for a couple minute nap or just coast for a few seconds of sleep and wake up when the car stopped and then catch up..."
Finally as the sun rose again we hammered on to Mingus mountain, a ridiculous winding ascent up to 7,000 feet, followed by the greatest 4,000 foot descent I've yet to do, which drops down into Cottonwood. After getting some fuel there we headed up to Sedona and then into Oak Creek Canyon for a long but pleasurable climb up to Flagstaff. We pulled into the time station after about 30-31 hrs, with June counting calories all day I was feeling quite good, however I began to realize how not incredibly fun it was for poor Jiles and June who hadn't really left the car for over 24 hrs. Sure it would be good to keep going down towards Monument Valley, but now mid-afternoon and a 500 mile drive home to do, with none of us in particularly good shape for such a trip, we decided it best to call it a good ride and clean ourselves up a bit for the return trip.
As we headed back into the desert, Jiles at the wheel, he and I discussed the trip and worked on our ever growing list of do's and don'ts, it was then that I once again expressed my thanks to them and commented how crazy it must be to sit in a car going so slowly for so long. Jiles knew I sort of got it, but perhaps not 100%, he slowed down to 20, and kept it there for a minute. I apologized. Ha! Holding 20 on a bike seems like you're flying along at a good pace, holding 20 in a car can be excruciating. "Imagine going 10 mph up the Yarnell Grade..." And that's why we have 6-7 people on the support crew, for which we think we'll do 8 hr shifts.
After a few hours in the car we made it back home, I would say safely but I'm not sure it really was.
Thanks to Jiles and June and MyoFlexibility for another great training camp and the crazy support crewing job you do, I'm pretty lucky to have people that will spend their weekend stuck in a car filling up water bottles and keeping track of how much I'm eating and how many times I pee.
And thanks to June too for the cool pictures! And if that's not entertaining enough, watch a few clips!