Day 3: Lessons

As much I love doing PAC tour and riding in the middle of Nowheresville Arizona, I do not miss the trucker style breakfasts consisting of a mound of pancakes the height and diameter of a wedding cake, topped with several brides and grooms worth of greasy sausages, washed down with coffee the colour and flavour of dishwater. Here at Villa de no Interneto we have hearty and healthy breakfasts complete with coffee strong enough to strip paint.After yesterday’s mechanical fiascos (which we call “getting the bikes dialled in” to make ourselves feel better) we decide to do a ride south of town to Arivaca after the road that runs off the highway. We drive about half an hour longer than we need to thanks to the GPS which seems to be yet one more device intent on fucking up any attempt we make to get on our bikes.

We stop and unload our bikes at the starting point, which is marked by a pair of restaurants in the middle of nowhere devoted, I am assuming, to the consumption of bovines.Our ride is brisk and wonderfully free of traffic or anything remotely to do with civilization. We cruise along happily until Ben gets the first and only flat of the trip after hitting an errant rock.

We take the opportunity to take cool pictures of ourselves.

At this point, yes, there has been more not riding than riding. But that will change.

The route is rolling and takes us very close to the Mexican border, over which is the town on Nogales, which much be a hotbed of criminal activity given the ample number of state troopers patrolling the area. The department of homeland security’s budget is hard at work down here, keeping the civilized world safe from hippies and coyotes.Speaking of hippies, there are easily as many of them around these parts as there are US law enforcement officers. Like the ones who own the Gadsen Coffe Company, a cafe in the middle of nowhere that I believe must be the motherland of hippies everywhere.There was a big reunion of a hippy commune back in the in the 1970’s, captured by this faded picture that hangs high and proudly on the wall. I’m pretty sure that’s my mom at the back in the red dress, but I can’t be sure.We stop for lunch, which is good even though it takes about four hours to make. I am tempted to go into the kitchen to help because clearly the four of us have overwhelmed the staff of two.As we wait, a local guy rides up on an old bmx and wanders over to admire the paint job on Ben’s bike. His t-shirt has what looks like home-made iron-on letters that say “Don’t fcuk with me”. His face looks like someone did. Turns out he fell doing a 20 foot jump on his bmx and landed on his face, breaking his nose in two places as well as his cheekbone. He surmises he probably should have been wearing his helmet. I surmise it is not the first time he has crashed on his head.

After lunch we ride back to the crazy cow restaurants and Ben, Sarah and I decide to ride back to the house rather than going in the car with Ryan (a decision I will not much later regret with the burning intensity of a thousand suns). We take Mission road, which winds around a mine south of the city, climbs forever into space, then descends in a smooth swoopy ribbon back into town for what seems like an eternity. This part of the ride is as spectacularly great as the next part is spectacularly bad.The ride is longer than we expect and I haven’t brought enough food or electrolytes along. I suffer a spectacular bonk which commences about halfway home and descends into an abyss of nausea, rendering me uncharacteristically silent for the last hour of the 170km ride as I try to hold myself together. Ben has ridden with me enough to know I am in dire straights and offers me his last gel about 4km from home. I think it is ridiculous to fuel at this point but am too weak and sick to protest. We don’t arrive back at the house until after dark.

I have learned many lessons today: 1) Southern Arizona has a disproportionately large population of hippies. 2) Always wear your helmet when doing 20 foot jumps on your bmx  3) contrary to Dukes of Haazard wisdom, sherriffs do have jurisdiction over county lines if the offence occurs in their county (this lesson was actually learned by the bmx guy after shop lifting in one county and being chased over a county line) 4) Hydrate and eat before you feel shitty. If you wait until you feel shitty it’s too late.