Day 3 - Blythe to Wickenburg, AZ
Greetings from Arizona folks! I am pleased to report that we have moved on to the second state of our trip. Although I am sad to leave California behind, I know that putting the Golden State behind brings Ralph and I that much closer to our final destination.
Today started off with a completely different feeling than the past two mornings. While eating my breakfast of eggs and toast, I realized that the "honeymoon period" of excitement and awe at undertaking something so new, was over. The reality of my trip was beginning to sink in and replace the fantasy that had kept me going during thehours of training in the basement and in spin class. I realized that this was just day 3 of a 33 day trip, with each new day bringing it's own unique challenges and obstacles to be overcome.
But I'm not discouraged. In fact, I welcome the challenge and the hardship. After all, this is what it's all about. Leaving everything out there on the road and being able to say that you gave it your best effort.
The ride started off on an intense note, with 20 mph winds assaulting us the moment we left Blythe. There was a relatively big climb along the way, but eventually the road leveled out and the winds died down. Everything was peachy keen after that until mile 65, when we reached our second to last stop for resupplying water bottles and food stores.
My buddy Joe, who I've been fortunate enough to ride with each day at one point or another, began to experience pain in his stomach and was forced to bow out of the ride for the remainder of the day, leaving me with more than 50 miles to go with no one to ride with.
But being the young and slightly foolish amateur cyclist that I am, I refused to throw in the towel, despite the desert heat and the fact that I would be pushing the last leg solo.
Luckily two veteran cyclists, Mike and Karen, came to my rescue. Or at least so I thought at the time. When we linked up, I was so relived initially to be part of a group again that I didn't realize we were going way above my normal pace until we reached the next stop for some much needed re-hydration. Despite the drop in temperature, it was still 95 degrees out in the Arizona desert today.
By the time we pulled in to refuel at our last stop, I was spent. In fact, I was barely able to put one leg in front of the other as I went to refill my water bottles. But I still had 25 more miles to go, and against my better judgement I climbed back into the saddle to push forward. Before leaving I looked around I realized that Mike and Karen were long gone, and I was once again on my own.
Quick Note: You may be asking yourself at this point, but Eric, what about your father?
Yesterday my father also was experiencing stomach pains, up to the point where he had to pull out of the ride at mile 56. Not wanting to take any chances with his health, he checked into the doctor's, where they told him that he had a virus that will keep him off the bike for the next few days. Not to worry, he will be back in action in no time. In the meantime he has been helping out the support team, even taking some sweet photos.
When you're out on the bike by yourself, it's about ten times more difficult to stay motivated. Your so aware that you're alone, and your mind begins to play tricks on you. So to keep motivated, I tried to focus my mind on my surroundings rather than the pain that was slowly working its way into my legs. I listened to the sound of the desert wind against the dry brush lining the road, or watched the occasional "dust devil" tornado drift along the desert floor. There are so many beautiful things about the desert that I would never have seen if not for this trip.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I pulled into the hotel, dead last in the group but feeling ten feet tall at having finished my third day on a solo act. Tomorrow we will be climbing roughly 9,000 feet over the course of 80 miles, with a sweet 20 mile downhill ride that should be well worth the effort.
Until next time.