Day 6: Salome to Phoenix

Started: Sep 23, 2010 6:44:43
Ride Time: 8:22:16
Stopped Time: 2:31:37
Distance: 111.31 miles
Average: 13.30 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 69.27 miles/h
Climb: 7555 feet
Calories: 5915

Another long day in the desert and my first century day on the tour. When I was studying today’s route last night, it looked like about 30 miles of climbing followed by 70 miles of descending.

I got off to an early start with the rising sun, and it was actually chilly, which lit a fire under me to ride faster and warm up. I also thought that I’d be able to get the climbing out of the way early, before the day heated up.

As it turns out, the first ~45 miles was climbing, and pretty grim. After I stopped in Wickenburg for lunch, my spirits improved considerably, and the grade changed in my favor, so I was able to whip along at 16 mph or better most of the way into Phoenix. By the time I was inside the urban area, i was ready to start taking it easy, and the canal bike path was just my speed—actually very nice to ride on.

I was on US 60 all the way into the metro area. Up until Wickenburg, it was a lightly-trafficked two-lane road. The shoulder was plenty wide, but often rough and debris-strewn, so I just rode in the travel lane. After Wickenburg, it turned into a 4-lane divided highway; the road was good but the shoulder was lousy. Motorists were less happy here about sharing the lane with me, and prudence required that I spend part of that leg on the shoulder. Closer to the metro area, the shoulder was excellent, and I could really crank it.

One I got into Sun City, I noticed houses on one side of the street had green lawns, while on the other they landscaped with rocks. I wondered if the lawns could be attributed to conspicuous consumption or hallucinatory midwesternism. I noticed other homes, closer in, that apparently landscape with cast-off miniature-golf course props, like windmills and wells. And I totally dig using saguaros for landscaping.

When I was planning this tour I imagined logging 100 miles a day, every day. Hahahahahahah. Oh, I crack myself up in hindsight. I heard there’s another guy who started a day ahead of me who had the same plan and at least for the first couple days was keeping to it. More power to it. Perhaps once I get past all these fucking mountains it’ll be easier to log 100-mile days. But I’ve got a hell of a lot of climbing before I get there.

Right now I’m at the home of an old friend from Austin, Carlos. It’s an important opportunity to do some laundry and fix a couple minor issues I’ve been having. Plus a valuable chance to catch up.

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