PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 3, Tuesday, September 12
To: Wickenburg, AZ; 116 miles

Early rain, mild headwinds, not as hot.
Riding Time: 7:42:05; Avg Speed: 15.0 mph

Gentle steady climbing, then a nice shallow descent into Wickenburg AZ



I can't decide which is worse: lightening, rain, or strong headwinds. Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter since at the start today we had all three. At our outdoor breakfast an ominous looking storm brewed with lightening illuminating the pre-dawn sky to our east - the direction we would be heading. It started to rain shortly after mounting my bike and winds whipped up to a stiff 20+ mph in our face. Fortunately though, we didn't get too wet as much of the rain evaporates before hitting the ground here in the desert (as the photo below illustrates).

Rain showers about 20 miles into Arizona. Much of the rain evaporates before reaching the ground Desert agriculture. Gary caught me just after I stopped to take this picture at mile 95. We rode to the finish together again today.

We crossed into Arizona in the first few miles this morning. Then took interstate I-10 32 miles. Here in the west cyclists are permitted on interstate roads when there is no alternative route. It was perfectly safe as we rode on a wide smooth shoulder and traffic seemed light. By the time we turned off I-10 onto route 60 east the weather had cleared for a sunny and increasingly hot 80 miles all the way to Wickenburg. Although temperatures hovered in around 100F today, it seemed noticeably less hot than yesterday.

The roads have generally been very smooth so far except for the first few miles after leaving El Centro on day 2 (very rough) and today for the first 40 miles of route 60 (mildly rough).

A wet head is a happy head in extreme heat. Taken at 82 miles
SAG stop at 104 miles


I rode with various small groups today with several stretches riding alone. Thankfully my stomach issues of the past few days did not reoccur. Apparently I was electrolyte deficient yesterday since taking three electrolyte pills at every SAG stop and eating more salty chips today solved this problem.

On a tour like this, experiences constantly remind me how important it is to get all the details right. Being on the bike for 6 to 9 hours each day has a way of finding your weaknesses. Be it a slight error in bike fit, nutritional deficiencies or excesses, insufficient training or rest, etc. Get a detail wrong and you suffer. Consider yourself lucky if you have a problem that is temporary and reversible (like my stomach problem), and unlucky if the problem spirals out-of-control and sends you home.

Tomorrow should be cooler with lots more climbing. It was advertised to have 7000 ft of climbing, but the route sheet says its 8500 ft. Hmmm ... it could be a tough day.

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