Southern Tier 2010

Day 8: Superior to Globe

Started: Sep 25, 2010 7:21:40
Ride Time: 2:21:03
Stopped Time: 1:24:06
Distance: 24.96 miles
Average: 10.62 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 45.03 miles/h
Climb: 3815 feet
Calories: 1289

Kept today short. Partly to give myself a little break, and partly because there’s fuck-all for the next 92 miles, which I will try to cover tomorrow. That’ll put me in Safford, which looks like a good place to spend the night, and positions me well for the next couple of days after that, which will involve a hell of a lot of climbing. I feel like I’ve gotten to the point in this ride where I need to map out my schedule many days in advance.

I’m also at the point where I’m looking at some of the climbing ahead of me and getting scared. I see myself getting into Silver City NM in three days, and crossing Emory Pass the day after. The climbing and descending there will make today seem like a cakewalk. My planned ride for two days from now looks like even more total climbing, but not as steep.

Today’s ride was up a 6% grade for 10 miles, followed by about 5 miles of equally steep descending. On the climbing sections, there was a passing lane most of the time. This worked out better than the shoulder, which generally wasn’t bad, but not as good as the travel lane.

I also rode through the notorious tunnel. I didn’t consider it a problem. The passing lane ran through it, so I wasn’t holding up traffic. It was loud, but that’s the worst I can say about it. It interrupted my GPS track, unsurprisingly, and I didn’t reset it for a couple of miles, so the number shown in the log is low.

That put me into the town of Top of the World, which I would say is aptly named if I didn’t know I’d be ascending another 3000 feet above it soon.

On the descending side, I really had no choice but to take over the one travel lane. The shoulder was inadequate, especially given that I was descending at 45 mph, and the steering overreacts with 26 lb of gear cantilevered out past my rear axle. Not all motorists were entirely cool with the delay I imposed. I’ve said that the trick to climbing on this trike is to be patient, and the trick to descending is to be relaxed. Some of the descending today tested my ability to stay relaxed. And I know there’s much steeper ahead. I’m concerned that if I ride the brakes too much, I’ll warp my rotors. It’s exciting to go fast, but i still want to be reasonably in control.

I haven’t had any AT&T coverage since I left the Phoenix area. I’ve been entirely reliant on wifi when it’s available, which isn’t as often as I’d like.

From what I’ve seen of Arizona so far, it seems as if almost all the money in the state is in the Phoenix area. The small towns seem really poor. From what I saw of it, Phoenix and all the surrounding towns seem very well groomed. And i had no idea how many of Arizona’s cities were just extensions of Phoenix—Mesa, Tempe, Surprise, Scottsdale, Peoria, El Mirage, and so on. They put their city names on the street sign so you know which city you’re in, because they just run together.



Look at those crazy choppers. I think they both had V8s from cars mounted transversely. And the rear wheel on the right one—completely insane

This was in Top of the World, Arizona, and the route is indeed very popular with bikers.

Day 7: Phoenix to Superior

Started: Sep 24, 2010 8:15:04
Ride Time: 6:22:42
Stopped Time: 1:53:04
Distance: 74.01 miles
Average: 11.60 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 97.40 miles/h
Climb: 6984 feet
Calories: 4819

A weird day. It took me more than 30 miles to get off of city streets with bike lanes in the Phoenix area. The riding was pleasant, but I didn’t really feel like the ride had started until I got onto country roads. Some of the ACA map routing through town was a little confusing especially the turn onto Bethany Home, which I managed to ride past twice.

The streets around Phoenix are all dead flat. Once I got outside of town, the climbing began. US 60 had a shoulder that varied between unrideable and excellent. There was massive rumble strip on parts of the road that I could not avoid on my trike, so I rode in the lane.

The road here wound through a couple of passes, so I could never really see the top. “Surely this is the top…nope.” It was slow going.

I made the dumb mistake of not topping off my water reservoir in Apache Junction when I had the chance. I figured I’d have another chance in Florence Junction. Nope. When I realized my mistake, I got very conservative with my hydrating, to stretch my reserves. They got me here, barely. I sucked the reservoir dry as I turned onto Main St.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot going on in Superior. There’s no AT&T service at all. All the local businesses and city services have automatic jokes for names. Superior Airport. Superior Wastewater Treatment.

My mom asked me if I’ve been eating enough, and while it sounds like stereotypical Jewish-mother stuff, it’s a real issue. I’m sure the calorie output estimates from my GPS are approximate at best, but I must be burning 3-6000 more calories than I would if I were sedentary. Finding food I can digest readily to be fuel for the next day and not to have it sitting like a rock in my guts is one problem. Being able to shove enough of it down my throat in one sitting is another. I made the decision to go off coffee for this ride, and so far that hasn’t come back to haunt me. No migraines.

Bike rest area in Mesa AZ

Bike rest area in Mesa AZ

This was a really interesting bike facility. Mesa has a bike lane that runs E-W for a very long way (which I rode), and they’ve installed one of these every couple miles so people can stop and get shade, a valuable commodity around here. Some also had water, I think.