Thursday’s 114 mile ride had us out on the roads until 5pm, battling 25+mph winds and major elevation gain. But before we started day 26 of riding we had a very relaxing night’s stay at the Root 66 rv park, where we even had a great view of the sunset.
Two cute kids right there! 🙂
The three of us met a very nice couple from North Carolina whom were also traveling to California. Funny enough, we ran into them yesterday in Flagstaff! It was nice meeting you Dan & Jean, thanks for stopping by to say hello!
Waking up to the sounds of the campground’s pet rooster, we rolled out of Sun Valley, Arizona around 7am. But while doing our routine walk through of gear, we realized my rear inner tube had a slow leak. That makes flat number four for this trip! You’d think it would take a huge piece of debris or metal to cause a flat, but nope it was a very fine wire about a fourth of an inch long. Thankfully it didn’t do enough damage to my tire so I was able to keep it on and just replace my inner tube.
Since I-40 is the only road connecting towns (road that is paved!), we had to start our day off on it. For the majority of Thursday’s ride we were on the interstate, but it’s not like riding on the interstates in Florida or North Carolina (if that will ever be legal). People don’t fly by or buzz us, it’s almost like there’s a known respect to give us space on the shoulder. When we would approach towns the bicycle route would take us down through their business 40 and Route 66/Main Streets, which is a huge relief from dodging constant debris and watching for reckless drivers.
A few times we had to ride over some old roads with more patch jobs than original pavement; poor Dad was bouncing all around on his scooter. It’s definitely hard to keep a good pace going over so many bumps and holes, but we’ve ridden over much worse this trip (US-80 in Mississippi) so it didn’t wear us down nowhere near as bad.
Continuing on, the wind started picking up from the swift side breeze it was already providing, which was just an added challenge to the elevation gains. Stopping to refuel before entering another stent on I-40, we spotted a giant rabbit along Route 66 and couldn’t resist the opportunity for a fun photo-op!
We got lucky on I-40 and went through some road construction where we were able to stay on the right side of the cones, in the right lane instead of the shoulder. It definitely allowed for me to crank up the speed without having to worry about debris. Along this day’s route we rode into the town of Winslow! If any one can guess why this town is famous please comment, I’d love to see who knows why. Here’s a hint: Eagles. 🙂
A few more miles down the road I couldn’t believe it but my rear inner tube once again had a slow leak, with yet another small metal wire sticking out. Dad and I decided to just go ahead a replace the tire as well as the inner tube to add some extra protection. Taking another break from the wind and climbs, we ate a quick-lunch before getting back on 40. Due to the on ramp being re-paved, we had to go back through town five miles back and merge on there. Dad and I had to manuever with the traffic, construction cones, and new tar for the next eight miles, but made it through without any problems. The state troopers didn’t even seem to bat an eye as we passed by them; they must see a lot of cyclist! The tar did stick to my tires which turned them into wreath-like decorations, all covered in rocks! 😉
By now the wind was at full force, and only being 60 miles into our 114 mile day it was head down and push through mode. The gusts of wind were insane; I looked at the weather later that day and the wind stayed steady between 20-25mphs, with gusts up to 40mph! Battling such powerful wind, while climbing on I-40, watching for debris, and on being alert for reckless vehicles, is quite the challenge. To be honest it was tough, but it was never as physically taxing as going through surgeries, recovery, or getting hit by a car. By having those thoughts going through my head helped me push on; if I can make it through all of those setbacks, a little wind and climbs mean nothing. So if you all ever feel like you can’t push through a difficult day, just know it will make you stronger and also a better person!
Mom met us at a rest stop about twenty-five miles into our 45 miles on I-40 for a refuel stop, which was good for her too because driving an rv takes a lot of concentration! She’s done amazing so far and has continued to do so. 🙂
Mom getting ready to roll out for a day’s route 🙂
The next twenty miles was just like the last section, head down and push through mode. Dad was even getting thrashed on the road shoulder! A few times the wind pushed me so hard to the right Dad offered to give me a draft, but I started this trip with no intentions of “cheating.” So I just let him “draft” me. 🙂 It was definitely hard having to watch my average speed go down to 17.4mph due to the fact I was only going 15mph for this section!
Slight lean of the bike, a look at the debris, and Flagstaff mountains in the distance!
We finally got off I-40 and made it into Flagstaff where we had to finish with a steady climb over the last 10 miles. Dad loaded me up with a gel and root beer (drinking soda has been weird!) for a much-needed sugar boost. I have to admit I was tired when we reached the exit ramp off 40, but looking back I just see it as a building block for my next adventure. Dad and I were both so happy to finally see a descent down into downtown Flagstaff for the last miles. Mom was waiting for us in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel, clapping and cheering because we had finally made it to the night’s stop. After unloading and getting cleaned up we took our starving selves into the restaurant and had a really nice and relaxing meal (thanks for the gift cards y’all!). The rest of the night didn’t last long because we hit the hay early. 🙂
All in all it was a tough day but it was absolutely a great training day for future tough rides. 🙂 Thanks Mom & Dad!