Beauty & The Beast

Today was truly magnificent in every way imaginable. Our 77 mile ride started out cold in the 30’s and then got brisk, then crisp, and turned into a pleasant 70 ish. The roads  were the most enjoyable and quite and today was a true gem. Speaking of gems the early morning light bounce off the Mica in the roadside rocks and glistened like diamonds. Quite the sparkling light show just a few feet along the road side. I’ve never seen this before and it was the beginning to a magnificent day. What an honor riding a bike thru this historic Indian land. 

Well except for the first dog chase. Yep old Fido came a charging as I was  in the lead of our 5 man peleton I knew he wasn’t going for flesh so I let him gain ground and start to close in. Just within perfect range, I timed a water bottle squirt right in his growling barking puss. With a look of surprise and shock he backed down and it was hasta la vista Fido.

The next highlight was a stop at a small market with a very modest compound of old Adobe buildings. We met and talked to the owner who’s family had built and run the business since the 40’s. It turns out that Earnest Hemingway holed up there back in the 50’s while he finished writing The Old Man and the Sea.(  See photo )how amazing that we just happened to stop at this run down place only to find out its history 

The whole day just kept getting better. But what’s the beast you ask. It was another stint of 36 miles of riding the Interstate  (see photo.)  Maybe we are getting used to 45 ton semi trailer trucks screaming by at 65-75 mile an hour. But it was the best freeway portion so far. We are told tomorrow is now our LAST interstate riding and it’s short,  like 5 miles. As a cyclist cruising along between 21-24 mph with a heart rate of 110 BPM is like a party ! So today’s interstate session wasn’t bad. The shoulder was actually very nice riding.

The scenery and riding today was truly magnificent. Other highlights, we crossed the Rio Grande which was a muddy chocolate mess. Another highlight, NO flat tires in our group, a first for sure. I can’t tell you how many flats between the whole group of 21 riders but it’s crazy many of us are already on our second set of new tires as well. 

The quote of the day comes from Lou from Charlotte. After we leave the plaza in Albuquerque where we stopped for coffee. A woman comes up and asked the daily question, ” excuse me where are you going and where did you start?” Lou later comments ” I can’t believe how much of a spectacle we are every where we go “. Classic it’s really is like we are a rolling circus. 

I’m having some posting delays so 2 posts so far have been a day behind sorry. Good night from Albuquerque where crime and drug addictions apparently are the rage. I’m learning so many interesting travel facts ! Cheers. 

Get your kicks on Route 66

Before I fill you in on today’s antics, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has donated. Your donations, big and small all mean a great deal to me as well as everyone at Team Godfather Charitable Foundation. 

And speaking of our foundation are you going to the Team Godfather – Nine Wine and Dine golf event?  We have a special group of ladies who work their tails off to put this on. And can they throw a fun event. Please if you are  in San Diego and want to sign up, go to our website. This is as really fun woman’s golf outing with a dinner to follow. Guys, join your wives and girlfriends for a really fun party. Thanks. And thanks for helping make a difference to the world of ALS. Together with golf clubs in hand you can help fund ALS medical research. 

Ok so today’s ride was a little like Custers last stand. The Navajo & Suni Indian gods did their best to blow us back to Arizona. Oh did I mention cold, it’s May isn’t it ? Wow a full day of cold headwinds sure lengthened our ” easy” 65 mile day. We kept our pace line tight and pulls at the front short, but it was a hard battle. One of our riders, Chuck is back doing this tour for his third time. He says today’s ride was his hardest, mile for mile that he’s done ! It wasn’t THAT bad but it was tough. A DQ stop with 6 miles left helped jolt a sugar rush into Grants NM. Say goodnight Gallup and hello Grants. Highlights of the day included WIDE open spaces, a wild pack of dogs road side and some beautiful scenery. We’ve passed the Petrofied Forest and Painted Rock Sate parks but no time to sight see on this cattle drive. We crossed the Continetal Divide which wasn’t much of an event honestly. 

Another amazing thing around these parts are the freight trains ! Like a steady stream of them constantly. Some of them I swear are a full mile long with 5 locomotives. It’s incredible. I took a photo from tonight’s room and you will see it includes one such train. Oh and tonight’s room feature, not an oil change business, nope tonight’s is a car wash ! 

So, if you ever want to motor west, take the highway that’s the best and get your kicks on Route 66. Or something like that. 

I can’t seem to post my pictures in any logical order nor add comments. It’s an age challenge thing I guess. But enjoy the ride 

Good bye Arizona

No one was happier than me to get out of Dodge, as I didn’t wear Arizona well. I was so looking forward to crossing the state line and putting Az behind. Today’s ride was a 93 mile journey and once again almost entirely on interstate freeway!  We’ve done almost the majority of riding on them and that is supposed to be over tomorrow. 😳

So spirits were high when we reached the border of New Mexico. Although getting there was a slog, the winds were strong and crossed to semi head on. I left the hotel hoping today would be the break away from Mr chest cold. What we saw all morning in the distance was rain in every direction, so we knew we’d be getting wet. No big if it stays warm but little did we know what we were in for ! 

Yep enter another adventure for the books. We have our little state line ceremony of sprinkling pacific beach sand at the border. Then we take some photos and start maybe 1 mile into the Land of Enchantment  when the drops start. The drops quickly turn into a steady rain which turns into torrential downpour.  Then the bottom falls out on the mercury and temps begin to plummet. So now the rain turns to sleet and hail   The freeway shoulder is screaming with flooding waters while the constant stream of 18 wheelers roar within feet of us. That part were now used to but people start getting really cold !!! All while this hail sleet stuff is pelting your kisser. So finally we limp into the New Mexico Welcome Center right off 1-40. The temperature went from 80 to 39 and the wind chill was wicked bad. Fast forward a rescue van ride from our sag vehicles into town for our finish up with heaters wailing and people with the shivering chills.  

The forecast calls for 3 -4 days of rains thunder showers and WINDY ! Welcome to Enchantment Mr McCauley. Maybe Arizona wasn’t that bad after all. 

Now for the quote of the day from our new friends from abroad. I asked what time we’d be meeting somewhere today. The reply “round hauulf ten”. So I reply what’s that at 5 or 10:30 !  Gotta love these Brits. Another day for the books. Cheerio

Photo notes. Since when do Tepees  have windows, doors and security bars ?  No I didn’t buy any of the cactus candy or jelly ! 

Standing on the Corner…

The best part about being there is as you stand there taking it all in, you can hear the Eagles music coming out of the corner store. Winslow Az it’s really very cool. Today’s highlight was the corner. Today’s low light was I took the day off as I’m still fighting the chest cold. I rode the sag wagon but I’m trying to be cautious as there’s plenty of country left to ride. Oh and one more low light, we are in Holbrook Az. You might scratch it off your bucket list of sights to see. Keep on driving if you are near here. Check out the cool painted building behind the statue in the photo. 

The magic of Sedona

The morning ride leaving Cottonwood behind was nice as we rolled thru some agricultural lands heading towards the distant red rocks. After a nice gentle  climb we started to see the magic unfold. WOW riding right below the red spirals and formations was spectacular. We stopped at a coffee shop in town and took in the views all around, it was really amazing. Next up we started into Oak Creek Canyon and the rocks towered us on each side. It was hard concentrating on the road with the views but the road was tight !  Oak Creek Canyon is beautiful and a really great climb. We climbed up to a sag stop in the pine trees and cool air. After the stop it was roller coaster time all the way into the traffic of Flagstaff. We got here on graduation day at NAU so the towns super busy. The last time I was in Flag was maybe 41 years ago, it’s gown up !  Not the funky old hippie & Navajo outpost I remembered. 

Mellow Thursday Prescott to Jerome to Cottonwood 

So Prescott is a very cool town with a fun semi Mt vibe. I leaned it’s pronounced Preskitt and only tourist call it Prescott. Our hotel was really nice, maybe the nicest so far. More on tonight’s hotel later ! I had the pleasure of seeing friends ( Jess & Bryan ) who drove up from Phoenix to meet me for dinner. It was nice seeing familiar faces and good to get out and away from my new tribe. 

Today was our shortest day and I’m feeling a little throat tickle so I took it slow and easy, pretty much the slow dog noodle. I took some photos at the 7100 ft elevation sag stop up in the pine trees and cool air. From there it’s a bomber downhill right into Jerome. The day was short so we stopped for our first lunch at the Haunted Hamburger. Kind of cool spot with a distant view over to the red rocks of Sedona and the snow capped peak further in Flagstaff. The temps jacked up again coming down into this old historic mining town. 

Then another bombshell downhiller to Cottonwood, where again the temps rose. Kind of like descending down into a furnace. 

Ok tonight’s hotel : 

So I can’t say I’ve ever been bitten by bedbugs but I’m thinking of sleeping in a couple of Hefty trash bags tonight. I don’t think I’ll Yelp this dump hotel for fear of what I might find. So far every hotel has been really nice, well by my standards anyway, right honey.

Here’s a picture of the view from my room. Yep, I can see right into both bays at Oil Can Henry’s Lube. If anyone’s in the Cottonwood Az. area and wants to know if there’s a wait for an oil change just text me.

Yesterday favorite quote : 

We walk over to a Blimpy sub joint and I order. Standing next to me is Howard who now figures it’s easiest to order by just saying, ” I’ll hove whit eeess havin” so he points at my sub and say yeah same bread cheese Etc. Then asks ” dooes it come with the crips ?”. The semi toothless sandwich maker replies ” What ? “. So I told him yes the special includes potatoe chips.

I’ll post up some photos then I have to flip my mattress. !!! 

Wickenburg to Prescott

We had a super fun day today. It got warm for awhile, 102 degrees but the ride was awesome, 59 miles with 6300 feet of climbing. Arrived early in Prescott which gave us some nice free time. I’m going to try and post more photos.

The last one is a photo is my new bike, with 4 wheels I should keep the crashes in check. Another is today with out group dressed in desert heat wear. Yesterday’s damage minus the elbow shots 

Rough start to a tough day…

I’ll summarize today with first, the box scores. 3 crashes, 5 flat tires and 116 miles in temps topping out at 104. No those aren’t the group stats, those are mine! Pretty much the single hardest day I’ve ever had on a bicycle. Another rider didn’t fare as well as we have our  second ER visitor in 2 days. I escaped all 3 crashes fairly well considering 2 of the 3 were at 17 mph plus and hard ones. 

Needless to say, my day didn’t play out as I had planned. As we left Blyth from the hotel I was planning on riding today in our top group, with the idea that a faster ride gets you more recovery time at night. So at mile #3 I flat and the group continues ahead as I’d catch them at the first sag stop. Well so much for that plan, I immediately flat again, and by the time I’m back in the saddle, I figure I’m 20 – 25 minutes behind the main group, a mix of some second group riders and hopefully the top group boys. So I start a straight 7 mile climb but keep telling myself to stay within myself and not try and burn too hard cuz today long. I have my strategy and I figure I have 3 aces in my hand and the group holds 1, a pace line. I tell myself if and when they do their first group potty stop and I don’t stop at all, I’ll pick up 8-12 minutes, easy peasy  Plus I love to climb and I know some of them drag anchors up hill, so ace #2 in my favor. My last thought is, I’m riding with aero bars and they worked for Greg Lemond at the tour when he rope a dopped Laurent Finon. ( sp ) and left him crumbled in a sweating pile of despair and embarrassment. take that pony tailed Frenchie. So off I go and the support crew at the first rest stop tells me they all stopped in, took care of their business and I was 4 minutes behind. So I take the climb, telling myself not to go rector or anything. Ok  then up the road as I pull into the first sag and figure if they aren’t there I’ll only top off water bottles and skidaddle. So as I pull in my leg gets a little hung up in the stupid flags we have to ride with and I put my shoe down and slip on the asphalt with my cleat. A slow fall, no harm. But now I’m getting into this fox and hound chase, so I take the next 10 mile climb fairly aggressive but knowing not to blow myself up. I pass about 10-12 of our snail riders ( 3rd group riders). As I go over the summit and hit a super long flat, ok its aero bar time, don’t fail me now. I’m riding a steady 17-23 mph and keeping my heart rate right at 126. All systems go, Im in the chase and start to smell myself reeling  them in. Until, I plow head on into the temporary road construction sign placed right in the bike path, WHAM I’m going south in a nano second. I took a good fall and left a divot in the sandy gravel shoulder. I’m now cheese grated on my right side 

After a quick gut check I head off again still knowing I’m going to catch these buggers. Then I see the first guy come into view, I tell myself, victory is eminent I see one of them up  about 1/2 mile ahead. Then, you guessed it, rear tire flat #3 rears its ugly head. I’m changing the flat on the shoulder of Interstae 10 getting blown around from every 18 wheeler. In fact their winds start blowing my tire levers  etc onto the cactus and scrub bushes ! I’m throwing F-bombs to the world and no one can hear me! 

Fast forward to a reunion at sag stop # 2 as I arrive looking like a semi ran over me. But the bands faintly back together as I’m with the second group and figure at least now I’ll ride the remainder with then as the top boys are now about 1 hour ahead. So we start a glorious pace line of about 10 riders and we keep it at 17 mph so everyone is happy, we click along for mile after glorious mile and all is good. Until the gal in front of me ( Mary from Maryland ) overlaps Jim Quigleys tire and she goes down hard and fast. I roll right over her bike AND her leg and go down to finish the garage sale.  Now we have all traffic stopped both ways on Az. 60 and people are pulling over getting us waters, ice and calling 911. Mary gets put in a lawn chair and she looks bad! We clear the carnage and now guess what, another flat from running into Mary and her bike. Flat #5 gets fixed and I’m a bloody mess now on both knees, elbows and hands. So I gather what’s left of my wits and pound some more Ibuprofen and finish the limp to Wickenburg. 

I hope tomorrow is a lot easier. If none of this makes sense , I’m a little dingy form getting my bell rung a few times. 

The desert 

Yesterday was a magic carpet ride from Riverside to Indio with tailwinds from the powers above. We flew thru 92 miles and counted our blessing for the moderate temps and tailwinds.  Today, well a different story, it got hotter and we fought some headwinds, 3 flat tires in our group, one of them mine. It’s was a 97 mile trudge with almost the entire 8 1/2 hours riding on interstate 10. It was tough day for a small hand handful of guys one ending up in the ER getting pumped back up with an IV and several others gave in to the heat and jumped in the van for a peace out. Most everyone has never seen or experienced a desert let along ride a bike thru one. Of note the woman in the group are all kicking butt, they all came in with backgrounds of pro cycling coaches and a ton of cycling camps under their training belts. These chicks can rock a bike ride for sure. 

Tomorrow will be our longest and most likely most challenging day of the tour, 116 miles with lots of climbing, oh and the forecast calls for temps to go up. 

All of that riding stuff aside, the Brits are hysterical. Here’s 2 of my favorite quotes so far. Riding along side my new favorite BFF, Howard a retired London policeman. He’s a rock climber and is telling me about how cool it is to reach a summit after a climb. He tells it like this” the afterglow is really quite lovely, you simply catch some clean fresh air, and have yourself a cup of tea, and it’s all quite nice actually”. 

Then today we stop for a Sag ( cyclists rest stop from our vans) stop and another Brit, Richard is looking over the PB and J sandwiches. He tells me ” I’ve never really had a PB&J, are they nice ? . I’m dumbfounded naturally and start to give him some jabs saying that everyone’s had a PB & Js. He says ” no truly he never has eaten one but, HAS seen them on the Tele ! 

After being a desert tour guide on the bike, last night I gave the group a short info fact session on interesting info on the Cochella Valley, Palm Springs Etc. Things like the aguafer, earthquake faults, and the Hollywood connections to the desert After telling them that Indio’s claim to fame, after music festivals are Dates. So I surprised them all with 31 Dates shakes  I had delivered to the hotel, and its was a big hit. A fun night for sure 

Having fun with the group and not sure if I’m ready for tomorrow’s trip into the pain cave. At least we’ll cross our first state line, which I am ready for. 


And they’re off…

Finally, today we started riding, our group is 21 strong, including 5 lads from across the pond, the U.K. & Scotland, as well as 5 galant ladies.  It s a great group and today’s ride gave us a chance to get our feet wet together. Manhattan Beach to Riverside wasn’t the most scenic, especially for the Brits. They had enough of a challenge riding on the right side of the road. We did finish through a gorgeous section of Riverside, classic old California, orange groves, and beautiful old homes. Tomorrow we start to take on the desert, next stop downtown Indio.