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