PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 6, Friday, September 15
To: Springerville, AZ; 122 miles

Strong crosswinds then brutal headwinds last 30 miles
Riding Time: 8:14:41; Avg Speed: 14.5 mph

Rolling terrain with an upward trend steepening in the last 20 miles

 

At Saint Johns we turned more directly into the wind while climbing a net elevation gain of 1400 ft in the last 30 miles.

 

We left Winslow under sunny skies and just cold enough for a light jacket, but by the first SAG stop most jackets were off. Although I was among the first few there, I just wanted to ride a moderate to light pace today due to the very long day tomorrow. The forecast was for strong headwinds from the S to SW, so I left the SAG quickly while the winds were still relatively light. Walter had similar intentions so we left together.

Walter at 50 miles on Rt 180. The terrain was arid grasslands all day

 

Walther and I have similar riding styles so we worked well together setting a nice moderate pace. By the time we made it to the second SAG at 54 miles we had 20+ mph crosswinds.

We were first to the lunch stop and although spent a short time there, I really ate too much. For all but the last 5 miles, I felt bloated and at times had mild stomach cramps.

Walter and I at 82 miles  

 

Me at 89 miles near St. Johns Arizona

 

At 93 miles out made a turn into the 20-30 mph wind and had our noses in the wind for the last 30 miles to the finish. Brutal! At times we were managing just 15 mph downhill.

Walter qualified for the Race Across America last year by riding 480 miles solo in a sactioned 24-hour race. Today he was a powerhouse and pulled more than I in the afternoon. Between the 100 and 110 mile points, when I felt the worst, Walter dropped me on a few climbs and soft pedaled while descending so I could catch-up.

At 5 miles to the finish I started to feel better and resume pulling. Entering Springerville the sight of our hotel was such a blessing. As we rolled in was surprised to find both the Motel truck and the Lunch truck. It is very rare for the lunch truck to beat the first riders in. That only occurs when there is very difficult terrain or a very strong tailwind after lunch. Today we had both.

So as captain of the Lunch crew Susan was anxious to see who would arrive first. As I rolled into the parking lot with Walter just behind and she was quick to spot us and enthusiastically said "Riders in ... and Tom Jordan takes the stage!". I told her that truthfully Walter deserved the stage win. She carried on for some time insisting the I was the winner while simultaneously expressing great surprise about it. I didn't mind the attention, but started to take mild offense to her amazement. But, after thinking about it for a while I was pretty surprised too.

Me and Walter at the finish The first finishers of the day get their picture taken holding the official PAC Tour map.

 

Tomorrow we have one of the longest and toughest days of the tour.

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