Friday, March 17, 2006

Farewell for Now Arizona, Route 66 Awaits

Today was the last day of camp (at least for me). There are actually three more weeks, but I've done my planned four. Now I need to get home and start training on my Route 66 bike. I only have about 2 1/2 weeks to get comfortable on it before driving out to Santa Monica.

For the Route 66 tour, I will be riding a Rivendell Rambouillet. The Rivendell is quite a bit different than my usual road bikes. It has an all steel frame and a geometry that is designed for a more upright riding position. Most importantly, it allows for larger tires. Given the poor condition of much of the original Route 66 roads, larger cyclo-cross type tires are needed. I am planning on running 32mm tires with a somewhat aggressive tread. Normally, I run 23mm or 25mm slicks on my road bikes.

Lessons Learned

I learned quite a bit out here during the past four weeks. My primary goals in coming out here were to learn how my body reacts to riding long miles almost every day for month, and to get in shape for the Route 66 tour.

I consider the trip to be successful. I am in better shape than I was a month ago, and I learned a lot about riding every day. The lessons learned from the saddle, knee, and illness problems that I had at camp will probably save me grief on Route 66. Sure, things will still go wrong on Route 66, but I now know a lot more about avoiding saddle problems and overuse injuries. I also know a lot more about how to ride through them when they do come up. As for getting sick, well, I can only hope that after riding with 150 people from around the world and living with 5 different roommates, I have caught everything that I am going to catch for the season.

Adventure Awaits

The blog will probably be a little quiet for a few weeks. I'll still be posting my training ride summaries -- probably just stats and a few random events. The real adventure begins on April 14th as we begin the 2,500 mile, 29 day, traversal of the original Route 66.

Given the powerful history of Route 66, and poor condition of the road, I expect plenty of drama. That should make for plenty of great stories and great photographs on almost every day. In addition to my blogging, there will be several people in our group that are working on books, videos, and other documentary works. I believe that the editors of Route 66 Magazine will also be joining us, via car, for entire journey. Their knowledge of the road will add tremendously to both the experience and to the quality of the various documentaries being developed along the way.

Thanks for supporting my blog during training camp. The emails and blog comments are a great source of motivation after a long and painful day. I hope you can all stay with me on Route 66. I'll do my best to be both informative and entertaining...

Today's Ride Summary

Route: Casa Grande to Tucson
Distance: 83.2 miles
Speed (avg/max): 15.8 mph / 31.4 mph
Riding Time: 5 hours 16 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 24 minutes
Power (avg/max) 158 watts / 785 watts
Calories Measured at Wheel: 2,980
Heart Rate (min/max/avg): ??? bpm / ??? bpm / ??? bpm

Miles this Year: 1658

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Adios Gila

Believe what I am about to tell you. A few days in Gila Bend and you are ready to ride just about anywhere. I was pretty happy to be riding away from Gila Bend, even if it meant climbing all morning. The route to Casa Grande started with a 34 mile gradual climb along I-8 east. The climbing, combined with a mild headwind, made for a slow morning. In addition, the "mountain top mirage" was a bit frustrating.

The sight lines of the climb kept you thinking that you were almost at the top. Looking ahead, you could usually see about a mile of road that appeared to level off at the end. However, as you approached the top you would then see that the "top" was just a short flat spot -- and that you had about another mile of climbing remaining. That went on all morning. After that, it was pretty flat. Virtually no descending at all today.

We rode by the same cattle feed that we passed on our way out. No dead cows today. I wonder what they do with those dead cows...

Route: Gila Bend to Casa Grande
Distance: 61.5 miles
Speed (avg/max): 16.5 mph / 28.8 mph
Riding Time: 3 hours 43 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 14 minutes
Power (avg/max) 156 watts / 731 watts
Calories Measured at Wheel: 2,092
Heart Rate (min/max/avg): ??? bpm / ??? bpm / ??? bpm

Miles this Year: 1575

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gila Bend

I skipped the ride into Wickenburg yesterday to try and speed my flu recovery. That meant an extra night in Gila Bend. I'll rejoin the tour tomorrow morning when we head back to Casa Grande.

I've always been fascinated by industrial decay. Gila Bend has a little of that to offer, so I wandered around this morning to take some pictures.


  • Old Tank

  • Tank Mechanism

  • Hobo Signage

  • Rail Yard. That's my hotel on the left.

  • No Parking

  • Riddle signage. At first I thought that some of the lettering fell off, but ut says the same thing on the other side. Anyone get what this is supposed to mean?

  • No Gas

  • No Tell

  • Old House

  • Rusty Car

  • Hot Tub

  • For Les

  • Gasless

  • Dairy Queen

  • Not all of Gila Bend is rotting. Here are a few "live" scenes...

  • Drink anyone? I didn't think so...

  • Run for the Border

  • Tractor

  • Gila Bend Museum

  • Gila Bend has a new furniture store
  • Monday, March 13, 2006

    Meanwhile, Back at the Lodge...

    I am back at the Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend. After three days off, my cough is still hanging on. In fact, it really isn't better at all. I have been spending half the night hacking. For some reason, it seems to get worse when I am resting. No fever, so I guess I should not be worried, but I feel pretty bad. Whatever.

    Not riding was getting depressing, so I rode today anyway. My plan was to go easy, so I rode with my new roommate who was having a knee issue. I stayed out in front and set the pace, spending most of the time in my aerobars. Although I was feeling pretty crappy, I realized that the past few weeks have made me much more comfortable and efficient in my aerobars. Too bad I will not be using them on Route 66 -- I expect the pavement to be too uneven for aerobars to be practical.

    Like last week, I felt a little better once I started riding. I only had a couple of short coughing fits on the bike. It is interesting how the riding seems to suspend the coughing. It is as if my body is calling upon some vestigial metabolic mechanism that prioritizes hunting, or running from hunters, ahead of fighting infection. Unfortunately, once you stop and rest, the symptoms are even worse.

    Out on the shoulder of I-8, I had my third flat of the month. That's a problem with interstate riding. Radial tires throw off little shards of wire that coat the road surface pretty thoroughly. The wires are too short to cause flats in cars, but they do plenty of damage to bicycle tires. Regardless, I preferred today's I-8 route to Gila Bend over the shoulderless route that we used a few weeks ago. The wide shoulder on I-8 felt safer than the truck traffic on routes 238 and 347. My only regret about the route was that I had planned on getting photos of the dessicated cattle cubes that I saw on route 238 last month. I did see some dead cows today, but not the eerie cubical type.

    At the 38 mile snack stop, my roommate got on the van to rest his knees, so I rode the rest of the way in alone. I thought I was going slow, but my pace might have been a little too fast for his knee issue.

    So the worm turns.


  • A Blooming Cactus

  • Layers

  • Skyscape

  • Ride Summary

    Route: Casa Grande to Gila Bend
    Distance: 61 miles
    Speed (avg/max): 17.3 mph / 30 mph
    Riding Time: 3 hours 34 minutes
    Total Time: 4 hours 58 minutes
    Power (avg/max) 123 watts / 408 watts
    Calories Measured at Wheel: 1,576
    Heart Rate (min/max/avg): ??? bpm / ??? bpm / ??? bpm

    Miles this Year: 1513