Saturday, April 11, 2015

Globe to Show Low

Today promised to be one of our most difficult rides.  The Strava summary says it all:

We got off to a rocky start. Since we had no riders joining us and we somehow managed to be up and ready before our planned 8 am start, we tried to leave around 7:30.  However, as Don rolled his bike out he discovered a broken spoke. That's number two  for him! I gave him my spare wheel, we tinkered around a bit, and then Don suggested I head out solo and he would leap frog with the van to catch up.

So I rolled out around 7:50 and enjoyed the solitude of riding solo. This was my first solo ride of the trip. Even on my reconnaissance ride in California I ended up riding with a new friend. But this morning it was just me, my bike, the hills and a gentle tail wind.

I set a steady pace and rode away taking in the sites, the changing terrain, the caution signs that warned, "watch out for wild animals over the next 76 miles".  No Starbucks on  this route.

Eventually I met up with Don and we enjoyed some good miles together.  Our descent down to the Salt River was  spectacular.  I was captured in the moment, taking everything in and trusting that all parts of my bike would stay together. Sean's fall is still fresh in my mind but I still somehow managed top speeds over 43 MPH. Scary. But exhilarating.

As we climbed out of the canyon Don and I were both amazed at how quickly we seemed to be gaining elevation. I think the spectacular views  made you forget that you were climbing.

We enjoyed a satisfying lunch at mile 46 but were both a bit worried knowing we still had quite a bit of climbing ahead of us.

Somehow, the miles disappeared one after and as we got within 25 miles of Show Low, we saw a cyclist climbing the other way. He saluted us then turned around to join us. This was Mike (Geek on a  Bike) Kunnecke who rode in from Vernon, Az (20 miles East of Show Low) just to greet us and guide us in. He apologized at not being able to bring more riders. One rider though was plenty and Mike made our day! He warned me about every false summit along the way and shared many colorful  stories.

Photo with Mike and Don:

I would summarize that today was the most spectacular day yet. The roads were great, the scenery was absolutely fabulous, and our spirits were high.

Our ride was followed by an attempt at doing laundry in a real machine instead of a sink! I managed to throw my dirty clothes in a dryer and it was halfway through the cycle before I realized what I had done. In the end I dug up some more quarters and got things right but am worried that I might not fit into my cycling clothes next time I ride.

Here is a collection of photos taken by Dennis who was proven to be not just a great driver, but also a great photographer.


  1. Beautiful!! Keep up the posts, I look forward to reading them every day!!

  2. The roads to Slo Mo were much more favorable then the previous day and the views were spectacular. My day started with broken spoke, and knowing it was going to be a long, hard day, I didn't want to hold up Dave. He got underway and I soon followed. Dennis caught up with me at mile 12.5, I hopped in van and we leap frogged Dave. Dave and I rode through the Salt River canyon, and all I can say is "wow", so scenic. We stopped at an overlook on our initial descent into the canyon and marveled at the views of the windy road down to the small bridge at the bottom of the canyon, and then the road climbing out the other side of the canyon. I just started laughing, seeing what we had in store for us. The descend down was a sheer joy but the climb began abruptly after the bridge, with an immediate temp change, going from winter coolness to summer heat instantaneously. Not yet realizing that my insulin pump failed, the climb started getting harder and harder for me even through it was mostly just a nice steady 6%. At the top of canyon, I then realized what was going on, switched out my infusion set, did some extra insulin. It took awhile for my blood sugars to normalize. so I utilized and then hopped in the van a second time to allow my blood sugar to normalize.
    It was a surprise and boost to our spirits to see Mike, "geek on a bike" riding out to intercept us some 23 miles out from Slow Low. I was still hurting so I skipped the next climb, and did another leap frog segment in the SAG, thank you Dennis! I got out of the SAG ahead of Dave and Mike and proceeded to play rabbit on the rollers into town. I was caught on the out skirts of town and we all rode in together. Felt a bit of a poser today but I'll dismiss that due to the unforeseen pump issue. Overall, a very memorable day.

  3. Great summary of a big day! I like how you keep calling Show Low different names -- Slo Mo, and then Slow Low. I'm sure the denizens of that city probably have a few more nicknames of their own!