We had a superb day today.. We were met in the parking lot by Rick Wilt, Mark Stratz, and John Holmstul (domestique exemplaire!). Mark planned to ride with us all the way to Globe, John planned to ride out to our first rest stop (35 miles) , Rick planned to ride out to about 20 miles.
We put Rick to work on the first part of the ride and he expertly guided us on our way up to Hwy 60.
We were out only about 2-3 miles when Don's wheel dropped in a crack in the road. I had visions of another fall but he was able to pop out and the only damage was a bit of wasted adrenaline in both our blood.
Our short break at mile 35 was intended to be just a water break but it happened to be near a cafe and we couldn't resist the draw of Latte's and good coffee. So we sat around, relaxed and chatted with other customers. I handed out several HAA cards.
I also took advantage of the break to have John and Mark say a few words to Sean. Here's a compressed video of the two 'interviews':
Our nice coffee break was followed by the some good climbs. John decided to ride on but planned to turn back at mile 50. Mile 50 came and went and eventually the 4 of us (John included!) found ourselves at mile 56 for lunch. Despite the fact that John now needed to ride 56 miles back to Chandler, he had braved the wind for most of the ride.
Here's a short sample of our ride:
We had forgotten to ask Mark and John if they wanted anything ordered for them and the small mining town we were in (Superior) didn't seem to have much going on downtown. So Don, Dennis (our driver) and I all shared our sandwiches and we had a great filling communal meal. Instant friendship!
After lunch we experienced the real climbs of the day. Beautiful scenery, a tailwind, and refreshingly cool weather was at our hands. The only issue was that once I hit Globe, my GPS track took me off of Hwy 60 to an old wooden bridge that looked like it was ready to collapse. The signs on it read "Closed to all traffic"and that was enough to convince me to turn around. Despite no cell phone coverage I thought it would be a piece of cake to find the hotel but I kept second guessing myself, not realizing how long Globe was. So I found a shaded spot and when Don came by, all smiles we rode in together. Don had spoken with Dennis who said you can't miss the hotel and in fact had parked the van on the corner. But as we both rode on and reached a bridge that looked like the passage way to Show Low, we stopped again and called Dennis. Kudos to AT&T (Don) and Verizon (Dennis) for having coverage. Wish I could say the same for T-Mobile. Dennis simply told us to stop being lazy and keep pedaling! The hotel was just past the corner after the bridge.
So we made it there by 3pm. Not bad!
Mark's wife Heather and their daughters Ula and Ushi arrived shortly after, ready to cart Mark and his bike home. Instead we all went out to a local Mexican restaurant for some good nutrition. Their kids reminded me so much of my daughters, 20 years ago...it was uncanny. We had a great time. Aubrey, if you're reading this, for the record, I have met another two year old judge!
And now it's time to work on tomorrow's 8am ride. It's going to be a big one with 9,865 feet of vertical climbing.