Three Way, AZ to Silver City, NM
5800 ft of climbing
I want to start by correcting my final thought from Sunday's post. I didn't really mean Silver City or bust. If I had to walk on my hands for a mile a day I would have continued to Silver City.
Fortunately though, I write this after waking from nine glorious hours of air conditioned sleep in Silver City, NM.
We're in our third state now with over 750 miles and over 26000' of climbing behind us. We have traveled just shy of one quarter of the total distance but have over sixty percent of the climbing done.
Yesterday started with the sun shining on our tent and taking the temperature from somewhere in the high sixties to the high eighties in minutes. Because Arizona is the state furthest West in the Mountain Time Zone, but not observing Daylight Savings Time, it is, during DST, the state furthest East on Pacific Savings Time. That means dawn is around 5:00 AM.
We woke and made coffee and struck camp. We knew our toughest climb yet was coming with a 6300' pass in the Big Lue Mountains just 14 miles up the road.
We weren't really in the mood for freeze dried eggs and wanted to get cranks turning so we passed on Mexican omelets and hit the road.
Our campsite was a couple of miles off route so we rode back up to Three Way, and the store where we got the tip on camping. I started my day with a 540 calorie cinnamon roll, a 720 calorie muffin, two Starbucks double shots, another cup of coffee, and plenty of water. Since we knew the next water was 47 miles down the road, we each filled one of our extra two litre bottles. That gave us four litres and eight pounds each of water.
We rolled away from the junction (for which Three Way was named) and immediately began up a shallow two percent grade. You can even feel two percent on a sixty something pound bike. The climb began getting steep several miles down the road but even though the going is slower, I find it much easier to get into a rhythm at seven percent and above. As we neared the pass the grade steepened. At five miles from the pass we had 2000' left to climb. 1500' the last three miles and 1000' the last two miles. That meant an average grade of just around ten percent the last three miles. It felt great!
We summited and rode big rollers to Buckhorn.
In Buckhorn we stopped at the store and had a pizza and drank a couple of litres of iced tea and water. There were a couple of fellows there, on motorcyles, enjoying a cold one before they hit the road again.
They were Jim and Derrick and were on their way back from riding in Mexico for a couple of weeks. We exchanged stories about our experiences and then Derrick asked if we were sponsored being on such an epic journey. We told him no but we were riding for a cause. They were interested to hear about it. Just as we began telling them about Livestrong, and me about Deidre, a man and woman drove up. The woman went in the store and the man stayed to talk. He told us she was his wife and was fighting cancer right now. Jim then told us his girlfriend's mother was fighting cancer. Everyone wanted a card from us. All I could do is provide them the blogsite address.
When it comes to life, death, and love, we are all the same.
We eventually said our goodbyes wishing each other luck and safe travels. On down the road we went.
We rode fast and with the wind at our backs for the next twenty miles. Then began the final climb of the day. The final pass was almost as high as the first of the day but the climb was a much shallower average grade. Coming almost seventy miles in it was one of those two hour grinds where your head is down, music is playing in your ear (I only ever listen in one ear and it's the side away from traffic) and you concentrate on your breathing and pedalling rhythm.
The final summit was a welcome sight. Tuesday we'll go downtown and find a place for coffee and internet so we can post some pictures.
More to come.