PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 8, Sunday, September 17
To: Ruidoso, NM; 105 miles

Easy pace, Mild crosswind and tailwind; tough climbing last 20 miles
Riding Time: 7:38:14; Avg Speed: 13.6 mph; Max Speed: 39.4 mph

Two major climbs then it was steeply rolling 8-9% grades in the last 10 miles



With another cool dawn start we had perfectly sunny skies that warmed quickly to the mid 70's and a mild wind that was most crosswinds in the morning then behind us in the afternoon.

Just after the second SAG stop at 52 miles


My plan for today and tomorrow was to rest. That is, rest as much as possible while still riding a hundred miles and climbing over mountain ridges. By lowering the intensity and slowing the pace, a cyclist can recover on the bike; so by riding hard for several consecutive days then easy for a day or two I should actually get stronger as the tour goes on.

For me riding fast and hard is fun, going slow is not; and fortunately I feel much better at this point in the tour than I imagined - just some mild muscle soreness and manageable saddle sores. But I've ridden 830 miles (more than 3 times my training volume) over very challenging terrain in the first seven days. Even without noticeable symptoms my immune system is weakened. So its probably best if I (a Florida flatlander) error on the side of caution and take two days in the slow lane.

Second SAG stop at 50 miles an 6700 ft elevation


At the last SAG stop I asked one of our female riders what was wrong as she was in street clothes. She said she was hospitalized last night with "water intoxication". Her kidneys were not working properly to flush water from her system and as a result her body retained water and swelled up. After an IV and prescription drug she is feeling better today and rode the first 20 miles. Apparently, this is related to high altitude and the last three days we have ridden at 7000 ft and yesterday we were over 8000 ft.

Me rolling easy while descending at 55 miles,


Dan and I at the lava fields (69 miles and 5420 ft elevation)


I did two things today that I hadn't yet done on this tour: ride with someone from start to finish and take every opportunity to ride easily. I had a great time riding and chatting with my friend Dan who I met at the Wisconsin Training camp in 2005.

Dan and I getting back underway after the lunch stop at 78 miles


Just after lunch, while riding behind Dan, I noticed that his rear wheel was out-of-true. On closer inspection at the end of the ride we found the rim had split around one of the spoke holes and, in fact, was wobbling so badly that it was rubbing hard on the brake pad. It cannot be fixed, so Dan bought a rear wheel from PAC Tour.

At the last SAG stop (91 miles) Dan on an 8-9% grade at about 95 miles
Dan climbed very strong today despite his broken wheel


Despite taking it easy today, Dan and I finished in the middle of the pack.

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