Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Temp: 50's to 70's - Winds: 10-30 mph
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Temp:44 to 70 degrees - Cloudy/Winds: not much wind!
Miles Ridden Today: 72
We had a GREAT ride today! We left this morning in cloudy 44 degree weather - with a 40% chance of rain in the forecast. (However, no rain plagued us)! We immediately started climbing - and all day it was "up and down" the mountains...anywhere from a 4%-8% grade. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it was a challenge to some of us! The terrain was beautiful. We were on Route 66 for all but 5 miles of riding on Highway 25. Tracy told us this is the last of highway riding! We're done with the heavy traffic areas! All of us let out a huge shout at that news! I need to tell you that each day I get up I still have butterflies in my stomach - just not knowing what is ahead...but 4-5 miles into the ride it's forgotten and I'm zoned into the challenge of the day!
Today was the highest point of our ride: 7570 feet. We peaked at Glorieta Pass in northern NM in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. In 1862 a decisive battle in the New Mexico Campaign of the American Civil War took place in this pass. The victory by the Union Army (mostly of the Colorado Militia) prevented the breakout of the Confederate Army forces onto the High Plains...which halted the intended Confederate advance northward along the base of the Rocky Mountains. (Sorry to pepper you with so many facts...but you know I'm a history buff)!
Okay, you looked at the pictures above. A few days ago I challenged you to guess which animal I'd have my picture taken with next. Did any of you guess a buffalo? Poor guy didn't survive long enough for me to ride him! Lets see, how many animals is that so far? The second picture is of me with Amber Lynn Vacero, who is Miss Teen for Las Vegas. She and her parents were at the hotel serving hot dogs and hamburgers to raise money for her to participate in the Miss New Mexico Pageant. All of us supported her - even if we didn't eat!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Reporting on: Saturday, May 23, 2009
Riding Route: From
Elevation Climb: 5300 feet
Miles Ridden Yesterday: 66
Today we have a day off - and we really need it after the cold and windy climb to
We headed on up the mountain and had lunch at the Mine Shaft Tavern in
Just a few words on the Turquoise Trail. It’s a 65 mile National Scenic Byway that begins in the town of
Last night we had dinner at “The Cowgirl Hall of Fame” restaurant. One of our riders knew the owner – who put on quite a feast for us. Kim and Nick, our daughter and son-in-law lived here until recently – and have given us a list of several things to do. First trek today is a visit to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum…and then into town.
The forecast for the next three days is thunderstorms, wind and rain. We have 9 straight days of riding ahead of us before our next “day off”. That will be in
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Riding Route: From Grants NM to Albuquerque
Temp: 50-60 degrees - Winds:10 mph
Elevation Climb: 2700 feet
Miles Ridden Today: 75 (well, sort of)!
We were up at 5:30 am and walked about 1/3 mile to Denny's to have a Grand Slam breakfast! You can't believe how much I'm eating! Rain was in the forecast for the entire day and the hotel employees gave us shower caps to put over our helmets as we left in low 50 degree weather. Great idea, huh? It poured for the first hour! The roads were slippery, it was hard to see (especially for those of us with glasses) and our hands were c-o-l-d!
We completed about 30 miles on Route 66 - passing a few lost and forgotten towns! Traffic was minimal and it was an easy ride - especially when the rain eventually let up! (In fact it stopped after about an hour and we didn't feel another drop the rest of the day)! The picture above is typical of many of the buildings we have passed in the past several days. This is Budville! It was named for H.N. “Bud” Rice. The town began when Bud and his wife Flossie opened an automobile service, trading post, and tour operation in 1928. It was a full fledged business for the many travelers of Route 66 for many decades The store was held up by desperadoes in 1967 and unfortunately Bud was murdered. Flossie continued to run the family business for another 12 years before it closed for good. Now I can guarantee you "This Bud's NOT for you"!
After our first SAG stop we got back on Interstate 40 - BUT - there was road construction - and NO bikes were allowed! So we packed into the vans (6-8 at a time with the bikes on top) and were shuttled about 16 miles through the construction zone. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow! Tracy - our tour captain, did a great job! We then had 19 more miles on I40 and I have to tell you it just wore me out! We had a 2 foot riding area because the rest of the berm was like a washboard. You know - with the ruts in it to wake you up if you're dozing off! There seemed to be an inordinate amount of noise and smell from the big rigs - and they were traveling a 65+ mph about 2 feet from us...creating a draft that was a challenge to not get sucked into! Also, my legs just didn't have the same "juice" today!
The last 5 miles of the day were straight uphill - and as we crested the top we looked down into a huge valley...home of the largest city in New Mexico, Albuquerque! We rode through town and across the Rio Grande River! This is the second longest river in North America. It's second only in length to the Mississippi/Missouri River. We arrived at the hotel about 2:00.
We are losing 6 members of our riding team here. Many of our riders are still working full time - and 2 weeks was all the time they could take off! It's sad to see them leave us and I imagine it will change the dynamics our our group. Tonight a dozen+ of us went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant in "Old Town" to bid them farewell! We have a couple of people joining our group here - and we're looking forward to getting to know them.
Tomorrow will be a challenging ride up to Santa Fe, NM. I'll be reporting on our route up the Turquoise Trail!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Temp: Varied/Winds: Varied
Today we followed Rt 40 (Historic Rt 66) out of Flagstaff and did a long descent (well, some ups and downs along the way) into Holbrook, AZ. It was 44 degrees when we started our ride at 7 am - and by noon the temperature had risen to 98 degrees. That type of extreme makes it tough to know how to dress in the morning! Arm warmers to arm coolers! The 4 lane road was really good for about 80% of the ride. Then it all fell apart! Lots of debris, (okay, it might be exaggerated just a little, but we really had to keep our eyes on the road at all times)! cracks in the pavement etc. I helped 5 team members change flat tires today...may that be good tire karma for me! Champ (my roommate) had two more flats to make a total of five flat tires since leaving Manhattan Beach! I'm knocking on wood when I tell you I haven't had my first one! We had a good tailwind for about 60 miles which allowed us to average 20+ mph. That was the good news! At mile 70 we had a SAG stop - (at Jack Rabbit Trading Post) and when we looked south we saw HUGE thunder clouds coming our way. Champ and I decided to eat & drink fast and try to get to Holbrook before we were drenched. A few minutes later we had 25-30 mph winds coming from the side and a light rain began coming down. It was all we could do to keep our bikes upright and not be blown into the traffic! The last part of the trip we averaged 9 mph...a far cry from the 20 mph earlier in the day. A real test! But we made it!
We stopped in Winslow today - which some of you will remember because of Jackson Browne's song "Take it Easy" which was made famous by the popular rock group, "The Eagles." In that iconic song there is a line attributed to a hitchhiker who is standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona who sings "…when a girl, my lord, in a flat bed Ford slows down to take a look at me…". (If you know that one - we have some idea of your age)! The city has built a park featuring a six-foot tall bronze sculpture that depicts this fictional character. Yep, in the picture above is Champ and me... "standing on the corner in Winslow, AZ"!
Just a couple of things to share with you: All in all I felt very strong riding today! My bike worked perfectly after the repair...and my new shoes felt like slippers on my feet! It was amazing going from Flagstaff, where the pines were thick and the air was cool (reminded me of Lake Tahoe, CA - without the lake) to Holbrook, where it is high desert with lots of scrub brush! While we had 3100 feet of elevation climb today, we actually ended up dropping 2000 feet from Flagstaff (almost 7000 feet) to Holbrook (5000 feet). More tomorrow...on our "ride" to "Gallup" (pun intended)! By the way, all the dehydrated bikers are rehydrated and back on the road!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Riding Route:Highway 89 from Wickenburg to Prescott, AZ
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Reporting on: May 12, 2009
Riding Route: Interstate 10 from Indio, CA to Blythe, CA (on the AZ border)
Temperature: Up to 110 degrees/Winds up to 20 mph
Elevation Climb: 3200 feet
Miles ridden today: 100.4 (our first "century" ride)
Whew! What a day! We did 100 miles of Mojave Desert - and I felt every mile of it! It was 70 degrees when we started at 7:15 - 80 degrees by 8:00, 90 degrees by 10:00 and it continued on up! We did over 80 miles on Interstate 10 - with the other 20 miles on parallel roads. I've gotten use to the trucks and cars - they're not the problem. It's the debris on the berm that creates the problems for us: glass, tires, garbage, etc. We must keep our eyes on the road at all times! Two of our riders were taken to the hospital because of dehydration problems. They'll get IV's and be back on the road hopefully tomorrow or the next day.
We started our day at 7:15 a.m. Most of us would like to begin earlier, but our tour leaders won't allow it because it's the time of day that the glare is bad in the truckers eyes. The sun needs to be a little higher to make it safe. The picture above was taken at mile 80...and I still had 20 miles to go! I arrived at the hotel a few minutes after 3:00.
My good friend Steve Bates (of Bates and Bates) was supposed to ride with me yesterday and today. Our tour company wouldn't allow it at the last minute! He was ready and had trained for it. But there were so many problems crossing the desert last year that they decided not to let any guests participate in this part of the ride. I miss you Steve - but you can be thankful that you got a pass on this one!
There is a great spirit of camaraderie forming. The team is pulling together and each person is part of the supporting network. Each of us takes time to make sure the next person is doing okay as the day goes on. Our SAG team is wonderful! We stop mid-morning and mid-afternoon - and they have fruit, drinks, nutrition bars etc. for us. It was a day of gatoraid and electrolyte pills! I drank over 210 oz. of gatoraid from my camelback today - and kept tap water in my bottles to pour over my body. It was a full-on sunscreen day!
Just a note on the "elevation climb" statistic. It refers to the amount of elevation we accomplish each day. We go up and down hills - but this is the "up" climb we do. It refers to the hills. For instance, today we started out with a climb from -15 ft sea level to 1000 feet above sea level. It was an 11 mile ride up hill at a 7% grade. A good morning workout!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Picture taken on Sunday, May 10, 2009
Arriving at the hotel in Riverside, CA after my first day of riding! Hurray, I made it!
Reporting on: Monday, May 11, 2009
Riding Interstate 10 from Riverside, CA to Indio, CA
Temperature: 102 degrees/Winds up to 30 mph
Elevation Climb for the Day: 3300 feet
Miles Ridden: 84
Today we crossed the San Andres Fault line, went through Palm Springs, saw the windmill "farms" and hit the lowest point on our tour. Indio (where we are tonight) is 14' below sea level!
We left the hotel in Riverside at 7:00 a.m. I rode with the "fast" group and arrived at the hotel in Indio about 2:15...and mighty glad to be here! We had 2 major "hill climbs" today which consisted of our 3300 foot climb...not a problem! Let me tell you...there is a lot of sand out here. One refreshing thing was that we could see snow in the surrounding mountains! Probably the most interest thing of the day was that about 20 miles outside of Palm Springs the wind came up. And I mean up! Thank goodness it was at our back - and for quite awhile I didn't need to pedal the bike at all - and was going about 30 mph. There was a lot of road construction along the way...but we were lucky that their were some parallel roads along side of Interstate 10 that we were able to travel on.
All in all it was a great day! I do have to tell you that about 20 miles before Indio I stopped at a Del Taco (yea, really!) and went into the restroom and doused myself with water. That means my hat (I wear it under my helmet for sun protection), my arm "coolers" (yes, I started out with arm "warmers" the first day when it was only 60 degrees in Manhattan Beach -two totally different pieces of clothing!) and the rest of my body! I rested for about 15 minutes and was refreshed and ready to go.
Tomorrow is another long day in the desert. That means long sleeves (my arm coolers), a visor under my helmet (for head, neck & eye protection), water in and on the body at all times (got to keep the core temp down) and of course LOTS of sunscreen. I also need to drink more than 20 oz. of fluid every hour! They recommend every time we take a drink of water from our camelbacks that we reapply the sunscreen on our lips! UGH! Does than mean I have to stop often - NO! It will all evaporate out of my body! I hope I 'm able remember that 60 degree morning we left Manhattan Beach!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Wow, the day has finally arrived. We left Sacramento at 7:30 A.M. on Thursday morning. I was totally surprised by being met with all my neighbors being in front of the garage when the door was opened! Thank you Nancy and Gene for your efforts and the coffee and donuts that everyone enjoyed! What a wonderful sendoff - with well wishes from everyone! My special hat from Terri and Jesse truly set the stage for the all the things I need to remember! Thanks to everyone for their support. It's greatly appreciated!
Sunday morning we leave the hotel at 7:00 a.m. and head to Manhattan Beach Pier where we dip our rear tire in the Pacific Ocean. We have a group photo and then we're off to Riverside - our first stop on the trek. It's a 78 mile day. We had a 3 hour orientation meeting. I met the other 26 riders followed by dinner and getting acquainted. I've set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. for the first day activities!
- More later...