California to Quartzite Arizona
The day started with a flat 20 mile cruise through beautiful farm country. I was the last out of camp and I was swept by the Trail Boss for most of the first 20 miles. We had a fun conversation. She is not only a Trail Boss, but also a talented writer and author. Our conversation was engaging and interesting. At one point we stopped to take a closer look at the crops we were seeing along side the road. I was amazed to discover they grow cotton in the Palo Verde valley. The next leg was a 10 mile climb on I-10 at a constant 5/6% grade. We exited the freeway at the summit and took a pleasant less traveled county road into our destination for the day, Quartzite, AZ. Yes, I have left California behind and I am now in Arizona, land of guns and burritos.
Yesterday when I arrived in camp I had no feeling in my right foot and my right knee was sore. This is very concerning to say the least. I took Advil and went to bed worried about the next day. Well, I’m not the sharpest stick in the wood pile, but about half way thru the day it dawned on me what was going on. I’ve been mashing the right pedal more than the left. Once I realized what I was doing I was able to start putting more pressure on the left. I am confident this is going make a huge difference. My knee and foot felt better when I arrived in camp tonight.
I haven’t been getting enough carbs and protein in the camp meals, so I have been supplementing with stops during the day where I can pull them off. Today I pulled into a Love’s Truck Stop about 2 miles from our camp and some nice folks had set up a hot dog and hamburger stand to benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I had a Dr. Pepper and a hot dog with the works, and the two together were damn good. I also picked up some IPAs on the way in to camp. Before I got to camp, only a quarter mile away, I had the mother of all flats. A twisted hunk of 10 gauge wire got caught in my wheel and punctured the side wall of the tire and exited through the top of the tire, puncturing the tube in two places. It almost took off my fenders! Fortunately the PDW Fenders have break-away struts and I was able to attach them easily. I put in a new tube, but while I was fixing the flat the last four riders passed me. It’s not a race. I will probably be the last one in to camp more often than not.
This kind of cycling can be excruciatingly hard, but at the same time, there is a sense of reward and empowerment that is difficult to describe. I’m confident that everyone on this tour feels the same way I do. It’s why we ride.