Sep 30

Gray Mountain to Flagstaff

by in GABA

Day 2: 65 miles; 4,700’ elevation gain

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It was warmer as we took off from Gray Mountain. We pacelined with Anabel Hill, from Tuscon, and a guy named Al for the first 10 miles or so. It was nice. The ride was easy, a gentle uphill that took us to the entrance to Wupatki National Monument. There is a miniature forest and some ancient ruins there which we toured with one of our new riding buddies, Bill, shown riding below..

Then we had a long climb toward Sunset Crater. It wasn’t terribly steep, just long. We were very happy to get to the rest area half-way up. We found out that the year before they’d had 40 mph headwinds on that leg. We felt lucky.

Spent much of the day playing “tag” with a group of riders from Bend Oregon and with our new friend Judy (shown here with her bike). We’d cross paths at rest areas or on the rides between. They began to feel like our long-lost riding partners.

After leaving Sunset Crater and its lava fields, we headed toward Flagstaff and the Little America Hotel. There were lots of headwinds and we led the Bend crew on a paceline for the last few miles.

The hotel was the fanciest we’ve ever stayed in. We had a huge double room with a complete sitting area and balcony. We were able to use the lobby internet connection to download pictures and send them to my school. Then we sat on the lawn and ate pie. It really hit the spot! Dinner that night was attractive, but protein-free. After that meal, we made sure there was some kind of protein for us every night. We were doing too many miles to be without it.

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I got a half-hour massage that night to help work out kinks in my legs. It was heavenly, literally. I was worked on outside in the camping area under the stars. Mars was brilliant. It was an interesting experience.

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