September 26, 2010

Day 9: Globe to Safford

Started: Sep 26, 2010 8:14:19
Ride Time: 6:34:19
Stopped Time: 1:00:09
Distance: 79.90 miles
Average: 12.16 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 73.58 miles/h
Climb: 17746 feet
Calories: 4065

Again you may note some wonkiness in the GPS data above. I did get up to a very high speed on a long, straight downhill riding out of Globe to Peridot, which is in a giant basin. Climbing back out, I saw hillsides covered in saguaros, something I haven’t seen before. There was a whole lot of nothing between my two endpoints today. Bylas is a town in an Apache reservation, and about as depressed as one might imagine. The adjacent town of Geronimo is a ghost town. It was Sunday, so the town of Fort Thomas was closed. Safford is half-closed.

Apart from heat, I’ve had pretty good weather this ride. Today was my first day of sustained headwinds, which are demoralizing. I also had two flats—one from a thorn that still has a nub embedded in the tire, one from a source I couldn’t find. So they both may cause additional flats.

All of this may explain the fact that I am feeling negative about this undertaking. When I encountered my fellow Southern Tier riders in Palo Verde after crossing the desert, one of them said something like “I’m starting to think the real challenge is mental.” I replied “I don’t know, it’s feeling like a physical challenge right now.” I’m starting to see her point. This tour was an expensive indulgence, but it was important to me. Right now it’s not making me feel happy or fulfilled, only homesick and incredibly tired.

When I started the tour, I was mostly worried that a mechanical or physical failure would scupper it. So far I’ve been free of the joint pains, chafing, etc that had worried me. So I feel more confident right now that I can make it all the way to the Atlantic. The question I’m asking is whether I want to. Perhaps after I’m past the very intimidating hill climbing still ahead I’ll feel differently. And I’m sure that lots of people who attempt this go through moments of doubt. But right now, this is feeling like a slog. And tomorrow will be as long as today, but with a lot more climbing.