Monday, April 16, 2012
As usual I started early on my ride. I planned on going from Buckhorn to Silver City today a distance of about 40 miles with a couple thousand feet of climbing. The road started out downhill and then the rolling hills started. The road was good with a nice shoulder but I found my legs were still tired from yesterday's long grueling ride. I took it easy as I went.
I stopped at a coffee shop in Cliff and caught up on my internet while I ate some breakfast. Then I hit the road again. The road disappeared off into the distance for most of the day. Very little traffic for a Monday morning. I did run into five other bikers. A Belgium couple, a lone guy from Georgia, and a couple from Switzerland were all on the road going the other way. We all talked for a while and compared notes on the road ahead of us. I enjoyed the Swiss couple because they were vivacious and trusting. We talked for about 20 minutes before we broke it off and continued our rides.
The road started to climb after our talk. It was only 10 more miles to Silver City but my legs were tired and the road was climbing at a long slow rate. I had to rest often as I am at 6000' and I was getting winded. I would just stop for about two minutes to let my heart and breath catch up and then take off again.
I made it to Silver City but I was tired for only a 40 mile ride and only a couple thousand feet of climbing. I blame it on the elevation but it is just as or more likely that I over did it yesterday on my 90 mile ride with almost 6000' of climbing. Us old men don't recover as fast I am finding out. I hope I survive this ride coming up over a 7200' pass and Emory pass at 8228 feet, then some glorious downhilllllllllll.
I waited out the big storm in Safford. I had a good time there. I spent some time talking and hanging out with a woman from Oklahoma. When the storm passed over I left the next morning.
It was still dark when I left. The sun came up about a half hour into the ride. My goal was to get as close to Silver City as I could which was about a 125 miles away. The weather was cool with a light breeze blowing behind me. It started out with a flat ride then quickly started to climb. It was a slow climb until I got to Solomon where the climb to the 6350' pass started. That was a grueling climb for me. I had to rest often at this high elevation. I even walked a little of it because my lower leg started to cramp and I hoped that a short walk would help.
I met a nice 70 year old man riding his bike around near Solomon AZ. We talked for a while and he was very fun to talk to. Very active for 70 also. I like that.
The views along the road were spectacular rock formations and high desert. There was a bit of ranching in the valleys but not much else. The ride was pretty lonely and desolate. I saw very few cars and no other bikers. It had one small store at a place called Three Way but otherwise nothing until I arrived at Buckhorn 90 miles from Safford.
After I climbed to the top of the 6350' pass the scenery changed to conifer forests. I saw some elk but I did not get a pic of them. They stared at me while I pulled out my camera but the second I aimed it at them they vanished into the thin air. I had to laugh. Digital cameras are just too slow for wildlife pics. I prefer the old fashioned SLR cameras.
There was a long downhill to get to Three Way which I enjoyed. But if I have learned one thing riding a bike it is that whatever goes down must come up and it did big time. I was getting tired after fifty miles but since there was nothing around and it was only noon I slowly pushed on. The New Mexico border passed and then the road started rolling up and down for miles. I was dreading looking at the climbs up with my already rubbery tired legs. I pushed on with lots of rest stops. Once I hit the turnoff on 180 the road improved and I sailed into Buckhorn with a tailwind. I pigged out on food at the cafe there and drank potassium drinks, vegie drinks and fruit drinks to try to replenish my tired old body then went straight to sleep in my tent.