Day 2 – to Tombstone
PAC Tour is a run like a well-oiled machine. Every possible logistic is considered to ensure the rider’s safety and comfort (ok, they couldn’t do much about the shitty hotel coffee, but what the heck). This morning started early, a 6am wake up after a much better sleep than the night before. Almost thought I was home before I opened my eyes. We had to pack up everything as we were moving on to Tombstone, about 87 miles away. Once breakfast was done, shitty coffee and all, we loaded our bags (mine weighs approximately 400 pounds), brought down our bikes, checked our maps and rolled out. I have to mention that when I brought down my 400 pound bag to the trailer that gets driven to the next hotel Lon casually asked me if I had bike shoes. I thought it was a silly question and said “Of course I have bike shoes”. He looked down at my feet and asked if I was planning on carrying around my flip flops all day. I sheepishly tucked my flip flops into my bag, muttering how it was my first time, and sulked back to my room barefoot.
Soon after, we were on our way. The Cannondale I rented is great (despite the clownish appearance). With my own saddle on it, feels just like my bike back home. A huge relief considering the hell this week would be with an ill-fitting bike. We pumped up our tires and rolled out on a route similar to the one we took yesterday and after about 15 miles we were out of the city and surrounded by wide open vistas full of cacti of all shapes and sizes. We passed a number of groups on our way out, not really stopping to chat as we are only allowed to ride in groups of four people, max. So the four of us stuck together and enjoyed a nice easy ride with great scenery. The rest stops come every 20 miles or so, and we are fed royally on sport bars, bananas, cookies, chips, nut and beef jerky. And of course all the Gatorade you can drink. Today there was lots of hills, big climbs, with a combined elevation of 4,000 feet. Which is about 3,900 feet more than I am used to, being from the flat, bald prairie. Plus, being a 5’10”, 150 lb. woman does not make for easy climbing. So I suffered up the hills, at times in the smallest gear I had. The upside, was ironically, the downside. On the downhills, my size proved to be an advantage, coasting easily down at awesome speeds with little to no effort. The downhills can be scary, but I concentrate on my form: loose hands in the drops, relaxed upper body, as low and small I can make my body to cut through the wind. Ben and I rode together for a while before lunch, a gradual downhill with a tailwind. Perfect conditions, and very fast. A ride I’ll remember forever.Pee breaks can be a challenge. No fancy bathrooms with scented hand towels here. Peeing in the bush back home is pretty fancy compared to the wide open spaces “prickly” vegetation native to the Arizona desert. One has to be careful when selecting a good location to pee that isn’t going to inflict bodily harm or offer a free show.
After lunch there was only 10 miles to go, so we rolled into Tombstone about 2:30. Truth be told I could have ridden more, but glad we didn’t. Best to save energy for tomorrow. Still plenty of miles to ride, and thankfully not as much climbing. Once in our room I took Susan Leier’s advise and poured myself a cold bath to soak my aching legs. I’m not sure if it works, and it hurt like hell. Like a million needles in my legs. But the discomfort is likely worth fresh legs tomorroe. Once we got cleaned off, we went to town for beers with the gang, plus a couple we met today. She’s from Amsterdam and he’s from Switzerland and they live in Southern California. Super folks, and good strong riders too. I booked a massage with the PAC tour massage therapist, who gave my legs a good and well deserved rub down, Ben had a massage next, then we headed out for dinner, all 6 of us, to a saloon-type restaurant that seems to be the norm in Tombstone. The waitresses are dressed in wild west saloon-girl costumes (yikes) and there are more cowboy hats here than in the entire province of Alberta. After dinner we were all exhausted and headed back to the hotel, only to find out it was only 8:30. Holy hell. So a good time to write and watch bad TV. Another big day tomorrow, with a later start and slightly less miles. We’re moving again, to Wilcox. Which I’m told has a Starbucks. Yee haw!!