What a Difference a Year Can Make

Pathetic.  Seriously.  My human is pathetic.  Since Tucson we’ve gotten out for only one long weekend!  Just one!  It is the end of June!  Sure, the human takes my ridiculously pampered and built for speed sibling bike Galanas out for a fast spin regularly and my other sibling bike Clyde gets to go to and from work every day, but me?  Me! expect to get out for a weekend every now and then.

I mean last year by now we had a lots of weekend adventures.  We’d been to Door County, to Sheboygan, heck, even to New Glarus.  But this year?!?!?!  This year we got all the way to Whitewater.  Shhheeez…55 lousy miles one way.  OK.  Maybe it was a little hot and maybe the wind was a little strong, but, dear reader, please recall we rode in 104 degree heat in Arizona and suffered sustained winds in Mississippi that were stronger than last weekend’s gusts.  But the kicker?  The human was trashed when we were done.  Embarrassing.

Yes, my human is out of shape.  SusanN is looking for interest for next year’s Southern.  I keep reminding my human we have a bone to pick with those 114 miles we failed to ride last time….prodding…reminding….but how the heck am I going to get the human back into shape!??!?!  A bike has just got to ride and it isn’t fair to me to keep me locked in the garage!

New Mexico is taunting me!

The Party’s Over

Turn out the lights
The party’s over
They say that all
Good things must end
Call it a night
The party’s over

What a rip roarin’ way to end the week.  Finally that tub o’ lard human propelled me at a speed commensurate with my fine, steel heritage.  At one point we had a sustained 30mph for over a mile as we tooled down the freeway.

“Wait!” you say?  “How can your human sustain 30mph?”  Well, let me tell you.  Mother Nature was amazingly kind to us this week.  For the most part she chased around southern Arizona with a tailwind.  Oh, sure, we had an occasional headwind, sometimes a rather stiff headwind, but that was just Mother Nature’s way of making sure we knew how pleasant it was to ride with the wind at our back.

And ride we did.  Every one of my gears got used at some point — the easy ones as we climbed the passes; the big ones as we tooled along the 1% down hills with the wind at our back.  Wheeee….

But, alas, dear readers, for us the party is over  All us bicycles must find our way back into our boxes for the long trip home where some of us will have to sit on the shelf awaiting the spring thaw.  But, for the PAC Tour crew, tomorrow a new week begins, tomorrow starts the same old thing again.

 

In a canyon, In a cavern…

Eight years ago, my friends, I arrived in Tucson a fresh, new and naïve bicycle.  My human had never ridden with PAC Tour and I had never ridden on a road.  We pretty much took the same route then as we have this week, but then….oh, then…we did grind up the hills.  And Mule Pass out of Bisbee?  Oooo….the complaints from the human….egads…they ground my gears and torqued my chain.

Today, however, was a different story.  Today, we gently spun up to the top of Mule Pass as if it was just a little hill (well…it is…it is pretty wimpy as passes go).  Even Edwin’s human who doesn’t ride well in the desert spun up Tombstone Canyon to the top of Mule Pass.  Amazing what 8 years of training can do.

And the descent?  Ha!  We headed down, topped out at 40mph and when we got pushed by the crosswinds we just took them all in stride.  No freaking at all.  Wheeeee…..

From Tombstone Canyon we headed down the old mule train route where the copper from the mines travelled past Tombstone and out to Kartchner Caverns where many of our group went underground to see the caves — again, while us bikes baked in the sun….sigh….

But I’d wax at length about the gorgeous day of riding, with the tailwinds and the blue skies and the cacti, but….that has been the story of the week.  Never, ever have we come down her and had perfect weather where the winds chased at our backs.

Smilin’ at everybody she sees…

Who’s tripping down the streets of the city
Smilin’ at everybody she sees
Who’s reachin’ out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it’s Windy

Boy!  When Mother Nature extracts a toll, she does makes sure she gets her money’s worth!

Yesterday, we ended our ride in Tombstone.  As the day got longer, the winds got stronger and stronger.  Many of us were a little worried about today, but…we had just finished two nice days so a little head wind as we travelled down Charleston Road wouldn’t be too bad a price to pay, right?

But, this AM, we woke up to calm.  Total and complete calm.  Spooky calm given yesterday’s howling gusts.  So we all did a little happy dance in the parking lot thinking it would be another great day for riding.

And, great, it started out.  A small climb and then a decadent downhill and a lovely meander down some farm roads with the special ride along the riparian area.  Lovely.  As we made the last turn into Bisbee, even then we had, at most a cross wind, and often a tailwind so even the incline into Bisbee was still a pleasant ride.  And then…

…whump!  Going around the Lavender Pit mine where…heehee…the porta potties are purple — get it?  lavender pits at the lavender pit? — heehee…ok…bicycle humor…but us bikes think it is hysterical….but where were we?…yes..as we came around the Lavendar Pit mine, where the road kicks up a bit for the final push into Bisbee…whump…the wind did howl…tears in the humans’ eyes as the wind whipped up everything imaginable and pushed us back….whew!  It was only 2 miles, but you would have thought the entire work of today’s ride was in that 2 miles…..yep…Mother Nature may have given us 2 1/2 of the nicest riding days, but when she puts up a toll road, she expects to get paid….

 

The Livin’ is easy…

Would you believe, dear reader, tailwinds?!?!??!  Seriously!  Tailwinds, downhill, and only 43 miles.  Can you find an easier ride?!?!?!?

Today we toodled through wine country.   Open prairie dotted with vineyards.  The humans claim that they make good wine, but while they may be able to power themselves on alcohol, I, as a fine riding machine require none of those libations.

But, toodle we did….I mean, you have all day to do 43 miles and 20 of it is a tailwind assisted downhill.  Heck, even I got to use my big chain ring.  But, the best part?  We turned into the wind just a little and the wind shifted just right so that Edwin and I got to sing a duet.

Tonight we sleep well, for tomorrow we head to Bisbee.  The humans think it is the neatest town in Arizona, but not for us bikes…we’ll have to sleep in a shed.  Seriously…a corrugated steel shed.  Blah…hot in the day, cold at night.  We tried to convince the humans that here in Tombstone was better, but they would hear none of our protestations.  Really?  So what if Tombstone is a tourist trap with people fighting over the rights to be the “official” Wyatt Earp?  So what if Bisbee, instead has real coffee shops and art galleries and great food and a local brewery?  Don’t the humans realize that where the bikes sleep matters most!?!?!?!?  Alas….until tomorrow, dear friends.

One of these, one of these, one of these mornings, darlin’
You’re gonna rise, you’re gonna rise up singin’
Then you’ll spread your little wings, your little wings
And-a take to the sky

 

 

Slow down, you move too fast. . .

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy

Yep…<chuckle>we moved too fast</chuckle>…but that, my friends is the difference between doing the PAC Tour Southern vs doing Historic Towns “Training” Week.  Wwaaayyyy different.  Even with a flat shortly before the end <heehee>48.5 miles<heehee> and going really, really easy up the pass, we still weren’t last.  Wheeee….

But, unlike many a first day for Desert Camp, the weather today was awesome…heck, the worst we could say was that maybe, just maybe, it was a little too warm.  We started late, took our time and soaked up the sun.  We even got in with so much time to spare that the humans visited the winery and picked out a lovely wine to pair with tonight’s dinner.

But, the ride…twas so much fun…rode with Pat and her trusty Moots again.  It was fun to catch up.  Found some new bikes along the way to ride and play with, as well.  I know I keep mentioning it, but this is so different from the Southern…..we actually caught up to people on the road and were able to ride with others.  Not everyone here is super fast — we have other bikes to play with.

But, tonight I’m in the silo at the Sonoita Inn because I’m not allowed in the room.  That’s OK, I’m in here chilling with Pat’s Moots and Edwin.  It is a nice, cool spot.  The Sonoita Inn has a legend that it was built as Secretariat’s retirement home.  Having ridden in Kentucky horse country where the horses stalls look nicer that our house, one might actually believe  the legend.  However, the honest truth was that it was…sigh…built as a shopping mall and then converted into a hotel….sigh…not nearly so glamorous…not nearly as much fun for a trusty steed to think she could be sleeping where a famous race horse slept….sigh…but it is a nice place to sleep for the night….

 

 

On the Road Again…

…just can’t wait to get on the road again….wheeee…..my tires saw pavement again!  First time since Tybee Island and did it feel great!

Well, dear reader, where have I been?  Sigh…in good hands, but…sigh….So, I left Tybee Island in the tender loving care of Lon and Dave.  Instead of having to squeeze into my box, I got to travel in-style, fully assembled in the trailer.  Truly luxury.  Lon dropped me and Edwin off at Bob’s in Crystal Lake where Bob did a full makeover.  After that little episode on the Southern where I lost my right hand (brifter to you human readers), the human decided that I should trade in my lovely, albeit aging Campy parts for some sturdy, easily replaced by any bike shop Shimano equipment.

But, that wasn’t all of the makeover.  When the humans came to pick us up, Bob changed up my saddle and handle bar configuration so that the human would be more comfortable and…here’s the best joke…faster…yeah…like that’ll ever happen with my human.

So, then…home I went, but it was now winter so I hung out in the basement while the human pedaled on the trainer and to and from work.  A week or so ago I jumped into my box and was transported to Burlington to meet with Susan for the road trip to Tucson.  Yep…no airplane baggage handlers for this pretty bike — into the PAC Tour van I went, handled with TLC.  The human says it is so nice that Susan brings me down so that they don’t have to carry me, but, you know the best part?  I come done in perfect shape…no wobbly wheels.  Happy.

So today we toodled down the bike trail in Tucson…tomorrow we head to Sonoita and get to sleep where Secretariat slept…

Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin’ music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again